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Conclusion

So, does it work? It seems so. I've tested the code with Xilinx and Altera devices, and while you need to be careful if you need to convert svfs into xsvfs, both kinds of devices get programmed fairly quickly. Here's a small demo:

The device flashed is a NC220-clone, a FPGA-based thin client. The main chip in it is a EP1C12Q240C8, a 12K LE Altera Cyclone. Total time from bootup to programmed FPGA is about 7 seconds.

And as usual, the source code for the AVR is relased under the GPL: you can download it here. I hope you find it useful.

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6 comments

Chris McClelland wrote at 14 Mar 2012, 0.27:

So my (hopefully identical) NC220 clone is on its way from China. It would be really useful to me (and others) if you could share what you have learned of the FPGA's pin assignments. You have obviously traced enough of them to get the VGA working.

Sander wrote at 20 Feb 2012, 20.07:

Nice. This could come in useful some day. Interesting read, as always.

Chris McClelland wrote at 18 Feb 2012, 15.01:

Nice work! Where did you buy the NC220 clone? Are you able to release the Verilog or VHDL source and pin-assignments that your pac-man XSVF file used? Have you discovered the FPGA pins for any of the other hardware on the board, or just the VGA?

Sprite_tm wrote at 11 Feb 2012, 12.50:

pockpock: I used the Xilinx SVF/XSVF appnote, I think an URL to it is in the comments of the source code. I also used the OpenOCD implementation of an xsvf-reader as a reference; I glanced most of the nitty gritty details from that.

pockpock wrote at 11 Feb 2012, 6.58:

Nice build! I designed some small logic circuits for a CPLD which had to act differently due to user configuration. The build was simply to big too fit and I wondered if something like your build would actually work. Glad to see it does :). Do you have any reference on the XSVF format?

Al wrote at 10 Feb 2012, 23.26:

Interesting solution! I developed a similar thing for a production test system that programs a Xilinx CPLD in one of our products. I used the instructions and code from a Xilinx app note (http://www.xilinx.com/support/documentation/application_notes/xapp058.pdf). Their code is a little ugly but it was fairly quick to get it ported to the Renesas micro I was using. Now we can use the one device to program and then test the product and don't need the Xilinx programmer or software installed on the test machines.

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