wiki:howto/CF_Config

WARP v1 and v2: FPGA Configuration via CF Cards

Compatibility: WARP v1 and v2, Xilinx tools 13.4 and later

Formatting the card

For CF-reconfiguration of the FPGA, the card MUST be formatted with FAT16 (though both FAT16 and FAT12 will work for using the CF as a filesystem with WARP). Windows machines that are of post Win2k can’t do this, which is why mkdosfs must be used. The following is the required procedure for formatting the flash:

  1. Install mkdosfs to a directory that’s easy to navigate
  2. Open DOS (start -> run.... -> “cmd”)
  3. Navigate to the mkdosfs install directory (EG: cd c:\mkdosfs\)
  4. Insert the flash card into the reader – and check it’s designated drive letter (see: My Computer)
  5. Run the command: mkdosfs -v –F 16 X:
  6. Replace X with drive letter of the CompactFlash card

Loading your design on the card

This section assumes that you have successfully generated one or more systems in XPS. A completed bit-stream is required to load on the card.


  1. Open the application iMPACT (likely located under "Start -> Xilinx Design Tools -> Xilinx Design Suite X.X -> ISE Design Tools -> X-bit Tools -> Impact)
  2. The "New" Wizard should open at program startup
  3. Select "Cancel"
  4. Double-click on the "SystemACE" item in the "iMPACT Flows" region of the window on the left.
  5. Select “Expert Mode” in the window that pops up.
  6. For “Size,” select “Generic” from the drop-down
  7. For “Reserve Space,” keep at zero
  8. Choose the name for the project
  9. Choose the location for the project to be the root directory of your CF card. For example, my CF card mounts as a G: drive on my Windows computer. In my case, I would select "G:" to be the location for the project.
  10. Each SystemACE project can hold up to 8 separate projects
  11. Check each box for each project you plan on loading onto the card. Provide short names for these projects.
  12. Finish the Wizard
  13. A Pop up will appear explaining you are about to load a system file onto the first system slot (configuration address)
  14. Select the download.bit file associated with the project you want to load onto the CF card.
  15. Another pop-up will appear asking if you would like to apply another system file to the same configuration address. Select “no”
  16. Right click anywhere in the iMPACT project’s main-view window and select “Generate File…”
  17. Ensure that the active collection is the one you have just built
  18. iMPACT will create the System ACE file and place it in your CF card.
  19. The flash card should now be ready to go for WARP
  20. EJECT the disk in Windows/USB remove devices first. Simply pulling out the flash card may result in a corrupt disk, which may then not work with WARP.


Last modified 7 years ago Last modified on Feb 18, 2013, 1:48:12 PM