Archive for May, 2014

Upgrading Quartus

Posted in The Downside of software development on May 9, 2014 by asteriondaedalus

Well, that was my fault be being lazy.  Since the Quartus downloads take so much time, once I found 13.1 didn’t have support for Cyclone II, I played safe and went for 10.1 sp1.

I am now downloading and installing 11.1 sp2 software to get around problems with Qsim (hopefully) as well as giving me Cyclone II and Max II support (still).

Go figure though, I installed 11.1 University Program (UP) with Qsim over 10.1 okay and Qsim would run, though its wave editor would not.

Now I install 11.1 UP over 11.1 Quartus and naught, nothing, na da, no Qsim installed.

On top of that, the 11.1 install of ModelSim does not recognise the 11.1 install of Quartus, even then I manually point it into the directory, so it won’t install.

Why did I bother?


Where we are at now is I have ripped out all Altera software and reinstalled:

  1. Quartus II sp2 Build 259 into clean directory “11.1” and program group “Altera 11.1”
  2. ModelSim-Starter 11.1 sp1 Build 216 into directory “11.1” created in step above and used the same program group “Altera 11.1”

Having said that, it took quite a while with slow downloads and installing and uninstalling to get that sorted.

We will have to go back to our SOPC example to re-do it in the new Qsys tool, though that isn’t as scary as it sounds.

What we might do next is add a few personalized instructions to our CPU – just to buzz out that process.

This newer development environment includes a “better” way of doing this apparently.


Setting up ModelSim with Quartus II … how hard can it be?

Posted in The Downside of software development on May 9, 2014 by asteriondaedalus

Starting with the “Getting Started with Quartus II Simulation Using the ModelSim-Altera Software” get straight into trouble.

You need a “” file that is, you guessed it, not in the distro.

Various “” files appear an Altera site and, of course, there are about 1 billion trillion of them on the interwebby thing all up.

Seems the one needed has a “counter.qpf” inside of it … have you seen it?  Hmmm?

So I went back to Altera and downloaded a raft of docco for 10.1.

I don’t know … I don’t get the feeling you get the same bang for buck this way Xilinx as you do for Altera.

In any event, I feel another laboratory report coming on.


Tools to support our FPGA play

Posted in Cyclone II Experiments on May 8, 2014 by asteriondaedalus

Download and Install DEEDS.

Also get hold of a KARNAUGH MAP MINIMIZER.

Logic Friday is another handy tool.

Using DEEDS I modeled the Part II a) Circuit (see below) from Altera 1o.1 Labs Digital Lab 1.

This allowed me to simulate the circuit and check out the behaviour.

2-to-1 multiplexer

2-to-1 multiplexer

Now if you notice, DEEDs will actually pump out VHDL from the designs, I have to play with this to see if it will talk to our board(s) but who knows.  It should with a little playing.

Our design in VHDL!

Our design in VHDL!


Posted in Mojo Experiments on May 8, 2014 by asteriondaedalus

First experiment plodded through to buzz out having set up the environment (including loader and USB driver).

Now things might be fun as I got an older V2 model (with ATmega16U4 instead of the ATmega32U4) so a bit behind on things it is.  I jumped at the board as they had them cheap because they botched the USB socket mount (apparentlly) – nothing a drop of epoxy wont fix.

In any event.

LED lit.

Now we can move through to the more interesting examples.

Lidar for pennies – almost

Posted in Open Source can be professional, Sensing on May 8, 2014 by asteriondaedalus
Looking good!

Looking good!

Sub $500 laser scanner on the market.  Competition should explode here and bring prices down further.

Looking good for home hobbyist.

Cyclone II-Exp.11- Complete

Posted in Cyclone II Experiments, NIOS II Experiments on May 4, 2014 by asteriondaedalus

Nailed the tutorial up to and including the Assembly  and C steps with monitor.

I also jumped into a second tutorial to try building software with the Eclipse based Nios II SBT.

So, you will need (at least):

  1. Altera® Introduction to the Altera® SOPC Builder Using VHDL Designs
  2. My First Nios II Software Tutorial

Here is a report I roughed to tell the story – Cylone II-EXP11 – read it along with the two above.

Helpful also will be:

  1. Altera® SOPC Builder User Guide
  2. Nios II Hardware Development Tutorial
  3. Altera® Monitor Program manual
  4. Nios Software Build Tools


Cylone II-Exp.11-Epiphany! Or ah ha!

Posted in Cyclone II Experiments, NIOS II Experiments, The Downside of software development on May 4, 2014 by asteriondaedalus

I pinged the board vendor to see if there were any gothchas when setting up this board.

Turns out, a couple of steps missing from the tutorial from Altera – go figure, you have to have priori knowledge to be a Newbee.  I hate the idea of Newbee, I am not sure why in a world of liberal education the idea persists.  If an educator was to take the viewpoint that someone ‘new’ was to be left to the devices of people not more knowledgeable than they for help then parents would be rioting and burning schools down I suspect.  Once you’re out of school, it is okay to make people put on a dunce’s cap and make them stand in the corner.

In any event, at least one step missing was to set the un-used pins to tri-stated inputs.  The other potentially missing step appeared to be running a second menu command to auto select interrupt vectors (inline with Step 11.).

We’ll see where those new bits of information get us.