FPGA design from scratch. Part 40
Debugging our hardware design
We have seen earlier how we can debug our software using Xilinx Microprocessor Debugger (XMD). Now let's see how we can debug our hardware. We could of course go out and buy an oscilloscope, a logic analyzer and voltmeter and hook them up to our development board. This is both expensive and complicated and it still wouldn't be possible to connect to internal nodes in the FPGA. A better solution is to use ChipScope Pro.
As it says in the Xilinx documentation:
ChipScope™ Pro inserts logic analyzer, bus analyzer, and Virtual I/O low-profile software cores directly into your design, allowing you to view any internal signal or node, including embedded hard or soft processors. Signals are captured at or near operating system speed and brought out through the programming interface, freeing up pins for your design. Captured signals can then be analyzed through the included ChipScope Pro Logic Analyzer.Here is document giving a glance of ChipScope Pro.
ChipScope Pro eliminates the traditional ASIC problems:
Trying out ChipScope Pro
- I Can't get internal access to signals in my hard IP"
- Full scan insertion increases overhead"
- How do I access the embedded system bus?"
- It's too late – I can't afford a design re-spin!"
- Co-Verification tools are cumbersome and slow with complex issues"
- I need to debug my design at full system speed"
ChipScope Pro costs 700USD to buy but we can get a 60 days evaluation license from Xilinx for free. Click "Evalaute ChipScope" to get a license and to download a copy of ChipScope Pro 9.2i from the Xilinx download center.
To install the ChipScope program we first unzip the downloaded file and store the archive in a temporary directory. We run the setup script file to install ChipScope in a directory we choose. In our case /home/svenand/cad/chipscope_9.2i.
Here is the installed directory structure for ChipScope.
I'll be back with more information on how to implement and use ChipScope. Stayed tuned.
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