Can the Spartan 3e starter kit handle the calculations involved in digital modulation

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by kimmadscientist, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. kimmadscientist

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 13, 2010
    My topic for my undergrad thesis is to make a digital modulation trainer out from an FPGA. Since we only have Spartan 3e starter kit in school, I have no choice but to use it for my project. Question is, can it handle all the calculations involved in digital modulation? If so, how do I prove it? I need to prove it to my professor so he could approve my topic.
    I've heard that the capabilities of the Spartan are limited since it is just a starter kit. However, digital modulation is simply multiplication. You have a sine wave and binary input and you simply multiply both signals. I plan to generate the binary input from the pc (i plan to interface the fpga and the pc via serial port). The sine wave will have to come from the FPGA.
    Please let me know if this is a feasible topic. Thanks a lot!
  2. sstbrg

    Active Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Hi, I've got experience with Spartan 3 (not 3e, however I don't think it mattes much).
    For digital modulation you can't use one FPGA kit alone, you'll maybe need some other components, but it's like any project. I mean, for example, as far as I know sine waves can't come from an FPGA, you'll need a digital to analog converter.

    Now for the calculation, my suggestion is to use MicroBlaze in addition to VHDL/Verilog. Using C, you can definitely code easily any complicated calculation and it will work nicely.

    If you want your DACs inside, there are the new Atmel XMEGA microprocessors which do have digital to analog converters built-in. You can order a XMEGA kit, and that might work too - will be even easier than MicroBlaze. It doesn't have to be expensive either:

    More on XMEGA: