My first experience with the ZedBoard SoC board.

I recently registered my masters with the Central Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town, and part of my research with include the use of a FPGA for real-time network communications between smart grids. So I am faced with 2 things – learning a new environment as well as a different field(Power Systems) coming from an Electronics and Computer engineering background.

I am the type of person that is always eager to learn new things, so being thrown into the deep end is nothing foreign to me, sounds like something I took from my resume.

After I registered for the MEng, I was given this board – and I needed to familiarise myself with it.

This blog will detail my experiences and hacks.

zedboard-2zedboard box

Getting started with the ZedBoard SoC

Firstly, we will need to download Xilinx Vivado suite, in order to do this we go to the Xilinx Downloads page to obtain the installer.
Select version 2017.2 or later on the left sidebar. I used the “Single File Download” option and chose “Vivado HLx 2017.2: All OS installer Single-File Download”. It is a tarball that is 22Gigs, yes there was no typo – 22Gigs large.
Note: You have to be a registered user to download it.

Once the download is completed, untar the tarball, cd into the extracted directory, and execute the GUI installer.

# Confirm the file is valid by checking the md5 hash
# MD5 SUM Value: 958f190a089ad3f39d327d972c7dcf35
$ md5sum Xilinx_Vivado_SDK_2017.2_0616_1.tar.gz
# Once that is confirmed untar and install
$ tar -zxvf Xilinx_Vivado_SDK_2017.2_0616_1.tar.gz
$ cd Xilinx_Vivado_SDK_2017.2_0616_1
$ sudo ./xsetup

Agree to the terms of use and select “Vivado HL WebPACK Edition”. Next, tick also Xilinx Software Development Kit (SDK) on the next page, since it’s free and very useful.

Note: by default, Vivado is installed into the /opt/Xilinx/Vivado/2017.2 directory.

At the end of the installation, the license manager will ask for a license. The “Obtain a license” button in the license manager if that does not work, just go to Xilinx Licensing site directly and get a WebPACK license and install it.

Once done with the installation, we need to install the JTAG cable drivers that are needed for many purposes e.g. programming the hardware.

sudo ./install_drivers

Now, change the ownership of the ~/.Xilinx directory so that you may use Vivado without superuser privilege:
sudo chown -hR $USER:$USER $HOME/.Xilinx/

Every time you want to fire up Vivado, remember to source the “settings” scripts to have the right environment variables:

source /opt/Xilinx/Vivado/2017.2/
source /opt/Xilinx/SDK/2017.2/

Lazy people like myself prefer to uncomplicate the complicated, to avoid executing the above commands each and everytime one needs to start Vivado – do the following.

echo "source /opt/Xilinx/Vivado/2017.2/" >> ~/.bashrc
echo "source /opt/Xilinx/SDK/2017.2/" >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc		

When done, start-up Vivado from the command line:
or SDK:

Quoting Raymond Hettinger, While hitting the podium and “There must be a better way!”

Create a new file called vivado.desktop

sudo vim /usr/share/applications/vivado.desktop
# Copy the contents to the file

[Desktop Entry]

When done, log out-in in order to refresh the systems settings.

Vivado should be available from start-menu and can be copied to the desktop for future executions.


Led blinking program with ATmega128, AVR Studio 6 and ISIS Proteus

My 1st blog attempt

So I have been learning/refreshing Embedded C, my initial project was just a simple program. Blinking an Led

I have attached the source code, and schematic

Source Code: 

#include <avr/io.h>
#include <util/delay.h>

void BlnkLED() // function declaration
DDRA = 0xFF; // set up pin direction
PORTA ^= 0x01 ; // toggle the pins
_delay_ms(500); //delay

int main (void)

Download Proteus and Atmel Studio 6
Download Files(Code and Proteus simu): Link

Side Note, check my Youtube Channel