Help troubleshooting my good-old icebreaker

Hi Everyone,


A strange problem appeared on my good old icebreaker. To be sure, this is most certainly due to me doing too many hacks around it, as it has otherwise worked perfectly since 2020 and has proven superbly resilient. In particular, I recently accidentally (and briefly) shorted the 3.3V pin to ground on the RGBLED connector. It still worked fine after that, but then this issue appeared after a few days. In case this could matter, the FPGA stayed plugged for several hours last time it worked normally.

So I’m only hoping that there’s a way to troubleshoot this ; I surely want to try to save my icebreaker!


When I first plug the board after being unplugged for a while, everything starts as normal. The CDONE LED however only blinks very briefly (isn’t it normally staying on?) but then the FPGA works as expected.

If I program the board, after successful completion of iceprog the FPGA does not restart. The CDONE LED shows no activity. If I unplug/plug immediately same problem occurs. Very rarely it will start, sometimes a couple seconds after being plugged.

However, after some longer time unplugged (one hour? haven’t timed it yet), it consistently starts again. And programming in fact works: it starts again on the new design.

I’m hopping this could be one of the passive components being damaged, maybe replaceable. All suggestions welcome!

Thanks -

Hi @sylefeb,

Welcome to the forum. I follow your FPGA creations, it is a lot of impressive stuff. :slight_smile:

Sorry to hear that you have trouble with your board. Unfortunately I have not run into an issue like that. It does indeed sound like some marginal problem due to the short. I would guess that something discharges/cools down when left alone for a while, so that it works again. It is hard to say what that could be.

I hope others will have some better suggestions and you find a solution.

Piotr Esden-Tempski

Thanks :slight_smile:! This is such a great board! I feel bad to have damaged it. This specific board does have a sentimental value to me, because I had so much fun and learned so much with it. I am hoping to find a fix, but I will keep it close and make sure to program it with a nice design to have it run on a display if nothing else works. Thank you so much for making such great designs :+1:

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I can totally understand that. I have boards like that too. :slight_smile:

The problem seems quite subtle. The CDONE LED should stay on when the FPGA is correctly configured. The circuit there is a bit finicky, so you might want to look around those components and see if there is any conductive debris in that area. This might be another reason why the board is not working right.

If I had the board here I would try to solder on a new FPGA and see if that fixes the issue, as the most likely suspect is that the short caused something bad to happen on the die.

I am glad that you like the iCEBreaker! We try our best to make versatile and fun to use hardware. :slight_smile:


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