02-12-2019 09:43 AM
My name is Tarek Smaili and I am a collage student at the university of Kasdi Merbah Ouargla in Algeria. I am posting here to inquire about using a SPARTAN 2 FPGA kit, the one we have here uses two cables to be flashed and for programs to be loaded and they are Series and Parallel cables that must be plugged at the same time. The problem lays when we want to use a better and fast PC to work with the kit because modern ones don't have Parallel port so we thought of buying a Parallel to USB cable and Series to USB cable so that we can use modern PCs, I am asking whether if the kit will be programmed normally in this case or will the software display an error? Also, if it works just fine, may I get a link to a newer version of the Xilinx ISE
02-14-2019 03:52 AM
Serial to USB is fine; those cables are very well-established and very reliable. Try to get one with a "good" chipset; I would aim for a SiLabs one (eg. CP2102) if possible. The FTDI ones are great if you can ensure that it's a genuine chip, otherwise they're a nightmare. Prolific ones are often cheap, but drivers can be a real pain.
Parallel ports are not easy. I'm pretty sure that there is no way to program an FPGA with a parallel-to-USB adaptor, both because it relies on very precise timing (which USB can't really provide) and because 99% of USB-parallel adaptors are really only designed to work with printers.
You can get a PCIe parallel port card; I've used these with an old Xilinx Parallel Cable IV and they work fine. Or you can buy a Platform Cable USB II instead, but that'll cost more than buying a brand new Zynq/Artix board with built-in USB-to-JTAG.
With regards to ISE - I think you need version 10.1, as the later versions won't support the Spartan 2. Getting this working on Windows 10 (or even Windows 7) might be a challenge.
02-19-2019 09:51 AM
Well yea, the Parallel to USB didn't function at all, the software keeps showing error cable connection was not found every time I run iMPACT. We decided to just bare with the old central units we have here. We're doing a VGA controller using FPGA so even a VGA port is not available on the SPARTAN 2 kit, we had to work around that too, we asked the university to upgrade the hardware after this whole thing and we have been told that a budget has already been signed for new spartan kits next year. I have already downloaded Xilinx 10.1 and it seems it supports the module we have. Thank you for your reply nevertheless, very much appreciated for making everything clear.