Home / Programming

Programming

How to Program Xilinx into a FPGA Board

Xilinx makes field programmable gateway array boards which are easy to program using their proprietary software. Here are some of the basic steps to take to create your design project the moment you install the Xilinx software on your computer.

The first step is to work in design entry in the Integrated Software Environment or ISE. This is where you will create source files for your project. The Project Navigators assists you in managing and processing the design in a step by step format.

Managing And Processing Step By Step

When you are in the design entry phase, you will create and name your source files based on the objectives that you have for your designs. You can use hardware description language (HDL), ABEL, or you can use a schematic.

Lower level source files can be created in multiple formats. You will see a place in the pop up box to select the proper language and other details for your design. You can also use language templates. When programming, you can always access the Help section in the ISE. If you are using a NGO file, you can also skip design entry and move ahead to implementation.

Once your design entry has been completed, run the synthesis step. This step is where the Verilog, VHDL or any other language designs turn into netlist files. Here, you can also create timing constraints before moving ahead. Your netlist files should get accepted and become inputs for your next step which is the implementation step.

Convert The Programmed Design

This step will convert the designs you programmed into physical files. These can later be downloaded to your chosen device. Use the Project Navigator to run this in one step or choose to run each implementation individually. This varies if you are using a Complex Programmable Logic Device versus an FPGA.

Once you have implemented everything, you can run verification. This process checks the functionality of the design’s flow at major points. Run the simulator in the software to check the timing of the entire design or certain segments of it. The simulator can interpret VHDL or Verilog code. It will display the results and indicate if the correct circuit operation is complete. Green checkmarks next to items indicate they are free of errors.

Verify Functions Qualitatively

Simulation lets you verify functions quickly. You can also verify functions by running an in-circuit program on the device you are creating designs for.

When the above steps have been completed, your programming is nearly complete. All you need to do is run the configuration step to configure the device. During this process, additional files are generated and they are then downloaded from a host computer to your Xilinx device.

After this step is complete, you can configure your device. Here you generate configuration files and download the programming files from your computer to the device. With the instructions provided in the software, you have an easy reference tool to these to ensure that you program your Xilinx software correctly to your FPGA. For more information visit http://www.directics.com/fpga-programming/

How Beginners Can Get Started With FPGA Programming

Field Programmable Gate Arrays, or FPGAs, are devices that are used to design digital circuits. Although it sounds complicated, it really isn’t as difficult to get started as one might suspect. There’s no code to write for them, so there is much less that you’d need to know than with microcontrollers, and you don’t have to physically change anything.

Start From Yourself

Beginner’s often start off doing such projects as simple as connecting a button to an LED light, but as they build upon their skills they’re quickly able to advance to more impressive stuff. All you’ll need to get started is to acquire a Mojo, a micro USB cable, and some software, ISE and Mojo Loader. The first is used to convert text into a file that can be loaded onto a board, and the latter is used to send your new file to your Mojo.

Get Help From Video Tutorials

All that’s left is to start experimenting. There are a number of video tutorials available on the internet that can help beginners to get started, that explain everything from synchronous logic to pulse-width modulation. Taking time to learn about these tricks of the trade will enable you to do such things as building circuits that fade LEDs, control servos, and more.

Once you’ve learned the basics of FPGA programming, you’ll be able to begin using external connections to link to your design. From there the sky is the limit. Remember, you’ll run into setbacks and roadblocks, as is the case when learning anything new. Sometimes your designs won’t perform as planned, however once you’ve learned how to design simulations, it’ll become easy to debug your design. If you don’t give up, you’ll get past the obstacles and you’ll master FPGA programming, as was your goal when you decided to learn it.