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Using on-board USB blaster to program other FPGAs

Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor I
982 Views

Hi everyone! 

 

I have a Cyclone III starter kit (DK-START-3C25N) which has the usb blaster embedded on-board.  

On the board there is also a 10 pins JTAG header. 

My question is simple but I did not find any answer on documents or web: 

is it possible to use this on-board USB blaster to program FPGAs other than the one in the starter kit, through the JTAG header?? 

 

Thanks a lot, 

Davide
0 Kudos
5 Replies
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor I
104 Views

It's not possible with the default setup for two reasons: 

  1. The TDO signal coming back from the FPGA on your Cyclone III board will conflict with the TDO signal from the external board  

  2. If the on-board blaster detects that a cable is plugged in to the jtag socket then it will disable itself  

 

You can probably work around both of these with clever setup on the analogue switches / links on the board, and with care about what you do to pin 2 and 10 (I think) on the cable. If you do get the board set up so there are no conflicts then you may have issues with signal integrity due to large capacitive loading on TCK/TMS/TDI from the original board. 

 

So not impossible, but difficult to do properly, which is why this sort of use is unsupported.
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor I
104 Views

Thanks! I think I will buy a new programmer :-) 

 

Davide
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor I
104 Views

 

--- Quote Start ---  

Thanks! I think I will buy a new programmer :-) 

 

--- Quote End ---  

 

Buy the Terasic USB-Blaster, its significantly cheaper than Altera's version. 

 

http://www.terasic.com.tw/cgi-bin/page/archive.pl?language=english&categoryno=74 

 

If you must have an Altera version, then buy a development kit that includes the programmer. For example, I recently replaced a MAX II PCI kit that I'd managed to damage. 

 

http://www.digikey.com/scripts/dksearch/dksus.dll?vendor=0&keywords=dk-maxii-1270n 

 

The kit is ~$160 and includes an Altera USB-Blaster. A USB-Blaster by itself is $300 ...  

 

http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/pl-usb-blaster-rcn/544-1775-nd/1212940 

 

go figure ... 

 

Cheers, 

Dave
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor I
104 Views

 

--- Quote Start ---  

Buy the Terasic USB-Blaster, its significantly cheaper than Altera's version. 

--- Quote End ---  

 

 

Thanks for the advice! 

 

 

 

--- Quote Start ---  

If you must have an Altera version, then buy a development kit that includes the programmer.  

 

[...] 

 

The kit is ~$160 and includes an Altera USB-Blaster. 

--- Quote End ---  

 

 

I think that this had been my boss' original thought (in fact, I need it at work)...but probably he did not check if that particular starter kit (DK-START-3C25N) had a separate usb blaster..... 

 

 

Now I've to decide which one to buy...but I think that if the Terasic blaster is ok for Cyclone III FPGAs, I will buy that one :) 

 

 

Thanks a lot, 

Davide
Altera_Forum
Honored Contributor I
104 Views

 

--- Quote Start ---  

 

if the Terasic blaster is ok for Cyclone III FPGAs, I will buy that one :) 

--- Quote End ---  

 

 

It works fine. 

 

Cheers, 

Dave
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