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Adventurer
Adventurer
8,578 Views
Registered: ‎12-29-2007

Step-by-step guide for Spartan 3E starter kit?

I'm an FPGA newbie teaching myself using the Spartan 3E starter kit. I got the kit for Christmas, but started preparing a week early. So far I've gotten WebPack 9.2i running on my Gentoo Linux system, and then re-downloaded the startup reference design to the board. I then rebuilt the reference design using the Picoblaze vfd from the Picoblaze design. I got a huge number of warnings when I rebuilt startup.bit. It seemed to work anyway, but there was no way to tell since the bahavour did not change.

I then found an assembler (picoasm) and rebuilt the control.vfd, but it was a single-port ROM while the pre-built one was dual-port. I went to the web and found the appropriate ROM_form.vfd and tried again: success, but (of course) still the same huge warning list. I converted the scrolling text to "Hello, World!" ( the traditional "first program" for a software guy such as myself) and sure enough, my starter board is now saying "Hello, World!"

Three relatively minor questions:
1) why all the warning messages? Did I miss a step?
2) how do I place my shiny new program in flash?
3) Is there some official Picoblaze tool suite for Linux that I should use? would it have included the proper ROM_form.vfd?

One major question:
   Is there any sort of step-by-step guide for a first project for the Spartan 3E starter kit, with expected results, etc? The tutorial is for the Spartan 3 board, and the included printed material appears to be badly out of date.
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3 Replies
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Observer svenand
Observer
8,559 Views
Registered: ‎08-13-2007

Re: Step-by-step guide for Spartan 3E starter kit?

I am using the ML403 board with the Virtex-4 FPGA. I have written a tutorial called FPGA design from scratch.
You find it here: www.fpgafromscratch.com

Sven

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Adventurer
Adventurer
8,549 Views
Registered: ‎12-29-2007

Re: Step-by-step guide for Spartan 3E starter kit?

In aswer to my own question about downloading to flash: There is a perfectly good step-by-step description of how to do this in the Spartan-3E Starter Kit Board User Guide (UG230.pdf) starting on page 31 (Chapt 4, "Programming Flash PROM via USB".)  This worked just fine.
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Adventurer
Adventurer
8,548 Views
Registered: ‎12-29-2007

Re: Step-by-step guide for Spartan 3E starter kit?

Thanks, Sven. I will look at your guide now. I also worked through Xilinx' guide for the Spartan 3 starter kit. the problem here is that a total newbie like me has trouble transposing from one board to another board. I'm now thinking that the key concept may be that the physical board must be described in the constraints file (ucf?) almost before you do anything else. After you understand the constraints file, you should be able to create a design or transpose a design from another board.
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