BUILD your Own RETRO Machine! (MiSTer FPGA w/ Digital IO Board Tutorial in 2023)
hello everybody Welcome to the channel today we have something very special we are going to be building our own MiSTer FPGA retro gaming machine. Now before we start I want to give a big shout out to the people at MiSTer FPGA.co.uk they were fantastic and as someone who lives in Central Europe I was looking for a store that was not too far. They suggested a list of parts that I could get from their website and all I had to do was to buy the parts from them. I got them within a week. The main part that I needed though was the DE10 Nano main board that is something that I bought from a different shop but since it is also labeled as a research board you can get that super quickly and all the taxes are on the main price that you pay on the page so that was relatively easy as well. All we have to do now is check a list of parts and start building!
The first and most important part, your Terasic DE10-Nano board Now, these are some of the goodies we got from the misterFPGA.co.uk shop. We’ll be checking those individually. This is the power supply. For this build, I got the Mean Well power supply of 5V and 4 amps. This will be more than enough for the build plus any extras I want to include such as wifi/bluetooth usb dongle, controllers, and peripherals. Also in the list there
is this nice cable for the power supply with several adapters for different types of plugs. This is the memory module. It is pretty small, so be careful with it. We’ll be checking this in detail in a little bit. Next, we have our heatsink for the chip on the DE10 Nano. I went for the solid copper version on the shop so I don’t have to worry too much about cooling the system. A small bag containing several standoffs for the build, the buttons that we’ll use later on, and the little rubber feet for the case.
These things here are very important. We won’t be using that power splitter cable since our build will use the digital board and the cables are slightly different. However, the small piece you see there is a USB bracket connector. This one is very important, so keep it in mind!
Oh, here we have our Digital IO board and a DC to DC power cable that we’ll be using later as well. This digital IO board is the 1.2 version and it will be on top of our build, it includes the buttons amongst other things. Next we have our USB hub. This one is the 2.1 version. Now wrapped in this paper we have our acrylic case. It comes in several parts that click together and it has a nice darker tone and labels on every port. There you go, all parts ready for assembly! Now, let’s check our de10-nano board. In the box we will find some USB cables. Technically
you can use the DE10 nano without most of the addons I’m showing you here, but you would be limited by the board. The de10 nano also includes a power supply that you could use, but the power might not be enough in case you want to use other external components since it’s only 2 amps, that’s why we went for the mean well power supply. We can also find some rubber feet for the brass standoffs in case you don’t have a case and want to use it directly. And here it is, the DE 10 NANO! Now, the board comes with a preinstalled acrylic cover and some brass standoffs. Right in the
middle we have the main chip which is the heart of this whole build. At both sides we have some pins that we will be using for our memory modules and some other ports that have different uses. On the side, we can find a LAN port, and on the other side the HDMI port, and a power port. Time to start our build. First, let’s take our digital io board out of the bag. This one has a super silent noctua fan already installed. The three main buttons. On the
side we have a digital audio port, a power port, and a 3.5mm port. The blue port on the side looks like a USB port, but it is NOT one. This is the user port and it has a different purpose. It WON’T take a USB device, so don’t use it for that.
Now, the USB hub. This one is pretty simple. It has a power port and several USB ports including some providing power only. Alright! So now let’s take some of the brass standoffs. Take some of the longer ones first
and pass them through each of the 4 corners of the usb hub. Then use the shorter standoffs to secure them on the other side. You can use your hands for this, but make sure not to tighten too much, you don’t need to apply a lot of force, just enough to secure the standoffs. Once that’s done, let’s check on the DE10 NANO. First we need to remove the acrylic shield. We’ll use a screwdriver for this, but the screws shouldn’t be
too tight. Once that the cover is out, it’s time to remove the standoffs. You can also do this using your hands or a tool if you have one. Remember to be gentle with the board! Now, if you look at the de10 nano board on the LAN port side, you will see a usb port on the right side. We will be using this port to make a bridge and connect to the USB hub
using the USB bracket connector that I mentioned earlier, remember? Here it is. As you can see, the bracket has a USB connector on one side, and some pin connector on the other. One side will go to the DE10 NANO and the pin side will go on the USB hub. Here you can see the pins on the USB hub. You can do this in any order, but I found that the easiest way to connect them is to start with the pins on the USB hub, and then gently slide the DE10 NANO for the USB connector to gently fit. Once that is done and you have made sure the pins are all making good contact. We
can get some of those longer standoffs and screw them all. IMPORTANT! As I said earlier, we are putting together a mister FPGA using a DIGITAL IO board. For this to work properly, we gotta make sure we have the switches on the DE10 NANO board in the right position. Locate the switch labeled as SW3 and move it up. They should all be down by default, so we are only moving one of the switches.
