In this series:


Using new, unfamiliar technologies can be intimidating. We tend to choose the same equipment, software, and approaches we used in the past to minimize implementation ramp-up and proceed with development in a predictable manner.

On the other hand, I like to believe that new technologies can improve system performance while reducing development time. Product designers know that time is money and are very aware that a technology will not succeed if the customer isn't able to bring their end-applications to market quickly and efficiently.

With these assumptions in mind, I decided to create a blog series where I develop my own FPGA-based ADC and DAC application from scratch. I start from the initial product conception to creating a final FPGA application. I go through all the important steps, including product conception, software installation, application design, simulation, implementation, and so on. The idea is to blog about what I discover in each step of my project's progression.
This first blog post is mainly an introduction to the project. First, I talk about myself: my educational and working background, my role at Nutaq, and my basic knowledge about the software to help you get a better idea from where I'm starting. Next, I describe the application and breakdown my plan for the upcoming blogs.

Who am I? My resume…

First of all, I believe that it's important to give you an idea of my background and experience in order to convey how challenging the creation of this blog series will be for me. As of today, I have absolutely no knowledge of FPGA hardware description language (HDL) development. I just recently joined Nutaq's team as a field application engineer (FAE) and I am still ramping up. I finished my bachelor's degree in May 2013 so I am just starting my career as an engineer. Here's a summary of my background and skills:

Summary of my Background and Skills

The project

Now that we've established my lack of FPGA design experience, it's time to discuss the project with my product manager. I'm nervous, as he wants me to learn the product (both hardware and software) by developing a new application demo. Here's the details:

Project Details

To be precise, the project consists of:

1. Acquisition of audio signal by an ADC at 250 MSPS
2. Transfer of the data to the HOST PC via the RTDEx module
3. Process and modulate the data on the host PC user-defined algorithm
4. Transfer of the processed and modulated audio data to the ADAC250
5. Generation of a new modulated audio signal using the DAC at 1 GSPS

The following table outlines the project's high-level steps and how I believe it will breakdown. Each item will be accompanied with a blog post documenting my progress and discoveries.

Project Outline


In my next blog post, I will present the hardware equipment that we will use in my FPGA-based ADC-DAC project more in detail.