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Terasic DE2-70 Board

Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
1,546 Views

Hi, 

 

I'm planning on ordering an altera DE2-70 board from terasic and i was wondering if anyone could tell me if their general impression of the board. My university uses the DE2 for all of its engineering department and it seems like a solid dev board to me. But i want to make sure there aren't any weird bugs or anything with the DE2-70. Its a pretty new board so i just want to make sure everything works fine on it
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26 Replies
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
227 Views

I think it's the best board developed so far for university use. I've been using this to teach a lot of students and it's easy to use.

Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
227 Views

alright, thanks alot for your opinion.. i've got my de2-70 board a day ago :)... now if only i could figure out how make the de2-70 control panel work

Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
227 Views

Hi BYS2, 

 

I'm also interested in the new DE2-70. Please let us know your experience with it. 

 

I downloaded the CD. The DE2-70 has some nice hardware enhancements, but the samples really stink. These DE boards are supposed to be educational. Samples should be fully commented. The samples provided though, are so poorly commented and (un)documented that you come to think it is on purpose. Let alone that many modules are encrypted ... 

 

This was already true for the older DE boards. Now on the DE2-70 is, IMHO, worse. Many samples have been migrated from HDL to Nios. This make them almost useless as samples purposes. 

 

On the other hand, it is difficult to complain too much. The hardware you get at this low price is unbeatable.
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
227 Views

I take it that students outside of Academia cannot benefit from the $270 rebate?

Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
227 Views

tommythorn: if you've been to a unversity/college before then you might still be able to, i don't think they're too strict about it.. 

 

vjAlter: 

my reivew of the DE2-70 board 

 

well, after 2 weeks of playing around with my board, i think im ready to give you some first impressions of it. I'm not a pro or anything with using this board, so i've actually not used many of the features yet (NIOS, tv decoder, etc..). but here goes: 

 

There seemed to be an issue with the control panel that was included as part of the demo. Sometimes, the initialization files would fail to download. This problem doesn't always happen and seems to have corrected iteself lately. Also, with my board, if you touch the underneath of the board in certain areas, the DE2-70 board would reset itself. This was a pretty annoying problem since it happened quite a few times when i was moving around my board to connect it to various peripherals. I emailed terasic support about these 2 problems and they indicated that the first problem may be due to the USB blaster being 'unstable', no idea what that really means, but they did not really elaborate. The second problem they said that it might be due to the fact that some components are operating "at the limits of their tolerance" so the electrical properties of the human body might cause it to reset itself... a bit unsettling, and i hope these problems are not widespread.. 

 

the board seems to be working fine apart from those problems, all their demos and the other quartus projects i have seem to be working fine when i run them... although, since most of my projects were done for the DE2 board, it was a bit of a pain to migrate them to the DE2-70 board (pin assignments since defautl pin names are different).. they should have included a utility to do auto-pin reassignments to port DE2 projects to the DE2-70 board... 

 

Also, the samples and demos they give you are not very well-commented.. and many of their samples are now implemented using Nios instead of HDL. 

 

However, at the price fo 330 usd, the hardware you get is fantastic.. lots of IO ports, good FPGA, very solid set of components... only glitch is the area under where it says "power supplies by linear technology" which if you touch, it will spontaneously reset your board... so overall, even with all the little glitches that i mentioned above, i still think this is a really good board and i don't regret my purchase..
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
227 Views

Thanks for your review. It prompted me to get one as well. 

 

My quick notes after a less than a week: 

  • Shipping is fast: I ordered an a Sunday and got it Tuesday morning (Taiwan -> Ca) 

  • Packaging and documentation is the best I seen so far from a FPGA dev kit (I have many) 

  • An overall care for details (rubber feet, acrylic protection cover, test wires, etc.) 

  • There are lots of small positive surprises. Example: 

  • The FPGA is the fastest speed grade 

  • The PS/2 supports Y-splitters so both a keyboard and mouse can be attached 

  • It shipped with the most important datasheets 

 

 

Minor issues: 

  • The lab exercises haven't been updated for the EP2C70 edition and may confuse beginnings 

  • The supplied pin assignment .csv didn't work for me, but cloning one of the demos worked fine 

  • Only the 1-bit SDcard interface is supported.  

