Project description

The VFC-HD is an Altera Arria V based VME64x carrier for one High Pin Count (HPC) FPGA Mezzanine Card (FMC, VITA 57). It is has six SFP+ transceivers compatible with support for rad-hard GBT links, CERN Beam Synchronous Timing (BST), White Rabbit and Ethernet.

The card has been developed by the Beam Instrumentation (BI) group at CERN as a general purpose digital acquisition card. It replaces the VFC, which is no longer under development by BI.


Main features

  • Altera Arria V GX FPGA (5AGXMB1G4F40C4N)
  • HPC FMC slot
    • Fully populated LA, HA & HB banks
    • 10 gigabit lanes connected to FPGA transceivers
    • Programmable Vadj
  • 6 SFP+ running up to 6.5Gbps
    • 4 "application" SFPs for GBT connections
    • 2 "system" SFPs for BST/White Rabbit & Ethernet
  • 40 single ended (or 20 LVDS) connections to VME P2 available for rear transition modules
  • 30 single ended connections to VME64x P0 to support clock & trigger distribution in (custom) BI LHC VME crates
  • Flexible clocking resources
    • Si570 10-280MHz programmable oscillator
    • ADN2814 CDR for BST reception
    • 125MHz & 20MHz VCXOs for White Rabbit support
    • Si5338 clock synthesizer
  • DDR3 memory on board
  • Front panel connectivity:
    • 6 SFP+ cages
    • 4 LEMO-00 general purpose I/O
    • 8 user LEDs
  • 12 layer PCB

Project information


  • CERN Beam Instrumentation Group
    Used as a general purpose digital board for beam instrumentation.



Date Event
08-10-2014 Initial schematic review
09-02-2015 Inclusion of project on OHWR
15-02-2015 PCB layout finished by Norcott using CadStar
16-02-2015 Conversion of PCB to Altium & archival in EDMS started by CERN TE-MPE-EM
25-03-2015 Design finalised by TE-MPE-EM
25-03-2015 Prototype production launched (2 boards)
10-06-2015 Prototype received and under test
17-06-2015 All major board functionality, aside from DDR3, tested and working
22-07-2015 DDR3 SODIMM not working, decision made to change to soldered DDR3
10-02-2016 Design of version 2 finalised by TE-MPE-EM
10-02-2016 Prototype production launched (2 boards)
12-04-2016 Prototype received (2 boards)
14-09-2016 Design of version 3 finalised by TE-MPE-EM
23-09-2016 Pre-series production launched (45 boards)
28-11-2016 Pre-series received (45 boards)

Tom Levens - 30th July 2015