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Basic FPGA Configuration
Part 1
Welcome
If you are new to FPGA design, this module will help you
understand the configuration process
These configuration techniques apply to all of Xilinx’s newest
FPGAs, including Spartan-6 and Virtex-6
After completing this module, you will able to:
Describe the purpose of each of the FPGA configuration pins
Explain the differences between the available configuration
schemes
Choose an appropriate FPGA configuration scheme for your
application
Introduction
What is configuration?
– Process for loading configuration data into the FPGA
Configuration
Data
Source
Control
Logic
(Optional)
FPGA
Introduction
When does configuration happen?
– On power up
– On demand
Why do FPGAs need to be configured?
– FPGA configuration memory is volatile
– Configuration data is stored in a PROM or other external data source
What do you need to know about FPGA configuration?
– What happens during configuration
– How to set up various configuration modes and daisy chains
FPGA Configuration Methods
Xilinx PROMs:
Slave/Master Serial
Slave/Master SelectMAP
Xilinx Cables:
JTAG
Slave Serial
Slave SelectMAP
FPGA
Microprocessor:
JTAG
Slave Serial
Slave SelectMAP
Commodity Flash:
Slave SelectMAP
SPI*
BPI*
*SPI and BPI support is available in Spartan™-6, Virtex™-6, and some older FPGA families
FPGA Configuration Process
To understand the configuration process, you need to know
about…
– Configuration pins – define the configuration mode
• Some configuration pins are inputs (active switches), while others are outputs
(status indicators)
– Configuration modes – is the current configuration scheme
• FPGA designs can support multiple configuration modes
 This will require the user to build additional control logic to drive the
configuration pins
 Be careful, many debugging issues involve multiple configuration modes
being used at one time
Configuration Pins
Specific pins on the FPGA are used during configuration
Some pins act differently depending on the configuration mode
– Example: CCLK is an output in some modes and an input in others
Some pins are only used in specific configuration modes
Configuration Pins
Mode pins
– (3) Input pin(s) that select which configuration mode is being used
PROGRAM_B
– Input that initiates configuration
– Active Low
CCLK (configuration clock)
– Input or output (depending on configuration mode)
– Frequency up to 100 MHz (dependent on the FPGA, see configuration
user guide)
INIT_B
– Open-drain bi-directional pin
– Error and power stabilization flag
– Active Low
DONE
– Open-drain bi-directional pin
– Indicates completion of configuration process
Configuration Pins
DIN
– Serial input for configuration data
DOUT
– Output to the next device in a daisy chain
– Used in daisy chains only
…other pins are used for specific configuration modes
Note that some configuration pins are dual purpose
– They become user I/O after configuration is complete
• This is often prohibited by the user
Many Configuration Modes
Serial (one data line)
– JTAG
• Primarily for debugging and prototyping, recommended for all applications, external
control logic provided by download cable and JTAG chain
– Master Serial
• Control logic is a part of the FPGA, uses serial Flash (such as Platform Flash PROM)
– Slave Serial
• External control logic is necessary, built by user
– SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface)
• Control logic in FPGA, uses an industry-standard SPI Flash PROM, usually used in
embedded applications
Parallel (8-bit or 16-bit data lines)
– Master SelectMAP
• Control logic is a part of the FPGA, uses parallel Flash (such as Platform Flash)
– Slave SelectMAP
• External control logic necessary, built by user
– BPI (Byte-Wide Peripheral Interface)
• Control logic is a part of the FPGA, uses an industry-standard NOR Flash, usually used
in embedded applications
JTAG Configuration Mode
TCK is driven by your Xilinx programming cable
The bitstream is stored on your computer and is downloaded via
the ISE™ software iMPACT utility and a Xilinx programming
cable
– Primarily used for
debugging
Control signals are in parallel
Unique programs are shifted into the appropriate device
TCK
ISE
(iMPACT)
+ Cable
TDI
TDO
FPGA
TMS
TDO
TDO
FPGA
FPGA
Master Serial Configuration Mode
