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Arm Cortex-M3 DesignStart FPGA-Xilinx edition User Guide : Loading the flash file

Loading the flash file

A flash file is provided that you can use to program the Arty board with the example design and a simple test program. This flash file can be used to demonstrate correct connection, programming, and operation of the Arty Artix 7 (A7) board. The non-volatile flash image is used to load the FPGA on board powerup, and also when Prog is pressed.


The board is provided with a Digilent example design. Programming the flash overwrites this design.

In these instructions, V: is used to refer to the package install directory.

The flash file includes a software image that is preloaded into Instruction Tightly Coupled Memory (ITCM).

To load the pre-built flash file:


  1. Open Vivado.
  2. On the splash screen, select Open Project, and select V:/hardware/m3_for_arty_a7/m3_for_arty_a7/m3_for_arty_a7.xpr.
  3. Connect the Arty board using the micro-USB connection, not the V2C-DAPLink connector.
  4. Connect a terminal application (for example, TeraTerm) to the USB UART port. This is automatically created when Arty A7 board is connected.
  5. Set the terminal to: Baud rate 115,200 8 bits One stop No parity .
  6. Open the Hardware manager, and select Open Target. Select Auto Connect.
  7. Right-click on the Digilent A7 board's xc7A35t, and select Add configuration memory device.
  8. Select mt25ql128-spi-x1_x2_x4. Select OK. The following figure shows the resultant hardware tab in Vivado.

    Figure 4-2 Arty A7 board hardware tab in Vivado

  9. In the Do you want to program the configuration device now prompt, click OK.
  10. Select V:/hardware/m3_for_arty_a7/m3_for_arty_a7/m3_for_arty_a7_reference.mcs for the configuration file.
  11. Click OK to program the flash.
When the flash is programed, press Prog to load the FPGA with the example design.
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