Snō Quick Start

Alorium Technology Snō Board

1   Introduction

Snō is an FPGA-based development board in a compact, ready-for-integration footprint. It is programmed with the popular and easy to use Arduino IDE.  You can learn more details about Snō by clicking here.

The following steps will guide you through the process of getting your Snō board up and running.

2   Install Arduino IDE and FTDI Drivers

2.1   Arduino IDE Software Installation 

The first step in setting up your computer to connect to and program the Snō is to install the standard Arduino IDE software. There are lots of guides online to help you do this for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS. So rather than repeat them in detail here, we will instead simply point you to two excellent examples:

If you are running Linux, the setup steps are a bit different. Like Windows and Mac there are many tutorials out there for what is required; however, you may need to find and follow more than one tutorial before you have finished.  

We have created one tutorial that incorporates all of the steps Linux requires to setup Arduino IDE. Click the link below to see our Linux Setup Tutorial:

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to fast forward to Step 3!

2.2   FTDI Driver Installation

Snō is programmed with the Arduino IDE across an FTDI interface on one end of the board.

A USB-to-FTDI adapter of some kind will be required to connect your computer to Snō for programming with Arduino.  There are a variety of cables and solutions available on the market.  One of our favorites is the SparkFun Beefy 3 Basic FTDI Breakout.

In order to communicate with the FTDI breakout board, drivers for the FTDI chip need to be installed. A great set of instructions for installing the driver can be found here:

You will may need to reboot your computer after installation.

A note about FTDI drivers and Mac OS:

If you are running Mac OS, you may run into issues with the usb serial port disappearing and not reconnecting.   There are known issues between the factory installed Mac OS FTDI drivers and drivers available for installation from FTDI directly.  And, unfortunately, the jury still appears to be out on which version of Mac OS will work consistently without ever seeing the lost serial port problem.

Rumor has it that a nightly build of macOS Sierra from late 2016 fixed these issues (if you’re running Sierra).  If you are running Sierra, you may want to try using the default drivers before installing FTDI’s drivers.

We will update this page as soon as we get more clarity.

2.3   Test Drive as an Arduino Uno Clone

If you have installed the Arduino IDE and the FTDI driver and want to give it a quick test-drive, you can go back to those first instructions (in Section 2.1, above) to connect your Snō and run your first sketch.

Our XLR8 family of boards are all compatible to Arduino Uno functionality, so you can simply select “Arduino/Genuino Uno” from the Tools > Boards dropdown menu:

Select Arduino Uno

At this point, Snō will function just like an Arduino Uno, and you can run an example sketch such as “Blink” to check that everything is working.

2.4   Congratulations!

You’re up and running with your Snō board! If you want to take the next step and make use of the FPGA Xcelerator Blocks preinstalled on you Snō, the continue with Section 3.

Back to Top

3   Snō Board Support Package and Libraries 

To take advantage of the XBs that come with Snō, you’ll need to take the following additional steps.

Note:  All of the boards in the XLR8 family are supported with the top-level XLR8 boards package and XLR8 Arduino libraries.  So, you will be downloading and installing files that have the XLR8 name.  This is the correct thing to do for the Snō board as the libraries support both XLR8 and Snō.

3.1   Add XLR8 Board Support

The instructions shown below for installing the XLR8 board support package comes from our Github site under “Alorium Technology Arduino Boards.” A link to our Github page can be found here:

Add board support for our products.

  1. For Windows and LInux: Go to File > Preferences, in your Arduino IDE menu bar.
  2. For Mac: Go to Arduino > Preferences, in your Arduino IDE menu bar.
  3. Locate the ‘Additional Boards Manager URLs’ input field.
  4. Paste this URL into the “Additional Boards Manager URLs” input field (Note: multiple URLs can be added to this field by separating each URL with a comma.https://raw.githubusercontent.com/AloriumTechnology/Arduino_Boards/master/package_aloriumtech_index.json

Install Alorium’s XLR8 board package

  1. Go to Tools > Board > Boards Manager.
  2. Type “alorium,” in the search field and you will see an option to install board files for Alorium Arduino compatible boards.
  3. Select the “Alorium XLR8 Boards” package and then click “Install.”
  4. Check that the XLR8 board package now exists in your list of available boards.
  5. Go to Tools > Board. You should see a new section titled “Alorium XLR8 Boards” now exists. Under this new heading should be the XLR8 board. You can select the XLR8 board just like you would normally select the “Arduino/Genuino Uno” board.
  6. Select your new XLR8 board from the Board menu.

After loading the XLR8 board support, you’ll see a new section for Alorium XLR8 Boards when looking at the Tools -> Board menu.

After selecting Snō, you will find a new menu item at Tools -> FPGA Image, where you will find a number of FPGA images that provide different operating speeds and different XB configurations.