With that out of the way, we can now attach our copper heatsink. All you have to do is peel the little plastic tape, locate the main chip on the DE10 NANO board, and GENTLY put the heatsink on top. Make sure not to move it too much once it is set, and give it a little push. Now it’s time for the last piece of the sandwich. The digital IO board. This one has a nice and silent noctua cooler already preinstalled by the people at misterfpga.co.uk.
You can see that the board has two main rows of pins. We’ll use those to align and connect this board to the DE10 NANO. The orientation should be given by the power plug port. This one should be facing in the same direction of the other 2 boards. Now, make sure you are setting this board correctly and pay close attention to all pins, as they should make a good connection. Do not apply too much force, since these pins can be
very fragile. Don’t worry if you see less pins on your digital io board than holes on the de10 NANO, this is totally fine and normal. Align both sides correctly, and once you are sure, start making some pressure. Check in the end that all pins got inserted correctly and fully.
Now let’s take some of the longer standoffs again and screw them in order to fully secure the IO board. Time to install our memory stick! This one is a 128MB module V.3.0. One of the reasons why I chose the digital IO board is to ‘future proof’ my build a little. Currently all cores can be used with a single 128MB stick, but this particular board will allow for 2 of those sticks, so if I want to use a second one in the future, I won’t run into any issues. You cannot do that with an analog IO board. The memory module has a text printed on it to let you know which side faces outward, so keep that in mind. Now locate the pins on the DE10 NANO that are next to the USER port,
the one that looks like a USB port but is not. And proceed to install the module. Align the module and once you are sure everything looks good, start applying some pressure; you can also wiggle the module a little bit. Be gentle! Everything looks perfect! We don’t want our precious build exposed, so let’s build the case. This one is pretty simple, if you have played with legos, then it’s pretty much the same. We’ll start with the base. There’s
a fine printing on it for you to know which side faces out. You can use the small screws included with the case to secure the base to the bottom part of the build. Once that is done, get the rubber feet and stick them to the base. I decided to put them on each of the 4 corners. We can now take one of the two acrylic side panels. Here I chose the one that has the cut for the USER IO port and 3 USB ports. Locate that on your build, and insert the panel using the notches and facing in the right orientation. The text should be readable.
Now let’s do the same with the other side panel. After this, pick one of the smaller panels. The one I picked here has the cut for the optical audio port, the HDMI, and the power ports. Once again, locate that on the build, and insert the panel on the base, then make sure the other two side panels slide in and click.
Repeat the operation with the last small panel. This one includes the cut for the LAN port. We’re almost there! Now we have to install the last panel. This one can be tricky since it also includes the buttons. The best way to install this is to turn the panel upside down,
and then install the buttons in the slots. The buttons are thinner on one side, so use this as a guide. Once you have installed the 3 buttons, carefully turn your build around making sure you are holding all side panels with your hand. Once everything clicks, turn your build around. Push those buttons to check everything works, and that’s it! Last step is to secure everything with the last screws. Now contemplate the beauty of what you just put together. Check that all ports are aligned and that you have access to everything,
aaaaand you are done. You are now the proud owner of a mister FPGA! and there you have it the MiSTer FPGA build is complete you got now your beefy sandwich there now that your build is complete let's check on the parts that you have left you might be a little confused because you have a lot of cables and that's understandable since your build has three DC ports now this one here the splitter is one of the cables that we have left now we won't be using this one since this is used mostly for the analog uh board and we have the digital one so no use for this one now for the cables that we will be using the first one is this DC to DC adapter we will be using this cable to give some power to the USB hub directly from the DE10 Nano so the way to plug it is that you're going to locate the two DC ports the one that comes from the middle which is your DE10 Nano and goes to your USB hub which is the lower one so just take your cable and plug it in making a bridge right there this will leave you with one extra Port this one goes directly to your power supply this is convenient because your digital board has an onoff switch to it so you will be able to power it on and off at will without the need for an extra switch now I know the DC to DC cable is not the prettiest ever and you may feel like your bill looks a little bit jank if this is something that bothers you there is a fix to that you can find a Mr fpga DC power Jumper in both the Misterfpga.co.uk Web Store located in the United Kingdom and on Misteraddons.com I know that it looks a little daunting at first but if you follow the tutorial hopefully you didn't run into many issues and um let me know in the comments below what do you think if you had any any problems with it I I am willing to help if I can I will post all the links to all the places where you can get the parts misterfpga.co.uk and also the main a place to get your own DE10 Nano board so I'm going to keep the links down below hope you enjoy the video let me know what you link I'll see you on the next one bye