Xilinx CoolRunner-II CPLD starter kit

Posted on Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 in CPLD, kit biz by DP

Arhi tipped us to this starter kit for CoolRunner-II CPLDs:

I can highly recommend CoolRunner-II CPLD Starter Kit. I have this small board for a while and it’s more then you need to learn to use cpld’s and it’s fairly cheap ($60)… it’s of course proprietary, the atmel on board (that can be used to communicate with chips on board and to program cpld and to talk with your host computer via usb) has some proprietary firmware etc etc … but board is interesting, besides everything is broken out there’s a place for external oscillator, there’s internal oscillator on board with switch (10khz, 100khz, 1mhz) 4x7seg display, 2 switches, 2 buttons, 4 leds, LTC2494, LT3028 so you can follow voltage levels, current draw, temperature etc etc .. I highly recommend it

Via the forum.

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9 Responses to “Xilinx CoolRunner-II CPLD starter kit”

  1. Jesse says:

    The CoolRunner-II boards were developed and produced for Xilinx by Digilent. Their website is: and its a small Washington state company that focuses largely on supporting student needs in microprocessor and FPGA type design. There is a ton of info on their site, but there is also a boatload of CR-II stuff on the Xilinx website giving lots of design details, examples, etc. It’s all free along with WebPack ISE 13.3, to get you started. I used to manage the CPLD applications group.
    Of course, I’m biased, but it’s all highly recommended! Have fun!! It’s definitely good to see that Ian likes the XC9572XL and the CoolRunner-II. Keep usin’ ’em and we’ll keep makin’ ’em!

    • arhi says:

      I posted about this one as this is the one I have (yup, made by digilent, unfortunately with closed source atmel firmware and some incompatible programming app so you can’t use impact with it) and I posted link to xilinx as for some reason digilent removed this device from their website (or I was unable to find it) and they only talk about Xboard now:

      I like the old one more then xboard, but I could not find it on digilent site even under discontinued boards

  2. Jesse says:


    I forget whether the board is programmed from Adept (Digilent SW), but if it is, there is a writeup on there on
    how to do “other things” using their “EPP” and “DPRIM” designs and the Adept SW which chats thru USB with the onboard Micro. That might be of use. I thought they discontinued the X-board for the little rectangular one. Anyway, just some thoughts. Being able to use USB is a lot easier than a JTAG cable

    • arhi says:

      Yes, it is using ADEPT, but I have not found anywhere how to use it other to use the proprietary adept app …

      The xboard is from what I see still current, was not in sale when I purchased this starter kit, and I see now the same store I purchased this starter kit sells only xboard…

      If you find some links with resources (or sources :D ) wrt adept – please share :)

  3. Jesse says:

    If you go to the “software” button, then the “Adept” choice, there is a “more info” button.
    On that page, at the bottom are several documents and a reference design that you can download.
    Adept has more functionality than just downloading the bitstream. Much is for FPGA, but I think much is also
    usable for the CPLD design.


  4. Drone says:

    Long ago I bought the predecessor to this, the X-Board – and regretted it. Being tied to a proprietary loader and PC application was a pain. It seemed like when Xilinx made a release, I had to go begging to Digilent to get things updated. Today I would recommend getting starting with a DP CPLD board and program it with the Bus Pirate or (my preference) a homebrew DLC-5 parallel port JTAG clone. Even if your PC doesn’t have a parallel port – a parallel port add-in board costs something like ten bucks.

    • arhi says:

      I actually think that x-board is newer then this starter board. X-board don’t have 7seg’s and iirc don’t have the current & temperature monitoring chip too .. anyhow they both have proprietary Adept based custom app for comm with the board and “Flashing” the cpld. I hated it too, but board also have jtag connector that works perfectly with bus blaster v2 (way better then bus pirate for this type of stuff) … Anyhow between X-board and DP’s CoolRunnerII breakout board I seriously suggest DP’s CoolRunnerII breakout board :) but if you want a fast dev board with big cpld and you can get the cpld starter kit for under 60$ I think that starter kit is great … again – better for total beginners, if you have some experience then breakboards from DP are superb solution. If (when) DP make breakboard with big cpld (xc2c256 or bigger) then they would be perfect for beginners too (I do believe you need “bigger” chips for beginners as they try out lot of stuff so you should not limit them if you must not)

  5. somun says:

    I totally agree with the higher density CPLD suggestion. With only couple dozen registers, interesting things that could be done go out of feasibility pretty quick. I believe cpld’s are under-utilized in the community. Some cpld’s even have emulated differential io of several mbits/s… lots of potential there…

  6. 7 says:

    I would like to get one by december…. But is this the cheapest CPLD starter kit?

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