 

 

A truly spectacular board.
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
227 Views

 

--- Quote Start ---  

Thanks for your review. It prompted me to get one as well. 

 

My quick notes after a less than a week: 

  • Shipping is fast: I ordered an a Sunday and got it Tuesday morning (Taiwan -> Ca) 

  • Packaging and documentation is the best I seen so far from a FPGA dev kit (I have many) 

  • An overall care for details (rubber feet, acrylic protection cover, test wires, etc.) 

  • There are lots of small positive surprises. Example: 

  • The FPGA is the fastest speed grade 

  • The PS/2 supports Y-splitters so both a keyboard and mouse can be attached 

  • It shipped with the most important datasheets 

 

 

Minor issues: 

  • The lab exercises haven't been updated for the EP2C70 edition and may confuse beginnings 

  • The supplied pin assignment .csv didn't work for me, but cloning one of the demos worked fine 

  • Only the 1-bit SDcard interface is supported.  

 

 

A truly spectacular board. 

--- Quote End ---  

 

 

Hello all, 

I got my DE2-70 board and all went good for control pannel but at the same time it is very bad board who want to start embeded processor from this point there are no simple project to use to make a new application from scratch. 

If some one can provide me such a file it would be very helpful for me 

Regards
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
227 Views

 

--- Quote Start ---  

I think it's the best board developed so far for university use. I've been using this to teach a lot of students and it's easy to use.[/QUOT 

 

 

It is good that you have such a nice feeling but I have tried it all the sample and codes are poorly documented and i think it is on purpose many people have the same feeling. 

It should provide some example with step by step guidance for rapid prototyping of its  

different components. 

If you are teaching you could have such samples and i will be really thankful if you can  

provide few such samples. 

Frahat
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
227 Views

Both of you, this attitude is unlikely to get you very far. 

 

Still: download this simple zip with three files: http://thorn.ws/de2-70-flash-leds.zip 

This is about the simplest example of a standalone design (it's just flipping bits). I  

included the Verilog code below (the indentation is mangled by the altera forum), but you'll need the (trivial) project file and the assignment file from the above zip file. All I did was to take the default example and boil it down. 

 

It really isn't Terasic's job to provide tutorials. That they did anyway to quite impressive. 

 

Regards 

Tommy -- (but now I want a DE3!) 

 

 

module test2(input iCLK_50, 

input [17:0] iSW, 

output reg [6:0] oHEX0_D, // Seven Segment Digit 0 

output reg oHEX0_DP, // Seven Segment Digit 0 decimal point 

output reg [6:0] oHEX1_D, // Seven Segment Digit 1 

output reg oHEX1_DP, // Seven Segment Digit 1 decimal point 

output reg [6:0] oHEX2_D, // Seven Segment Digit 2 

output reg oHEX2_DP, // Seven Segment Digit 2 decimal point 

output reg [6:0] oHEX3_D, // Seven Segment Digit 3 

output reg oHEX3_DP, // Seven Segment Digit 3 decimal point 

output reg [6:0] oHEX4_D, // Seven Segment Digit 4 

output reg oHEX4_DP, // Seven Segment Digit 4 decimal point 

output reg [6:0] oHEX5_D, // Seven Segment Digit 5 

output reg oHEX5_DP, // Seven Segment Digit 5 decimal point 

output reg [6:0] oHEX6_D, // Seven Segment Digit 6 

output reg oHEX6_DP, // Seven Segment Digit 6 decimal point 

output reg [6:0] oHEX7_D, // Seven Segment Digit 7 

output reg oHEX7_DP, // Seven Segment Digit 7 decimal point 

 

output [17:0] oLEDR); 

 

assign oLEDR = 'h55 ^ iSW; 

 

always @(posedge iCLK_50) 

{oHEX5_D,oHEX4_D,oHEX3_D,oHEX2_D,oHEX1_D,oHEX0_D} 

<= {oHEX5_D,oHEX4_D,oHEX3_D,oHEX2_D,oHEX1_D,oHEX0_D} + 1; 

endmodule
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
227 Views

I dont have problem accessing peripherals through FPGA.I am new to NIOS and SOPC  

I need some simple examples discussing every step in detail from Hardware to software  

development.I am trying to make simple project like controlling LEDs through processor 

but every time some starnge errors like processor paused etc... 

