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No Formal Training... I need help starting up


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Hey everybody,


I am ready to start learning, but I have had a really hard time with a previous board and now it seems I have a curse of doubt on my shoulders... I will not give up but I could use a boost. I just need to know what I need to do to use a Basys 3 trainer board on a  64bit windows 10 machine  (step by step). I'm not in school, my friends could care less about this stuff, and the professors I have contacted have not returned my emails. Pitiful, I know, and I don't like it.

Bring me some joy through your patience, Please.

I'm really excited, just really tiered and underwhelmed. The last board I had offered very little support. I am glad that with diligent there appears to be a community and hope to be part of the fun and tears.




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Hello @JMP,

Welcome in our community! You chose a really good board to start learning. I'm sure you'll enjoy it. As far from what you need beside the Basys 3 and the W10 machine is Vivado. Vivado is the programming environment for FPGA. You will also need a licence. In order to have Vivado working on W10, you can install whichever version you want from 2015.4. This is the first that supports W10. We usually work with 201x.4 with our projects and we update them to that version because it's the most stable. I haven't tried 2016.4 yet. As far for the licence, the webpack is perfect for what you need. First of all because is free and because includes every feature for the Artix7 FPGA, including the logic analyzer. 

You can download Vivado from Xilinx website: https://www.xilinx.com/support/download.html You need to create an account.

This is the support center for Basys3: https://reference.digilentinc.com/reference/programmable-logic/basys-3/start?redirect=1 You can find here tutorials on getting stated with the board, including Vivado installation. You can find there the schematics, the XDC file, the reference manual and the user demo. You can look around on this forum for Basys 3 questions in case you have any problems, and if you don't find yous, or a solution, post the question with trust in the FPGA section. Me, my colleagues or others members of the community will help

I hope you'll have a lot of fun with the board!

Best regards,


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Basys-3 is a good starter board, so congratulations on a good first pick.  It was the first FPGA board that I bought while learning.  One thing I like about the Basys-3 is that you have a lot of interfaces to learn to work with as well as a hefty amount of on-chip logic.  You may find some good examples and instructions on Fpga4Fun's website--I certainly did.

May I encourage you to learn to interact with all of the interfaces on the board?

I personally do all my development in Verilog, and I also use Verilator on a Linux machine.  It's not required, others do their development in other fashions, but by using Verilator I can 1) get my logic working before touching the board, 2) build simulations of the hardware I need to interact with, and then 3) verify that the board has those interactions.  Indeed, I got the Verilator simulation going to such an extent that I was simulating the VGA port into a window on my screen. 

Everybody has their own projects they are interested in.  My Basys-3 project included running a small, multitasking operating system on a ZipCPU on the board.  I also taught the VGA how to display a presentation stored on flash.  I'm told that @Bianca managed to get Ms. Pacman running on her Basys-3 board.  ;)  So ... it's got possibilities, all depending upon what you wish to do.


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