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Author Topic: FPGA development board "Icarus" - DisContinued/ important announcement  (Read 184202 times)
ngzhang
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March 15, 2012, 05:56:29 PM
 #741

ngzhang, below is my proposal to interconnect Icarus boards inside the rig.

Initial conditions:

boards in the rig: up to 16 (4-bits address)
physical interface: SPI (four 3.3V or 5V TTL signals - MOSI, MISO, SCK, /SS, all parallel between all boards and the CPU)
protocol: TDM over SPI

Communication flow:

Master CPU asserts /SS signal each macrocycle to reset all internal FPGA counters to zero state.
On the falling edge of /SS the macrocycle has started.
Each macrocycle cosist of 16 TDM frames and has a length of 16*64*8=8192 SCK clock cycles.
For first TDM frame (512 clock cycles) master CPU transmits via MOSI 64 bytes work buffer for board #0, for second TMD frame - for board #1 and so on.
Board can return found 8 byte nonce to master via MISO at any 64 bit boundary of its TDM frame (at clock cycles 0, 64, 128, 192, 256, 320, 384, 448 for board #0), OR only at beginning of each TDM frame, if we do not care about small delays in results reporting. If it is nothing to return it returns all zeroes.

With SCK frequency 10MHz full communication macrocycle for all 16 boards will take about 0.82 ms.
Of course you can add additional registers (FPGA status register, FPGA temperature, command register, etc) to a TDM frame if needed. Also we can add a CRC word to each TDM frame to check workbuffer contents and so on.

Note: FPGA can drive MISO line only inside it's assigned TDM frame, otherwise it should be HiZ.
MISO line will be pulled up on CPU side, so if CPU reads all 1s from the MISO for full TDM frame therefore corresponding board is not connected to the slot.



hummm...

if i tell you we will develop a own mother-board far different form this one, will you be angry?  Embarrassed

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March 15, 2012, 06:00:47 PM
 #742


hummm...

if i tell you we will develop a own mother-board far different form this one, will you be angry?  Embarrassed

Of course no if I can buy it for reasonable price. It is easier for me to buy ready-to-go solution instead of developing one.
What is estimated development time of your carrier board?

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March 15, 2012, 06:44:46 PM
 #743

I just wanted to say THEY ARE HERE! Smiley lol

(yes, giddy like a kid on christmas). SUPER fast shipping from EMS to Canada. I was shocked actually.

The order of 17 Icarus boards that we bought for this batch, which was shipped on the 11th was delivered this morning!

First I'd like to say, FANTASTIC packaging job ngzhang! Very professionally and well packaged. Nicely done.

The package included each board wrapped in an oversized static bag, and sealed, and then 2 of those packages packed in a small box. Several of these boxes were then packed into a larger shipping box lined with bubble wrap.

In addition in one of the boxes there was 1 Icarus (since we had an odd number) along with the Xilinx platform cable and dev kit from ngzhang. (and I had suspected at first a "third party" platform cable, but in fact it's the original xilinx package).

In addition the box contained a healthy pile of power connectors/leads (I ordered these without the power bricks to cut down on shipping weight, and plan on powering the cluster from an ATX supply). And a big bundle of USB cables as well. Also several bags of assorted size brass standoffs was included as well.

I have to say, I'm thoroughly impressed!

Unboxing photos attached below (sorry for the bad pics, they were taken on my cell)
I'll post more pics of the finished cluster once I have it up and running Smiley











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ngzhang
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March 15, 2012, 06:58:02 PM
 #744

 Embarrassed

hi, above.
if i tell you, that platform cable is one of my home made product, will you disappointed?

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March 15, 2012, 07:01:14 PM
 #745

New heatsinks ?

ngzhang
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March 15, 2012, 07:03:39 PM
 #746

New heatsinks ?

start change to this heatsink for the last half of batch 3.  Grin
they come too late, so the first half is using the old one.  Embarrassed

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March 15, 2012, 07:07:48 PM
 #747

they come too late, so the first half is using the old one.  Embarrassed

They work fine. I have a sharp eye for details Cheesy

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March 15, 2012, 08:05:09 PM
 #748

Embarrassed

hi, above.
if i tell you, that platform cable is one of my home made product, will you disappointed?

