Programming the FPGA of bladeRFThe last few weeks I am trying to program the FPGA.
With the marvelous software Quartus of Altera I managed to make some *.rbf files and transfer them to the FPGA. Well, first I had .sof files but they can be transformed into .rbf files.
I read many manuals, performed some courses from Altera (very instructive by the way!) and experimented a lot. I used some files from the VHDL-bladeRF-subdirectory.
However, I did not manage to blink the LEDs.
Tonight I finally saw why.
C4_CLK running at 38.4 MHzThere is a clock c4_clk running at 38.4 MHz. I tried to reduce that clock with a counter to about 1 Hz. Yes: the blinking LED, the equivalent of Hello World!
I did not have a clock! There was no 38.4 MH signal. Why not?
The clock-signal is derived from a chip, the Si5338. That chip has to be initialised, programmed, setup.
So, there is not a simple way to use the FPGA in an easy way. With easy I mean, a few simple files that grow in time, become more complicated as I understand more and more of the system.
Nuand: use revisions
OK, there is no simple way to experiment with the FPGA. What I want to accomplish is:
- get the rf-output from the LMS-chip
- digitize that signal
- make some hardware with VHDL (correlator, Costas-loop)
- downconvert the signal
- send to the laptop with USB
- do the final processing on the laptop
I have to find out how to tell Quartus to use the files in the master-bladerf-directory.
Nuand advises to use the standard bladerf software and make revisions to that software. Yes, but how to compile the FPGA firmware?
There is no easy way
So, I will do a lot more reading, some more Quartus tutorials and then figure out how to set up a bladerf-Windows-Quartus-project resulting in a nice hostedx115.rbf file!
Please help me
I am not desperate yet, I have to study a lot. But I would love to get some hints, some help, some advice! In the meantime, I will read, think, experiment, and blog about my findings.