Tool: FlashLoader

The FlashLoader application can be used to program a bitfile or any other data to the onboard FPGA flash of supported devices.

Usage Information

Running the sample to load your own bitfile is easy enough:

  1. You need to have the following in a single directory:
    • flashloader.exe
    • okFrontPanel.dll (.so for Linux, .dylib for macOS)
    • flashloader.bit
    • Your own bitfile to be programmed into flash
  2. At the command line, run: flashloader.exe mybitfile.bit

Important Notes

Power-On Configuration Speed

The rate at which a bitfile can be loaded at power-on from flash is configured during bitstream generation. Read the Xilinx/Intel SPI configuration user guide appropriate for your product to determine how to configure this. Flash configuration and connections are documented in your product’s documentation space. Note that the flashloader tool sets the flash part’s QE bit so x4 configuration can be used, if supported (currently XEM8310, XEM8320, and XEM8350).

Known Issues

Data Padding on Writes

This program writes to the flash in 1024 byte chunks. If the length of a file is not aligned to this length, the flash is padded with undefined data to this 1024 byte boundary (potentially a zero or a one). This behavior is benign in most applications, but it can be avoided if the file being written to the flash is padded with known data to a 1024 byte boundary. This will be fixed in a future version of FrontPanel.

Extra Block Incorrectly Erased

The flash loading utility incorrectly erases an extra block in erase and write operations. This will be fixed in a future version of FrontPanel.