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In-system programming of BPI PROM for FPGAs

Posted: 02 Jan 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Byte-wide Peripheral Interface  FPGA configuration  JTAG 

Many systems employ Byte-wide Peripheral Interface (BPI) flash memory for FPGA configuration and system data storage. Often it is not desirable or even possible to update the flash PROM directly after the system is deployed. One approach to address this issue is to use the FPGA to program the PROM to which it is connected. This methodology is called in-system programming (ISP). An example of ISP is the indirect programming capability supported by iMPACT (a tool featuring batch and GUI operations). In this case, iMPACT uses the JTAG interface port as the communication channel between a host and the FPGA. The iMPACT tool sends the BIT file to the FPGA, which in turn programs the PROM attached to it.

However, many embedded systems do not have such JTAG interface connections available. The FPGA is often an Endpoint on the PCI Express bus. Because no JTAG interface channel is available through the standard PCIe peripheral, the only way to program a PROM on the Endpoint is to program across the PCIe system.

This application note provides an ISP reference design to demonstrate the methodology and considerations of programming in-system BPI PROM for Virtex-6 FPGAs in a PCIe system.

View the PDF document for more information.

Originally published by Xilinx Inc. at as "In-System Programming of BPI PROM for Virtex-6 FPGAs Using PCI Express Technology".

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