Monday, January 23, 2012

Using Xilinx ISE WebPack IDE With Digilent Basys2

Presently the bulk of our focus has laid in configuring a Linux machine to have the capacity to act as a development environment for the Digilent Basys2 Development board. In this document we will walk through the process of loading the basic default program into the Basys2 board.

This document assumes that you’ve erased your Basys2’s Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EEPROM) data or is running some design other than the design shipped with the Basys2. If this is not the case, to ensure that the Basys2 is erased you may execute the following while your Basys2 is connected via USB and is TURNED ON (make sure the power switch is in the ON position):
djtgcfg erase -d Basys2 -i 1

First and foremost we must start the Xilinx ISE WebPack Integrated Development Environment (IDE). To do so, assuming you have used the default installation path, you may execute (similar for different versions) the following:
cd /opt/Xilinx/13.3/ISE_DS/ISE/bin/lin/
./ise &
Minimizing the IDE and opening a web browser, we may goto the following location:,400,790&Prod=BASYS2

Locate the “Basys2 User Demo project” and download it.

In a terminal you may unzip the downloaded file using the unzip program:
This creates a pdf and a folder “Basys2UserDemo”. Let’s give focus back to the ISE WebPack IDE (Maximize it) and then select:

  1. File -> Open Project
    1. Browse to the unzipped folder location / “UncompiledBasys2UserDemo”
    2. Change “Files of Type” from “ISE Project Files (*.xise)” to “Old ISE Project Files (*.ise)”
    3. Select “Basys2UserDemo.ise” and Click “Open”
    4. When prompted to to mirgate the project, Click “Migrate Only”
  2. On the left there is a “Panel” called “Design” this may be toggled using “View -> Panels -> Design” though we will ensure this is checked and visible.
  3. Identify the Basys2UserDemo - Stuctural node in the Design Panel “Hierarchy,” select it and then right click on it.
  4. Select “Design Properties...”
  5. Ensure the following:
    1. Top-Level Source type: “HDL”
    2. Evaluation Development Board: “None Specified”
    3. Product Category: “All”
    4. Family: “Spartan 3E”
    5. Select “Device” to match if you have a 100K die or 250K die, 100K dies use XC3S100E and 250K dies use XC3S250E
    6. Package: “CP132”
    7. Speed: “-5”
    8. Click “OK”
  6. Identify the Basys2UserDemo - Stuctural node in the Design Panel “Hierarchy,” select it and then right click on it.
  7. Select “Implement Top-Module”
  8. Wait until all processing is complete...
  9. Identify “Generate Programming File” in the Design Panel under “Processes: Basys2UserDemo”, right click and select “Process Properties”
    1. Select “Startup Options” Category
    2. Ensure:
      1. FPGA Start-Up Clock: “JTAG Clock”
      2. Click “OK”
  10. Identify “Generate Programming File” in the Design Panel under “Processes: Basys2UserDemo”, right click and select “Run”
    1. This Generates a .BIT file which can be used to program the FPGA.
  11. From a terminal enter into the location enter the Basys2UserDemo/UncompiledBasys2UserDemo” folder and execute the following
    1. djtgcfg prog -d Basys2 -i 0 -f Basys2UserDemo.bit
    2. -i 0 : is the FPGA’s Random Access memory (RAM), this will not permanently load the User Demo to the Board.
    3. (Read the “Linux: Getting Started, Using Digilent Adept 2“ for more information if necessary)
Congratulations you should now have the user demo running on your Basys2! To Confirm this the 7-Segment displays on the bottom of the Basys2 will be counting from 0 to F in Hexadecimal and repeat.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Installing Digilent Adept 2 on Linux Workstations

So in my previous post I walk through the somewhat long, boring, but important steps, for installing the Xilinx ISE WebPack software. This is the software used for creating hardware designs, compiling them, optimizing them, routing them, and eventually it spits out a '.bit' file.

So in theory, once you've compiled a design, or have a .bit file for your particular Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) or Complex Programmable Logic Device (CPLD), you'll be ready to load it onto your device of choice! To do these we use Digilent Adept 2.

