Getting Started With Arty




Digilent recently released a new FPGA development board. The Arty board. The Arty is designed to be used exclusively with Xilinx Vivado, and designed specifically for use with microblaze.

This tutorial covers how to use the out of he box design that ships loaded into Arty's Quad-SPI Flash, with I/O and UART.

To view the reference material and other demo projects for Arty, go to the Arty resource center.

For this Tutorial you will need:

- Arty

- USB A to USB B micro cable

- TeraTerm Software installed

- Xilinx Vivado (The free Webpack will work) installed and licensed

Step 1: Plug in and Power on Arty

Using the USB A to USB B micro, plug the Arty into your computer. Make sure the jumper between the ethernet and female barrel jack connector is configured for USB power.

Step 2: Open TeraTerm

Open TeraTerm and select USB the radio button for Serial. If this window does not automatically appear, you may need to go to File -> New Connection. Click OK.

Step 3: Open the Serial Port Setup

Go to Setup -> Serial Port...

Step 4: Enter the Correct Settings

Enter the correct Port, Baud Rate of 115200, 8 data bits, no parity bit, 1 stop bit, and no flow control. Hit OK.

Step 5: Open the Menu for the Demo

Right now you probably see gibberish in the TerraTerm window.

Press any button, and then press button 3 to get to the menu. From this point on anytime you want to get to the menu shown in this image, you press button 3.

As you can see in the menu, this demo features three modes; PWM, Cylon, and scrolling LEDS.

I will go through each with what is shown from the serial port and on the board.

Step 6: PWM Mode - All Switches Off

Press BTN 0 to enter PWM mode.

With all the switches off, you should see a PWM value of 0. The switches define the duty cycle of the PWM signal being sent to the LEDs. No switches on translates to, no illumination on the LEDS.

Step 7: Changing the PWM

If you change the switches you can change the PWM, and brightness of the LEDS.

If SW0 is on the PWM is 10000, and you can see dimly lit LEDS.

If SW0 and SW2 are on the PWM is 20000, and you can see brighter lit LEDS.

Step 8: Cylon Mode

Press BTN 3 to go back to the menu for the demo.

If you press BTN 1, the demo will go into cylon mode. This mode uses the RGB LEDS and cycles them through different colors. You can see more details of the sequence on the serial output.

Step 9: Scrolling LED Mode

Press BTN 3 to go back to the menu.

If you select BTN 2, this will take you to scrolling LED mode, where only one LED is lit at a time, continuously changing which RGB LED is lit.

Step 10: Explore the Arty Resource Center!

Now that you've had your first introduction to Arty, go to the Arty Resource Center, for schematics, reference manuals, demos and more!



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    12 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Amazing work you've done on this to help everyone! New and lay people alike :-)

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago


    Thanks for catching that for me!


    Arty is an FPGA while arduinos are mostly microcontrollers. FPGA's are programmed in Hardware design language. This means that you can configure the hardware how you want to use it, rather than being set in like a microcontroller.

    Arty in particular is designed to be used with Microblaze. So while you can use it as a standard FPGA, you can also use microblaze, which is a soft core CPU, making it more similar to microcontroller, although still not the same.

    Hope this helps!


    Reply 3 years ago

    if I may expound (for those that don't know):

    Arduinos or other microcontrollers are programmable using a programming language, such as C, and the program is stored in memory. That program is executed by the microcontroller which is designed to retrieve that program and decode it's instructions.

    An FPGA (field programmable gate array) is programmed by blowing fuses on a grid of transistors (gates, nand and or gates really) that leaves a particular configuration of gates active after you're done. When the inputs receive a certain set of digital signals, the outputs deliver a set of digital signals, which could be two binary numbers (the input) multiplied or any other logic function. In fact you could conceivably even generate a microprocessor using an FPGA. The delay between input and output is measured in nanoseconds, as opposed to the microseconds (and often hundreds of them) that microcontrollers take to accomplish things


    Reply 3 years ago

    even better:


    3 years ago

    You've doen an amazing job!!!!


    3 years ago

    This seems informative but for all of us who have never even heard of an ARTY what can someone do with it?


    3 years ago

    Don't we live in the GUI age now? Is there a nifty setup software similar to the Xbee software?


    3 years ago

    Good tutorial with great description!