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Creating a hex-file

Honored Contributor I

It cannot be that hard: 

I have a nios2 project (including onchip_ram with "Enable non-default initialization file" checked) that can be compiled to an elf-file. 

But i don't get any hex-file when i compile my project. 


I have been looking up and down in my nios-ide, have scanned the altera forums and have been questioning google for several hours. 

I have found serveral hints what to do but for some strange reason nothing really works. 


Hint 1: mem_init_install, 

In my bsp i find the file But i really don't know what to do with it to get a hex-file. 

In nios ide i can do "Make targets\Create..." an manually add "mem_init_install". 

But afterwards when i try to invoke it by "Make targets\Build..." i get this error "make: *** No rule to make target 'mem_init_install' ". 


Hint 2: elf2hex 

When i use elf2hex 

(java -jar elf2hex.jar --input=Project.elf --width=32 --base=0x4000 --end=0x77FF) (base and end address come from my onchip_ram in the sopc-builder) 

i really get a hex-file.  

But when i now try to update the memory initialization files in quartus2 

i get this warning "Warning: Width of data items in "onchip_ram.hex" is greater than the memory width. Wrapping data items to subsequent addresses." 

So the hex-file isn't ok. Changing the parameter width to "--width=4" in hope to create a hex-file that looks like the default "onchip_ram.hex" will only produce an error "Width: 4 isn't a valid width". 


Any help will be greatly appreciated
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5 Replies
Honored Contributor I

You could try "--width=8" for byte addressing, the width parameter changes the data width in the file. Not sure if this will help.

Honored Contributor I

My solution: this batch-file 


@echo off 


if exist Project.hex del Project.hex 


set BIN_PATH="C:\altera\91\nios2eds\bin


java -jar %BIN_PATH%\elf2hex.jar --input=Project.elf --width=32 --base=0x4000 --end=0x77FF --record=4  


copy /Y Project.hex ..\..\onchip_ram.hex 


Honored Contributor I

Shouldn't the Eclipse tools be able to generate this automatically with just a  

click of a button/check_box? 


I have the same issue and would rather not create additional scripts unless necessary. 


Isn't all the information elf2hex needs passed with the SOPC system? 


In the worst case I can add a line to some edit box in the NIOS II eclipse project  

properties dialog. 


Or specifically what is the Altera recommended/approved method for performing 

this seemingly very common task. 






Honored Contributor I

This used to work, give it a try: 

1) Go to your project explorer, right-click on your project. 

2) select make targets -> build 

3) in the pop-up window, choose mem_init_generate then click build 

4) under your project folder, you will find mem_init subfolder 

5) look inside to see if there is anything useful (should have hex file and qip file for Quartus) 


Honored Contributor I

I had the exact same issue. I noticed 3 things: 


1. The project would still run correctly even though Quartus gave me the warning about the .hex files. 


2. The SBT would only create a .hex file that was being used by Quartus if I first ran the project "as modelsim". Then the SBT would build me a new .hex file, but not if I simply built the project. Through my own research I found out that the command "make mem_init_generate" in the NIOS console would build new .hex files after I made changes to the C code.  


3. For some reason multiple .hex files were created in various folders, and the one in the "mem_init" folder was the one being used by Quartus and not being updated by rebuilding the project. There were other .hex files in another folder that were being updated, but I can't remember where they were off the top of my head. 


It seems to me that the tools should just auto regenerate a .hex file with every project rebuild, and store it in a place that Quartus already looks at, instead of me having to flounder around and make these changes and find a work around. Just a suggestion to Altera... :)