Lol, not at all. It looks much like the original though. I didn't care if it wasn't original (as I said I expected it). But I was surprised that it looks like the original lol.

Good job!

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ngzhang
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March 15, 2012, 08:44:35 PM
 #749

Embarrassed

hi, above.
if i tell you, that platform cable is one of my home made product, will you disappointed?

Lol, not at all. It looks much like the original though. I didn't care if it wasn't original (as I said I expected it). But I was surprised that it looks like the original lol.

Good job!

and much more durable than the original platform cable USB ii, the original one really sucks...  Grin

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March 15, 2012, 10:11:05 PM
 #750

watchiing.

max in montreal
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March 15, 2012, 10:13:28 PM
 #751

I just wanted to say THEY ARE HERE! Smiley lol

(yes, giddy like a kid on christmas). SUPER fast shipping from EMS to Canada. I was shocked actually.

The order of 17 Icarus boards that we bought for this batch, which was shipped on the 11th was delivered this morning!

First I'd like to say, FANTASTIC packaging job ngzhang! Very professionally and well packaged. Nicely done.

The package included each board wrapped in an oversized static bag, and sealed, and then 2 of those packages packed in a small box. Several of these boxes were then packed into a larger shipping box lined with bubble wrap.

In addition in one of the boxes there was 1 Icarus (since we had an odd number) along with the Xilinx platform cable and dev kit from ngzhang. (and I had suspected at first a "third party" platform cable, but in fact it's the original xilinx package).

In addition the box contained a healthy pile of power connectors/leads (I ordered these without the power bricks to cut down on shipping weight, and plan on powering the cluster from an ATX supply). And a big bundle of USB cables as well. Also several bags of assorted size brass standoffs was included as well.

I have to say, I'm thoroughly impressed!

Unboxing photos attached below (sorry for the bad pics, they were taken on my cell)
I'll post more pics of the finished cluster once I have it up and running Smiley


Did Canada charge anything extra?
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March 15, 2012, 11:51:43 PM
 #752

Quote
Did Canada charge anything extra?

The answer to that question is a resounding NO. Well, at least not for me, but I'm not such a big baller so I only ordered a few.

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March 16, 2012, 02:00:24 AM
 #753

Is anyone else having this kind of a problem getting CGMiner to detect Icarus?


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March 16, 2012, 02:37:07 AM
 #754

Is anyone else having this kind of a problem getting CGMiner to detect Icarus?

http://i.imgur.com/ZPV06.png
Hmm - well:
1) Where did you get that cgminer.exe from?
I've no idea who made it so I've no idea what code is in it.
2) There's a commit/patch for windows for Icarus that I've got in my git and has been sent to ckolivas that might fix that if it isn't in your version.
3) For now it's probably better to find who made that cgminer.exe and get them to build a non-BFL Icarus version (with that commit)

Some effort needs to be spent on BFL and Icarus (and I will be doing more Icarus stuff soon) but until ckolivas re-appears and starts putting the changes into his git I'm at a stand still there (for a bunch of lame reasons)

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March 16, 2012, 02:44:53 AM
 #755

I'm using the one from the cgminer thread. I'm adding to the current bounty in this thread:
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=68956.0

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March 16, 2012, 02:59:01 AM
 #756

Did Canada charge anything extra?
Nope, not a penny Smiley

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March 16, 2012, 06:30:02 AM
 #757

Is anyone else having this kind of a problem getting CGMiner to detect Icarus?

img deleted

It is possible Prolific driver problem. Try to change COM port number in advanced settings or install latest Prolific USB-Serial driver.
I have similar issues, the board was detected but communication hangs once per hour or so.

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March 16, 2012, 07:54:23 AM
 #758

@reedlaw

Sorry. by more test. without powered usb-hub the serial(Icarus) is quiet un-stable under 703N. so you better use a pwoered usb-hub.

BTW: I create a new image today:
  http://downloads.qi-hardware.com/people/xiangfu/icarus/openwrt-ar71xx-generic-trunk-30834/
you can run cgminer by:
  cgminer -q -T --api-network --api-listen -S /dev/ttyUSB0 -o http://POOL -O U:P > /dev/null 2>&1 &
we don't have much space to save the log.

Xiangfu

@xiangfu I am wondering about using multiple Icaruses with a TP-LINK TL-WR703N host. What kind of USB hub should I use? Does it need to be powered, or will any cheap one do?

