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Autostart NIOS from external SDRAM problem

Oliver_I_Sedlacek
New Contributor III
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So my NIOS code has outgrown the available on chip RAM and I've moved it to off chip SDRAM. Very slow, but I fire up Eclipse and I can get it to run. I need to get it to run automatically and I've found snippets of information by perusing the NIOSII software developers Handbook but can anyone point me to definitive documentation. I know I need to persuade the compiler to produce a ROM image that becomes a MIF, which I believe it does, and get something (maybe a bootloader) to do the initialisation, and somewhere I need to tell the tools to run that code.

Can anyone help with the blanks?

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EBERLAZARE_I_Intel
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Hi,


Please check this page, and let me know which method would you like to go for?:

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/docs/programmable/683689/current/processor-booting-methods.html


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Oliver_I_Sedlacek
New Contributor III
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Aha, so I was looking in the wrong manual!

Well I've chewed my way through the instructions and as I expected my NIOS neither runs nor can I debug it from Eclipse. The manual does not list any steps for diagnosing faults, so where do I go from here?

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EBERLAZARE_I_Intel
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Hi,


Apologies I came back a bit late, for debugging it is on chapter 6.


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Oliver_I_Sedlacek
New Contributor III
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I've read chapter 6 and none of it really sheds any light on my problem. My system runs perfectly and the code has been debugged, so I suspect vector offsets are broken but I don't know how to inspect them if I can't connect the debugger.

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EBERLAZARE_I_Intel
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Hi,


Could you provide your design example? Or is your example similar to any of the booting methods in the Embedded Handbook?


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Oliver_I_Sedlacek
New Contributor III
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The intent was to go with application code stored in EPCQ flash and the run time location is external RAM as per Table 33 and section 5.2.3.4 of the Embedded Design handbook. The SOF is 802 kB in size so I just rounded up to make the offset to the HEX 1024 kB.

As I stated earlier, everything works if I load the application from the Eclipse debugger, but I do need it to run from power up.

I've added a project archive, all done in Quartus 20.1 Lite.

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EBERLAZARE_I_Intel
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Hi,


I think I got it what you intend to do, let me work on it and get back to you.


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Oliver_I_Sedlacek
New Contributor III
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EBERLAZARE_I_Intel
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Hi,


You could do the programming using .jic:

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/docs/programmable/683689/current/programming-96050.html


With programming using .jic, you can reset your FPGA device using the reset button or power cycle your hardware and it will run upon power up. Is this what you are trying to achieve?



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Oliver_I_Sedlacek
New Contributor III
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The FPGA configures fine from power up (programmed via .JIC as suggested). The problem is the NIOS doesn't boot. I've been following  Table 33 and section 5.2.3.4 of the Embedded Design handbook but I'm obviously doing something wrong, but can't diagnose what.

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EBERLAZARE_I_Intel
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Hi,


I cannot find any major differences in your design. Have you tried to use the example in the document and start from there? :

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/docs/programmable/683689/current/reset-and-exception-vector-settings.html


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EBERLAZARE_I_Intel
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Hi,


Any update?


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Oliver_I_Sedlacek
New Contributor III
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Trying to go round the loop again and I'm stumped as the EPCQ isn't offered in the reset vectors memory drop down. I don't remember this as a problem earlier, but then that might just be my memory. Screenshot attached.

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Oliver_I_Sedlacek
New Contributor III
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You seem to just have pointed me at the online version of the document that I was following anyway, so no progress.

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EBERLAZARE_I_Intel
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Hi,


The link that I shared have the hardware design for Quartus for you to follow the steps, and shows you the connection that is needed to be made to have it as Reset Vector for Excecute In Place. Maybe you can try the pdf versions and check the 5.2.3.3 Chapter.


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EBERLAZARE_I_Intel
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Hi,


Can you check the connection made as per the 5.2.3.3 Chapter:

https://cdrdv2-public.intel.com/666980/edh_ed_handbook-683689-666980.pdf


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EBERLAZARE_I_Intel
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Hi,


Any update?


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Oliver_I_Sedlacek
New Contributor III
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So two of us worked through it all again very carefully and slowly and got the same symptoms. The NIOS doesn't run and I can't connect to it with the debugger.

Repeating the same experiment and expecting a different result is a sign of madness.

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Oliver_I_Sedlacek
New Contributor III
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I'm so demoralised it's taking me some time to summon up the will to beat my head against a brick wall again. Anyway, I've switched to the serial flash controller II and I get different options on the NIOS vectors tab, so I'll give that a go.

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EBERLAZARE_I_Intel
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Hi,


I try as in the example design in the Embedded Design handbook, I do see the epcq on the reset vectors in the Nios II IP:


5.2.3.3 Chapter:

https://cdrdv2-public.intel.com/666980/edh_ed_handbook-683689-666980.pdf


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