3.2   XLR8 Libraries

To use the XBs included in the FPGA images, you’ll need to install a corresponding library. In the Arduino IDE, go to the menu Sketch -> Include Library -> Manage Libraries, which will open the Library Manager in a new window. Enter XLR8 in the search bar and you will find the entries for the various XLR8 and Snō libraries available.

Click on the desired library and an Install button will appear for it. Click on the Install button and when the installation is complete you will see that the library is now tagged as Installed.

After adding the library, you’ll find it in the menu Sketch -> Include Library, under Contributed Libraries (You may need to re-start the IDE if you don’t see it). You’ll also find some examples sketches in the File -> Examples menu, under the library name.

3.3   Running with an Xcelerator Block (XB)

To run with the XLR8Info XB and library, do the following:

  1. Follow the instructions above to load the XLR8 Board Support Package and to load the XLR8Info library
  2. Connect Snō to your computer with a USB cable, and set up the Port and Serial Monitor as you normally would
  3. Go to Tools -> Board and select the XLR8 board
  4. Go to File -> Examples -> XLR8Info and select GetXLR8Version
  5. In the GetXLR8Version sketch window, click on the Upload button

Check the Serial Monitor window for the output, which should look like the output below.  Note that you will need to set the baud rate for the Serial Monitor to 115200 for this sketch to display output correctly.

================================================
Board Type: Sno
FPGA Image: 16 MHz Float Servo  r2023
================================================
XLR8 Hardware Version = 2023
XLR8 CID              = 0xA4FF8E00
------------------------------------------------
Design Configuration  = 0x68
  Image     = 1
  Clock     = 16 MHz
  PLL Speed = 16MHz
  FPGA Size = M16
------------------------------------------------
XB_ENABLE             = 0x3
  Has Floating Point Add, Subtract, and Multiply
  Has Floating Point Divide
  Has Servo XB
------------------------------------------------
Int Osc = 87.84 MHz
------------------------------------------------

3.4   Register your Snō board

You’ll note in the output from the XLR8Version sketch there is a pre-formatted URL to submit the results of the XLR8Version sketch. Please copy this URL from your Serial Monitor window and enter it into your browser! It will take you to our Registration and Board Info page so that you can both register as an owner and also let us know what board you’re using. This will help us support you in your use of Snō.

3.5   Congratulations Again!

You’ve now got the ability to use the XBs that come preinstalled on your Snō. Now you can make use of the Floating Point, Servo and NeoPixel XBs, by loading their libraries as well.

Back to Top

Alorium Technology Snō Board

1   Introduction

Snō is an FPGA-based development board in a compact, ready-for-integration footprint. It is programmed with the popular and easy to use Arduino IDE.  You can learn more details about Snō by clicking here.

The following steps will guide you through the process of getting your Snō board up and running.

2   Install Arduino IDE and FTDI Drivers

2.1   Arduino IDE Software Installation

The first step in setting up your computer to connect to and program the Snō is to install the standard Arduino IDE software. There are lots of guides online to help you do this for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS. So rather than repeat them in detail here, we will instead simply point you to two excellent examples:

If you are running Linux, the setup steps are a bit different. Like Windows and Mac there are many tutorials out there for what is required; however, you may need to find and follow more than one tutorial before you have finished.  

We have created one tutorial that incorporates all of the steps Linux requires to setup Arduino IDE. Click the link below to see our Linux Setup Tutorial:

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to fast forward to Step 3!

2.2   FTDI Driver Installation

Snō is programmed with the Arduino IDE across an FTDI interface on one end of the board.

A USB-to-FTDI adapter of some kind will be required to connect your computer to Snō for programming with Arduino.  There are a variety of cables and solutions available on the market.  One of our favorites is the SparkFun Beefy 3 Basic FTDI Breakout.

In order to communicate with the FTDI breakout board, drivers for the FTDI chip need to be installed. A great set of instructions for installing the driver can be found here:

You will may need to reboot your computer after installation.

A note about FTDI drivers and Mac OS:

If you are running Mac OS, you may run into issues with the usb serial port disappearing and not reconnecting. There are known issues between the factory installed Mac OS FTDI drivers and drivers available for installation from FTDI directly.  And, unfortunately, the jury still appears to be out on which version of Mac OS will work consistently without ever seeing the lost serial port problem.

Rumor has it that a nightly build of macOS Sierra from late December fixes these issues (if you’re running Sierra), but it’s not clear when that may get rolled into an official update.  If you are running Sierra, you may want to try using the default drivers before installing FTDI’s drivers.

We will update this page as soon as we get more clarity.

2.3   Test Drive as an Arduino Uno Clone

If you have installed the Arduino IDE and the FTDI driver and want to give it a quick test-drive, you can go back to those first instructions (in Section 2.1, above) to connect your Snō and run your first sketch.

