Hazel Virdó edited this page Apr 17, 2018 · 16 revisions

This page covers the initial setup of a MIST FPGA board.

What You Need

To set up your board, you will need:

  • The MiST board itself.
  • A USB keyboard.
  • A micro USB phone charger, or a micro USB cable connected to a USB hub or computer.
  • An FAT-formatted SD or SDHC card, at least 1GB.
  • A VGA screen and cable.

For potential compatibility issues, see the peripherals wiki page.

1. Prepare the SD card

To set up your MiST FPGA board for the first time, we recommend using an Atari ST setup. Afterwards, you can continue updating your board to the latest firmware and core or start using other cores.

You need to place three files in the root directory of your FAT-formatted SD card:

A note about the Atari ST core versions: The MIST board uses permanently-installed firmware in on-board flash as well as the FPGA core file on the SD card. If the versions of the firmware and the core differ too much, then the core may not boot. There have been two firmware versions installed on MiST boards before shipment, which is why there are two options for the core. Boards with the newer firmware from April 2015 started shipping in May 2015.

  • tos.img, the ATARI ST operating system. You can use the latest EmuTOS or a real TOS image. TOS 1.00, 1.02, 1.04, and 2.06 will all work in any language. Please note that copyright still applies to real TOS images.
  •, a default floppy disk image for drive A:. Without a floppy disk enabled, booting may be very slow. TOS will automatically recognize this file and boot times will be much faster.

Optionally, you can also include:

  • system.fnt, the Atari font file, if you want to use it for initial boot messages. Otherwise, it will use the same font as the on-screen display.

Make sure to name the files exactly as listed above: core.rbf, tos.img,, and optionally system.fnt.

2. Connect the Components

Once your SD card is ready, connect the components in the following order:

  1. Insert the SD card into the MIST.
  2. Connect the VGA screen and USB keyboard.
  3. Connect the micro USB power source.
  4. Switch the board on.

It should boot into the Atari ST desktop or into the kickstart splash screen.

If you used the wrong core, the video output may be broken or the core may not boot at all, but it will not damage your board at all. To fix it, replace the wrong core on the SD card with the correct version.

For other issues, check out the troubleshooting page.

3. Update the Firmware and Core

Once you've verified that your board is working and the Atari ST boots, you can update your board to the latest firmware and core. All boards are physically the same, so you can update regardless of the initial core you used.

You can find some information about the updates and changes in the firmware and core changelog thread.


You can check your current firmware version by opening the on-screen display (OSD) with F12 and selecting Firmware & Core.

Checking the firmware version

This displays the installed firmware version after ARM s/w ver., as above.

To upgrade your firmware:

  1. Download the latest firmware, which will have the highest revision number.
  2. Rename the .upg file to firmware.upg and upload it to your SD card.
  3. Boot into your Atari ST setup and go to the Firmware & Core submenu.
  4. Select Update and follow the instructions.

You can find more detail in How to Install the Firmware.


To upgrade your Atari ST core:

  1. Download the latest core, which will have the highest revision number.
  2. Rename the file to core.rbf and upload it to your SD card, replacing the existing core.rbf.

Next Steps

Once the board works there are many things to explore:

If you prefer video tutorials, you can check out:

What is the MiST FPGA computer?MiST FPGA computer first time guide

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