Electronics design

FPGA Beginner’s Series, 12: Driving a 7-Segement Display

It just occurred to me that learning to program FPGAs is making me feel young again. It’s not taking years off my countenance or anything, but I’m once again working with circuits I was building in my high school electronics class back in the age of dinosaurs and dweebs. In […]

FPGA Beginner’s Series, 11: Adding in the Switches

As you may recall, we have progressed beyond the light-emitting diode (LED) flashing tutorial that was provided with the Avnet Spartan-6 LX9 MicroBoard. Now we wish to plug some external switches into our FPGA development board and then use these switches to “Start” and “Stop” the count sequence being displayed […]

FPGA Beginner’s Series, 10: LEDs and Switches

In my last few blogs, I’ve taken an existing command-line tutorial and brought it up in the Xilinx ISE development environment. That’s an important first step, but now it’s time to start doing something of my own. I’ll begin simply, borrowing heavily from the example we just completed. Basically, I’m […]

FPGA Beginner’s Series, 9: Loading the .BIT file

In my last blog, I used the IDE (Integrated Development Environment) supplied with my FPGA development guide to walk through the process of creating the .BIT configuration file. In this installment, I’ll guide you through the process of of loading the .BIT configuration file into the FPGA. OK, the state-of-play […]

FPGA Beginner’s Series, 8: Creating the .BIT File

In my previous blog, we completed the most basic framework of our configuration; now, we’re picking up where we left off. My objective in this column is simply to use the IDE to do the same thing we did with our command-line batch files in prior blogs. Before introducing too […]

FPGA Beginner’s Series, 7: Bringing Up the IDE

Thus far, I’ve been working in command-line mode. In this episode, I bring up the IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for the very first time. When I originally powered up my Spartan-6 LX9 development board, I tried to jump in with the Xilinx IDE (integrated development environment), which they call the […]

FPGA Beginner’s Series, 6: Adding LEDs & Modifying the Verilog

From June 25, 2012 Following my success in getting the four light-emitting diodes (LEDs) on my FPGA development board to flash using the provided tutorial, I, examined the contents of the UCF (user constraint file) in a little more detail. In this installment, I’ll Duane add two additional LEDs to […]

FPGA Beginner’s Series, 5: More About the UCF

From June 19, 2012: In my previous article, I discussed how i managed to get all four of the light-emitting diodes (LEDs) on my development board flashing. In this installment, as a lead-up to adding some external LEDs, I’ll examine the contents of the UCF (user constraint file) in more […]

FPGA Beginner’s Series, 4: Flashing the LEDs

From June 11, 2012: Previously, I discovered how the signals in the HDL are related to the physical pins on the FPGA, and how these pins are connected to the light-emitting diodes (LEDs) on the  development board. In this installment, I manage to get all four of his LEDs flashing. […]

FPGA Beginner’s Series, 3: Sorting Out the Pins

From June 4, 2012: When I left off, I had just received my FPGA development board (an Avnet Spartan-6 LX9 MicroBoard, which was kindly donated by Xilinx). I opened the package and installed the design software on his computer. In this installment, I discover how the signals in the HDL […]