FPGA provides all control logic
– All mode pins are tied Low
– Slave serial mode requires
external control logic
Xilinx
Platform
Flash
PROM
CCLK
Data
FPGA
Master Serial mode
– FPGA drives configuration clock
(CCLK) as an output
– Data is loaded 1 bit per CCLK
– Used when data is stored in a serial PROM (usually a Xilinx Platform
Flash PROM)
– Slowest configuration mode, but the easiest to debug
Slave Serial Configuration Mode
External control logic required to
generate
CCLK
Serial
Data
Data
– Microprocessor or microcontroller
– Xilinx serial download cable
– Another FPGA could be used to build the
control logic
– Daisy chains are often used in this mode
Data is loaded 1 bit per CCLK
All mode pins are tied High
CCLK
Control
Logic
FPGA
Master SelectMAP Mode
FPGA provides all control logic
CCLK
Sometimes called Master Parallel
mode
– FPGA drives address bus
– Data is loaded 1 byte per address
• Data internally serialized
• FPGA generates 8 CCLKs per byte
Usually targets Xilinx Platform Flash
XL or another vendors Platform Flash
PROM
– The Xilinx Platform Flash XL also works
in BPI mode and is a popular memory
resource for Virtex-5 and Virtex-6
• This enable faster configuration times
Byte-Wide
Data Source
Data
FPGA
Slave SelectMAP Mode
External control logic required (microprocessor or microcontroller,
for example)
Ready/Busy handshaking
Data presented 1 byte at a time
– Virtex-5 and Virtex-6 support x8, x16, and x32
– Spartan-6 supports x8 and x16
Asynchronous Peripheral
– Control logic provides a Write
strobe
Byte-Wide
Data
• Triggers FPGA to generate
8 CCLK pulses
Can target Xilinx Synchronous Peripheral
– CCLK provided by control logic
(8 pulses per data byte)
Platform Flash XL
– This would not require external control logic
Data
Control Signals
Control
Logic
FPGA
Ready/Busy
Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) Mode
FPGA configures itself from an attached
industry-standard SPI serial Flash PROM
– FPGA issues a command to Flash and
it responds with the data
– Can be used in multi-boot applications where
multiple bitstreams can be loaded by the FPGA
Data is loaded 1 bit per CCLK (slow)
SPI
Flash
PROM
CCLK
Data
Command
There are no standards for the commands
– Commands are vendor specific
– Vendor Select (VS) pins tell the FPGA which commands to issue
– Spartan™-6 supports x2 and x4 modes
– See Data Sheet or Configuration User Guide for list of supported
vendors
– Excellent choice for embedded applications
FPGA
Byte-Wide Peripheral Interface (BPI) Mode
FPGA issues an address to a BPI Flash,
which responds with the data
– Uses standard parallel NOR Flash interface
– No clock is needed because the FPGA
contains the control logic
BPI
NOR
Flash
Data
FPGA
Addr[26:0]
Usually used in embedded applications
– Flash is easily used as addressable memory with address and data buses
– Supported for Virtex™-5, Virtex-6, Spartan™-3E, and Spartan-6 FPGAs
Xilinx Platform Flash XL is a 128 Mb parallel NOR and works in
BPI and SelectMAP modes
– Spartan-6 BPI mode is shared with SelectMAP mode
Summary
Field programmable gate arrays are usually configured on power
up from an external data source
SPI and BPI are the simplest configuration modes and take the
least effort to debug, because the control logic is already built
Slave configuration modes require you to build the external
control circuitry
JTAG access enables much easier testing and debugging of your
prototype and while your system is in production
Where Can I Learn More?
Configuration User Guides (from the ISE tools)
– Help  Xilinx on the Web  (select a device family)  FPGA User Guides
•
•
•
•
•
Virtex-6 FPGA Configuration User Guide, UG360
Spartan-6 FPGA Configuration User Guide, UG380
Virtex-5 FPGA Configuration User Guide, UG191
(older Spartan families), UG332
Platform Flash XL Configuration and Storage Device User Guide, UG438
Software Manuals (iMPACT, PromGEN, and BitGen)
– Help  Software Manuals  Command Line Tool User Guide
Platform Cable USB II
– Data Sheet, DS593
– USB Cable Installation Guide, UG344
• Troubleshooting
BPI Programming Tutorial (evaluation kit page)
– Help  Xilinx on the Web  Support & Services  Products & Services 
Boards and Kits  (select a board)  Documentation
• BPI programming tutorial for ML605 and SP601 demo boards
Where Can I Learn More?
