Altera Active Serial

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hi folks ... when using the Cyclones with the EPCS4 flash
configuration chip and active serial mode ... I'd like to use the
extra memory space to store a memory image ... so all I need to do is
read or write it in a big block .. so yes i have done this with Nios
but this is too much overhead in a small cyclone device simply to copy
an image from the flash to an external ram  .. anyone know how to read
the flash without using nios ?  kb



Re: Altera Active Serial
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Hi Khim,
    As I understand things, the Altera flash memory devices are based upon
standard serial flash devices  (ST microelectronics ?). Hence you would
program these devices as you would any normal serial memory device. You
only have yo be careful that you do not overwrite your configuration data.

    The Altera Cyclone data sheets have the relevant information you are
looking, including the memory maps of the configuration and user spaces.

Ben


Re: Altera Active Serial
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EPCS1 == M25P10
EPCS4 == M25P40

standard serial flash from www.st.com
altera is only ordering them them with custom lables printed :)

the problem accessing the config memory from non-nios applications is that
quartus doesnt allow assignments to pins DATA0 and DCLK so it is not
possible to access the config flash memory.

there must be some internal trick that altera software uses but this
seems to be "Altera undocumented"

Antti Lukats
xilin.openchip.org

Re: Altera Active Serial
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data.


Antti, any idea what the relative cost of the ST part is?

Altera say they've developed the AS devices for low cost
configuration, but low quantity prices for the EPCS4 in the
UK are 8 ish, not what I'd call cheap.


Nial Stewart

------------------------------------------------
Nial Stewart Developments Ltd
FPGA and High Speed Digital Design
www.nialstewartdevelopments.co.uk



Re: Altera Active Serial

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would
You


OK, so I got off my own arse and looked up the prices.

DigikeyUK list them at 2.93 one off, down to 1.44 for 1000,
they're probably cheaper in the States.

Time to spend a bit of time perusing data sheets I think.

Writing Altera's logo on them must be expensive :-(


Nial

------------------------------------------------
Nial Stewart Developments Ltd
FPGA and High Speed Digital Design
www.nialstewartdevelopments.co.uk



Re: Altera Active Serial
On 28 Jan 2004 23:43:35 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@case2000.com (Antti Lukats)

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thanks for the response , you are correct , the problem is not how the
memory chips work but how to manipulate dclk/data0 without nios ... (
i don't think quartus will let me at them ?) ... i haven't given up
yet  ..  KB



Re: Altera Active Serial
snipped-for-privacy@cliftonREMOVEsystems.com (Khim Bittle) wrote in message
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[snip]
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http://wiki.openchip.org/index.php/ASMI

instantiating ASMI Block from VHDL code :)
Antti
xilinx.openchip.org

Re: Altera Active Serial
On 29 Jan 2004 21:54:31 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@case2000.com (Antti Lukats)

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antti ... thanks for the link ,  KB






Re: Altera Active Serial

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If you have a pre-made board then I can see how this can be a problem.
However if you are developing a custom board it is not two difficult to
multiplex the dclk/data0 pins with user I/O pins to have full control
over the serial memory devices.


Re: Altera Active Serial
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Ben there is no need to modify the board, see my posting a special
cyclone primitive "amsiblock" can be instantiated and that gives
full control as needed to read write the config memory. no separate
wiring needed

Antti

Re: Altera Active Serial
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I have now seen your posting and you are right. However, how widely
available is this information?

Ben


Re: Altera Active Serial


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it is available to ANYONE who has installed Quartus on their machine
just look at the libraries - I needed some 30 minutes to "derive" this
information.
as I dont have any Cyclone device or board, I can not verify in the hardware
what the asmiblock ports actually do, but this is the way NIOS does it, and
it is available for user logic, so it should be used.

A promise - if any one is kind to support openchip with Cyclone target board
I will instantly check it out how to access the ASMI port from user logic
and
publish this information, keeping special "thanks" notice to the donator of
the
board - dallaslogic are you listening ? :)

ok, promise is promise, I possible do it sooner or later, if I dont have
board
handy then possible later as I have some other things also in que.

antti



Re: Altera Active Serial
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hardware
and
board
of

Well found Antti, I had a good dig around Quartus and the
SOPC installation and missed this.

I also asked an Altera FAE could this be done, he checked with the States
and
the answer was...


"Response from Altera is-
No the only ASMI component that we have contains an Avalon interface. You
could copy the asmi VHDL component from a Nios project to a new project
that does not contain a Nios core and the customer could access the
component
with their own logic. However, this is not supported by Altera and the
customer would need to do this at their own risk"


If the cyclone_asmiblock works it'll be much simpler than what they've
suggested.

I'll try it on my Cyclone PCI board if I get time, but that's not
likely to be in the next week or two.


Good work.

Nial

------------------------------------------------
Nial Stewart Developments Ltd
FPGA and High Speed Digital Design
Cyclone based 'Easy PCI' proto board
www.nialstewartdevelopments.co.uk




Re: Altera Active Serial
On Sat, 31 Jan 2004 09:59:59 +0000, Ben Popoola

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yes my fall back plan was to use two additional pins ... but for the
smaller cost critical cyclone designs using the 144 pins package I/O
pins are gold and not having to waste two pins is a big deal to me ...
thanks anyway, regards, KB




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