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Instructor
Instructor
17,702 Views
Registered: ‎07-21-2009

Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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I have WebPack ISE 12.1 installed.  Looking through the supplied IMPACT support docs, I couldn't find any mention of direct SPI flash programming support.  Does 12.1 (and later, presumably) support direct SPI flash programming ?

 

If not, is there any problem with using IMPACT 11.5 (I believe 11.x supports direct SPI programming) ?

 

Thanks!

 

- 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.
1 Solution

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Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
21,284 Views
Registered: ‎08-10-2007

Re: Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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Check AR # 36156 (http://www.xilinx.com/support/answers/36156.htm).

If you want to use the GUI for direct SPI programming you need to stick with 11.x.

 

View solution in original post

22 Replies
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Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
21,285 Views
Registered: ‎08-10-2007

Re: Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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Check AR # 36156 (http://www.xilinx.com/support/answers/36156.htm).

If you want to use the GUI for direct SPI programming you need to stick with 11.x.

 

View solution in original post

Visitor maxflex77
Visitor
17,180 Views
Registered: ‎09-16-2010

Re: Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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Unfortunately, it seems as if indirect spi programming to the M25P16 on the Spartan 3A starter kit is also not working with IMPACT 12.2.  (The AT45dB16 programs fine)

 

What then, is a man to do to program the 25P16?

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Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
17,168 Views
Registered: ‎08-10-2008

Re: Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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Spartan-3A supports indirect programming of M25Pxx, what error did you get?

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Visitor maxflex77
Visitor
17,106 Views
Registered: ‎09-16-2010

Re: Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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Below is the error I got during 25P16 programming.  Erase and blank check worked fine.  Programming worked fine for the AT45DB161 (with J1 of course set differently)

 

INFO:iMPACT - Current time: Tue Sep 21 17:07:41 2010
// *** BATCH CMD : Program -p 1 -dataWidth 1 -spionly -loadfpga
PROGRESS_START - Starting Operation.
Maximum TCK operating frequency for this device chain: 10000000.
Validating chain...
Boundary-scan chain validated successfully.
'1': IDCODE is '202015' (in hex).
'1': ID Check passed.
 '1': IDCODE is '202015' (in hex).
'1': ID Check passed.
 '1': Programming Flash.
'1':Programming in x1 mode.
'1': Configuration data download to FPGA was not successful. DONE did not go high, please check your configuration setup and mode settings.
INFO:iMPACT - '1': Flash was not programmed successfully.
PROGRESS_END - End Operation.
Elapsed time =    198 sec.
Cable is not connected.

 

I also saw this message when I initially added the 25P16 device to the JTAG scan chain.

I suspect this is the root of the issue.

 

INFO:iMPACT - File C:/Xilinx/restore_s3a/st25p16.cfi does not exist.
Selected part: M25P16
// *** BATCH CMD : attachflash -position 1 -spi "M25P16"
Unprotect sectors: FALSE
// *** BATCH CMD : assignfiletoattachedflash -position 1 -file "C:/Xilinx/restore_s3a/st25p16.mcs"
INFO:iMPACT - A CFI file is not detected. To ensure correct and safe configuration,
 Please make sure a CFI file is present in the same directory as the PROM file,
 or, regenerate the PROM file with the latest software.

 

 

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Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
16,794 Views
Registered: ‎08-10-2008

Re: Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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CFI missing is not important. You failed in the data loading process, so it's best to read out the STAT register and see what kind of config error might occur. 

 

You can either open a webcase for this and let a PAE help you debug or refer to:

http://www.xilinx.com/support/answers/34909.htm

to learn what each bit of STAT stands for.

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Don't forget to reply, kudo, and accept as solution.
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Visitor barryvo
Visitor
16,586 Views
Registered: ‎11-01-2010

Re: Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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I don't understand this.  Direct SPI is MUCH, MUCH faster than indirect. Why was this function removed? It's removal certainly didn't add any benefits. I can understand eliminating support for older devices, but Direct SPI is(was)a much better way of doing things. I'm a little peeved.