Check out the Configuration Problem Solver
– www.xilinx.com/support/troubleshoot.htm
– This utility provides a step-by-step debugging guide for all configuration
schemes
Xilinx Education Services courses
– www.xilinx.com/training
• Xilinx tools and architecture courses
• Hardware description language courses
• Basic FPGA architecture, Basic HDL Coding Techniques, and other Videos!
Basic FPGA Configuration
Part 2
Welcome
If you are new to FPGA design, this module will help you
understand the configuration process and some more
advanced features of configuration
These configuration techniques apply to all of Xilinx’s newest
FPGAs, including Spartan-6 and Virtex-6
After completing this module, you will able to:
Answer some Frequently Asked Questions
Describe the prototyping hardware currently available
Explain the role of each phase of the configuration sequence
Connect multiple FPGAs into a configuration daisy chain
Describe the features of the Xilinx Platform Flash and Platform
Flash XL
Question
Should my FPGA load its configuration data from an external
memory or should a processor or microcontroller download the
configuration data?
– The benefit of slave modes is that the bitstream can be stored pretty much
anywhere in your hardware system
– Control logic can allow for in-system delivery of FPGA design updates
– Additional components will have to be purchased
– Debugging your custom control circuitry can be challenging
– Master configuration schemes already have the control logic built inside of
the FPGA, so debugging is minimal
– Always include a JTAG configuration path for easy debugging
Question
Should my system use a single FPGA or multiple FPGAs?
– Most applications use a single FPGA
– But some applications require multiple FPGAs for increased logic density
or I/O
– Multiple FPGA systems should have a single configuration data source
and use a daisy chain
• This reduces cost and simplifies programming and logistics
• All of the configuration schemes support daisy chains
Question
Which is the simplest configuration scheme to debug?
– Master Serial, BPI, and SPI modes are probably the easiest to use
• Using any master configuration mode will be easy to debug because you did not
have to build the external control logic
– Master modes use the fewest pins
• Verses parallel modes which are the fastest, but have the most pins to debug
• SPI and BPI modes may also be least expensive
Question
Should I choose the lowest-cost configuration solution?
Do you already have a spare, non-volatile memory component in
your system?
– The bitstream can be stored in system memory, on a hard drive, or
downloaded remotely over a network connection
Is there a way to consolidate the non-volatile memory required in
your application?
– Can the bitstream of your FPGA be stored with any processor code for
your application (such as an embedded application)?
Can you use the SPI or BPI configuration schemes?
– Because these devices have common footprints and multiple suppliers,
they may have lower pricing due to highly competitive markets
Question
Is the fastest possible configuration time the more important
consideration?
– Parallel configuration schemes are inherently faster than serial modes
– Configuring a single FPGA is inherently faster than configuring multiple
FPGAs in a daisy chain
– In master modes, the configuration clock frequency of the FPGA can be
increased using the ConfigRate bitstream option
• The maximum speed depends on the read specifications for the non-volatile
memory you have chosen
• A faster memory can allow for faster configuration
– The clock made by the FPGA varies by process. The fastest configuration
rate depends on this clock, so check your data sheet
• If an external clock exists in your application, you can configure in slave mode
while using attached non-volatile memory
Question
Will the FPGA be loaded with a single configuration image or
multiple images?
Most applications use one image and the FPGA is configured
when power is turned on
Some applications re-load the FPGA multiple times, while the
system is operating, with different bitstreams for different
functions (called MultiBoot)
– For example, the FPGA can be loaded with one bitstream to implement a
power on self-test, followed by a second with the final application
– In test equipment applications, the FPGA is loaded with different
bitstreams to execute hardware-assisted tests. With this method, one
small FPGA can implement the equivalent functionality of a larger ASIC or
FPGA
The JTAG and slave modes easily support reloading the FPGA
with multiple images
– However, reloading multiple images is also possible in Master schemes
with the newest FPGAs using the MultiBoot feature
Question
What I/O voltages are required in the end application?