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March 16, 2012, 08:39:15 AM
 #759

...

i will add a temperature sensor on the next design, but IMHO, it's useless.
because it can't be installed inside the FPGA package, and the temperature read out is just a board temp. the response time is not quick enough for protection purpose.

board interconnect can be done now, only need a bitsteam modify. this feature is still under development.
The temperature sensor would not be for the sake of a microsecond shut down - but more for noting a trend to reduce the work to help reduce the temperature.
I don't run my GPU cards near the limits - I set them below those limits to promote a longer life Smiley

There is, however, a rather simple need for it: if the fan should fail, you would see a temperature rise and possibly have the software notice this and reduce the amount of work or even stop it from processing.
It may not be fast enough - but I guess only experimentation would tell?

Different subject ...
Actually one thing I've not asked or found written anywhere yet: is it possible to upload a new bitsteam using USB?
Or do you need the extra developer hardware to do that?

the speed adjust  feature should build in the bitsteam it self. the FPGA will automatically sample its temperature (with out a independent sensor device, just "it self" ) and rise and down the operation speed continuously.
why need to read the temperature, calculate, then adjust by sending a command from PC?  Huh
...
As I said, I prefer to have my hardware run a little bit below suggested - and the software would simply reduce the amount of work or stop sending work.
Just like cgminer now does with GPU cards - you can decide on the temperature limit - the GPU cards themselves also have an internal shutdown - but few if anyone lets the cards go that high.

If there is only hardware control and no software control, then ALL boards would have to work exactly the same and have exactly the same limitations - and the hardware control would have to always be correct.

Just like my comments about being able to adjust the MHz of the board, in that case I'd have it err on the side of safety - others may prefer to risk and gain a little more performance.
I want my hardware to last a long time - so I'll prefer to have it run a little lower than some who may prefer to gain that extra performance.

I really hate to butt into this thread, but I wanted to point out that the new X6500 has all of these features you're asking about.

The temp sensors are definitely useful, if only to see exactly the effect of different cooling arrangements or clock frequency. Of course, it takes some time to respond, but typically less than a minute. ngzhang, what exactly makes you think that isn't fast enough? I'm planning to do a fan failure test this weekend, and see how well the temp sensor responds. Maybe even take a heatsink off entirely and see what happens. I get the sense that it's going to be hard to actually kill an FPGA, even trying my hardest. We'll see, though!

We have new firmware that allows you to set the clock to any frequency you like, in 2 MHz increments. Unfortunately, we're still fighting with Xilinx ISE to get it to meet timing at frequencies higher than around 190 MHz. Still, the ability to automatically adjust the clock to whatever frequency best suits your setup is really fun to play around with. MPBM will also automatically reduce the clock if either the invalid nonce rate or the temperature sensors exceed some threshold. You can set these thresholds yourself (and I'd guess that you'd prefer setting those thresholds a little lower than some people).

Finally, you can upload the bitstream over USB, without any special hardware. The software will do this for you automatically whenever you power up the board the first time.

Sorry again for the thread hijack!!

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March 16, 2012, 09:16:12 AM
 #760

@reedlaw

Sorry. by more test. without powered usb-hub the serial(Icarus) is quiet un-stable under 703N. so you better use a pwoered usb-hub.

BTW: I create a new image today:
  http://downloads.qi-hardware.com/people/xiangfu/icarus/openwrt-ar71xx-generic-trunk-30834/
you can run cgminer by:
  cgminer -q -T --api-network --api-listen -S /dev/ttyUSB0 -o http://POOL -O U:P > /dev/null 2>&1 &
we don't have much space to save the log.

Xiangfu

@xiangfu I am wondering about using multiple Icaruses with a TP-LINK TL-WR703N host. What kind of USB hub should I use? Does it need to be powered, or will any cheap one do?

i think it's no matter with powered or unpowered. i test two kind of them, all working well. they are:

http://www.360buy.com/product/511117.html
http://www.360buy.com/product/152976.html

but i also found that some of the port are not very stable. change the port will increase the stability. and disable the UART FIFO also obviously increase stability.

the PL2303 is a good chip, but bad driver, at least under windows. so next product will change to FTDI UART chips. (3 times cost  Cry)

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