Our XLR8 family of boards are all compatible to Arduino Uno functionality, so you can simply select “Arduino/Genuino Uno” from the Tools > Boards dropdown menu:

Select Arduino Uno

At this point, Snō will function just like an Arduino Uno, and you can run an example sketch such as “Blink” to check that everything is working.

2.4  Congratulations!

You’re up and running with your Snō board! If you want to take the next step and make use of the FPGA Xcelerator Blocks preinstalled on you Snō, the continue with Section 3.

Back to Top

3   Set up as an XLR8 

To take advantage of the XBs that come with Snō, you’ll need to take the following additional steps.

Note:  All of the boards in the XLR8 family are supported with the top-level XLR8 boards package and XLR8 Arduino libraries. So, you will be downloading and installing files that have the XLR8 name.  This is the correct thing to do for the Snō board as the libraries support both XLR8 and Snō.

3.1   Add XLR8 Board Support

The instructions shown below for installing the XLR8 board support package comes from our Github site under “Alorium Technology Arduino Boards.” A link to our Github page can be found here:

Add board support for our products.

  1. For Windows and LInux: Go to File > Preferences, in your Arduino IDE menu bar.
  2. For Mac: Go to Arduino > Preferences, in your Arduino IDE menu bar.
  3. Locate the ‘Additional Boards Manager URLs’ input field.
  4. Paste this URL into the “Additional Boards Manager URLs” input field (Note: multiple URLs can be added to this field by separating each URL with a comma.https://raw.githubusercontent.com/AloriumTechnology/Arduino_Boards/master/package_aloriumtech_index.json

Install Alorium’s XLR8 board package

  1. Go to Tools > Board > Boards Manager.
  2. Type “alorium,” in the search field and you will see an option to install board files for Alorium Arduino compatible boards.
  3. Select the “Alorium XLR8 Boards” package and then click “Install.”
  4. Check that the XLR8 board package now exists in your list of available boards.
  5. Go to Tools > Board. You should see a new section titled “Alorium XLR8 Boards” now exists. Under this new heading should be the XLR8 board. You can select the XLR8 board just like you would normally select the “Arduino/Genuino Uno” board.
  6. Select your new XLR8 board from the Board menu.

After loading the XLR8 board support, you’ll see a new section for Alorium XLR8 Boards when looking at the Tools -> Board menu.

After selecting Snō, you will find a new menu item at Tools -> FPGA Image, where you will find a number of FPGA images that provide different operating speeds and different XB configurations.

3.2   XLR8 Libraries

To use the XBs included in the FPGA images, you’ll need to install a corresponding library. In the Arduino IDE, go to the menu Sketch -> Include Library -> Manage Libraries, which will open the Library Manager in a new window. Enter XLR8 in the search bar and you will find the entries for the various XLR8 and Snō libraries available.

Click on the desired library and an Install button will appear for it. Click on the Install button and when the installation is complete you will see that the library is now tagged as Installed.

After adding the library, you’ll find it in the menu Sketch -> Include Library, under Contributed Libraries (You may need to re-start the IDE if you don’t see it). You’ll also find some examples sketches in the File -> Examples menu, under the library name.

3.3   Running with an Xcelerator Block (XB)

To run with the XLR8Info XB and library, do the following:

  1. Follow the instructions above to load the XLR8 Board Support Package and to load the XLR8Info library
  2. Connect Snō to your computer with a USB cable, and set up the Port and Serial Monitor as you normally would
  3. Go to Tools -> Board and select the XLR8 board
  4. Go to File -> Examples -> XLR8Info and select GetXLR8Version
  5. In the GetXLR8Version sketch window, click on the Upload button

Check the Serial Monitor window for the output, which should look like the output below.  Note that you will need to set the baud rate for the Serial Monitor to 115200 for this sketch to display output correctly.

================================================
Board Type: Sno
FPGA Image: 16 MHz Float Servo  r2023
================================================
XLR8 Hardware Version = 2023
XLR8 CID              = 0xA4FF8E00
------------------------------------------------
Design Configuration  = 0x68
  Image     = 1
  Clock     = 16 MHz
  PLL Speed = 16MHz
  FPGA Size = M16
------------------------------------------------
XB_ENABLE             = 0x3
  Has Floating Point Add, Subtract, and Multiply
  Has Floating Point Divide
  Has Servo XB
------------------------------------------------
Int Osc = 87.84 MHz
------------------------------------------------

3.4   Register your Snō board

You’ll note in the output from the XLR8Version sketch there is a pre-formatted URL to submit the results of the XLR8Version sketch. Please copy this URL from your Serial Monitor window and enter it into your browser! It will take you to our Registration and Board Info page so that you can both register as an owner and also let us know what board you’re using. This will help us support you in your use of Snō.

3.5   Congratulations Again!

You’ve now got the ability to use the XBs that come preinstalled on your Snō. Now you can make use of the Floating Point, Servo and NeoPixel XBs, by loading their libraries as well.

Back to Top