RED-V Thing Plus Hookup Guide

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Introduction

SparkFun is pleased to welcome its a whole new instruction set architecture (ISA) to its family, the RISC-V ISA (pronounced “risk-five”), and along with it, introduce the RED-V Thing Plus (pronounced “red-five”). In this tutorial, we'll be focusing on the hardware.

SparkFun RED-V Thing Plus - SiFive RISC-V FE310 SoC

SparkFun RED-V Thing Plus - SiFive RISC-V FE310 SoC

DEV-15799
$29.95

"The force is strong with this one." (Star Wars: A New Hope, 1977)

What sets the RISC-V ISA from the rest is that it is completely open-source; including the instruction set architecture (ISA). That means anyone can make full use the microcontroller without requiring royalties, licenses, or non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). The RED-V comes in the familiar SparkFun Thing Plus form factor and includes the SiFive Freedom E310 core, 32MB of QSPI flash, an NXP K22 ARM Cortex-M4 for USB connectivity and operating as a JTAG interface, and a Qwiic connector.

Required Materials

To follow along with this tutorial, you will need the following materials and software. You may not need everything though depending on what you have. Add it to your cart, read through the guide, and adjust the cart as necessary. Here is what you would need to get started:

SparkFun RED-V Thing Plus - SiFive RISC-V FE310 SoC

SparkFun RED-V Thing Plus - SiFive RISC-V FE310 SoC

DEV-15799
$29.95
USB 3.1 Cable A to C - 3 Foot

USB 3.1 Cable A to C - 3 Foot

CAB-14743
$4.95
2
  • RED-V Thing Plus - You'll definitely need this; otherwise, you are probably on the wrong tutorial page (wink).
  • USB 3.1 Cable A to C - 3 Foot - The USB interface serves two purposes: it powers the board and allows you to upload programs to it. (You might even have a few of these in you drawer!)

You Will Also Need

To utilize all the features of the development board, you may need the following tools and accessories.

Click the buttons above to toggle the additional materials based on the tasks you
wish to perform. Feel free to modify the items in your cart to fit your needs.


Jumper Modification

If you would like to modify the jumpers on the board, you will need soldering equipment.

Solder Lead Free - 100-gram Spool

Solder Lead Free - 100-gram Spool

TOL-09325
$7.95
7
Weller WLC100 Soldering Station

Weller WLC100 Soldering Station

TOL-14228
$44.95
1
Chip Quik No-Clean Flux Pen  - 10mL

Chip Quik No-Clean Flux Pen - 10mL

TOL-14579
$7.95
2

Qwiic Example

If you would like to follow along with the examples below to interact with the physical world, you will also need the following items:

Qwiic Cable - 100mm

Qwiic Cable - 100mm

PRT-14427
$1.50
SparkFun Qwiic 12 Bit ADC - 4 Channel (ADS1015)

SparkFun Qwiic 12 Bit ADC - 4 Channel (ADS1015)

DEV-15334
$9.95
Magnetic Screwdriver Set (20 Piece)

Magnetic Screwdriver Set (20 Piece)

TOL-15003
$6.95
1

Headers & Accessories

If you would like to add headers to your board, check out some of the following items:

Break Away Headers - Straight

Break Away Headers - Straight

PRT-00116
$1.50 $1.20
20
SparkFun Beginner Tool Kit

SparkFun Beginner Tool Kit

TOL-14681
$54.95
Feather Stackable Header Kit

Feather Stackable Header Kit

PRT-15187
$1.50

Below is a sample selection of our other headers and soldering tools in our catalog. For a full selection of our available Headers or Soldering Tools, click on the associated link.

Break Away Headers - Straight

Break Away Headers - Straight

PRT-00116
$1.50 $1.20
20
Female Headers

Female Headers

PRT-00115
$1.50
7
Arduino Stackable Header Kit - R3

Arduino Stackable Header Kit - R3

PRT-11417
$1.50
12
Break Away Male Headers - Right Angle

Break Away Male Headers - Right Angle

PRT-00553
$1.95
4
Weller WE1010 Soldering Station

Weller WE1010 Soldering Station

TOL-14734
$129.00
1
Insulated Silicone Soldering Mat

Insulated Silicone Soldering Mat

TOL-14672
$9.95
5
Solder - 1/4lb Spool (0.020") Special Blend

Solder - 1/4lb Spool (0.020") Special Blend

TOL-10242
$29.95
7
Solder Lead Free - 100-gram Spool

Solder Lead Free - 100-gram Spool

TOL-09325
$7.95
7

Segger Programmers

If you would like to debug or flash your processor on your own, here are some of our SEGGER Programmers. Depending on the programmer that you use, you may need to use a combination of wire wrap and IC hooks to connect.

