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Adam Taylor’s MicroZed Chronicles, Part 182: The XADC’s External Mux

Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
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By Adam Taylor


We have looked at the XADC several times within this series. One thing we have not examined is how to use the external analog multiplexer capability. This is an oversight on my part as it can be very useful when we are architecting our system. With the XADC we can interface with up to 17 analog inputs: one dedicated Vp/Vn pair of inputs and sixteen auxiliary differential input pairs which share pins with the logic IO. This means that we can sample up to 17 different analog signals along with the device’s on-chip supply voltages and temperatures. This does of course does require the use of as many as 34 I/O pins, which can be challenging on some pin-constrained devices or designs.


The use of an external multiplexor provides us with the ability to sample up to 16 analog inputs. We need only 4 I/O lines for the multiplexer address as the Vp/Vn pair are dedicated and are outside of the multiplexer address. Note that we are not limited to using only the Vp/Vn pair for analog inputs.  You can use any of the auxiliary inputs as well.


To demonstrate how we do this, the first thing with need is a Vivado design with the XADC set up to allow an external mux. We can do this on the ADC setup tab of the XADC wizard. We can also select which analog inputs are being used with the external mux. If we already have a design with the XADC enabled, we can use the AXI interface to configure it.







With the wider Vivado design, I am going to include some ILAs (Integrated Logic Analyzers) so that we can see what is happening internally and I am going to connect the mux pins from the FPGA to the ZedBoard AMS header GPIO pins and into a logic analyzer so that we can see they are changing as would be the case when driving an external mux.






Implementing this within the software is very similar to how we previously did this for the XADC. The first step is to configure the XADC as we would if we were using the internal mux capability. However, when we want to use the external mux we need to consider the information within UG480 and particularly the diagram below:






To use an external mux, we therefore need to do the following in addition to our normal approach:


  1. Set the channel sequencer to cycle through the auxiliary channels we require. (We do not need to have all 16 channels enabled.) We do this using the same function as before using XSysMon_SetSeqChEnables() where the channels are defined using the XSM_SEQ_CH_xxx macros within xsysmon_hw.h.


  1. Inform the XADC which channel is connected to the external mux. In this case it is the VP / VN channel. We do this using the function XSysMon_SetExtenalMux(SysMonInstPtr,XSM_CH_VPVN), which defines the channel connected.



Once these have been configured, we set the XADC sampling by setting the sequencer mode to continuous pass.  This will then sequence the external mux pins around the inputs desired as shown below in the ILA capture when all 16 aux inputs are sampled.







The eagle-eyed will have noticed there are 16 external inputs which requires 4 pins but the external mux address provides 5 pins. To connect these to an external multiplexer we need to connect only the lower four bits of the address.


Just as we do when the internal mux is used, the sampled data from the conversion will be in the appropriate register and not in the Vp/Vn aux conversion register (e.g. aux 0 will be in aux 0, aux 1 in aux 1 and so on).


An external analog mux therefore allows us to monitor nearly the same number of analog signals with a much-reduced pin count. There is also another trick we can do with the XADC, which we will look, soon.


Code is available on Github as always.


If you want E book or hardback versions of previous MicroZed chronicle blogs, you can get them below.




  • First Year E Book here
  • First Year Hardback here.



MicroZed Chronicles hardcopy.jpg 



  • Second Year E Book here
  • Second Year Hardback here



MicroZed Chronicles Second Year.jpg

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