How to install Quartus Prime 17.1 Lite Edition along with the drivers for the Intel Cyclone 10 LP FPGA Evaluation Kit, plug in the board and run the Board Test System provided by Intel
Welcome to ClockFabric Electronics Academy. Here we’ll study Electronics and Computation from an Inventor’s perspective.
In this blog post we’ll show how to install Quartus Prime 17.1 Lite Edition along with the board drivers for the Intel Cyclone 10 LP FPGA Evaluation Kit. We’ll also plug in the board and run the Board Test System provided by Intel.
Intel Quartus Prime
So what is Intel Quartus Prime? Intel Quartus Prime design software is a multiplatform design environment that includes everything needed to design systems for Intel’s FPGAs, SoCs and CPLDs. It has been developed to meet all of our design requirements in every phase from design entry and synthesis to optimization, verification and simulation.
Intel Quartus Prime Design Software Suite is available in three editions: Pro, Standard, and Lite. We have decided to start this course by installing the Lite edition and exploring all its features. The reason we chose Intel Quartus Prime Lite edition is because it provides an ideal entry point to Intel’s high-volume device families including Cyclone 10 LP, and is available to be downloaded for free without a license. Later, when we start implementing more advanced features, we’ll upgrade to the Standard edition as deemed necessary by the course.
Step 1: Download and Install Software
First of all, let’s navigate to the link provided in our Quick Setup Guide that came with the package: altera.com/lp.
Here we can see three steps laid out for our convenience. The first step recommends registering our kit in order to gain access to the excellent documentation and training materials provided by Intel. The second step provides a link to the download page. And the third step shows a brief powering-up procedure.
Let’s create an Altera account by following the “LOG IN” link at the top right corner of the page.
A new account can be created by clicking on “Create One” link at the bottom of the “Sign-on” page, seen below.
After successful registration, we can log into our myAltera Home page, pictured below.
Here we can find a massive amount of information including training materials and links to their official documentations. We’ll keep coming back to this page for reference as we move along with this course.
For now, let’s click on the “Download Quartus Prime” link marked in red above, and then click on the Download Button next to the Quartus Prime Software Lite edition section, seen below.
This will lead us into the Download Center Page.
In the Download Center Page, we will make a few selections based on our preferences, including Software Edition, Release Version, Operating System and our preferred download method. We’ll select the Direct Download method for this time. At this point we recommend our viewers to go through the Installation FAQs and Quick Start Guide provided by Intel to get an overall understanding of the installation procedure and make sure that the system requirements are met.
We’ll download individual files that are relevant to our course material and keep the download size to a minimum. To download individual files, we’ll need to click on the Individual Files tab and download the specific files by clicking the “blue-down-arrow” next to it.
From this tab let’s download the Quartus Prime and Cyclone 10 LP device support files. Then let's click on the Additional Software tab and download the Quartus Prime Help installation file.
Now we wait for the download to complete. Since the size of the download is not small, it might take some time depending upon the internet speed. After the download is complete, let’s move all those files into a common folder.
Now we can install Quartus Prime Lite software suite by double clicking on the executable file. Since we’ve placed the Cyclone 10 LP device support file and the Quartus Prime Help installation file in the same folder they will all be installed automatically while Quartus Prime Lite is being installed. This installation might take a while depending upon the system configuration. This might be an appropriate time to take a break and grab a cup of tea.
When the installation of Quartus Prime Lite, along with Cyclone 10 LP device support files and Quartus Prime Help is complete we’ll be presented with the “Installation Complete” window. There, we can choose to install the USB Blaster II Driver and finish up with the installation. It is important to launch the Quartus Prime Lite software at least once before we plug in the board for the driver’s configuration to take effect.
At this point we’re done with the Quartus Prime 17.1 Lite edition installation. We can close the Quartus Prime software for now.
Board Test System
Now we need to locate the Kit Collateral which contains the Board Test System so that we can test our board.
