Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Xilinx iMPACT

So you have finished your HDL coding and generated the bit file, but now you need to write that file to your FPGA; your next step is to get familiar with iMPACT.

iMPACT is Xilinx's method of programming their FPGAs through a JTAG interface. Most of the time you will need a JTAG to serial/parallel/usb cable. These are generally expensive (approx. $100-200) but are not necessarily required. Check with your boards documentation on what is needed to program it. Most likely if it doesn't need one of these cables, they will have their own tool that you should use.

Loading up iMPACT

1. When you load up iMPACT it will prompt you create or load a new project
2. If this is your first time you will want to create a new project
3. Many people don't save this project and just create a new one each time it opens. Its up to you how you want to handle this.
4. The next screen relates to detecting the device at hand
5. You should make sure your board is connected to the computer and powered up before going any further.
6. Generally you should select the Boundary-Scan option. This will scan the common interfaces for your board.
7. After the scan has been completed you will see your FPGA part number show up in the program window.
8. The next screen(s) will prompt you for the .bit

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