Altium NanoBoard NB2 - Rapid prototyping and development platform

Altium NanoBoard NB2
Product Category: 
Development Boards & Kits
Product Supported / Obsolete?: 

The Desktop NanoBoard NB2DSK01 takes the nano-level breadboarding concept introduced with the NanoBoard-NB1 to a whole new level, enhancing your ability to design, implement and debug an entire design before moving to the production PCB. Swappable daughter boards now support a much larger number of I/O connections from the target FPGA to the connected peripherals.

With the Desktop NanoBoard NB2DSK01, peripherals available for the daughter board FPGA are delivered on removable peripheral boards, providing a simple and cost-effective method for rapid prototyping of hardware concepts. The Desktop NanoBoard NB2DSK01 is designed to be a perfect complement to Altium Designer, the unified electronic product development system that transforms your desktop into a complete and interactive electronics design laboratory that uses LiveDesign.

LiveDesign is a unified electronics system design methodology that is based on 'live' engineering inside a programmable physical hardware design space. Altium Designer, the NanoBoard and LiveDesign, provide real-time communication and 'hands-on' interaction between you and your design during the development process. Unlike conventional electronics design flows, a unified design flow and LiveDesign eliminates the need to work in simulated environments, allowing you to run software on hardware in real time, right from the start of the design cycle through to final production!

You begin developing your system by implementing it on a reconfigurable hardware platform – the Desktop NanoBoard NB2DSK01. Your circuit can then be probed, analyzed and debugged interactively using an array of virtual instruments and JTAG-based monitoring features. As the implementation is performed within a programmable hardware realm, you can update the design quickly and many times over without incurring cost or time penalties. This allows the device intelligence you are designing to be moved between different NanoBoard platforms, or even to custom hardware – greatly accelerating the process of bringing your products to market.

Some architectural highlights of the Desktop NanoBoard NB2DSK01 include:

  • Application-specific plug-in peripheral boards for complete system flexibility
  • Plug-in daughter boards that allow you to target a wide range of FPGA and processor devices
  • High-speed PC interconnection through USB 2.0 that allows faster download and debugging
  • Built-in, high-quality speakers for enhanced audio output
  • Integrated color TFT touch screen that facilitates dynamic application interaction.

Additionally, a wide variety of FPGA-ready schematic components (ranging from processors to peripheral components and generic logic), and a complete set of tools for development and debugging, are included with Altium Designer.

So as you can see, when combined with Altium Designer, a LiveDesign-enabled Desktop NanoBoard NB2DSK01 transforms your PC desktop into an interactive reprogrammable hardware development system – an Innovation Station!

Product Description: 

Architectural highlights
• Innovative and reconfigurable hardware platform harnesses the
power of today’s high-capacity, low-cost programmable devices –
allowing rapid system development and implementation
• Works seamlessly and in full synchronization with Altium’s nextgeneration
electronic design solution, Altium Designer
• Real-time on-board power monitoring and analysis for the entire
• Supports range of swappable target-FPGA and processor daughter
boards from all major chip vendors
• Automatic peripheral and daughter board detection and
configuration for plug-and-play platform creation
• Powerful instrumentation reduces or eliminates the need to simulate
• Reprogrammability eliminates the need to build multiple prototypes
during development
Main board specifications
• Integrated color TFT LCD panel (320x240) with touch screen that
facilitates dynamic application interaction
• Stereo analog audio system with high-quality on-board amplifiers,
mixer, line in/out and stereo speakers
• Variety of standard communication interfaces – RS-232 serial, CAN,
PS/2 mini-DIN
• SD card reader – for additional I/O flexibility including the ability to
download a variety of files
• Four channel, 8-bit ADC and 10-bit DAC, I2C-compatible
• User definable PDA-style push button switches that function as
generic design inputs
• Variety of general purpose switches and LEDs
• Programmable clock, 6 to 200 MHz, available to target FPGA
• Power sensing system allows real-time monitoring of system and
device power consumption
• SPI Real-Time Clock with 3V battery back-up
• Onboard memory accessible by NanoTalk Controller – 256K x 32-bit
common-bus SRAM (1MB), 16M x 32-bit common-bus SDRAM
(64MB), 16M x 16-bit common-bus 3.0V Page Mode Flash memory
(32MB), 256K x 32-bit independent SRAM (1MB)
• Dual User Board JTAG headers for direct interaction and
development on production board
• Home/Reset button – Home button enables firmware to take control
of TFT panel; Reset provides NanoBoard reset functionality
• NanoTalk Controller – manages real time proprietary communication
with Altium Designer, the board, and the NanoBoard firmware using
a Xilinx® SpartanTM-3 (XC3S1500-4FG676C) controller with JTAGaccessible
Flash configuration PROM
• Master-Slave connectors for chaining multiple development boards
– allowing multiple-FPGA system development
• Board ID memory – 1-Wire® ID system uniquely identifies each
daughter board and peripheral board
• Power – Dual 5V DC power daisy-chain connectors with power
switch, 5V DC power output connector, power supply test points for
all supply levels available on the board, four GND points
• High-speed PC interconnection through USB 2.0 allows faster
downloading and debugging

Included in the box
Altium Designer
The NanoBoard NB2 includes a 12-month
subscription to an Altium Designer Soft Design
license which is linked to the NanoBoard in the box.
This license option provides functionality to quickly start
designing FPGA-based embedded systems, including:
• FPGA design entry in C, OpenBus, Schematic, VHDL and Verilog
• VHDL simulation engine, integrated debugger and waveform viewer
• Support for a range of 32-bit soft processors for use in FPGA design
• A rich set of royalty-free IP core libraries including peripherals and
user-configurable custom logic
• Full software development tool chain with libraries and source code
• Programmable FPGA-based instruments for hardware debug and
• Support for importing third-party FPGA IP cores, developing and
reusing IP libraries
Additional Altium Designer license options are available for custom
board design. For information on Altium Designer licensing options,
Peripheral boards
The NanoBoard NB2 caters for the use of up to three peripheral boards, and
is delivered with the following standard peripheral boards:
Audio/Video Peripheral Board (PB01)
• Composite and S-Video output and capture, 24-bit VGA output,
high-performance I2S stereo audio codec
Mass Storage Peripheral Board (PB02)
• Compact Flash, SD card slot, ATA hard-drive interfaces
USB-IrDA-Ethernet Peripheral Board (PB03)
• 10/100 Ethernet interface, USB 2.0 interface, 4Mbits/sec IrDA
Additional peripheral boards continue to be developed by Altium, and
users can also develop their own, making it easy to evaluate new and
alternate technology options.
Choice of daughter board
Each NanoBoard NB2 comes with one daughter board, which can be
selected from the following:
Xilinx® Spartan™-3 Daughter Board (DB30)
• With Xilinx Spartan-3 FPGA (XC3S1500-4FG676C)
Altera® Cyclone™ II Daughter Board (DB31)
• With Altera Cyclone II FPGA (EP2C35F672C8)
LatticeECP™ Daughter Board (DB32)
• With LatticeECP FPGA (LFECP33E-3FN672C)
Daughter boards are swappable and an extended range can be purchased
separately from Altium.
Training and resource materials
Altium provides extensive online resources designed to get you up and
running as quickly as possible.
• Everything you need to know to get started and build your proficiency
with Altium Designer –
• Full technical information on the NanoBoard

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