Testing the PC to NanoBoard Connection

Frozen Content

Once you have connected the NB2DSK01 to your PC, you should check that the system software can also connect to the NanoBoard. To do this, first start Altium Designer (if not started already).

The first time Altium Designer is run, a dialog will appear asking whether or not you wish to install the latest USB JTAG driver (Figure 1).

Figure 1. USB JTAG driver installation.

This driver is required for JTAG communications between the PC and the NB2DSK01, using a USB 2.0 connection. You should therefore click Yes. It is recommended that you leave the option to check for future driver updates enabled.

Also when you launch the software for the first time, you will be required to activate it. Use the Activate Licenseoptions on the License Management page that appears in the software to do this. Once your license is activated, use the View » Home menu entry to access the Home view (Figure 2), which provides a launch point to many of the features offered by the system.

Figure 2. Home Page within Altium Designer, offering a menu of common tasks.

Click on the Device Management and Connections link to access the Devices view (Figure 3). Alternatively, access this view by using the Devices Views entry on the main View menu.

Figure 3. Accessing the Devices view.

Detecting the NanoBoard

Enable the Live option at the top-right of the Devices view. Altium Designer will scan the various multiplexed JTAG chains over the PC's JTAG link to the NB2DSK01. A connection indicator will appear at the top-left of the view, reflecting the status of the connection:

– the system is connected and communicating with the NB2DSK01.
– the system could not detect the presence of an NB2DSK01.

A successful connection will also result in an icon for the connected NanoBoard appearing in the top chain of the Devices view (the NanoBoard chain), and an icon for the daughter board FPGA device appearing in the middle chain of the view (the Hard Devices chain). Figure 4 illustrates this for a connected NB2DSK01 whose plug-in daughter board (DB30) contains a Xilinx Spartan-3 device (XC3S1500-4FG676C).

Figure 4. An example of a successfully detected (and connected) Desktop NanoBoard NB2DSK01.

Note: Double-clicking on the icon for a device in a chain will give access to the associated front panel for that device, offering various controls used for development/debugging.

If the Devices view does not show the NB2DSK01 status as connected, there is no NB2DSK01 icon, or no icon is visible for the physical FPGA device on the daughter board, see Troubleshooting NanoBoard Connection Problems.

Choosing the JTAG connection

The Desktop NanoBoard NB2DSK01 can be connected to the PC using a USB or Parallel connection. It is quite feasible to have both USB and Parallel connections in place. The Devices view can be configured to display the hardware that is connected to the PC over multiple ports. What's more, multiple ports can be displayed in the same view or, should you prefer, multiple views. These permutations can be summarized as follows:

  • All hardware connected to the PC (via USB and Parallel ports) in the same view
  • Hardware connected to the PC via a Parallel port only
  • Hardware connected to the PC via USB ports over multiple views – one view per USB port.

See Also

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