LatticeXP2 Brevia Development Kit, with a deal breaker

December 2, 2010 | electronics, FPGA, Hardware, My Projects | By: Mark VandeWettering

I’ve been playing with a BASYS2 FPGA development kit from, and pondering the world of digital system design. I chose the BASYS2 because of its low price ($70) and because it included a reasonable number of LEDs, switches, a VGA interface and a connector for a PS/2 keyboard. Still, I’ve been looking for other small, reasonably priced FPGA kits, perhaps even ones which aren’t based on the Xilinx chips. Today I learned of a nice looking little $49 kit from Lattice:

LatticeXP2 Brevia Development Kit.

While it doesn’t include the VGA or PS/2 interfaces, it does include a 1Mbit static ram on board, which perhaps makes it more interesting for experimenting with FPGA cpus. But here’s the thing: it includes a parallel port programming cable, and literally no computers I currently use have a parallel port anymore. They tel you that you need a special USB cable: the HW-USBN-2A which is not included. Oh well, think I, that can’t be too bad…

That cable costs $149.

Yes, the programming cable for this FPGA board is 3x the cost of the entire board.

Deal, broken.


Comment from Mark VandeWettering
Time 12/2/2010 at 10:54 am

Most (if not all) of them simply don’t work with programming hardware (indeed, Lattice tells you they don’t work) because most of them support an abstract printer interface without the direct pin access that is needed to drive the programming software. My BASYS2 is programmed via a USB interface, which comes with the $70 kit.

Comment from anonymoose
Time 12/2/2010 at 7:48 pm

ahh.. the pesky I/O/EPP/BPP/SPP/ECP.

But is there a reason why an ftdi usb 42232H chip couldn’t mimic the I/Os of a db25?

A windows driver would have to catch any user software that calls the parallel port (_inp/_outp to 0x378, etc), and route it instead to/from the ftdi .. but that shouldn’t be impossible, right?;jsessionid=PANHIXEVBZNJPQE1GHOSKH4ATMY32JVN

Comment from Tom
Time 12/3/2010 at 8:00 am

There’s a similar FPGA kit offered by altera for $49

If you’re willing to pay an extra $30, you can get ethernet, DDR ram and microSD card interface too.

I haven’t used them, I just thought I’d bring up other options.

Comment from Alan
Time 3/19/2012 at 4:01 am

These messages are 2 years old. Here it is March 2012, and Lattice have “retired” the Brevia kits in favor of the “Brevia 2”. These new kits are programmed via USB