Lab 2 – Introduction to Xilinx Vivado Design Environment



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ECE2029 Introduction to Digital Circuit Design
Lab 2 – Introduction to Xilinx Vivado Design Environment
After completion of this lab exercise you will be able to use the Vivado logic design environment
to capture, simulate, test, and download a logic circuit to a Basys 3 Board.
Design Flow Overview
The heart (brains) of the Digilent Basys 3 development boards, which we’ll be using in lab, is the
Xilinx Artix FPGA. An FPGA is a type of programmable logic device – a Field Programmable
Gate Array. Conceptually, an FPGA contains thousands and thousands of logic gates whose
inputs and outputs can be connected to or disconnected from each other or to/from inputs
and output devices like switches and LEDs by applying “programming voltages”. If a given
interconnection is “programmed” with a logic 1 then a connection is made otherwise it is not.
Thus, when we “program” an FPGA we ARE NOT WRITING SOFTWARE but in essence specifying
the hardware connections between logic components – we are wiring the circuit! Below are
the steps used to implement modern logic designs using programmable logic devices.
Design Entry: You enter your design into the system through an HDL (Hardware Description
Languages such as Verilog, VHDL or System Verilog). In general, your design may include
different individual logic gates, combinational logic blocks, and/or sequential logic blocks.
Verification: Simulators are used for functional and timing verification of the design.
Functional simulation verifies the logic behavior of the system without any knowledge of the
underlying target device and does not provide any timing information. Timing simulation
provides various timing analysis after the design has been compiled for a specific target
Implementation: Design tools like Vivado translate your design into an optimized format
suitable to your target device. The output of this step is a bit stream file (or a .bit file) that can
be downloaded into the hardware. The bit stream is the list of connections that are to be made
within the FPGA.
Figures 1&2 show more detailed design flow diagrams for FPGA devices. As mentioned above,
our projects are targeted for Xilinx Artix 7 FPGAs.
If you have already finished the pre- lab, jump to section Creating Constraint File on
page 10.
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Pre-lab Assignment
Usually, laboratory exercises will have pre-lab assignments which are to be completed before
your lab session and must be signed-off by the TA during your lab session.
Pre-labs help you to become oriented to the problem before you enter lab, help complete
your design in advance and prevent wasting time in lab. This second lab is a straightforward
tutorial and does not have a pre-lab.
In this second lab you will start by implementing the basic logic gates AND, OR, NOT
and the compound exclusive OR gate (XOR) and verify their truth tables. Then you will
implement a multi-gate circuit. You will do this using the Verilog hardware description
1. Start Vivado Design Suite by clicking on Vivado icon and then selecting Create New
Project from the menu. And click next to move to next step.
2. Enter a project name. You should use your network drive as the project location for
your files. Make sure there are no spaces or special characters (- and _ are allowed)
in the folder name that you create for your work. If you must create you project on
the local disk be sure to back it up to your network drive when you’re done at the
end of lab. Lab machines can be re-imaged at any time and you could lose your
work if it is not on your network drive! Each partner should have a copy of all the
Figure 1
Figure 2
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Click Next and then select the RTL project type. Be sure to check the “Do not specify sources at this
time” box and click Next:
3. Click next and select the correct Xilinx Artix 7 FPGA that is on the Basys3 board
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Click Next, and then Finish on the New Project Summary Page. The Project Window
Design Entry
4. Under the Project Manager, select Add Sources to begin designing your new
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5. Select Next and then select Create File (click on the + symbol) and enter the file
name for the circuit.
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6. Then click OK and Finish. We can now specify the inputs and outputs to create our
AND, OR, NOT and XOR gates. We will use three slide switches as inputs and 4 LEDs
on the Basys3 board to display the outputs of each gate. Inputs A and B will be the
inputs to the AND, OR and XOR gates, and C will be the input to the NOT gate.
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7. Click OK. Back in the Project Manager Sources window double-click the new
and_or_not_xor.v file and you will then see the Verilog file appear in the window on the
right. Add your name and a description of this file to the header description. You should
ALWAYS complete the comment block at the top of each Verilog module that you write.
This is basic professionalism.
8. We can now add the Verilog statements to design our gates. Enter the code below to
your and_or_not_xor.v file.
9. Now we can synthesize the design. Click Run Synthesis in the Project Manager window.
After synthesis is complete there should be no errors or warnings reported. If you open
the synthesized design you can see a device level representation (this is mostly empty
since we just have a very simple design that only uses a tiny, tiny fraction of the available
FPGA resources).