Digilent Adept 2: The Adept Runtime & Utilities consists of the shared libraries, firmware images, and configuration files necessary to communicate with Digilent's devices.
  1. Goto: and download the Run time software for your Linux architecture (32 or 64 bit)
  2. Decompress the downloaded file, this requires gzip
    1. eg. “gzip -d digilent.adept.runtime_2.8.2-i686.tar.gz”
  3. Untar the the decompressed file, this requires tar
    1. eg. “tar -xvf digilent.adept.runtime_2.8.2-i686.tar”
  4. Enter the directory which contains the run time installer
  5. *Execute the script, this will require superuser privileges (speak with your system administrator)
    1. eg. “sudo ./”
    2. Press [enter], press [Enter]
*As of this writing the Digilent Adept 2 runtime encounters an error on 3.x.x kernels that use udev. It should be fixed soon.

  1. Goto: and downlaod the Utilities software for your Linux architecture(32 or 64 bit)
  2. Decompress the downloaded file, this requires gzip
    1. eg. “gzip -d digilent.adept.utilities_2.1.1-i686.tar.gz”
  3. Untar the decompressed file, this requires tar
    1. eg. “tar -xvf digilent.adept.utilities_2.1.1-i686.tar”
  4. Enter the directory which contains the utilities installer
  5. Execute the script, this will require superuser privileges (speak with your system administrator)
    1. eg. “sudo ./”
    2. Press [enter], press [Enter]
I use a Digilent Basys 2 Development Board because it's cheap enough for me to afford, I also have a C-MOD which I have not used yet but will likely utilize at sometime this year. If you've done both the ISE WebPack install and the Adept 2 installation you should now have the necessary software to load new designs to devices of your choice!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Installing Xilinx ISE Webpack on Linux workstations

Recently I pulled out the old Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) from my desk and dusted it off to get it ready for some small projects. I'd just like to get a little more into digital design, etc. My experimenter board of choice is the Digilent Basys2 Spartan 3E FPGA Board. This is my board of choice because it's not very expensive and though many people tell me the Spartan 3E are obsolete/deprecated. However, this is what I have so it's the board and chip I'll use.

But before I can go off and put any designs on the board I need to pick up some digital design software. I'll be using Xilinx's ISE WebPack (currently version 13.3).

The following outlines the steps to getting started with Xilinx ISE WebPack on Linux based machines.

  1. Goto: and download the latest version of Xilinx ISE WebPack for your platform (Linux Full Installer).
    1. You will need to register a Username/Password in order to get the download, this registration will also be used when getting the Licensing file to activate ISE WebPack, so keep a copy safe and available!
  2. Confirm the download was successful by comparing MD5 checksums on the archive to the information at the above location.
    1. This requires openssl
      1. eg. “openssl md5 Xilinx_ISE_DS_Lin_13.3_O.76xd.1.0.tar”
  3. Untar the archive
    1. This requires tar
      1. eg. “tar -xvf Xilinx_ISE_DS_Lin_13.3_O.76xd.1.0.tar”
  4. Enter the directory for the Xilinx installer:
    1. eg. “cd Xilinx_ISE_DS_Lin_13.3_O.76xd.1.0”
* ISE WebPack will ask for an installation directory during execution, the default is “/opt/Xilinx/13.3” (for the latest version as of 1/5/2011). The effective user must have write access to “/opt/” in order to install to this location. Speak to your system administrator for more information.
  1. Execute xsetup
    1. ./xsetup
  2. Click “Next”
  3. Review 1 of 2 License Agreement, click “I accept...” followed by “Next”
  4. Review 2 of 2 License Agreement, click “I accept...” followed by “Next”
  5. Select ISE WebPack, click “Next”
  6. Check the following:
    1. “Acquire or Manage a License Key”
    2. “Enable WebTalk to send software...”
    3. “Ensure Linux System Generator Symlinks”
    4. Click “Next”
  7. Check “Import tool preferences from previous version,” click “Next”
  8. Click “Install”
  9. Select “Get Free ISE WebPack License,” followed by “Next”
  10. Click “Connect Now”
    1. A browser should open redirecting you to login to register your ISE WebPack OR
    2. If this does not occur, you may follow the following link:
  11. Login using your credentials acquired through the registration process in Step 1.
  12. Confirm or Modify any registration information and click “Next” in your web browser.
  13. Continue any on screen instructions for generating a License Key [Unfortunately: I did this a while ago and no longer need to do it again. I merely managed my existing license and had a new copy of the Xilinx.lic file (the license) to me.]
  14. Once you have your Xiling.lic file emailed to you, download it to any directory and Select “Copy License File”
  15. Browse to the file location select the file, you will be prompted with a successful message, click “OK” followed by “Close”
  16. Click “Finish”
This concludes the installation of Xilinx ISE WebPack.

Coming soon, a quick intro to using ISE WebPack to load the default program...