I am absolutely brand new to FPGA. I am an old analog engineer with logic design experience. I did some coding a long time ago. Our products are simple and stress the analog performance—very low noise amplifiers and timing circuitry that operates in the pico second region. Therefore my background is heavy on analog and discrete logic. Some products are getting a little more demanding for logic and control and an FPGA seems like a good fit for me. My demands are few—I have to deal with maybe ten digital inputs and about as many outputs. Need gates and counters. I will stick with discrete logic for my high speed timing and I see the FPGA as something that can handle UI, built-in test. Mid- level complex logic—but not as demanding from a speed/timing standpoint. Will need to be able to drive a 16 char 2 line display and maybe a ten pad key board. Some non-volatile memory would be great.
Most importantly—it needs to be something I can learn to design easily. My long-suit is analog—it what enjoy—it is how I make my living-it is what I am good at. I view the FPGA as ideally a means to implement some more complex products. But I have no desire to become a FPGA Guru. A simple part with great development tools to allow me to quickly get up and running fast. Part price is a minor issue- I design very expensive products and time is more important than money as many of my products are custom.
Also the part must operate from--~-20 to 85C, we do not have BGA capability—like to stick to surface mount.