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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Friday, September 16, 2011
FPGA design from scratch. Part 63
Configuring the FPGA

To be able to program the FPGA on the development board we need a communication channel from our host computer to the FPGA and a way to transfer programming files to program the FPGA.

Using the Xilinx Platform Cable USB

Up to now the normal way to program the FPGA on the development board would be to use the Xilinx Platform Cable. For more information read the last section.

The integrated solution

On the Spartan-6 LX9 MicroBoard the USB to JTAG circuitry has been integrated on the board in the form of an
Atmel AT90USB162 AVR microcontroller. The USB-A board connector connects to a full-speed (12 Mbps) peripheral port on the AT90USB162 device.

   Atmel AT90USB162 AVR Microcontroller.

An additional Xilinx Platform Cable connector is provided (J6) for connecting a standard USB to JTAG interface. Both configurations make use of custom Digilent firmware loaded into the AT90USB162 device during manufacture. For more information see the Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA LX9 MicroBoard User Guide.

Software drivers

A software driver package from Digilent is used in the host computer to facilitate all configuration and data transfer to/from the development board.
Digilent Adept is a powerful application which allows for configuration and data transfer with Xilinx logic devices. Adept 2 is a complete redesign of the original Adept framework. Adept 2 has been streamlined into a single application which expands upon the original Adept feature set. Not only does Adept 2 provide JTAG configuration and data transferring, it also adds board verification and I/O expansion features.

Installing software drivers

The software is not activated during a normal installation of Design Suite, but all the software is part of the installation and can be found here:

To install the software we run the install script:

--> sudo ./ /opt/Xilinx/13.2/ISE_DS/ISE

The Diligent plugin is installed here:

Checking the installation

Let's see if the cable drivers were installed and if we have a working communication to our board. We will use the FPGA device configuration tool from Xilinx called

iMPACT FPGA configuration tool

iMPACT, a tool featuring batch and GUI operations, allows us to perform Device Configuration and File Generation.
  • Device Configuration enables you to directly configure Xilinx® FPGAs or program Xilinx CPLDs and PROMs with the Xilinx cables (Parallel Cable IV, Platform Cable USB, or Platform Cable USB II). Operating in Boundary-Scan mode, iMPACT can configure or program Xilinx FPGAs, CPLDs, and PROMs.
  • File Generation enables us to create the following types of programming files; System ACE™ CF, PROM, SVF, STAPL, and XSVF files.
iMPACT also enables us to do the following:
  • Readback and verify design configuration data
  • Debug configuration problems
  • Execute SVF and XSVF files

--> impact &

In the welcome window select <Configure device using Boundary-Scan (JTAG)> and automatically connect to a cable and identify the boundary-scan chain.

The tool finds the Spartan-6 device on the board (the only one connected to the boundary-scan chain) and reads out the identity code.

Xilinx Platform Cable USB

Using the Platform Cable USB box is a much faster way to program our FPGA. Let's see if we can get it working.

Xilinx is using Cypress FX2 USB controller in its Platform Cable USB box , these devices are capable of getting their firmware from PC when they got connected to USB port. So, we should prepare the required firmware and firmware loading tool in our Linux system. Here is what we have to do:

Install the fxload package.

--> sudo apt-get install fxload

Install the libusb-dev package

--> sudo apt-get install libusb-dev

Fixing the rules file

Copy the rules file ".../13.2/ISE_DS/ISE/bin/lin64/xusbdfwu.rules" and put the file in the directory: /etc/udev/rules.d 

Use lin64 for Ubuntu 64 bits and lin for Ubuntu 32 bits.

Edit the rules file

Edit the rules and make the following changes (see below). Use lin64 for Ubuntu 64 bits and lin for Ubuntu 32 bits.

Restart udev

Use this command to restart udev:

--> sudo service udev restart

Connect the USB cable

Connect the platform cable usb to our system, its lamp should light up, if the lamp is off after connection to computer, it means that firmware has not transfered to the device successfully.

Start iMPACT

--> impact &

The cable will be detected and the boundary scan chain is identified. We are ready to configure the FPGA.

Top  Previous  Next

Posted at 10:49 by

November 30, 2011   02:56 PM PST
I am using Ubuntu 10.10 and I have not seen this problem. What version of Design Suite are you using? Have you studied the impact log file.

November 24, 2011   10:56 PM PST
Dear Sven,

Like Julio, I'm using ubuntu and having trouble with impact, but I'm using 11.10.

If one attempts to do anything with the JTAG chain, or use the wizard, iMPACT just vanishes. No errors, no messages, just gone.

Have you encountered this?
November 24, 2011   10:56 PM PST
Dear Sven,

Like Julio, I'm using ubuntu and having trouble with impact, but I'm using 11.10.

If one attempts to do anything with the JTAG chain, or use the wizard, iMPACT just vanishes. No errors, no messages, just gone.

Have you encountered this?
November 8, 2011   01:36 AM PST
Dear Sven,

Thanks for all the support and dedication in your blog! It really helps us fellow FPGA developers, specially while learning to use these development tools.

I installed in ubuntu 10.10 (32-bit), and it reported a successfull cable driver install. However, after I open impact and test the jtag automatic detection, impact simply closes. What could be wrong?



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