The chosen FPGA configuration mode places some constraints
on the FPGA application—specifically the I/O voltage allowed on
the configuration banks of the FPGA
– SPI and BPI modes leverage third-party Flash memory components that
are usually 3.3V-only devices
– This requires that the I/O voltage on the banks attached to the memory
also be 3.3V
– If a voltage other than 3.3V is required (this is the case with Virtex-6),
consider using a Xilinx Platform Flash PROM
– Numonyx, Spansion, and Winbond are considering producing a flash
memory that is compatible with Virtex-6
Question
Should the FPGAs I/O pins be pulled High via resistors during
configuration?
– Some of the FPGA pins used during configuration have dedicated pull-up
resistors during configuration
– The majority of user I/O pins have optional pull-up resistors
Why enable the pull-up resistors during configuration?
– Floating signal levels are a problem in CMOS logic systems
– The internal pull-up resistors generate a logic High level on each pin
– Similarly, an individual pin can be pull-down using an appropriately-sized
external pull-down resistor
Why disable pull-up resistors during configuration?
– In hot-swap or hot-insertion applications, the pull-up resistors provide a potential
current path to the I/O power rail
– Turning off the pull-up resistors disables this potential path
– However, external pull-up or pull-down resistors are then required on each
individual I/O pin
Question
Does the application target a specific FPGA density or should
it support migrating to other FPGA densities in the same
package footprint?
The package footprint and pinouts for some Xilinx families are
designed to allow migration among different densities within a
specific family
– This may require a larger memory device
– For example, three different Spartan™-6 LX FPGAs support the
identical package footprint when using the 256-ball fine-pitch thin ball
grid array package FT(G)256
– The smallest device, the XC6SLX4, requires approximately 2.5 Mbits
for configuration. The largest of these devices, the XC6SLX150T,
requires approximately 32.1 Mbits for configuration
– To support design migration among device densities, allow sufficient
configuration memory to cover the largest device in the targeted
package (remember to include the size of any software)
File Generation
BitGen
– Used to generate Xilinx FPGA bitstreams (.BIT) for configuration
– Requires a native circuit design (.NCD), which is made after place and route
has been successfully completed
– NCD defines the internal logic and interconnections for your FPGA design
iMPACT
– GUI tool used to generate PROM Files
– Used to configure FPGAs in-system, directly from a host-computer with a
Xilinx download cable
File Generation
PROMGen
– Used to generate PROM Files
– Formats a bitstream file (.BIT) into a PROM format file
– Supports MCS-86 (Intel), EXORMAX (Motorola), and TEKHEX (Tektronix)
– Can also generate a binary or hexadecimal file
Prototyping Solutions
Platform Cable USB
– Low-cost JTAG/Slave Serial ISP cable
connects to USB port
– Configures Xilinx FPGAs
– Programs Xilinx CPLDs and PROMs
Platform Cable USB II
– Low-cost JTAG/Slave Serial ISP cable
connects to USB port
– Configures Xilinx FPGAs
– Programs Xilinx CPLDs and PROMs
– Programs SPI flash memory devices
Parallel Cable IV
– Low-cost JTAG/SlaveSerial cable
connects to PC parallel port
– Configures Xilinx FPGAs
– Programs Xilinx CPLDs and PROMs
Note: Xilinx hardware solutions are
not recommended for production
programming
Configuration Sequence
Steps are the same for all devices and modes
1) Device Power-Up
– This timing diagram shows the first 3 steps of configuration
– Check that your system powers-up the FPGA quickly enough
– INIT_B is a bi-directional open-drain pin (external pull-up is required)
Configuration Sequence
2) Clear Configuration Memory
– Configuration memory is cleared any time the device is powered up or
after the PROGRAM_B pin is pulsed Low
•
•
•
There is a minimum length of time PROGRAM_B must be low
Can be held low as long as you want
After it is released the configuration memory is cleared twice
– During this time I/Os are placed in a High-Z state
– INIT_B is internally driven Low during initialization, then released after
Tpor
•
If INIT_B pin is held Low externally, the device waits at this point in the
initialization process until the pin is released
3) Samples Mode Pins
– This is done when INIT_B goes HIGH