I have also tried Altera debug client for simple lab tutorials but every time compile give following error. 

/usr/bin/bash: nios2-elf-ld: command not found 

Compilation stopped. 

 

I need help . 

farhat
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
227 Views

Farhat: this has zero to do with the DE2-70. It sounds like you have issues installing the Nios II dev tools. Go seek help in a Nios II section of the forum.

Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
227 Views

I finaly got my ne today, in one word Great Board. 

it has everything you need, i also baught the camera and lcd module, works both great. 

 

consurning the sample applications, there are good, but they are all coded in verilog(i'm a vhdl guy), i see as an oportunity to get a grip on verilog. 

 

 

greets Mirimon
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
227 Views

Hey, 

I have a problem with the control panel of the Altera DE2-70 Cyclone II Board. 

I use the Quartus II Web edition and have installed the license. 

but every time I start the control panel the Error "Fail to connect FPGA Board - Please Click the 'Download Code' button to download control code for your board" appears but if I click on this button a second error appear with "Please make sure Quartus is installed". 

But it is installed and I can run it so what is wrong? 

have anyone an idea?thanks 

 

I'm a beginner at this, but I want to learn it now, I hope you can help me. 

I'm a student from germany so its possible that my english is not the best. ;) 

 

thanks
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
227 Views

I suspect your problem is related to the USB driver for the onboard USB blaster. (What OS are you running?) 

 

Try launching Quartus II and open the programmer (Tools/Programmer). Click on Hardware Setup. If you don't see the USB blaster under the "Available hardware items:" then either your board is incorrectly connected to the PC or the driver is missing/not installed properly. If you connect power to the DE2-70, turn it on, and then connect the USB cable, Windows will either ask report it found the USB Blaster or ask about installing the drivers. 

 

If this all checks out perfectly, then we'll have to dig deeper. 

 

Tommy
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
227 Views

sudoku, 

i had a simlar issue with the control panel, it seems to have gone away now though.. 

 

A few notes though, the first error "Fail to connect FPGA Board - Please Click the 'Download Code' button to download control code for your board" is fine.. this is not a glitch... its just telling you that the control panel isn't connected to the board yet..  

 

also, after you click the 'download code', don't do anything on your computer while its downloading (i.e. don't switch window to browse the net)... this might seem irrelevant, but trust me, it solved my problem... this is gonna be kinda annoying though if you test out the music playback feature from the control panel since it takes it about 5 minutes to transfer a full .wav file from the control panel to the DE2-70.. and even clicking away from the window for a few seconds can make the transfer fail for some reason.. 

 

good news is that this only happens when you're doing stuff with the control panel and their image/video utility.. when transfering stuff from Quartus, i can play a game while waiting for the stuff to transfer no problems.. 

 

tommy's advice is good as well, make sure your Quartus works and the usb blaster driver is installed, you might want to make a very simple file in Quartus and try to transfer it to your DE2-70 board (2 inputs from the swtiches through an AND gate and output the result on a LED is a very simple circuit that you can use to test)..
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
227 Views

Hey Tommy, 

I use Windows XP with the service Pack 2 and the blaster-driver is already installed and its also listed in Quartus. 

 

@BYS2: 

If I click the 'Download Code' Button the error appers in a second, so I have no time to click anywhere else. 

 

When I klick on the 'Connect' Button, the "LOAD"-LED indicated a bit an the first Error appears again. 

 

I have also 2 different "Control Panels", on the CD which where send with the board is another "Control Panel", there I can only open the USB-Blaster and then set some checkboxes for example for an LED, but If I click on the "Set"-Button, only the "GOOD"-LED on the board indicated but nothing happens. 