 

Any explanation, Xilinx?:smileymad:

 

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Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
16,567 Views
Registered: ‎07-30-2007

Re: Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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This was a difficult one for us and it a real tradeoff for some people.  You're right, direct is faster, but it also requires a seperate header which is cumbersom and can't be integrated into JTAG test suits.  The feature was removed to help limit the scope of our solution to help with testing and at the end of the day be able to provide more support for more devices.  With less features to test, we can test more parts.

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Visitor acruz5
Visitor
16,123 Views
Registered: ‎04-28-2008

Re: Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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The requirement for a separate header is a concern for the customer, not for Xilinx. Also a separate header is not always required, you could use an external multiplexing circuit with one header, this is what I do and it works fine. Seems to me that this feature was removed more for the benefit of Xilinx to simplify their testing than for the benefit of the customers. I do not see how removing a working feature that obviiously several customers use and depend on benefits the customer.

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Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
16,098 Views
Registered: ‎08-10-2007

Re: Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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iMPACT software is a lab tool and should only be used for test and development in a lab. This is not a production programming solution and can't be supported as such.

Considering this, the extra time required by indirect SPI programming should not be a problem since it cost only few extra minutes/secondes to the lab engineer.

On top of that, the indirect programming solution can be included in a SVF file and this can be used as a production programming solution. This wouldn't be possible with the direct programming.

For a direct production programming solution, you should check with the flash manufacturer or 3rd party tools. I believe pre and post reflow options should be available.

 

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Visitor acruz5
Visitor
11,433 Views
Registered: ‎04-28-2008

Re: Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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I agree that iMPACT is not a production tool, it is a lab tool and no one is arguing that. As a lab tool then it should provide all the flexibility that designers want for use in the lab, but then you bring all this advantages of indirect programming related to production, which again most people will not care for in a lab environment. I am now convinced that direct SPI programming was removed for the benefit of Xilinx developers, and customer support was not a priority.

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Explorer
Explorer
11,211 Views
Registered: ‎04-20-2010

Re: Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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This is very depressing!  I just spent $225 on the USB cable *becuase* ALL THE DOCUMENTATION for the product says it can program SPI flash devices directly.  I just spent the last hour trying to get iMPACT O.40d in to some direct SPI mode, and after failing that, started Google searching, which landed me on this thread.

 

Like acruz5 said, if Xilinx considers iMPACT a lab tool, why would you remove SPI??  Also, why does the documentation continue to state support for direct SPI, and why are the flying leads still labed with SPI information?

 

And yes, for some of us, "production" is a few hundred pieces, and we do consider tools like this as a viable way to support our products.  However, if Xilinx is in the habit of removing functionality on a whim, that gives your customers a very real reason to start considering other companies who are more in tune with their developer base.

 

Very frustrated,

Matthew

 

 

 

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Newbie richlee
Newbie
11,188 Views
Registered: ‎03-25-2011

Re: Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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I agree - It is very disappointing that Xilinx has removed Direct SPI programming.  It is so much better than indirect.  I spent a couple of wasted hours trying to figure out how to get it back.  And I agree that for some of us Production is a couple hundred peices.  

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Visitor trivale
Visitor
10,735 Views
Registered: ‎12-13-2011

Re: Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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While the effort of Xilinx guru's to remove features is impressive, they really tossed the baby out with this stinky bath. What do I mean? Since I am an absolute newbie, I relied heavily on existing documentation and tools. I spent a significant chunk of my personal dough and invested a lot of my personal time go get the development board running. Since the Xilinx geniuses decided to mess-up the tools without updating ANY documentation associated with the development board documentation I had to enjoy the agony of following PDF files only to arrive nowhere. Kudos!

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Instructor
Instructor
10,730 Views
Registered: ‎07-21-2009

Re: Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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@trivale.

 

Have you figured out how to program your development board, or are you still having trouble?

