Practical FPGA: How to flash (Altera)

2016-02-17 06:42 | Categories: In English, Užrašai
flash_tAltera EP2C5T144 FLGA has no internal configuration flash memory and can be programmed two ways. One is to configure temporary – good method for testing and debugging. Another – over the same interface flash soldered flash chip. This is tricky and hardly documented step. In this post I am providing working recipe how to program flash device over USB Blaster over FPGA.



I mentioned in previous post that I will be using Bus Blaster programmer which was bundled together with FPGA development board. This has to be best option for the beginner.

Run on hardware

When project is compiled next logical step is to run it on real hardware. Of course simulating and testing performance is also useful step, but this time we will skip directly to hardware testing. I will be using the same project – button controls LED.


Click on button Programmer


Setup programmer hadrware


Select installed USB Blaster


Click Auto Detect and hopefully connected FPGA will be detected


Chose demo1.sof file to be programmed


Tick Program/Configure check box and Start button will become activated


In a few seconds it status should become 100% (Successful)



By completing this step you will get demo project working on FPGA hardware. This step writes binary file to FPGA itself and after rebooting device it will be blank. Following recipe will provide you information how to write firmware to flash.

Write to flash

Writing compiled file to installed flash device is not trivial. It involves couple of file conversions with included tools and correct sequence pressing right buttons. This kind of complexity is caused of flexibility of Altera tools. It is possible to flash several FPGA’s or flash devices in one programming procedure. So, follow provided steps to program your designed logic into your board.


Convert file format


Fill information like provided screenshot. Programming device: JTAG Indirect Configuration File (.jic), Configuration device: EPCS4, Flash loader -> Add Device…, SOF data -> Add file

Now open programmer window


Create JAM. JBC, SVF or ISC File…


Leave as it is and click OK


Remove existing file and click Auto Detect


Attach flash device…


Chose installed flash device


Add generated .jic file to flash device and tick Program/Configure check box


Click Start and few in a moments you should have programmed demo board. After power cycle it will still be running your project

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