A not long ago there was some noise in places I follow about Zynq FPGA boards surplussed from their role as controllers in retired cryptocurrency mining rigs, for way less than the price of even the bare FPGA SoC. I impulse bought one EBAZ4205 from “College Shop Store” on Aliexpress for $19.08 shipped to try them out, since it seems to to be the most common and documented flavor, and it showed up yesterday. Short version: they look awesome for the price.
As advertised, this one came with the microSD card socket populated, UART and JTAG headers populated, and Boot Select resistor moved to R2577 for SD (with some visible flux residue to show what was done). It did not come with a SS810 diode on D24 to make the big power connector usable, I’ll have to find and order something compatible because that is a much more convenient connector.
To do a quick proof-of-life test, I powered it from a bench supply, +12 on one of the DATA headers (I grabbed a test clip to get in without shorting anything), Gnd on the big power connector, hooked up a USB-Serial adapter to the UART pins (RX,TX,GND, left power floating to avoid thinking about levels) set picocom to 115200/8N1, and flipped on power. With the resistor moved it doesn’t do anything without an SD image, so I
dd‘d the buildroot image suggested here to a spare microSD card, popped it in, power-cycled, and watched proof of life on the serial terminal.
I have some other projects I’m trying to wrap up, so I’m not going to go deep with it right now, but the boards appear to be as promised, easy enough to work with and with an enormous amount of potential for the price – thanks ludicrously wasteful cryptocurrency nuts! If I get some time (…don’t count on it), I’d like to try to port Machinekit’s hm2_soc_ol to work on these boards, given their layout they should make superb standalone machine controllers.
- Good hardware/setup reference: https://github.com/xjtuecho/EBAZ4205
- Vivado setup reference (Chinese): https://hhuysqt.github.io/zynq1/#more
- English narrative: https://embed-me.com/ebaz4205-recycle-a-cheap-crypto-miner-part-1/