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

If you want to be updated on this weblog Enter your email here:

rss feed

Thursday, November 17, 2011
FPGA design from scratch. Part 80
Booting PetaLinux from SPI flash

Petalinux is using a 2-stage booting process. The first stage boot, FS-Boot, is running from the Spartan-6 FPGA's BRAM once powered on. It's responsibility is to load the main system bootloader, U-Boot, from the flash to the larger external DDR memory, and run U-Boot from the external memory. U-boot will then load the Linux image and start the Linux boot.

Booting from SPI flash run sequence

Here are all the operations that will take place when we boot PetaLinux from the SPI flash.

  1. Power-up the board or press the PROG FPGA push button on the board, to start the boot-up.
  2. The Spartan-6 FPGA will automatically transfer the configuration image from the SPI flash to the FPGA configuration memory together with the first stage bootloader that will copied to the MicroBlaze local memory (BRAM). The FPGA is now configured and fully operating.
  3. The first stage bootloader will start to execute and copy the u-boot loader from the SPI flash to the system memory (LPDDR).
  4. The u-boot loader will execute and bring in the PetaLinux image to the system memory.
  5. The system will boot up.

Copying the u-boot loader to SPI flash

We have already copied the FPGA configuration image and the first stage bootloader to SPI flash (see part 79). Now we only have to figure out how to move the u-boot loader and the PetaLinux image to SPI flash. For the first step we will involve the Xilinx Microprocessor Debugger (XMD).

Xilinx Microprocessor Debugger

The Xilinx Microprocessor Debugger (XMD) is a tool that facilitates debugging programs and verifying systems using the PowerPC® (405 or 440) processor or the MicroBlazeTM processor. We can use it to debug programs on MicroBlaze or PowerPC 405 processors running on a hardware board, cycle-accurate Instruction Set Simulator (ISS). XMD provides a Tool Command Language (Tcl) interface. This interface can be used for command line control and debugging of the target as well as for running complex verification test scripts to test a complete system. Today we will use it to download the u-boot.elf program to the MicroBlaze system memory (LPDDR).

Downloading the u-boot elf file

To download the u-boot.elf file we will create a small xmd init file (xmd.ini) that will automatically run when we start xmd. It looks like this:

--> cd /tftpboot

--> source source /opt/Xilinx/13.2/ISE_DS/

--> xmd

Here is a printout from the xmd startup:

After the u-boot program is loaded to LPDDR memory, it wil start and the following will be displayed on the LX9 MicroBoard console:

We have to be very alert and as soon as the text "Hit any key to stop autoboot" is displayed we have to stop it. We are now ready to copy the uboot and the PetaLinux images to SPI flash. We will use the tftp server running on the host to do the job. For more information on how to setup the tftp server see part 74.

Copying the PetaLinux image

Before starting the image copy we have to set the IP address to the host.

  • Use the command /sbin/ifconfig on the host to find the IP address.
  • Use the command set serverip to set the IP address in the PetaLinux console.

Use the command: run update_kernel to copy the PetaLinux kernel (image.ub) to SPI flash:

Copying the u-boot image

We use the command: run update_uboot to copy the u-boot binary file (u-boot-s.bin) to SPI flash:


That was all.

Booting PetaLinux

When we press the PROG push button the PetaLinux will boot and display the startup screen.

Processes running

Use this command to turn on the four leds on the board.

Top Previous Next

Posted at 09:23 by


Leave a Comment:


Homepage (optional)


Previous Entry Home Next Entry