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Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor I
773 Views

Can't load design for PCIe tab in BTS with transceiver starter kit

Just got a Cyclone IV Transceiver Starter Kit, but can't get to the point I can access the PCIe tab in the Board Test System (BTS). 

 

Version 11.1.0 of BTS doesn't display a "Configure" menu, so I can't follow instructions on page 6-4 of the Cyclone IV GX Transceiver Starter Kit User Guide (March 2010). 

 

Version 10.1.0 of BTS has the configure menu, but selecting "Configure FPGA with SMA and PCIe Design without serial Loopback" hangs with a message of "Starting FPGA configuration..." in the message box and 0% on the progress bar. Have to close and restart BTS to get anything to work, e.g., GPIO. Trying with loopback does the same thing. 

 

I'm an EE that is new to FPGAs and don't really want to have to learn how to recompile the files just to get the functionality stated for the BTS on this kit. 

 

My board has a factory test date in fall of 2010. Any help is appreciated. 

 

-Kamel
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5 Replies
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor I
51 Views

Before you can run the PCIe test; 

 

1) You need it plugged into a PCIe motherboard slot. 

 

2) You need the design configured *before* the BIOS enumerates the PCI/PCIe bus. 

 

That last step can be a little tricky. There's couple of ways to do it; 

 

1) Configure the board for passive serial configuration and load the PCIe BTS image in the flash so that the board is configured at power-on. This is the method you need to use if you want to turn the power-on to your PC and have the Cyclone board detected at each power-on. 

 

2) Turn on your PC with the Cyclone board plugged in. Use Quartus to download the PCIe BTS image (it'll be in one of the install directories as a .sof file). Soft-reboot your machine by doing a restart (not a power-down). When your PC reboots, the BIOS will detect the Cyclone board as a PCIe device. Once Windows starts, you can run BTS and it should detect the configuration. 

 

Yes, Altera's documentation leaves a little to be desired ... 

 

I believe the above should work. If it doesn't let me know, and I'll try with the board I have. 

 

Cheers, 

Dave
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor I
51 Views

Dave, 

 

Thanks for the quick reply. What I'm actually after is to use the PCIe connector on the Altera kit as a serial data generator, similar to the SMA connections, but without having to change the jumpers so that the Ethernet port remains functional. I've soldered up some SMA cables to a 1x PCIe edge card connector pins for the Tx and Rx channels, but haven't connected anything to the other pins, such as those used for PRSNT, clocks or JTAG. Any thoughts on how to jumper a PCIe edge card connector or which signals are important to satisfy the Transceiver Starter Kit? Or does this require some active signaling from a host to the kit? 

 

As a newbie, can you point me to a good place to start reading about how to use "Quartus to download the PCIe BTS image", as I've installed it, but haven't used it yet. (Can I use the Board Update Portal to accomplish this if that's easier?) 

 

Do you think I should try to make this work with BTS 11.1 or 10.1? 

 

Finally, if I caved in and did the board mods to the SMA data lines, is the board somehow going to know that I have changed these and thus allow BTS to load the transceiver design? I thought the board mods were just switching the connector used for those lines. 

 

Thanks, 

-Kamel
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor I
51 Views

Hi Kamel, 

 

--- Quote Start ---  

 

What I'm actually after is to use the PCIe connector on the Altera kit as a serial data generator 

 

--- Quote End ---  

In that case, ignore the BTS design. 

 

You do not need to do anything special to get the transceiver signals coming out the PCIe edge connector. Just instantiate an ALTGX, and ALTGX_RECONFIG, and reset logic, and you can transmit/receive over your SMA cables.  

 

While the above advice sounds easy enough, it might take you a while to figure out how to initialize the ALTGX logic correctly. The Cyclone IV GX handbook has figures with the required reset sequences, but its up to you to design and implement the controller. 

 

See if you can figure it out. If you have trouble, ask questions. 

 

Cheers, 

Dave
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor I
51 Views

Okay, I'll head down the road of creating a design with the functionality you mention, but ...  

 

In the meantime, if anyone can tell me why, within BTS 10.1 connected to the Cyclone IV GX Transceiver Starter Kit, clicking "Configure" --> "Configure FPGA with SMA and PCIe [with or without Loopback]" causes BTS to display the following messages: 

 

Starting FPGA configuration... 

Converting data to bitstream... 

 

and then hang, or better yet, how to fix it, I'd love suggestions.  

 

For example, my reading of the User's Guide is that BTS is supposed to automatically alter the design in the user hardware 1 memory to enable the SMA and PCIe tabs when I do the above. But do I need to somehow have used Quartus to convert and put bts_xcvr.sof into flash before BTS can "automatically" configure it? Or maybe somehow use btsXcvr0.elf? 

 

My beginner's suspicion is that this is not an issue of hardware connections or board modifications for the PCIe and SMA connectors. 

 

Looking forward to more thoughts, 

-Kamel
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor I
51 Views

You're wasting your time trying to figure out undocumented software. 

 

Just accept the fact that its not going to work, and use the hardware. 

 

It'll be more productive in the long run. 

 

I compiled the examples under Quartus 11.1sp1 and got so many warnings, I decided to start from scratch. 

 

Cheers, 

Dave
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