 

So there must be an connection between the board and my PC. 

 

 

I will try to transfer the file to my board which BYS2 means. 

 

thanks. 

 

--EDIT: 

So...I try to test my programm but it doesn't works...I don't know if its my fault or something else. 

Here's my programm:  

 

ENTITY test1 IS 

GENERIC (delay : time := 10 ns); 

PORT (PIN_AA23, PIN_AB26 : IN bit;  

PIN_AJ6 : OUT bit); 

END test1; 

 

ARCHITECTURE func OF test1 IS 

BEGIN 

PROCESS (PIN_AA23, PIN_AB26) 

BEGIN 

PIN_AJ6 <= PIN_AA23 and PIN_AB26 AFTER delay; 

END PROCESS; 

END func; 

 

I choose the Cylone II family with EP2C70F896C6 with is written on the chip an the board (but there is also an "N" at last but this is not listet in quartus) 

 

With the "Pin Planner" 

I choose the 2 pins for the 2 switches and the one for the LED and assign it to my Inputs and my Output. 

Then I click on the Compilation button and on the "Analysis and Synthese"-Button and both are successful, but if I change the position of the switches...nothing happens. 

Have I forgot something? or whats wrong? 

 

I also set the "RUN/PROG"-Switch on "PROG while the syntesis and to test it I switch it back to "RUN". 

 

and theres one warning:  

 

Warning: Found 1 output pins without output pin load capacitance assignment  

Info: Pin "PIN_AJ6" has no specified output pin load capacitance -- assuming default load capacitance of 0 pF for timing analysis 

 

But I set this PIN. 

 

and also another Info: 

 

Info: Device migration not selected. If you intend to use device migration later, you may need to change the pin assignments as they may be incompatible with other devices 

 

what does this mean?have I choose the wrong device? 

 

 

I know that are basics but I hope you understand an can help me a little bit to come on the right way! ;) 

 

thanks a lot 

 

EDIT: 

OK...now it works...AND-Gatter...I forgot to implement it...hehe...yes I#m a real beginner...but the control panel didn't work anyway... 

 

thanks
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
227 Views

Hi Soduko, 

 

sorry I missed your question. Re. the control panel, it is very particular about the installation. It requires you to have both a Quartus II and a Nios II Embedded Design Suite installed - and they have to be matching versions and you're probably better off only have one version installed. 

 

Also, be sure to copy the DE2_70_control_panel to a directory, such that the path has no spaces (Quartus II/Nios II EDS apparently has bugs when dealing the path names). 

 

Finally, it didn't work out of the box for me with Quartus II 8.0 sp1, but there is a workaround: launch the Nios II 8.0 Command Shell and launch the control panel from that shell. Eg. I had copied the DE2_70_control_panel to C:\altera, and thus just had to execute 

 

cd ../../../DE2_70_control_panel/SW 

./DE2_70_Control_Panel.exe 

 

Good luck, 

Tommy
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
227 Views

 

--- Quote Start ---  

Finally, it didn't work out of the box for me with Quartus II 8.0 sp1, 

--- Quote End ---  

 

 

I think download won't work in any of the DE2-70 NIOS samples when using Quartus 8. The scripts set some environment variables specific for previous Quartus versions, not for version 8. 

 

In the case of the control panel you must modify the "NiosDownloadBatch.bat" file.
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
227 Views

 

--- Quote Start ---  

I think download won't work in any of the DE2-70 NIOS samples when using Quartus 8. The scripts set some environment variables specific for previous Quartus versions, not for version 8. 

 

In the case of the control panel you must modify the "NiosDownloadBatch.bat" file. 

--- Quote End ---  

 

 

Right. Or you could simply do what I suggested, launch it from the Nios II shell. Likely to be much simpler than figuring out which environment variables to fix. 

 

I actually started down that road first, but AFAICT, one of the problems is that the script assumes all of the EDS to be in the PATH (eg. nios2-download). Simply adding the bin directory wasn't enough at which point I figured it wasn't worth my time.
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor II
122 Views

There seems to be an updated control panel for Quartus 8 at Terasic web site.

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