 

-- 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.
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Visitor trivale
Visitor
10,720 Views
Registered: ‎12-13-2011

Re: Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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@eteam00

If not for your post, I would still try to go on with existing manuals/user guides, thanks!

I managed to run into trouble like maxflex77 here: http://forums.xilinx.com/xlnx/board/crawl_message?board.id=XLNXBRD&message.id=3255

I have the same error: "Configuration data download to FPGA was not successful. DONE did not go high, please check your configuration setup and mode settings." Unfortunately he got no answer to his problem, and I am not sure where to look for this one. Do I really need to use an old ISE version, the genius team strikes again?

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Instructor
Instructor
10,715 Views
Registered: ‎07-21-2009

Re: Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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@trivale,

 

Suggestyou start a new thread, post all the useful details (which board, which OS, which iMPACT vers, which driver vers, which config PROM,  etc. etc.).

 

There are a number of things which can go wrong, and the details matter.

 

Or....   you can open a webcase. (or do both).

 

-- 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.
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Visitor trivale
Visitor
10,701 Views
Registered: ‎12-13-2011

Re: Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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Bob, looks like I solved the problem; I am using the latest software and drivers version, a Digilent Spartan-3A FPGA Starter Kit Board connected with standard USB cable to a PC running Windows 7-64.

As far I can tell, the whole trouble started with the official ug334.pdf (Spartan-3A FPGA Starter Kit Board User Guide). Never mind nothing here talks about Direct Programming Method not working. On page 101 is the description of the procedure and jumper settings for Indirect Programming Method, and I summarized here the story:

 

  1. Turn OFF power, remove ALL jumpers, connect USB cable from J3 to PC USB
  2. Install jumpers at J9, JJ10, J11, J12, J13, J40, J41, and J42 to connect the power supplies
  3. Install jumper at J1 from CS0-B to ROM-CS1 only (no ROM-CS0 to CS0-SEL jumper on J1)
  4. Install 3 jumpers on J26 as shown on PCB to select Master Serial (make sure J16 and J46 jumpers are removed)
  5. Turn ON power, wait for the cable drivers to be recognized/installed, start iMPACT

Now, following with iMPACT interface the m25p16 flash device is not accessible at all. I can detect it, I can assign st25p16.mcs configuration file, and I can get access to the whole Program, Verify, Erase, etc. menu, but nothing works.

I tried to identify why the stupid flash memory is not responding. On page 94 from same document is something about Possible Potential Competing Devices …, and jumper j46 (Platform Flash Enable Jumper) can be used to always disable/enable or enable only during configuration (as shown on Spartan-3A/3AN Starte Kit Board Schematic, page 6). Following the User Guide the memory is always disabled, and this is how is recommended to be used for read/write. I installed a jumper at J46 from CE PROM to DONE for “Enable only during configuration” and this seems to fix the problem. Could you please check if what I’ve done it is justified, am I reading/writing to the right device?

 

All The Best,

Adi

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Newbie sergec14
Newbie
10,558 Views
Registered: ‎02-24-2012

Re: Direct SPI programming supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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I am a newbie,

and I experimented successfully with the Spartan 3A starter board for the past 2 weeks including using the microblaze core. The board is great, and so is ISE. But, the documentation is systematically out of date...

I tried to restore the out of the box application and guess what? I have no idea on how to program the serial flash starting from the ST25P16 since all the docs state is that I need to use the st25p16.mcs files but I got no way of using direct spi programming with the newer Impact...

ISE with an evaluation license is meant for us to start using Xilinx FPGAs in our design, but frankly, I might just as well stick to Actel.

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Instructor
Instructor
10,555 Views
Registered: ‎07-21-2009

New S3A Starter Kit owner, checking in...

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I am a newbie,

 

So was I, once.

 

and I experimented successfully with the Spartan 3A starter board for the past 2 weeks including using the microblaze core. The board is great, and so is ISE. But, the documentation is systematically out of date...

