New Horizons

Welcome to my blog

My name is Sven Andersson and I
work as a consultant in embedded
system design, implemented in ASIC
and FPGA.
In my spare time I write this blog
and I hope it will inspire others to
learn more about this fantastic field.
I live in Stockholm Sweden and have
my own company


You are welcome to contact me
and ask questions or make comments
about my blog.


New Horizons
What's new
Starting a blog
Writing a blog
Using an RSS reader

Zynq Design From Scratch
Started February 2014
1 Introduction
Changes and updates
2 Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoC
3 ZedBoard and other boards
4 Computer platform and VirtualBox
5 Installing Ubuntu
6 Fixing Ubuntu
7 Installing Vivado
8 Starting Vivado
9 Using Vivado
10 Lab 1. Create a Zynq project
11 Lab 1. Build a hardware platform
12 Lab 1. Create a software application
13 Lab 1. Connect to ZedBoard
14 Lab 1. Run a software application
15 Lab 1. Benchmarking ARM Cortex-A9
16 Lab 2. Adding a GPIO peripheral
17 Lab 2. Create a custom HDL module
18 Lab 2. Connect package pins and implement
19 Lab 2. Create a software application and configure the PL
20 Lab 2. Debugging a software application
21 Running Linux from SD card
22 Installing PetaLinux
23 Booting PetaLinux
24 Connect to ZedBoad via ethernet
25 Rebuilding the PetaLinux kernel image
26 Running a DHCP server on the host
27 Running a TFTP server on the host
28 PetaLinux boot via U-boot
29 PetaLinux application development
30 Fixing the host computer
31 Running NFS servers
32 VirtualBox seamless mode
33 Mounting guest file system using sshfs
34 PetaLinux. Setting up a web server
35 PetaLinux. Using cgi scripts
36 PetaLinux. Web enabled application
37 Convert from VirtualBox to VMware
38 Running Linaro Ubuntu on ZedBoard
39 Running Android on ZedBoard
40 Lab2. Booting from SD card and SPI flash
41 Lab2. PetaLinux board bringup
42 Lab2. Writing userspace IO device driver
43 Lab2. Hardware debugging
44 MicroZed quick start
45 Installing Vivado 2014.1
46 Lab3. Adding push buttons to our Zynq system
47 Lab3. Adding an interrupt service routine
48 Installing Ubuntu 14.04
49 Installing Vivado and Petalinux 2014.2
50 Using Vivado 2014.2
51 Upgrading to Ubuntu 14.04
52 Using Petalinux 2014.2
53 Booting from SD card and SPI flash
54 Booting Petalinux 2014.2 from SD card
55 Booting Petalinux 2014.2 from SPI flash
56 Installing Vivado 2014.3

Chipotle Verification System

EE Times Retrospective Series
It all started more than 40 years ago
My first job as an electrical engineer
The Memory (R)evolution
The Microprocessor (R)evolution

Four soft-core processors
Started January 2012
Table of contents
OpenRISC 1200
Nios II

Using the Spartan-6 LX9 MicroBoard
Started August 2011
Table of contents
Problems, fixes and solutions

FPGA Design From Scratch
Started December 2006
Table of contents
Acronyms and abbreviations

Actel FPGA design
Designing with an Actel FPGA. Part 1
Designing with an Actel FPGA. Part 2
Designing with an Actel FPGA. Part 3
Designing with an Actel FPGA. Part 4
Designing with an Actel FPGA. Part 5

A hardware designer's best friend
Zoo Design Platform

Installing Cobra Command Tool
A processor benchmark

Porting a Unix program to Mac OS X
Fixing a HyperTerminal in Mac OS X
A dream come true

Stockholm by bike

The New York City Marathon

Kittelfjall Lappland

Tour skating in Sweden and around the world
Wild skating
Tour day
Safety equipment
A look at the equipment you need
Skate maintenance
Books, photos, films and videos
Weather forecasts

