• Voltmeter — Four-channel, 200V max input,
1.2 mohm input impedance.
• Programmable Power Supply — Two supplies with
± 9V 1.5A and fixed 5V and 3.3V at 2A.
• Logic Analyzer — 32 channels.
• Digital Pattern Generator — 32 channels.
• Input/Output Panel — A panel of 32 virtual buttons,
sliders, and other input/output devices.
Note that these specifications make certain
assumptions on use. For example, the power supply is
powered by a 12V 2A brick — for a total of 24W input.
Clearly, if you maxed out the fixed and programmable
power supplies, you’d have to provide 43W of power.
That’s not going to happen with a 24W brick. Similarly,
the logic analyzer uses the same 32 channels as the digital
pattern generator and input/output
board on a plastic or wood cutting board for a more
stable work platform.
The kit ships with a modest assortment of parts,
including about a dozen resistors and capacitors, a
handful of ICs, transistors, diodes, LEDs, speaker, and
about 140 jumper wires. That should be more than
enough to get you started. When you’re ready for more,
you can purchase an advanced parts kit for $39. There are
numerous alternative suppliers of jumper wires, and
leaded components are commodity items.
I tested the system with Windows 7, running on both
a 3 GHz PC with 4 GB of RAM and Parallels on a
Macintosh Tower. Both installations performed flawlessly.
The EE Board is deceptively simple
when viewed from above, as in Figure 1.
There’s the main solderless breadboard
flanked by seven miniature boards that
connect to the power supply and virtual
instruments. See Figure 2 for a close-up
of one of the miniature boards. There’s
also a USB connection, a power switch,
and a jack for the 12V 2A input from
the power supply brick. A USB cable is
supplied with the kit.
The underside of the board is where
the action is, as shown in Figure 3. The
big chip is a TI Xilinx Spartan FPGA,
shown in detail in Figure 4. Check out
www.xilinx.com if you want to learn
about this FPGA processor. To take the
photo, I removed the protective plastic
shield from the bottom of the board.
The shield is a good idea, given that it’s
likely a wandering screwdriver or pair of
pliers will eventually find their way under
The board is supported by four
1-1/4” metal standoffs. I found these
loosened with use, primarily because the
screws used to hold them in place are
too short. However, the screws are
easily replaced. In addition, I found the
legs enable the board to slide effortlessly
on my Formica tabletop. Mount the
FIGURE 2. Close-up of the
FIGURE 3. Underside of the
Electronics Explorer board.
November 2011 41