– Then CCLK starts running
Configuration Sequence
4) Synchronization
–
For BPI-Up, BPI-Down, Slave SelectMAP, and Master SelectMAP modes, the bus width
must be first detected
–
A special 32-bit synchronization word (0xAA995566) is sent to the configuration logic
•
This alerts to upcoming configuration data and aligns the configuration data with the
internal configuration logic
5) Check Device ID
–
ID check must pass before the configuration data frames can be loaded
•
This prevents configuration with a bitstream that is formatted for a different device
•
If an ID error occurs during configuration, the device attempts to do a fallback
reconfiguration
6) CRC (Cyclic Redundancy Check)
–
After the configuration data is loaded the configuration bitstream can issue a Check
CRC instruction to the device, followed by an expected CRC value
–
If the value does not match, the device pulls INIT_B Low and aborts configuration
•
The CRC check is included in the configuration bitstream by default, but can be
disabled
•
Intended to catch errors in transmitting the configuration bitstream
Configuration Sequence
7) Start-Up
– The startup sequence is controlled by an 8-phase sequential state
machine
– The startup sequencer performs the following tasks (user selectable)
•
•
•
•
•
•
Wait for DCMs to Lock (optional)
Wait for DCI to Match (optional)
Negate Global 3-state (GTS) (which activates I/O)
Release DONE pin (open-drain output requiring an external pull-up)
Assert Global Write Enable (GWE) (allows RAMs and FFs to change state)
Assert End of Startup (EOS)
 Note that last 4 steps are default
What is a Daisy Chain?
Multiple FPGAs connected in series for configuration
– Allows configuration of many devices from a single data source
– Minimizes the board traces necessary
In our example, the first device in this serial daisy chain can be in
any configuration mode, but we chose the Master Serial mode
All other devices must be in Slave Serial mode
Note that additional configuration modes support daisy chains
– Refer to the Configuration User Guide for your FPGA to learn about other
types of daisy chains
What is a Daisy Chain?
First device is in Master Serial (000), second is in Slave Serial (111)
Connect all PROGRAM and CCLK pins together
Connect each DOUT to the DIN of the next device
Connecting INIT and DONE pins is recommended
Creating a Serial Daisy Chain (Spartan-6)
First device is in Master Serial (01), second is in Slave Serial (11)
Connect all PROGRAM and CCLK pins together
Connect each DOUT to the DIN of the next device
Connecting INIT and DONE pins is recommended
Creating a Daisy Chain
Connect PROGRAM pins
– Required so that all FPGAs will all reprogram together
Connect CCLK pins
– Required so that all FPGAs are synchronized with each other and with
the data stream
Connect each DOUT to the DIN of the next device
– Required to allow each FPGA to receive the data stream
Connect INIT pins
– Creating a single error flag is recommended
Connect DONE pins
– Creating a single status flag is recommended
– Connect DONE to the CE input of your PROM
How Does a Daisy Chain Work?
A synchronization word is passed to each device in the chain
The first FPGA in the chain is configured first
– Keeps DOUT High until its configuration memory is full
– Then data is passed to the next device in the chain
The startup sequence occurs after all devices are configured
XCFxxP Platform Flash Features
In-system programmable configuration PROMs
– Ideal for smaller density FPGAs
• 8, 16, and 32 Mb of in-system programmable flash storage
• Multiple devices can be cascaded to configure larger FPGAs or multiple
FPGAs daisy chained together
– Supports Master Serial, Slave Serial, Master SelectMAP, and Slave
SelectMAP configuration modes
– In-system programmable via JTAG
– Data compression allows the user to target a smaller density Platform
Flash
– In Slave Serial mode the flash can generate its own configuration clock
– 1.8V supply voltage
XCFxxP Platform Flash Features
Design revisioning
REV0
– Supports up to 4 unique design revisions
REV1
Customer example: safe updates
– Rev0 is the golden image
REV2
– Rev1 and Rev2 are new images
REV3
– If Rev1 or Rev2 fail, Rev0 can be loaded automatically
Customer example: system tests
– Rev0 is the board test
– Rev1 is the production version
EN_EXT_SEL= 0
REV_SEL[1:0] = 01
Platform Flash XL Features
High Speed Storage Device (800 Mb/sec, 50 MHz w/16-bits)
