JTAG Programmer 

Along with the special SmartScope, the SmartScope Maker Kit includes a JTAG programmer that allows you to program the FPGA directly. You can use it to download program code to the FPGA flash memory and to use the Xilinx ChipScope tool. ChipScope gives you a real-time view of all signal waveforms in the FPGA, which integrates logic analyzer functionality into the FPGA. This visualization gives you debugging capabilities that are indispensable for developing relatively complex designs.

Incidentally, the JTAG programmer can also be used with other Xilinx devices and development boards. The SmartScope Maker Kit also includes a PICkit 3 programmer for the USB controller, so you can try out your own ideas for the board’s integrated USB controller. Here again, this programmer is also suitable for use with other PIC-based projects.

A Single Package and a Great Price

A lot of electronics professionals and hobbyists have already bought a SmartScope for their bench, and they can also use their SmartScope as an FPGA development board. All you have to do is remove the board from the enclosure and solder suitable headers on the PCB – the pads are already there. For that you need a 6x1 male pin header, a 2x7 male pin header, a 2x2 female pin header, two 2x4 female pin headers, and a 2x7 female pin header. On the photo you can see where the headers have to be mounted. As previously mentioned, all the necessary software is open source and freely available. Of course, you will have to obtain the necessary programmers yourself. The main advantage of the Maker Kit is that you get everything in a single package at a very good price.
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