Fri Jul 10 19:45:35 CEST 2009

Avnet Xilinx Spartan-3A FPGA board

So..  How to get this going.  I copied the DVD to my HDD.  It has
version 10 of the tools.  Ccurrently online it's 11, but quite a
download so let's stick to the DVD.  It includes software and
evaluation versions of:

- ISE Foundation
- ChipScope
- PlanAhead
- Platform Studio + EDK
- System Generator for DSP and AccelDSP Synth Tool

A description here[6].

Let's not bother with evaluation software and stick to things that are
going to stay running.

I suppose that would be WebPACK

The tools need registration[1].
Registration ID: 1A9EAGT1TMJXSWSEXCZNG2360

Hmm.. Apparently the ISE WebPACK 10.1 doesn't run on 64bit, and in sid
the ia32 stuff seems broken.  Maybe 11.1 works with 64bit?  Let's
download it overnight.

Next: quick start guide[2].

As far as I understand, the board is programmable through the PSoC
over USB.  I suppose the USB emulates a standard serial port.  Are
there any linux tools?  Yes[3].

The Video[4] talks about SRAM + 16 multipliers on the Spartan-3A.
What else does it have?

Ok. Me like: apparently the board presents itself as an cdc_acm
device.  You can just get the interactive console using a terminal

Ok.  The linux utility can be found on google code[5]:

  svn checkout http://avs3a.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/ avs3a

I use this wrapper script:

[ -z "$1" ] && echo "usage: $0 <bitfile>" && exit 1
exec avs3a -s -p /dev/ttyACM0 -b $1

Now, the tools.  I can start ise as Xilinx/11.1/ISE/bin/lin64/ise.  It
asks me what kind of project I'd like to start and I pick vhdl.  Are
there any examples to start from?

It seems XST is the (command line [7]) synth tool.

Next is maybe the ISE tutorial[8][11].  Chapter 2, HDL based design is
what I want.  Is it possible to bypass the IDE for now and go for
straight VHDL -> bitfile?

Also, there's a forum about the board[9].

A learning blog about this board[10].

Looks like the Xilinx tools use the Tcl language.

[1] http://www.xilinx.com/register
[2] https://www.em.avnet.com/common/poptxn/0,2741,RID%253D%2526CID%253D46501%2526CAT%253D0%2526CCD%253DUSA%2526SID%253D32214%2526DID%253DDF2%2526SRT%253D1%2526LID%253D32232%2526PRT%253D0%2526PVW%253D%2526PNT%253D%2526BID%253DDF2%2526CTP%253DEVK,00.html?file=/files/177/s3aeval_quick_start_10_1_01.zip
[3] http://www.nt7s.com/blog/2008/09/configuring-the-avnet-spartan-3a-eval-board-on-linux-alpha/
[4] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1Mh8F0kVXE
[5] http://avs3a.googlecode.com
[6] http://www.xilinx.com/univ/dtools.htm
[7] http://www.xilinx.com/itp/xilinx7/books/data/docs/cgd/cgd0032_6.html
[8] http://www.xilinx.com/support/documentation/sw_manuals/xilinx11/ise11tut.pdf
[9] http://community.em.avnet.com/t5/Spartan-3A-Evaluation-Kit/bd-p/Spartan3A
[10] http://blog.nirosoftware.com/
[11] http://www.xilinx.com/support/techsup/tutorials/tutorials10.htm