The link to Kit Collateral can be found at the bottom of the Intel Cyclone 10 LP FPGA Evaluation Kit’s official home page (https://www.altera.com/products/boards_and_kits/dev-kits/altera/cyclone-10-lp-evaluation-kit.html).
It can be downloaded by clicking on the “Kit Collateral” link at the bottom of this page.
Once the download is complete we can unzip the Kit Collateral and explore the contents of the folder.
It contains Board Design Files including: Design Assembly, Bill of Materials, Gerber files, PCB Layout and Board Schematics. These design files are meant to be reused in our custom board design projects in order to shorten our design cycle. The Kit Collateral also contains User Manuals and several Example projects including the Board Test System. Finally, the “factory_recovery” image is also contained within the kit collateral which will enable us to bring this kit to its original state at any time.
The Board Test System is located in the “examples” folder within the “board_test_system” folder as “BoardTestSystem.exe”.
Now we’re ready to plug in the board and run the Board Test System.
Once plugged in, the board will run the default image that was loaded into the EPCQ Flash by the manufacturer. The Blue Power LED and Yellow LED marked as “config” turn on, and we can also see all four Green User LEDs blink. This suggests that the factory image has loaded successfully into the FPGA.
Let’s launch the BoardTestSystem.exe and start experimenting with the board now.
So, the board test system has four main sections, as shown on the picture above. The first section, located at the top-right of the window, is the main toolbar which consists of three drop-down menus: Configure, Restore, and Help. The second section consists of six tabs: Home, Sys Info, GPIO, FLASH, HRAM, and Restore. The third section contains links to Altera’s official website. The fourth section contains two Utilities: Clock and Power.
The Configure drop-down menu lets us choose the source of the design file that we would like to load into our board.
As an example, let’s choose the first option, “Configure with FLASH/GPIO design”. In the pop-up window that follows, we can select a design file to be loaded into the EPCQ Flash present on the board, which will consequently be loaded into the Cyclone 10 LP FPGA via Active Serial mode. After the configuration has succeeded we notice that previously disabled tabs have now been enabled.
Now, if we click on the GPIO tab we will see a control panel. This panel allows us to interact with the LEDs, Dip Switches, and Buttons present on the real board. For example, if we click on an LED on the Panel we’ll observe a corresponding LED turn on-or-off on the real board. Similarly, if we push a button present on the real board we’ll notice the corresponding button icon get pressed on the panel. Same thing applies to the Dip Switches as well. This was just an illustration showing how this Board can be configured to act like a control panel, and test the board functionality at the same time. Design files can also be loaded into the HyperRAM memory by selecting the second option present on the Configure drop down menu, that is: “Configure with HyperRAM design”. At this point we encourage our readers to experiment with other settings from within the panel, like reading the FLASH memory and such.
This board can be restored to its original factory settings at any time by choosing the “Factory Restore” option from within the Restore drop-down menu.
Now let’s move on to the Utilities section. If we click on the Clock button a “Clock Controller” window will pop-up.
Various clocks and their frequencies coming out of the “Programmable Clock Generator” can be configured from within this window. We have mentioned how the clocks coming out of this chip have been routed to the Cyclone 10 LP FPGA in our previous post titled “Introducing Intel Cyclone 10 LP FPGA Evaluation Kit”.
After the Clock Utility, let’s move on to the Power Utility.
When we click on the Power button, a “Power Monitor” window will pop-up. In this window, we can take note of current power consumed by various Power Rails being implemented by the board in real time. The rolling window in the middle shows a graphical representation of current power consumption. We can also change the speed and measurement scale of this rolling window.
We’ll be using this Board Test System in our future videos to configure the programmable clocks and to monitor power consumption by our projects.
Saying that, we’ve reached the end of this section. We hope our readers found this post helpful.
In the next post, we’ll launch our newly installed Quartus Prime Lite software and explore the most prominent features including the help system provided by Intel.
So long for now!