Vivado 2014.1 vs ZYBO11. Jun '14


ZYBO is a Zynq-7000 SoC based board from Digilent. It's among the cheapest boards. This is a little HOWTO for getting started with ZYBO. When purchasing ZYBO board there usually is an option to get voucher which you can exchange for license key on the.

General workflow

There are many-many ways you can set up Zynq-7000. In this case we're taking the easiest path to use Vivado to design simple hello world for any Zynq-7000 SoC. The design is primarily composed of:

  • High level block design

  • Low level VHDL design for programmable logic, this is basically the FPGA part of the SoC that is programmable by the user either in Verilog or VHDL

  • VHDL wrapper which interfaces custom VHDL code with AXI bus

  • C code which interfaces with the VHDL wrapper via AXI bus

  • Board support package

  • Linux kernel module

  • Userspace application

To simplify further you can use:

  • With Vivado use zybo_base_system/source/vivado/hw/zybo_bsd/zybo_bsd.xpr from ZYBO base system as the starting point for high level block design, as it already contains connections for on-board buttons, switches, LED-s and HDMI output. Open the file up with Vivado and press Generate Bitstream in the left-hand panel, the file will be written to zybo_base_system/source/vivado/hw/zybo_bsd/zybo_bsd.runs/impl_1/system_wrapper.bit

Creating a project for ZYBO

In order to work with ZYBO board on Vivado 2014.1 several not so obvious steps have to be taken:

  • Open main menu FileNew project

  • Click Next

  • Give your project a name, click Next

  • Select RTL Project, click Next

  • Under Add Sources just click Next

  • Under Add Extisting IP click Next

  • Under Add Constraints click Add Files, locate ZYBO_Master.xdc and click OK

  • Under Default Part the ZYBO board is not currently located, you have to manually set Family to Zynq-7000, Package to clg400, Speed grade to -1 or directly locate Part number xc7z010clg400-1

  • Click Next

  • On the final wizard page click Finish

Configuring high level blocks

At this point you have blank project with ZYBO constraints but no configured high level blocks.

  • On the left hand side panel click on Create Block Design under IP Integrator

  • Enter design name, any random string will do and click OK

  • Click on Add IP button on the diagrams toolbar

  • Filter search and select ZYNQ7 Processing System

  • Double click on the diagram element that just appeared, Re-customize IP window should appear

  • Click on Import XPS Settings button on the toolbar and locate ZYBO_zynq_def.xml, this should automatically connect I2C controller, UART controller, SD-card controller, USB host controller and ethernet controller. Note that ARM controller is connected to those peripherial devices via programmable logic.

At this point you have configured your PL in a way which Linux should see the peripherial devices. Of course we're far from being done.

AXI bus

AXI is part of AMBA 3 specification which is a bus designed for ARM SoC-s very much like PCI was for x86 architectures.

AXI4 defines three main types of AXI interfaces which all come in master and slave flavour.

  • AXI4 (Full) - High-performance memory-mapped requirements

  • AXI4-Lite - 4 registers which can be written and read

  • AXI4-Stream - High-speed streaming data

Note that AXI peripherial device can either be master or slave or both depending on what it has to do:

  • Master interface of peripherial can be used to write to the DDR3 memory

  • Slave interface exposes 64 to 1024 bytes which other master components can write

Zynq-7000 processing system which implemented in hardware includes:

  • Two AXI master interfaces

  • Two AXI slave interfaces

Now to connect AXI peripherial devices to Zynq-7000 processing system you need AXI4 Interconnect which is basically glue component implemented in PL. AXI4 Interconnect has configurable number of interfaces:

  • From 1 to 16 AXI master interfaces

  • From 1 to 16 AXI slave interfaces

Connecting custom IP to Zynq-7000 via AXI4 bus

For the sake of simplicity we'll focus here on implementing piece of hardware that sits on AXI bus:

  • From the main menu select ToolsCreate and Package IP

  • Click Next

  • Select Create a new AXI4 peripheral, click Next

  • Optionally modify IP Location, click Next

  • Under Add Interfaces, click Next

  • Click Finish

This by default gives you a component with AXI Lite interface. That means you can communicate with this block via limited number of registers. This is perfectly okay for reading button presses and blinking LED-s but more serious business you need

Adding custom IP to the high level design

Next step is to add that piece of hardware to the high level block design:

  • Click on Add IP button on the diagrams toolbar

  • Locate the IP core you just added, it is by default named myip_v1.0

Connect high level blocks

At this point you should have ZYNQ7 Processing System and myip_v1.0 (Pre-Production) visible on the Diagram view. To interconnect high level blocks and fill in gaps:

  • Click on Run Connect Automaton in the high level design toolbar

  • In the dialog leave Clock Connection as is Auto

Now you should have four components visible in the high level design:

  • Zynq-7000 processing system which represents the dual-core ARM processor of the SoC: processing_system_7_0

  • rst_processing_system7_0_100M

  • processing_system7_0_axi_periph

  • Block that represents your custom IP: myip_0

Creating HDL wrapper

At this point you have created high level block for your IP core, by default named myip_0. Next step is to create VHDL wrapper for it:

  • Under Sources panel select Libraries subsection

  • Right click on the Design SourcesBlock Designsdesign_1 and click on Create HDL wrapper...

  • In the dialog select Let Vivado manage wrapper and auto-update

Editing custom IP

Now to add actual VHDL code to your custom IP core, in the high level block design view right click on your IP core myip_0 and click on Edit in IP Packager. This should open up the source code of the the VHDL/Verilog component that is indended to be customized by the user, you can identify the lines by Add user logic here.

Switching to SDK

At this point you should be finished with the hardware design for you custom IP core. To transfer the bitstream to the SD-card use:

  • Open main menu File

  • Select Export

  • Click on Export Bitstream file

Final step in Vivado is to export the hardware design to SDK:

  • From main menu open File

  • Select Export

  • Click on Export Hardware for SDK

Creating board support package


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