Doubt about FPGA code and firmware

Good morning,

I have developed a custom FPGA design for my thesis and I would like to
test
it using the FPGA inside the USRP2. Since this design is just a
combination
of filters, multiplexers and signal generators and I am going to test it
using an oscilloscope, not the GbE interface, I was wondering if I need
to
load the actual firmware (txrx.bin).

Greetings,

Eduardo.

On Wed, 2011-02-09 at 14:19 +0100, Eduardo Lloret F. wrote:

Good morning,

I have developed a custom FPGA design for my thesis and I would like
to test it using the FPGA inside the USRP2. Since this design is just
a combination of filters, multiplexers and signal generators and I am
going to test it using an oscilloscope, not the GbE interface, I was
wondering if I need to load the actual firmware (txrx.bin).

If your FPGA design doesn’t include a Microblaze processor to do
something useful with the firmware image, you won’t need to load the
firmware.

–n

Will you start from a new project or just modify the old one. I try to
compile the raw ethernet version but I have many problem. Give some
news of your works plz.

Gabriel
----- Original Message -----
From: Eduardo Lloret F.
To: discuss-gnuradio
Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2011 8:19 AM
Subject: [Discuss-gnuradio] Doubt about FPGA code and firmware

Good morning,

I have developed a custom FPGA design for my thesis and I would like
to test it using the FPGA inside the USRP2. Since this design is just a
combination of filters, multiplexers and signal generators and I am
going to test it using an oscilloscope, not the GbE interface, I was
wondering if I need to load the actual firmware (txrx.bin).

Greetings,

Eduardo.

Hello,

if you plan to use any part of the USRP2’s hardware (daughterboard, ADC,
UART, ethernet, …) and don’t want to implement all the steps required
to configure and use them properly, I would suggest to integrate your
code parallel to the vanilla system (the UHD one!), it is far more work
to get it running otherwise. The firmware does a lot of stuff. If you
don’t plan to use the hardware why not use a Spartan evaluation kit
instead, they have nicer I/O capabilities for experimenting and testing?

Matthias

Am 09.02.2011 um 14:19 schrieb Eduardo Lloret F.:

Hello,

@Nick F.

If your FPGA design doesn’t include a Microblaze processor to do
something useful with the firmware image, you won’t need to load the
firmware.

My FPGA design doesn’t include a Microblaze processor so I also think
that I
don’t need it. My doubt comes from the boot sequence that I read in the
USRP2GenFAQ section:
http://gnuradio.org/redmine/wiki/gnuradio/USRP2GenFAQ#How-does-the-USRP2-boot-How-is-the-FPGA-firmware-loaded
If I don’t have a processor, the second step is not necessary but I
don’t
know if the first (loading of FPGA design) is accomplished properly.
What do
you think?

@Gabriel Morel

Will you start from a new project or just modify the old one. I try to
compile the raw ethernet version but I have many problem. Give some news of
your works plz.

I started completely from a new project but If I try to modify the old
one I
will tell you my results.

@Matthias W.

if you plan to use any part of the USRP2’s hardware (daughterboard, ADC,
UART, ethernet, …) and don’t want to implement all the steps required to
configure and use them properly, I would suggest to integrate your code
parallel to the vanilla system (the UHD one!), it is far more work to get it
running otherwise. The firmware does a lot of stuff. If you don’t plan to
use the hardware why not use a Spartan evaluation kit instead, they have
nicer I/O capabilities for experimenting and testing?

I plan to use the BasicRX, BasicTX, LFTX and LFRX daughterboards just as
a
simple input/output to the FPGA. Besides I need the ADC and DAC but I
thought they don’t need the processor. A lot of thanks for your advice.
When
you say to integrate the code to the vanilla system, do you mean add my
verilog code to their project?

I also think it would be better to use a Spartan evaluation kit to do
this
but the use of the USRP2 board is part of my thesis requirements.

Thanks you so much to all of you for your help.

Greetings.

Eduardo.

To know if you design is loaded properly, you can use the leds to
indicate some state of your design. The led F is already connect to the
PROGRAM_DONE pin of the FPGA in the cpld. You can also modify the cpld
to turn on some light on the board.

what do you have to do in your thesis?

Gabriel
----- Original Message -----
From: Eduardo Lloret F.
To: Matthias W.
Cc: discuss-gnuradio
Sent: Monday, February 14, 2011 9:09 AM
Subject: Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] Doubt about FPGA code and firmware

Hello,

@Nick F.

If your FPGA design doesn't include a Microblaze processor to do
something useful with the firmware image, you won't need to load the
firmware.

My FPGA design doesn’t include a Microblaze processor so I also think
that I don’t need it. My doubt comes from the boot sequence that I read
in the USRP2GenFAQ section:
http://gnuradio.org/redmine/wiki/gnuradio/USRP2GenFAQ#How-does-the-USRP2-boot-How-is-the-FPGA-firmware-loaded
If I don’t have a processor, the second step is not necessary but I
don’t know if the first (loading of FPGA design) is accomplished
properly. What do you think?

@Gabriel Morel

Will you start from a new project or just modify the old one.  I try 

to compile the raw ethernet version but I have many problem. Give some
news of your works plz.

I started completely from a new project but If I try to modify the old
one I will tell you my results.

@Matthias W.

if you plan to use any part of the USRP2's hardware (daughterboard, 

ADC, UART, ethernet, …) and don’t want to implement all the steps
required to configure and use them properly, I would suggest to
integrate your code parallel to the vanilla system (the UHD one!), it is
far more work to get it running otherwise. The firmware does a lot of
stuff. If you don’t plan to use the hardware why not use a Spartan
evaluation kit instead, they have nicer I/O capabilities for
experimenting and testing?

