These FPGA chips look interesting, and the Sparkfun TinyFPGA boards with them also look interesting. (e.g., https://www.digikey.ca/product-detail/en/sparkfun-electronics/DEV-14828/1568-1915-ND/)

Typical microcontrollers (MCU) have on-chip flash memory; I program them (i.e., flash the firmware onto the on-chip flash memory), and voila! Whenever the MCU gets power, it executes that program.

Does it work like that with these FPGA chips? Or are they volatile, where I flash them and they operate only as long as they have power?

In case they're volatile --- is it easy (and does it make sense) to have them next to an MCU (presumably connected via I2C or SPI), with the MCU's firmware responsible for flashing the FPGA at boot time?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you read the data sheet for the chip? Lattice is in the business of selling field-ready chips, not toys. The board may have failed to dot an i or cross a t, but I would expect the chip to be just fine. \$\endgroup\$
    – TimWescott
    May 29, 2019 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


If you read the datasheet that's on the same site as the board listing it clearly states "Non-volatile, Infinitely Reconfigurable".

  • \$\begingroup\$ Right --- I had only looked at the TinyFPGA / Sparkfun docs; silly me! :-) \$\endgroup\$
    – Cal-linux
    May 30, 2019 at 17:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Isn't it more like: Non-volatile, Infinitely Reconfigurable, pick one? CRAM is likely infinitely reconfigurable, while flash is non-volatile, but you have to choose which to use? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 29, 2019 at 17:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AndrisBirkmanis Well, it's in Slogan Speak, but it's a full-fledged FPGA, it just does the switching with EPROM cells instead of RAM like Xilxnx and Intel/Atmel do. \$\endgroup\$
    – TimWescott
    Dec 30, 2019 at 0:14

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