How to Use the XS Boards



1. Install the XILINX WebPACK package

WebPACK is XILINX's free design environment for their CPLDs and small-to-medium-sized FPGAs. You can run ISE WebPACK under Windows or linux

2. Power the XS Board

You can use the XS Board in a stand-alone mode or inserted into a protoboard. You can power it from a 5V or 9V DC power supply or apply 5V / 3.3V / 2.5V directly to the prototyping header of the board. The XS Board can supply power to external components when it is inserted in a breadboard.

3. Connect the PC to the XS Board

You connect the XS Board to the usb or parallel port of a PC. Circuit configurations are downloaded into the CPLD and/or FPGA through this cable. The RAM and Flash on the XS Board can also be read and written through this cable.

4. Compile designs for the XS Board

You create logic designs for the CPLD or FPGA on the XS Board using the VHDL and Verilog HDL languages or the schematic editor provided in ISE WebPACK. You can find example designs on this site and others such as ISE WebPACK usually takes a few minutes (or less) to compile your designs.

5. Simulate your design

You can use the built-in ISE WebPACK simulator to specify test patterns and check the logic waveforms or numerical values that are output by your design.

6. Program the XS Board

You can download the compiled CPLD or FPGA configuration bitstream and RAM/Flash hex files into the XS Board through the USB or parallel port cable. The bitstreams and hex files are stored in RAM or FLASH so you can quickly change your design as often as you like.

7. Debug your design

You can inject signals into your design through the USB or parallel port cable and observe the results on the LED digit provided on the XS Board. Or you can transfer results back through cable for display on the PC. You can use JTAG testing utilities for more detailed debugging. Or you can use standard logic probes, oscilloscopes, and logic analyzers. If you find an error, just go back and edit your HDL or schematic files, recompile, download to the XS Board, and repeat the test.

8. Interface with other chips

You can insert the XS Board into a standard breadboard and hook it to other chips with standard 24--26 gauge hookup wire. The pins of the FPGA are easily accessible through two rows of 0.1"-spaced pins. Or you can insert the XS Board into an XSTend Board which already has more LEDs, buttons and other devices pre-wired for the XS Board.