– Ideal for high density FPGAs, 128 Mb of in-system programmable flash
storage
– Supports 16 bit data bus
• Configuring at 30 MHz with a 16-bit data bus, a Virtex-6 LX130T device
requires ~85 ms to receive its 43 Mb of configuration data
• Ideal for PCI Express and other high performance applications
– Optimized for high-performance and ease of use
Standard NOR-Flash Interface for access to software code or
data Storage
– Supports MultiBoot bitstream for design revision storage
– Can store data or processor code
Standard NOR Flash Interface
Master SelectMAP Mode
Platform Flash XL Features
Indirect programming of the flash can be done with a single
cable
– Configuration of the FPGA with the Platform Flash XL can be done with
Master BPI-Up, Slave-SelectMAP, or Master-SelectMAP modes
• Master-SelectMAP uses an internal configuration clock of 3 MHz
• Slave-SelectMAP is the fastest
• Special control of the power supply sequence or delay of the configuration
process can be required to ensure power-on readiness of the Platform Flash
XL before the FPGA BPI address sequence
Indirect programming of the
Platform Flash XL
Virtex-6 MultiBoot
MultiBoot is used for both fallback and warm boot reconfiguration
– Fallback reconfiguration occurs when an error is detected during configuration
– When fallback or IPROG occurs, a pulse resets the entire configuration logic
– This reset pulse pulls INIT_B and DONE Low, and restarts the configuration
process
– The FPGA drives new values on the two dual-mode pins RS[1:0] (Revision
Select)
– When a configuration error is detected, the configuration logic generates an
internal reset pulse and actively drives RS[1:0] to 00 to load the fallback (safe)
bitstream
– Warm boot (IPROG) reconfiguration is the same except the WBSTAR register
assigns RS
• This is used to load a new bitstream at any time without powering down
Fallback Reconfiguration Usage for BPI
* Initial Bitstream Selected as RS[01]
BPI Flash Address Space for MultiBoot
Spartan-6 MultiBoot
Spartan-6 MultiBoot is different
from Virtex-6
– Spartan-6 supports reconfiguration for
fallback and warm boot applications,
but cannot be activated by external
pins (no RS inputs)
– With Spartan-6 the FPGA application
triggers a MultiBoot operation, causing
the FPGA to reconfigure from a
different configuration bitstream
– There are three images for MultiBoot
configuration.
• The first image is the Header. This small
bitstream contains the syncword, sets
the addresses for the next bitstream as
well as the fallback or golden bitstream
• The second image is the MultiBoot
Bitstream. This is the bitstream that the
user plans to configure first
• The third image is the fallback or golden
bitstream. This bitstream is known to be
“safe” should an error occur consistently
during configuration
MultiBoot Logic
Summary
Master Serial, Master SelectMAP, SPI, and BPI are the simplest
configuration modes and take the least effort to debug
Slave configuration modes usually takes the most effort to debug
JTAG access enables much easier testing and debugging of
prototype.
Multiple FPGAs can be connected to form a configuration daisy
chain
The Platform Flash XL is designed to support Xilinx’s largest
FPGAs and is compatible with Virtex-6
Where Can I Learn More?
Configuration User Guides (from the ISE tools)
– Help  Xilinx on the Web  (select a device family)  FPGA User Guides
•
•
•
•
Virtex-6 FPGA Configuration User Guide, UG360
Spartan-6 FPGA Configuration User Guide, UG380
Virtex-5 FPGA Configuration User Guide, UG191
Platform Flash XL Configuration and Storage Device User Guide, UG438
Software Manuals (iMPACT, PromGEN, and BitGen)
– Help  Software Manuals  Command Line Tool User Guide
Platform Cable USB II
– Data Sheet, DS593
– USB Cable Installation Guide, UG344
• Troubleshooting
BPI Programming Tutorial (evaluation kit page)
– Help  Xilinx on the Web  Support & Services  Products & Services 
Boards and Kits  (select a board)  Documentation
• BPI programming tutorial for ML605 and SP601 demo boards
Where Can I Learn More?
Check out the Configuration Problem Solver
– http://www.xilinx.com/support/troubleshoot.htm
– This utility provides a step-by-step debugging guide for all configuration
schemes
Xilinx Education Services courses
– www.xilinx.com/training
• Xilinx tools and architecture courses
• Hardware description language courses
• Basic FPGA architecture, Basic HDL Coding Techniques, and other Free Videos!
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