J-Link EDU Mini Programmer

J-Link EDU Mini Programmer

PGM-15345
$18.00
1
J-Link BASE Compact Programmer

J-Link BASE Compact Programmer

PGM-15347
$378.00
J-Link EDU Base Programmer

J-Link EDU Base Programmer

PGM-15346
$60.00

Suggested Reading

Before continuing on with this tutorial, you may want to familiarize yourself with some of these topics if they’re unfamiliar to you.

How to Solder: Through-Hole Soldering

This tutorial covers everything you need to know about through-hole soldering.

Logic Levels

Learn the difference between 3.3V and 5V devices and logic levels.

Hardware Overview

Power & Programming

There are a few different ways to power the SparkFun RED-V Thing Plus:

  • USB-C
  • JST connector (battery power)
  • power pins broken out on the edge of the board

The easiest way (which will also allow you to program your board) is to simply plug it into your computer via USB-C. This will provide 5V to the board and will also allow you access to the super cool USB-to-JTAG interface for programming. Once you've programmed your RED-V however, you may want to have it running off of a different power supply. If you use a wall wart on the USB-C connector, make sure it outputs a regulated 5V DC. You can also use the black JST connector to provide battery power from a LiPo battery. There is an on-board LiPo charger with the current rate set to 500mA. Make sure to use LiPo batteries that have a capacity greater than 500mAh when charging. If you decide to power the board via the VUSB or VBAT pins, make sure to not exceed 6.5V since this is the absolute maximum for the 3.3V voltage regulator. Or you can power the board through the breakout pins on the edge of the board. If you are using 3V3 and GND, make sure that your voltage is regulated when applying power to the pin.

USB, JST, and Power Pins

Always-On Core

The FE310 contains an Always-On (AON) block that allows easy power control of the FE310. It includes its own real-time clock and is also attached to the WAKE button on the board. This allows you to put the FE310 to sleep and wake it up upon a time-generated or user-generated interrupt.

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Buttons

The RED-V has two buttons: a RESET button and a WAKE button. The RESET button is pretty self explanatory and is used to reset the FE310. A single tap of the RESET button will run the code loaded onto the FE310's QSPI flash. A quick double tap will put the FE310 into safe bootloader mode, which will allow you to flash new code to the RED-V if you've managed to really mess things up (i.e. Oops I put the core to sleep and forgot to add a way to wake it up). The pin is also broken out on the edge of the board. Adding a jumper wire from this pin to GND will reset the board as well.

Reset Button and Pin

The RED-V is also equipped with an Always-On or AON core (mentioned above) which can be programmed to shut down the main core of the FE310 and wake it up upon a button-generated or user-generated interrupt. The WAKE button can be configured in software to wake the FE310 from deep sleep.

Wake Button

Jumpers

The FE310 has a few jumpers as well, all of which are open by default. The two jumpers located next to the I2C label is for the I2C pull-up resistors. These resistors are not attached by default as there are I2C pull-up resistors on all SparkFun Qwiic slaves. If you're using a 3rd party board, you may need to close these jumper by the Qwiic connector to attach the pull-ups to the I2C bus. The jumper by the USB-C connector (next to the Segger logo) is for bypassing the 0.5A PTC fuse. This is for special cases where you need a lot current. If you need to connect the NC pin to GND, you can also add a solder jumper on the pads as well. Most of the time, you can leave the bypass and NC jumpers open.

Pull-Up Resistors and By-Pass jumper

Dimensions

The RED-V Thing Plus measures at 2.3"x0.90".

Dimensions

Software Development Guide

There are a few environments to get started with the RED-V. For information about programming the RED-V Thing Plus, check out the following tutorial.

New!

RED-V Development Guide

November 27, 2019

This guide will help you get the RED-V RedBoard or Thing Plus up and running for the exhaust port. Depending on personal preference, there are a few environments to get started with the boards. All wings report in... we're going in full-throttle.

Resources and Going Further

Now that you've successfully got started with your RED-V Thing Plus, it's time to incorporate it into your own project! For more information, check out the resources below: