Compatability with new ZTEX boards


I’m a newbie to FPGA and SCA, and am interested in mounting a low-cost setup to begin, based on the OpenADC e ChipWhisperer projects.

I’ve just checked out the ZTEX site, and the series 1 boards, recommended for use with OpenADC and ChipWhisperer have been discontinued. Would anyone have any information about using the v2 boards? As far as I can determine, I’ll need an adapter board so as to fit the v1 pinout. Does this physically fit on the ChipWhisperer hardware? How much memory is needed on the FPGA board?

Thanks for any info,


Hi Sean,

The old boards should still be available - I think they are a week or two away from being purchasable, contact to confirm this. I was told this might be the last run of them though, so they aren’t listed on the website I beleive.

None of the 7-series boards would work as-is, since the FPGA code uses a lot of features specific to the Spartan 6 device. I know a few people had talked about porting the code, but I haven’t done any work in this yet myself.

The Spartan 6 devices that are available for the v2 boards are only the LX16 I think, which is too small. You need LX25 for all the features. The SDRAM actually isn’t used at all right now - the original idea was to download sample data to external memory, and the FPGA code for doing that I think still exists. But in almost all my use-cases the internal SRAM memory was enough, so I never bothered to get the SDRAM stuff working again (right now it would need to be brought back up to some design changes).

We should have stock of the LX25 boards in a few weeks, as am trying to buy a few of them to keep in stock. Long-term the ChipWhisperer will be redesigned to have the FPGA directly on the baseboard. This will unfortunately make it harder to hand-assemble, but I’d rather now rely on a 3rd party module for future versions. In which case we might sell a version with just the BGA soldered to the board or something, but would have to think about that…



PS: The other option is the Spartan 6 LX9 avnet, which lets you do some basic attacks. The download rate is pretty bad (it’s over a serial port), but it DOES work. There is some details in the CW Wiki I think, but perhaps it’s time I wrote a better description of where to find them…

I uploaded a demo video showing the LX9 device working if you are interested, just to get an idea of capture rate. You can see that 50 traces takes ~2 mins, compared to ~15-30 seconds. See for details.

Thanks! Looking forward to it. I think I’ve spend more time watching your show this at work than actually working! Fantastic stuff!