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Configuring the DE0 Nano's Flash Device

Introduction

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When developing programmable logic for the DE0 Nano Education and Development Board a SRAM object file (.sof), containing a configuration bit stream, is typically used to configure the hosted Cyclone IV FPGA at runtime, using the built-in USB Blaster.

When the programmable logic development stage has been completed the resultant configuration data can be downloaded to a configuration device, which reconfigures the Cyclone IV FPGA on power-on or reset. How the configuration data is loaded onto the configuration device is the focus of this article.  

Read more: Configuring the DE0 Nano's Flash Device

Creating a DE0 Nano Quartus II Project

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Introduction

Quartus II is Altera's premier software for everything, not unsurprisingly,  to do with compiling, synthesising and programming designs targeted at their FPGAs. Its Altera's "Swiss army knife" for their brand of FPGAs and SOC products. This note provides a method, that could be used, to setup a Quartus project for the DE0 Nano development and education board. The web edition of Quartus version II, with service pack I installed, was used to make this application note. 

Read more: Creating a DE0 Nano Quartus II Project

Altera's Cyclone III Starter Kit - Developing a Daughter Board (Part 1)

Introduction

The aim of this project, as the title suggests, is to create a daughter card to interface to the development board found in Altera's Cyclone III Starter Kit.

The daughter card is being designed to provide USB communication between a PC and the starter kit board. Also, its purpose is to provide a rapid prototyping platform in the form of an attached solderless breadboard. One of the design goals of the project is to manage the cost of the board through judicious component selection.

This article documents the design of the daughter card from the card's requirements through to its PCB layout.

Read more: Altera's Cyclone III Starter Kit - Developing a Daughter Board (Part 1)

Altera's Cyclone III FPGA Starter Kit - An Introduction

Introduction

Altera's Cyclone III Starter Kit

Altera's Cyclone III FPGA Starter Kit contains an entry level Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) development board concentric about a Cyclone III FPGA. Although it could now be considered archaic given that Altera have enhanced the Cyclone family of FPGAs with Cyclone IV and Cyclone V devices, it is still useful as a hardware development tool. Its credentials as a useful hardware prototyping platform are justified given that  it has most of the major hardware components encountered in entry-level hardware development.

This article reviews the architecture of the FPGA development board, contained in the starter kit, and investigates how it can be expanded into a robust hardware development system.

Read more: Altera's Cyclone III FPGA Starter Kit - An Introduction

Enabling Altera's USB Blaster on LINUX (OpenSUSE 11.4)

 

Introduction

USB blasterWhen installing Altera's Quartus II software on LINUX (see previous article) although the installation of the software is fairly straight forward difficulties sometimes arise in detecting the USB Blaster. In this article the technique used to provide a working hardware configuration capability for the LINUX version of Quartus II and the USB Blaster is presented.

In the first instance an attempt is made to detect the USB Blaster built-into Altera's Cyclone III Starter Kit and in the second an attempt is made to detect a standalone USB Blaster.

This method is broken in OpenSuse 13.1, as SYSFS has been deprecated and replaced with ATTR. An update to this blog post is Altera (1) - Introduction, Installing Quartus 14.1 On Linux (3.11.10-21, x86-64)

Read more: Enabling Altera's USB Blaster on LINUX (OpenSUSE 11.4)

Installing Altera's Quartus Software On Linux (OpenSUSE 11.4)

Summary

Quartus startup imageThis article documents my experience in installing Altera's Quartus II (11.0) software on OpenSUSE Linux 11,4. While the instructions, on installing the software,  are fairly straightforward getting the USB Blaster to work is  a different kettle of fish altogether.

When installing on OpenSUSE (11.4) Linux , as a user without root privileges, Quartus worked first-time without any complications whatsoever, however when I tried to use it to program Altera's Cyclone III Starter Kit, with a built-in USB Blaster, no matter what I tried I could not configure the starter kit. In this article therefore, I will show how I installed Quartus on my Linux box and in the next article I will document my effort, with the help of others, in getting the USB Blaster to work.

Read more: Installing Altera's Quartus Software On Linux (OpenSUSE 11.4)