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Thread: DE0 Nios II EPCS boot

  1. #1
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    Question DE0 Nios II EPCS boot

    I am having problems using the flash programmer to load my .sof and .elf files onto the EPCS4 chip of my Terasic DE0 dev board (Cyclone III). My SOPC has an EPCS controller and the reset address of the Nios II processor points to it. In Quartus, under Device and Pin Options, I have set the Dual-Purpose pins to Use as regular I/O. I have also connected pins to the EPCS ports on the SOPC block. I have verified that the pins are connected to the correct physical pins in the Pin Planner. When I try to program using the flash programmer I get the following message:

    No EPCS registers found: tried looking at address
    0x00011000, 0x00011200, 0x00011300 and 0x00011400

    It seems that I am unable to communicate with the EPCS device. Has anyone has successfully booted a Nios II processor off of EPCS on this development board?

    The EPCS chip is not fried as I am able to use the Quartus programmer to program it using AS mode (and flipping SW11 to PROG).

    Thank you all for your help, and let me know what other information could be useful for figuring this out.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: DE0 Nios II EPCS boot

    hi crts ! i got the same error
    i found tech note from altera with patch saying for some chips such as EPCS4N (N for lead-free version) there is a different RDID then needs the patch file inside the /bin directory

    but i tried it with a board using a EPCS4N chip : still got same error msg
    did you find solution to this ?

    Thanks !

  3. #3
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    Default Re: DE0 Nios II EPCS boot

    to those who got the same problem , to let you know i found the solution at least for my case ;-) here is how :

    - note i was not running it not on a DE0 devp kit , but on a smaller custom devp board CycloneII

    - running NiosII flash prog in debug mode from command line & adding the --debug option , i found the problem was linked to the data contents read from the EPCS chip registers

    - from this error i found some tips in Altera Knowledge Base , saying it can be linked to the EPCS controller not being in the proper RESET state when trying to be accessed by the JTAG module inside the NiosII cpu

    - so back into back into my QSys design i realized that the EPCS flash controller had its RESET connected to the main Clk_Reset , but not to the JTAG_Reset : so i rebuilt in QSys after having connected the EPCS controller to the JTAG_Reset of NiosII

    - then i recompiled in Quartus , then on to NiosII SBT : then into Flash Programmer i selected to flash into the EPCS : 1st area the converted-SOF of the design , followed by 2nd area the converted-ELF which should include the "--after ..." option : this is VERY important to make sure you flash your NiosII-software-ELF part !AFTER! the "SOF" general fpga configuration part (produced from QuartusII) : in my case i wanted both fpga-configuration + nios2-software to be inside the EPCS flash chip , so this option was needed (read the NiosII Flash Programmer pdf guide for more details , some are really important depending on your custom board's config)

    - after that all was ok :-)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: DE0 Nios II EPCS boot

    Just further to MrTea's comments...

    I have just spent 6 hours trying to flash my EPCS device... I had a smaller test project flash to it just fine, and I couldn't work out why my larger project was not taking... It had the classic "can't locate EPCS registers" error.

    Then I noticed that on the working design I had both the data and instruction buses hooked up to the EPCS serial component (in SOPC), and on the larger design I just had the instruction bus hooked up... Changed it to include the databus too and it worked... woohoo... *screams in frustration and relief*

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