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Visitor osharghi
Visitor
5,886 Views
Registered: ‎06-21-2011

Begginer in need of direction

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Hello All,

 

I am new to FPGAs and humbly ask for direction regarding which FPGA resources/tools would be most useful for my applications. Applications would be the control of robots and large machines so PWM, encoders, PIDs, and miscellaneous process control like turning on a piston, waiting for a limit sensor to close, and then turning off the piston. I currently use PIC microcontrollers and code in C but I am attracted to FPGAs because of their flexibility as one can have the desired amount of PWM modules, quadrature decoders, etc. and running multiple PID algorithms seems much easier with an HDL than C). Also, coding a state machine is becomes more cumbersome as the complexity of the machines under control grows.

 

I am overwhelmed with all of the available tools. So far, I have read up on Verilog, bought a Spartan 3E starter kit, and begun using the Xilinx ISE but am curious about PicoBlaze and MicroBlaze (MicroBlaze preferably because of the C compiler). Free software is greatly prefered:smileyhappy: Can anyone please suggest the ideal way to go about using an FPGA to accomplish the said goals and which tools would be the most useful to learn? 

Thank you so very much.

 

Alex 

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Instructor
Instructor
7,603 Views
Registered: ‎07-21-2009

Re: Begginer in need of direction

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I'm wondering which direction to apply that approach? Once I have a good idea of the starter kit, would I want to use PicoBlaze or MicroBlaze in the control of my systems or are there other tools?

 

Once you've gotten comfortable with the design tools, your design skills, and the Starter kit, with your much greater knowledge and understanding you will be much better able to answer this question yourself.

 

If you don't know which you will prefer (if either), then it is probably too early to choose between them.

 

-- Bob Elkind

SIGNATURE:
README for newbies is here: http://forums.xilinx.com/t5/New-Users-Forum/README-first-Help-for-new-users/td-p/219369

Summary:
1. Read the manual or user guide. Have you read the manual? Can you find the manual?
2. Search the forums (and search the web) for similar topics.
3. Do not post the same question on multiple forums.
4. Do not post a new topic or question on someone else's thread, start a new thread!
5. Students: Copying code is not the same as learning to design.
6 "It does not work" is not a question which can be answered. Provide useful details (with webpage, datasheet links, please).
7. You are not charged extra fees for comments in your code.
8. I am not paid for forum posts. If I write a good post, then I have been good for nothing.

View solution in original post

7 Replies
Instructor
Instructor
5,883 Views
Registered: ‎07-21-2009

Re: Begginer in need of direction

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Your first step is:

 

Starting with the reference design for your starter kit, make a small change to the design which you will be able to verify.  Build this modified design with the ISE tools, install the new design on the board, and verify that your design change is working as intended.

 

Once you have done this little bit, you will have learned quite a lot.  Continue to make small changes, verifying and debugging them along the way.  If you make big changes which don't work, then you have to search for the needles (bugs) in a haystack (your collection of unverified changes).  So make small changes, and verify each small change.  This will keep your debugging (and learning) well-focused and productive.

 

Here is an excellent starter tutorial site.

 

-- Bob Elkind

SIGNATURE:
README for newbies is here: http://forums.xilinx.com/t5/New-Users-Forum/README-first-Help-for-new-users/td-p/219369

Summary:
1. Read the manual or user guide. Have you read the manual? Can you find the manual?
2. Search the forums (and search the web) for similar topics.
3. Do not post the same question on multiple forums.
4. Do not post a new topic or question on someone else's thread, start a new thread!
5. Students: Copying code is not the same as learning to design.
6 "It does not work" is not a question which can be answered. Provide useful details (with webpage, datasheet links, please).
7. You are not charged extra fees for comments in your code.
8. I am not paid for forum posts. If I write a good post, then I have been good for nothing.
Visitor osharghi
Visitor
5,861 Views
Registered: ‎06-21-2011

Re: Begginer in need of direction

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Thank you so much! I'll keep that in mind. Its like preventing the number of unknowns from growing larger than the number of equations.

 

I'm wondering which direction to apply that approach? Once I have a good idea of the starter kit, would I want to use PicoBlaze or MicroBlaze in the control of my systems or are there other tools?

 

Thank you again,

 

Alex

0 Kudos
Instructor
Instructor
7,604 Views
Registered: ‎07-21-2009

Re: Begginer in need of direction

Jump to solution

I'm wondering which direction to apply that approach? Once I have a good idea of the starter kit, would I want to use PicoBlaze or MicroBlaze in the control of my systems or are there other tools?

 

Once you've gotten comfortable with the design tools, your design skills, and the Starter kit, with your much greater knowledge and understanding you will be much better able to answer this question yourself.

 

If you don't know which you will prefer (if either), then it is probably too early to choose between them.

 

-- Bob Elkind

SIGNATURE:
README for newbies is here: http://forums.xilinx.com/t5/New-Users-Forum/README-first-Help-for-new-users/td-p/219369

Summary:
1. Read the manual or user guide. Have you read the manual? Can you find the manual?
2. Search the forums (and search the web) for similar topics.
3. Do not post the same question on multiple forums.
4. Do not post a new topic or question on someone else's thread, start a new thread!
5. Students: Copying code is not the same as learning to design.
6 "It does not work" is not a question which can be answered. Provide useful details (with webpage, datasheet links, please).
7. You are not charged extra fees for comments in your code.
8. I am not paid for forum posts. If I write a good post, then I have been good for nothing.

View solution in original post

Visitor osharghi
Visitor
5,857 Views
Registered: ‎06-21-2011

Re: Begginer in need of direction

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I understand. I'm pretty excited to get through the starter kit. I know what I'm doing this weekend!:smileyhappy:

 

Thank you again, Bob,

 

Alex

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Voyager
Voyager
5,843 Views
Registered: ‎10-01-2007

Re: Begginer in need of direction

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Look for tutorials available for your development kit.  If you are specifically interested in PicoBlaze and MicroBlaze, there are tutorials covering both those topics for the Avnet Spartan-6 LX9 MicroBoard which you could adapt to the Sp3E.  You can get those tutorials for free at www.em.avnet.com/s6microboard --> Support Files & Downloads.

 

Good luck,

Bryan

Explorer
Explorer
5,828 Views
Registered: ‎07-13-2010

Re: Begginer in need of direction

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Here is one more very good tutorial:

 

http://www.strumpen.net/xilinx/tut82i/ise.html

 

And I think here is a good peace of info for you too:

 

http://www.fpgadeveloper.com/2009/10/convert-bit-files-to-system-ace-files.html

http://www.xilinx.com/support/documentation/sw_manuals/xilinx11/ise_c_using_microprocessor_ip.htm
 

And also don't forget the youtube.com ;]

Here is one link for the start:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STGiqlBRVms&feature=related

 

Good luck, dude

Ignas

 

 

 

Visitor osharghi
Visitor
5,801 Views
Registered: ‎06-21-2011

Re: Begginer in need of direction

Jump to solution

Thank you so much Bryan and Ignas. That all helped a lot. I'm so excited to learn how to use these tools as they seem so effective. Best of luck to you guys as well.

 

Thanks again,

 

Alex

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