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10. You can also look at a schematic representation to see the input and output buffers and
the Look Up Tables (LUT) used. LUTs can be used to implement any truth table with a
certain number of inputs. Notice that since AND, OR and XOR all have A and B as inputs
they are implemented in the same LUT.
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Creating Constraint File
11. Before we can implement the design we need to specify the FPGA pins that will be used
for the SW inputs and LED outputs. The Digilent Basys 3 Reference Manual provides
detailed information about the Basys3 Starter board. Figure 16 shows the overall
architecture of the board with its major components. Basys3 board provides sixteen
sliding switches (SW0-SW15) and five push buttons (BTN5-BTN0) that can be used as
inputs. Each of these switches is connected to an associated IO pin of the FPGA. Figure 16
in the Basys3 Reference Manual shows to which pins these digital IO devices are
connected. The full address of these IO’s (and everything on the board) is available in the
user constraint file, UCF (also available on CANVAS under important course material
Both the slide switches and push buttons are active high, in other words when they are
“on” they connect VCCO = Logic 1 to the FPGA IO pin. Note that there is no de-bouncing
circuitry for these inputs. There are sixteen surface mounted LED’s on the board that can
be used as outputs (LD15-LD0). The LED’s are all active high, so to turn an LED ON you
need to apply a logic high to the corresponding IO pin of the FPGA. For Basys 3 board,
see the FPGA pins connected to switches SW0, SW1 and SW2 and LEDs LED0, LED1, LED2
and LED3 below:
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Next click Add Sources and select Add or create constraints
And name the constraints file.
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12. In the sources window select the constraints file through the hierarchy Constraints
=> constrs_1 => and_or_not_xor.xdc. We can now add location constraints (or
address) for all the inputs and outputs. These constraints specify the pins to use for
each signal and what type of interface. Like mentioned earlier, you can download
user constraint file for Basys3 XDC here – just copy the pins only you are using for
the design. Or, just type in this file and modify it as needed. Remember the listing of
pins (e.g. W17) to which the LED and switches are connected are given in the
constraint file.
Generating a Test-bench Waveform for Functional Verification
Functional (Behavioral) Simulation for Design Verification
In this section you will learn how to create and use a Verilog Test Bench to verify the
functional behavior of your design. Verilog is a simulation language as well as synthesis
language. In a HDL simulation, the design you want to test is instantiated in the simulator.
You will need to add the Verilog that asserts all input combinations you want to test. For our
simple logic gates there are only 6 input combinations we need to consider (A=0 B=0, A=1
B=0, A=0 B=1, A=1 B=1 and C=0, C=1) so you can easily complete an “exhaustive test” of all
possible inputs.
Do it for input C yourself…
Do it for rest of the outputs
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13. Under the Project Manager Simulation Sources, right click on sim_1(1) and Add
Sources. Choose Add or create simulation sources. Create a file and name it
tb_and_or_not_xor or similar (tb_lab1). The tb stands for testbench. Click finish.
14. Right click the new testbench file and Set it as Top module. Double click on the file
name to open it in the editor window and add the following Verilog code. Notice
that your are instantiating the and_or_not_xor module you will define as U1. We are
using simulator input signals called aa, bb and cc as inputs A, B, and C respectively
and have assigned simulator outputs out1, out2, out3, out4 as outAND, outOR,
outXOR, and notC respectively. Then we set the values of aa, bb and cc to the all
the settings we wish to test.
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15. Afterwards you will see your testbench in bold under sim_1 with the module
and_or_not_xor under it.
16. Select your testbench file then click on Run Simulation then Run Behavioral Simulation.
Vivado will whir and spin for a second before opening a simulation window in which you
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can’t see a thing! In the simulation window hit the Run All button then right click in the
window and select full view. Now verify the logic for each gate in the timing diagram.
You should now see a timing diagram like this.
17. Are the outputs of the simulation as you expected them to be?
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Synthesis & Simulation for Synthesis and Timing Verification
You have completed your design entry and functional verification of your Verilog
module without any assumptions about the underlying target. In this section you will
synthesize your design targeted for Basys3 FPGA device.
18. Under Design Sources, select your and_or_not_xor module then click Run
Implementation (takes few seconds). You will/may find there are two warnings
after implementation. This is because we have not specified any timing constraints.