38000 feet above see level
A trip to Spain
Florida the sunshine state

Photo Albums
Seaside Florida
Ronda Spain
Sevilla Spain
Cordoba Spain
Alhambra Spain
Kittelfjäll Lapland
Landsort Art Walk
Skating on thin ice

100 Power Tips for FPGA Designers

Adventures in ASIC
Computer History Museum
Design & Reuse
d9 Tech Blog
EDA Cafe
EDA DesignLine
Eli's tech Blog
FPGA Arcade
FPGA Central
FPGA developer
FPGA Journal
FPGA World
Lesley Shannon Courses
Mac 2 Ubuntu
Programmable Logic DesignLine
World of ASIC

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011
FPGA design from scratch. Part 61
Looking for a new development board

Now when we are using the latest Design Suite from Xilinx, we can't use a more than 5 years old development board, I just realized. So I started to look for a
new board and found this one:

The Avnet
Spartan-6 LX9 MicroBoard

Key Features
  • Spartan-6 XC6SLX9-2CSG324C FPGA
  • 128 Mb Multi-I/O SPI Flash
  • 10/100 Ethernet PHY
  • USB-to-UART port
  • On-board USB JTAG circuitry
  • Two 2x6 PMOD expansion ports
  • Single-chip, 3-rail power with Power Good indicator
  • Programmable clock chip
  • Over-voltage and ESD protection on USB
  • Four LEDs
  • 4-bit DIP switch
  • Reset and PROG push-buttons
It is going to be very interesting to see what we can make out of this small board with a really small price ($89). You are welcome to join me on this journey.

Spartan-6 FPGA Family

Spartan-6 FPGA delivers an optimal balance of low risk, low cost, and low power for cost-sensitive applications, now with 42% less power consumption and 12% increased performance. Spartan-6 FPGAs offer advanced power management technology, up to 150K logic cells, integrated PCI Express® blocks, advanced memory support, 250MHz DSP slices, and 3.2Gbps low-power transceivers (taken from Xilinx's datasheet).

We will us the LX version.

The development kit

We are lucky. Yesterday I attended the
FPGA World Conference in Stockholm. On the exhibition floor I met the Silica people who told me that they will run a Design Workshop featuring the low-cost Avnet Spartan-6 FPGA LX9 MicroBoard. After finishing the workshop I could buy the development kit for a bargain price ($59). Here it is.

The development kit includes:
  • Spartan-6 FPGA LX9 MicroBoard
  • USB A to micro-USB B cable
  • USB extension cable (Type A Male to Type A Female)
  • Xilinx ISE Design Suite 12.4 DVD
  • Documentation

Avnet Design Resource Center

Here is a link to the
Avnet support site. Click the Support Files and Downloads button at the bottom of this page to enter the Avnet Design Resource Center.

Here is a link to the
Avnet Technical Forums.

Pre-built MicroBlaze hardware platforms

To get started in the right direction, Avnet has generated and pre-built several MicroBlaze hardware platforms to use as our starting point. The platforms orignal XPS project is available as well as a version exported to SDK. Pre-built hardware platforms give hardware engineers a starting point for adding unique combinations of peripherals or even a custom-designed peripheral to off-load the CPU.

Pre-built hardware platforms are also an excellent starting point for software engineers as they can immediately begin using SDK and designing software applications. Here is one example there are many more.

LX9 Pinout diagram

Thanks debreuil for providing this picture.

Connecting the board to the host computer

We start by connecting the gray cable to the USB connector on the board. This cable will provide 5V to board and will also by used for programming the FPGA. When connecting this cable the green power good LED will light up.

The black cable connects to the mini-USB connector on the board and will provide a terminal connection.  When connecting this cable the amber USB link status LED will light up.


We are almost ready to go. Why not watch this video before we start.

Downloading and installing Xilinx Design Suite 13.2

We need some software from Xilinx. Here is an
instruction on how to install Design Suite 13.2

Recycling bin

These two items will go into the recycling bin. We don't need them anymore.

USB to JTAG converter

Serial IO to USB converter

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