I plan to use the BasicRX, BasicTX, LFTX and LFRX daughterboards just
as a simple input/output to the FPGA. Besides I need the ADC and DAC but
I thought they don’t need the processor. A lot of thanks for your
advice. When you say to integrate the code to the vanilla system, do you
mean add my verilog code to their project?

I also think it would be better to use a Spartan evaluation kit to do
this but the use of the USRP2 board is part of my thesis requirements.

Thanks you so much to all of you for your help.

Greetings.

Eduardo.

On 02/14/2011 06:09 AM, Eduardo Lloret F. wrote:

that I don’t need it. My doubt comes from the boot sequence that I read
in the USRP2GenFAQ section:

http://gnuradio.org/redmine/wiki/gnuradio/USRP2GenFAQ#How-does-the-USRP2-boot-How-is-the-FPGA-firmware-loaded

If I don’t have a processor, the second step is not necessary but I
don’t know if the first (loading of FPGA design) is accomplished
properly. What do you think?

The first step will work fine without the microblaze. You will need to
make sure you keep triggering the watchdog timer to make sure nothing is
reset. See the config page of the schematics to see how this works.

Matt

Hello,

Sorry for answering so late.

@Gabriel Morel

For my Master Thesis I had to implement a kind of test bench for
different
versions of a particular block. Nothing really complex, multiplexers,
filters, etc. The point is I must use the USRP2 board.

@Matthias W.

Could I ask why you recommend me the use of the UHD code instead of the
GNU
Radio code?

Thanks!

Eduardo.

2011/2/14 Matt E. [email protected]

Am 14.02.2011 um 15:09 schrieb Eduardo Lloret F.:

@Gabriel Morel

Thanks you so much to all of you for your help.

Greetings.

Eduardo.

Hello Eduardo,

we have implemented a system on the FPGA+firmware, and in my opinion it
is the best way to reuse as much as possible when working with the
USRP2’s FPGA. The firmware is useful because it enables communication
with the host via ethernet for configuration. When you start to send or
receive samples, the host driver sets up the FPGA and hardware with
proper parameters (via ethernet and the firmware), it writes quite a lot
of registers and transactions to get it running (setting up the on-board
chips, identifying the daughterboard and setting it up, …).

So all in all, you need to know what you want and how to configure it
from the FPGA, and you might have to dig through the UHD code to
understand what you need to set up. It seems that the boards you want to
use do not require much config, but the firmware configures (at least)
the clock and the DAC (ad9510 and ad9777), which are quite necessary. So
you could go without firmware and set it up yourself, but it will be
hard to find the problem in case it doesn’t work directly.

For our project, we added modules into u2_core.v, inside the main module
of the USRP2. You can tap the RX DSP pipeline there to get samples (or
the ADC directly if you want), and place samples you want to send into
the buffer pool and reuse the existing system, or write to the DAC
wires directly (after cutting the connections from the TX pipeline).
When you use both the DAC/ADC directly, you can also put your module(s)
into u2_rev3.v, implementing your system in parallel to u2_core.

So even when you do not need the functionality of the firmware, it is
still good to have it around. If you later have plans to configure your
system via ethernet, collect information from your module and send it to
a host PC or send debug information via UART, its a lot easier with the
firmware because you have almost everything you need in place.

The link to the UHD code (FPGA, host, firmware):
http://ettus-apps.sourcerepo.com/redmine/ettus/projects/uhd/wiki

If you want to reuse the code, you should modify the ISE project
provided with the UHD code (do a “make proj” in top/u2_rev3 and look
into the “build” dir), as not all verilog files are used for every
design, so creating a project by hand/mixing the files will most likely
lead to problems even in case it compiles. You need ISE 12.X.

Matthias

ps. I think this discussion should move usrp-users.

I have to do almost the same thing. But me, I have to bypass the data
from the ADC by the mictor connector to a board from Xilinx, a ML401.
All the filter for equalizers or other types should be done in this one
and the data go back in the usrp2 by the mictor connector again.

Gabriel
----- Original Message -----
From: Eduardo Lloret F.
To: discuss-gnuradio
Sent: Monday, February 28, 2011 10:10 AM
Subject: Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] Doubt about FPGA code and firmware

Hello,

Sorry for answering so late.

@Gabriel Morel

For my Master Thesis I had to implement a kind of test bench for
different versions of a particular block. Nothing really complex,
multiplexers, filters, etc. The point is I must use the USRP2 board.

@Matthias W.

Could I ask why you recommend me the use of the UHD code instead of
the GNU Radio code?

Thanks!

Eduardo.

2011/2/14 Matt E. [email protected]

On 02/14/2011 06:09 AM, Eduardo Lloret F. wrote:
> Hello,
>
> @Nick F.
>
>     If your FPGA design doesn't include a Microblaze processor to 

do
> something useful with the firmware image, you won’t need to
load the
> firmware.
>
>
> My FPGA design doesn’t include a Microblaze processor so I also
think
> that I don’t need it. My doubt comes from the boot sequence that I
read
> in the USRP2GenFAQ section:
>
http://gnuradio.org/redmine/wiki/gnuradio/USRP2GenFAQ#How-does-the-USRP2-boot-How-is-the-FPGA-firmware-loaded
>
> If I don’t have a processor, the second step is not necessary but
I
> don’t know if the first (loading of FPGA design) is accomplished
> properly. What do you think?

The first step will work fine without the microblaze.  You will need 

to
make sure you keep triggering the watchdog timer to make sure
nothing is
reset. See the config page of the schematics to see how this works.

Matt

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