For this simple combinational circuit we can ignore this.
19. Now select your testbench file and then Run Simulation/ Run Post-implementation Timing
Simulation. Again, Vivado will go off and simulate and open a window which you can’t read. Hit
the Run All followed by the Zoom Fit button again.
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20. This simulator models the expected propagation delays resulting from the actual lay-out
of the gates and pin connections on the FPGA. You can see the propagation delays from
the time an input changes until the corresponding change in output occurs. Hit the Zoom
+ button to see in more detail. What’s going on just after 200 ns? Check your testbench
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file. Notice that we changed aa=0 and bb=1 without a delay in between. Behaviorally, we
wanted those inputs to change values exactly simultaneously. However, in the actual
implementation that is not physically possible and both aa and bb must have been equal
to 1 for a nanosecond and we see the slight “glitch” in the outputs. If you go back into
your test bench and but a #100 after aa=00 and before bb=1 then this “glitch” will not
occur in the post-implementation simulation.
21. Use the zoom and the cursor measuring tools on the toolbar to measure the
propagation delay of your design as it is actually laid out for implementation on. Are
the outputs of the simulation as you expected them to be?
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Implementation and Downloading
22. Under Program and Debug click Generate Bitstream. This generates the downloadable
bitstream file (*.bit).
23. The Next step is to program the FPGA with the bitsream. On the Basys3 board make
sure that JP1 is set to the JTAG mode and connect the USB cable to the board and turn
on the power.
During JTAG programming, a .bit file is transferred from the PC to the FPGA using the
onboard Digilent USB-JTAG circuitry (port JP1). You can perform JTAG programming any
time after the Basys 3 has been powered on.
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24. Select the Hardware Manager in the Project Manager and select Open Target and then
Auto Connect. You should see the Xilinx xc7a35t_0 in the Hardware Window.
25. Click on Program Device and select the and_or_not_xor.bit
bitstream file (automatically filled in). Then select Program
(ignore the warning about the missing debug core and the
rule violation).
26. Now you can test your design by toggling SW0, SW1 and SW2 and see the various
outputs on LD3-LD0. Try different combination of inputs and make sure that your design
works properly.
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Programming the Serial Flash
27. Close/minimize the Hardware manager to go back to the Project Manager window.
28. The FPGA is a volatile device so the bit file will be lost after power is removed. We can
also choose to write the program to the QSPI serial flash on the Basys3 board. Then the
bit file will load from the flash on power up.
29. First we need to create a bin file to be able to program the serial flash.
30. Click on the Bitstream Settings in the Program and Debug section of the Project
manager and Select the bin_file option.
31. Click OK then click on Generate Bitstream. After generation, if you look in the lab_1 =>
lab_1.runs => impl_1 directory you will see a .bit file and a .bin file.
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32. Use the Hardware Manager to connect to the Basys3 board then right-mouse click on
the FPGA and select Add Configuration Memory Device. We now need to select the serial flash
device that is on the Basys3 board. Select Spansion as the Manufacturer, then select the 32Mb
device and OK. Then click OK for the pop-up.
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33. Select the Configuration File (and_or_not_xor.bin) in the impl_1 directory and click OK.
Note: this will erase any existing design in the QSPI flash (including the configuration file
that shipped with the Basys3 board). The QSPI Flash will then be programmed with the
and_or_not_xor.bin file. Once programmed, you can power off the Basys3 board and
change the JP1 jumper mode from JTAG to QSPI (see step 23). Power back on the board
and after a few seconds the Done LED will turn on indicating that your design has been
automatically loaded into the FPGA from the serial flash. You can verify your
and_or_not_xor design by moving the slider switches and observing the leds as before.
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Additional Experiments
Now that you know how to pass signals from a switch on the Basys 3 board to LEDs on
the board, you know all the basics necessary procedures to build logic circuits on FPGA.
Given this newfound knowledge, you are to implement and test the following logic
Input A Input B Input C Output Function
In order to get TA sign-off, add the above functionalities to your existing design and
create the appropriate simulations to verify your design, and then load the project
onto the Basys 3 board.
▪ You should now be able to describe a Design flow for digital systems.
▪ You learned how to use Vivado Design Studio tools to enter a design.
▪ Synthesize and download your implementation to a target board
▪ You learned how to use the simulator to create stimulus signals, verify
functional and timing behavior of a digital system.


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