ZedBoard Part 5 Configuration 2


As I explained in my previous column, the configuration of the Zynq is a little different from that of traditional FPGAs. At the end of the previous column, we were poised to begin using SDK to generate the boot image. So far in this series of blogs, I have created the PS (programmable system) and PL (programmable logic) sides of the device, created a simple C program, and demonstrated everything working using the JTAG interface.

The next step in creating a “boot image” is to create a first-stage boot loader (FSBL). Thankfully, the folks at Xilinx are kind enough to provide us with an FSBL that will load our application and configure our FPGA (you can, of course, customize the code provided to alter the boot sequence). Within the current SDK workspace (the one containing your C project), use “New > Application Project” to create a new project as illustrated below



Select whether you want to use C or C++, the board support package defined for your system, and the name of the project, which is “zynq_fsbl_0” in this case. On the next tab select the “Zynq FSBL” option, as illustrated below and your FSBL project will be created, at which point we are nearly ready to create the boot image



f you have “Compile Automatically” selected then the FSBL will be compiled; if not, it will be compiled on-demand later on.

However, we actually need to make a small change to the linker script provided with the FSBL, as it has no idea where the DDR memory is located in the processor address space. Therefore, we need to open the “lscrip.ld” file and add the DRR memory location into this file. This can be found in the linker script we created for the C application in Part 3 of this mini-series (it can also be found in the “system.xml” file under the hardware platform definition).

The following screenshot shows the FSBL “lscript.ld” file with the DDR address for the system added in. If you forget to do this, you will find that the boot loader will run and the FPGA will, but the application will not run because in Part 3 we configured the application to run from the DDR



Looking under the “Project Explorer,” you should hopefully now have the following modules (each should have a slightly different symbol identifying the type of module):

  1. proc_subsystem_hw_platform — named after the processing subsystem you created in PlanAhead, this is the hardware definition of your file
  2. zed_blog_0 — This is the board support package created in Part 3 of this mini-series
  3. zed_blog_C — The C application created earlier in Part 3 (a simple “Hello World” and LED flashing application)
  4. zynq_fsbl_0 — The first stage boot loader we have just created and modified

As we are creating a “bare metal” application (i.e., no operating system), we need the following files — in this specific order — to create a boot image:

  1. First-stage boot loader (as created in this column)
  2. FPGA programming bit file (created in Part 2)
  3. C application (created in Part 3)

We are now ready to generate the boot image, which can be created using the “Create Zynq Boot Image” option under the “Xilinx Tools” menu as illustrated below



This is where we need to select the ELF files (resulting from the compilation of the software projects) and the bit file for the FPGA as illustrated below



It is important to stress that the FPGA bit file must always follow the FSBL. Clicking on “Create Image” will create *.bin and *.mcs files, which can be programmed into the target device.

On the ZedBoard we have the option of booting from the QSPI (Queued Serial Peripheral Interface) or the SD (Secure Digital) card. I think QPSI is more likely to be used for robust applications than an SD card, so we will store our application there.

The QSPI interface was defined all the way back in Part 2 of this mini-series in the “System Assembly” view of Xilinx Platform Studio as illustrated below (click here to see a larger version of this image); hence, the hardware definition will contain the QSPI IP core and the location in the processor address map at which the QSPI resides.atzb-0016-06-lg


Connect the ZedBoard to the PC via the JTAG interface and ensure the mode pins on jumpers 7 to 11 are set correctly. Select the “Program Flash” option from the Xilinx tools menu as illustrated below



Navigate and select the MCS file you generated and enter an offset of 0x0 in the dialog box that appears in the middle of the screen as illustrated below


It may take a few minutes for the device to be programmed (and verified if you ticked the “Verify” option). Once the programming is completed, power-down the ZedBoard and disconnect the JTAG cable such that the only connection the board has is the RS232 connection and the power cable. Set Jumpers 7 to 11 to configure from QSPI and power the board back on again. Congratulations! You have now created your very first, standalone, bare metal Zynq application.