Lark Board - Altera Cyclone V SoC Evaluation Kit - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Lark Board - Altera Cyclone V SoC Evaluation Kit

Author: iexpress

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Independent Products

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: AT32UC3A3256 -Atmel SAMA5D4 Xplained - Mojo Board (FPGA control with Atmel Atmega32U4 MCU)

What were the biggest problems encountered?: This board assumes you are an expert with Linux, and from my perspective and experience with this board model so far, it is logical to state that one MUST have an equivalence of a Bachelors degree in computer science to make use of this board or bring understanding to the board's intended or unintended operations which may be improvised in a nifty manner with some cleaver shell scripting. Couldn't figure out the password for user LOGIN, typed in root as a guess, and then it loaded root without a password. The board environment is not programmed, you'll be spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to mount different types of devices to mount points, but once you mount them, it feels like an accomplishment. No internal volumes are mounted except for /root along with a tmpfs for volatile vars and ram. Figuring out the commands in the bash/vt100 after root login was horrific, but am implementing system features rather quickly through bash scripting and GPIO pin toggling for the HPS and FPGA Expansion slots to communicate with external hardware. Looking through thedocumentation and reading the manuals, it was not clear how to use the sys/class examples other than /sys/class/leds/hps_led brightness examples, which didn't work immediately until the system stopped offering auto/manual component testing upon bootup. The bash prompt has a chr(13) bug in it when mounting sda partitions, it's as if it gives itself the return key about 40 times per volume you mount. Testing is commencing, will update my progress over the next couple days, since the board is now operational. keywords shutdown and mkfs don't work other than mkfs.minix Had to format all devices on a machine running Windows XP. Yocto treats FAT and FAT32 the same, and mounts NTFS volumes as read only for some reason. Perhaps there is a 32768 MB barrier but it mounts FAT32 just fine if the partition is under 32768 MB in size. I have not been able to format any partitions in the text mode except for minix, and then it still couldn't comprehend what minix was when I tried to mount a minix formatted partition. Looked up tons of other external documentation such as Fedora and Ubuntu user manuals to figure out what the bash/vt100 commands were, before finding a list of commands somewhere in the /usr folder. One of the HPS buttons popped off the board when trying to desert a micro sd card from the TF slot. Others may place their finger on a button while inserting or deserting a card from teh TF slot, for leverage. If I popped a button off that easily, the components don't have enough solder on them. The bash shell sees my USB to ATA/ATAPI converter and DVD drive but fails to let me mount it. This system doesn't know what iso9660 is. It just states the device has input/output errors. Testing the unit with a multitude of hardware and hardware configurations to see what this board can do natively. Will be updating more on progress shortly.. Thanks.

Detailed Review:

Please check back often, I'll be leaving an amazingly detailed product review very shortly.




Shouldn't even need Quartus since we can talk to the board directly, or should be able to soon after I develop software for it.


Altera software gets an F- for difficulty of use and compatibilty. Never could get it to work.


I can say if their programmers were good enough, they could make their software compatible with x86 on up.

This is because I can implement 256 bit code on an Atmega328 8-bit MCU.


Their programmers aren't putting enough effort into their software.


Installing all the following on one partition.. Yep, it's possible.


The unsure nature of people having to guess which OS works with Quartus will lead to further Microsoft 64-bit OS sales.





Proper testing of the Lark Board is now in session.


  • Ouch! Problems do indeed happen, and yes, they can happen on review boards. It's happened to me, but I was lucky, at least the technical team answered me and got things fixed; no reply from the manufacturer isn't a good sign. Oh well, you had a job to do, and with a defective unit, I don't see how you could do anything else but give a very negative review. Sorry you had such bad luck!

  • Right on, I finally got the board to turn on yesterday after two years. The power supply died without me even noticing.


    I do believe the unit was defective to begin with because there are a lot of bugs in the bash/vt100 system.

    That, and the fan on it hasn't turned on yet.


    With a working board now, I'm testing it extensively and will be updating my progress as I progress. Thanks!

  • That, and the fan on it hasn't turned on yet.

    The FPGA needs to be programmed to tell the fan to turn on. From what I recall. Else, frankly, hard-wire it.

Comment Children
  • Right on. With the multitude of Rx/Tx pairs, maybe we can get SATA working on it,  I think it has about 10 differential pairs on it. I'm still developing on it and will update again in the near future. Will be creating external hardware for the expansion slots but I'd need to read the manual again.