 

Yes, this board design is 5 years old, and the software tools have not been frozen in time.  Fortunately, there are updated documents which accompany the updated development  tools.

 

I tried to restore the out of the box application and guess what? I have no idea on how to program the serial flash starting from the ST25P16 since all the docs state is that I need to use the st25p16.mcs files but I got no way of using direct spi programming with the newer Impact...

 

That's right.  The current version of iMPACT supports indirect programming, which works just fine.  Use J25 instead of J23.  If this is your only problem, then you are having a very good day, so far.

 

Alternatively, you can install and run the Digilent Adept programming tool, which still supports direct SPI programming.

 

ISE with an evaluation license is meant for us to start using Xilinx FPGAs in our design, but frankly, I might just as well stick to Actel.

 

If Actel meets all of your needs and you are happy with them, why are you looking at a Xilinx Spartan-3A board?

Do you have a question, or did you simply need to complain?

 

If you have a problem and you are interested in solutions, you'll find ample help here.  But try and lose the attitude that you deserve development tools which never need to be updated.

 

Going forward, please start a new thread to discuss unrelated topics.  The topic on which this thread was opened has been resolved.

 

-- Bob Elkind (and I am not a Xilinx employee)

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.
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Explorer
Explorer
6,592 Views
Registered: ‎11-27-2008

Re: New S3A Starter Kit owner, checking in...

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Thanks to everyone for the tips from this thread.

 

I'm running into a situation where I have less and less options for supporting a large FPGA with SPI flash (or any flash). In ISE 14.1 Xilinx only added support for indirect programming of one 256Mbit SPI flash (N25Q256), and as previously stated, seems to have gotten rid of support for direct programming completely. I also don't understand why more flash vendors aren't supported (Macronix)? Especially given the limited supply of SPI flash in general, more options are really important.

 

Also, the Platform Flash XL (BPI flash) appears to be stuck at 128Mbit with no plans to increase this, yet Xilinx keeps making larger and larger FPGAs?

 

I agree that the longer term, production solution shouldn't need indirect programming, but it's vital for lab debug/bringup.

 

What have others done to get around this problem? Stayed with BPI flash? Or have a system with an ISP programming system that is completely independent of the FPGA?

 

Thanks,

Dan

 

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Instructor
Instructor
6,586 Views
Registered: ‎07-21-2009

Please do not cross-post

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Dan,

 

You have posted the same topic in two different threads.  Have you ever read the forum guidelines which request that you do not cross-post, and that you do not post an unrelated topic to an existing thread?  If not, here is a reminder to read the New Users Forum README thread.  Please note items #3 and #4 in post #1 of the README thread.

 

Thank you for respecting the user forum guidelines.

 

-- 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.
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Visitor quist
Visitor
4,780 Views
Registered: ‎04-07-2014

Re: Direct SPI programming NOT supported in IMPACT 12.x?

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I just want to express my disappointment with Xilinx for removing the Direct SPI Programming support from Impact.

A big reason for me to buy the Platform Cable USB II was the promised ability to directly program SPI flash memory devices. In fact the Product Information Page on xilinx.com (http://www.xilinx.com/products/boards-and-kits/HW-USB-II-G.htm) still states this as a key feature even though the support obviously has been gone for years now. A refund would be appropriate!

The reasons stated by Xilinx employees in this thread that the function is not necessary for prototype work is rubbish. It is in prototype work you need the largest flexibility. When in production you will definitely program the memory directly (probably in the ICT) and then it would be nice to be able to do it also in the prototype step. Especially since I equipped my board with an extra header etc.

Is there by the way any official Xilinx information about the removal except from forum threads? All information I find in User manuals, Datasheets, App Notes etc. states that it is possible to do Direct SPI Programming.

I'm extremely disappointed with Xilinx on this one!

 

Does anyone know of  any other suitable software that can do the job thru the Xilinx Platform Cable USB II?

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