Programmable Logic

A Fusion of analog and digital, hardware and software

25 July 2007 Programmable Logic

As the world’s first mixed-signal FPGA family, Actel’s Fusion series integrates mixed-signal analog, up to 8 Mb of Flash memory, and FPGA fabric in a monolithic programmable system chip (PSC).

These devices enable designers to quickly move from concept to completed design and deliver feature-rich systems to market. This new technology takes advantage of the unique properties of Flash-based Actel FPGAs, including a high-isolation, triple-well process, and the ability to support high-voltage transistors to meet the demanding requirements of mixed-signal system design.

The Fusion PSCs bring the benefits of programmable logic to the following application areas: power management, smart battery charging, clock generation and management, and motor control. These PSCs present new capabilities for system development by allowing designers to integrate a wide range of functionality into a single device, while at the same time offering the flexibility of upgrades in the field or deep in the production cycle.

These devices provide an alternative to costly and time consuming mixed-signal ASIC designs or discrete analog components. In addition, when used in conjunction with a soft processor core, such as Actel Core8051, Fusion devices represent an advanced soft-MCU platform. Flash-based Fusion devices are live at power-up. As soon as system power is applied and within normal operating specifications, Fusion devices are working. They have a 128-bit Flash-based lock and advanced AES decryption, used to secure programmed intellectual property (IP) and configuration data.


The Fusion Starter Kit contains everything users need to start using the Actel Fusion family:

* Evaluation Board with an AFS600-FG256 Fusion device.

* Actel Libero Integrated Design Environment (IDE) Gold.

* FlashPro3 and programming cable.

* Power supply.

* User's guide including printed circuit board (PCB) schematics.

* Sample design.

Fusion evaluation board

The Fusion evaluation board has on-board voltage regulation, enabling users to independently set the I/O voltages to 1,5 V or 3,3 V on each of two I/O banks. Two other I/O banks are fixed at 3,3 V. The remaining I/O bank is for high voltage analog I/Os that support direct connection to voltages ranging from -12 V to +12 V. These I/Os support current monitoring, temperature monitoring, and MOSFET driver outputs. System clock generation, manipulation, and distribution are enabled with an on-chip 1% RC oscillator, a crystal oscillator circuit, and phase-locked loops (PLLs). Eight LEDs and four switches provide simple inputs and outputs to the system.

The Fusion Flash memory can support multiple functions, including state saving of volatile SRAM and registers prior to power-down, initialisation of SRAM and registers at power-up, boot code store, and data logging. The on-board LCD can be used to display values of converted analog signals (voltage, current, or temperature) and Flash memory contents. Prototyping headers connect to all the Fusion device pins, enabling the user to add components to the evaluation board easily. The board is equipped with a prototyping area to enable design experimentation with the addition of components. External temperature sensors and current sensing circuitry for power control applications are provided. The Fusion evaluation board features a high brightness, multicolour LED for illustrating temperature changes and pulse width modulation (PWM) fan control by varying the brightness of the LED. The board is also equipped with a 40-pin daughtercard connector for use with system boards developed by Actel, customers, or third party partners, allowing users to easily and cost-effectively add functionality or connect to larger target systems. Two programming headers on the board support in-system programming (ISP) of single and JTAG-chained boards using FlashPro3.


FlashPro3 is a portable, low cost, USB 2.0, in-system programmer for Actel Fusion, ProASIC3, and ProASIC3E devices. This programmer draws power from the USB connection rather than from an external power brick to create an extremely compact solution. The FlashPro3 ultra-small form factor, low cost, and easy to use software make in-system programming with Fusion devices a simple task. The fact that the same programmer can be used for both Fusion and ProASIC3/E silicon gives far greater flexibility to the end user and also further reduces system setup costs.

Libero IDE

Libero IDE consists of a powerful suite of FPGA development tools providing designers with an efficient and comprehensive start-to-finish methodology, from schematic/HDL entry to place-and-route and programming. Libero IDE Gold has a design capacity of up to 1 M system gates or the smallest member of a device family, and thus provides capability for the AFS600 featured on the evaluation board in the Fusion Starter Kit. Libero IDE includes FPGA tools from Mentor Graphics, Synplicity, and SynapticCAD to give users a complete FPGA design solution. Libero IDE Gold combines into a single package all the tools needed to evaluate advanced Fusion features, including analog to digital conversion, the Fusion Flash memory blocks, AES security, user device serialisation in the FlashROM and high-speed programming. Libero IDE supports users' own system-on-chip designs up to 600 000 system gates with the Fusion AFS600-based Starter Kit.

Programming cable

FlashPro3 uses a standard 10-strand ribbon cable terminated in standard JTAG dual row, 100 mm in-line sockets. Such cables are available from a variety of manufacturers. It is small enough to keep the entire programmer portable, and it can easily be replaced.

User's guide

For users new to using Actel Fusion devices and Actel Libero IDE software, the comprehensive user's guide contained in the Fusion Starter Kit will take them through the entire design process step by step. The tutorial uses a simple design as an example and takes users through the whole flow, from new project creation all the way to programming the device and demonstrating different aspects of temperature monitoring, PWM control, FlashROM security features and device serialisation.


The Fusion evaluation board schematics, schematic source files, board design files, and gerber files are also included in the kit. These files can be used as guidelines for custom boards, or easily modified into a user's own design.


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