This version (26 Jan 2021 01:27) was approved by Robin Getz.The Previously approved version (08 Nov 2012 13:35) is available.Diff

BeMicro FPGA Project for AD7327 with Nios driver

Supported Devices

Evaluation Boards


This lab presents the steps to setup an environment for using the EVAL-AD7327SDZ evaluation board together with the BeMicro SDK USB stick and the Nios II Embedded Development Suite (EDS). Below is presented a picture of the EVAL-AD7327SDZ Evaluation Board with the BeMicro SDK Platform.


For component evaluation and performance purposes, as opposed to quick prototyping, the user is directed to use the part evaluation setup. This consists of:

  • 1. A controller board like the SDP-B ( EVAL-SDP-CS1Z)
  • 2. The component SDP compatible product evaluation board
  • 3. Corresponding PC software ( shipped with the product evaluation board)

The SDP-B controller board is part of Analog Devices System Demonstration Platform (SDP). It provides a high speed USB 2.0 connection from the PC to the component evaluation board. The PC runs the evaluation software. Each evaluation board, which is an SDP compatible daughter board, includes the necessary installation file required for performance testing.

Note: it is expected that the analog performance on the two platforms may differ.

Below is presented a picture of SDP-B Controller Board with the EVAL-AD7327SDZ Evaluation Board.


The EVAL-AD7327SDZ evaluation board is a member of a growing number of boards available for the SDP. It was designed to help customers evaluate performance or quickly prototype new AD7327 circuits and reduce design time.

The AD7327 is an 8-Channel, 12-Bit plus Sign Successive Approximation ADC designed on the iCMOS (industrial CMOS) process. iCMOS is a process combining high voltage silicon with submicron CMOS and complementary bipolar technologies. It enables the development of a wide range of high performance analog ICs capable of 33 V operation in a footprint that no previous generation of high voltage parts could achieve. Unlike analog ICs using conventional CMOS processes, iCMOS components can accept bipolar input signals while providing increased performance, dramatically reduced power consumption, and reduced package size.

The AD7327 can accept true bipolar Analog Input signals. The AD7327 has four software selectable inputs Ranges, ±10 V, ±5 V, ±2.5 V and 0 to 10 V. Each analog input channel can be independently programmed to one of the four input ranges. The Analog input channels on the AD7327 can be programmed to be Single-Ended, true Differential or Pseudo Differential.

More information

Getting Started

The first objective is to ensure that you have all of the items needed and to install the software tools so that you are ready to create and run the evaluation project.

Hardware Items

Below is presented the list of required hardware items:

Software Tools

Below is presented the list of required software tools:

The Quartus II design software and the Nios II EDS is available via the Altera Complete Design Suite DVD or by downloading from the web.


Extract the Lab Files

Create a folder called “ADIEvalBoardLab” on your PC and extract the archive to this folder. Make sure that there are NO SPACES in the directory path. After extracting the archive the following folders should be present in the ADIEvalBoardLab folder: FPGA, Hdl Software, DataCapture, NiosCpu.

Folder Description
FPGA Contains all the files necessary to program the BeMicro FPGA board in order to run the evaluation project. By executing the script program_fpga.bat the FPGA will be programmed with the evaluation project. New NIOS II applications can be created using the files from this folder.
The ip subfolder contains the AD7327 NIOS II peripheral's source code.
Hdl Contains the source files for the AD7327 HDL driver:
- The doc subfolder contains a brief documentation for the driver.
- The src subfolder contains the HDL source files.
- The tb folder contains the sources of the driver's testbench.
NiosCpu Contains the Quartus evaluation project source files . The ip subfolder contains the AD7327 Nios2 peripheral source code.
Software Contains the source files of the Nios2 SBT evaluation project.
DataCapture Contains the script files used for data acquisition

Install the USB-Blaster Device Driver

After the Quartus II and Nios II software packages are installed, you can plug the BeMicro SDK board into your USB port. Your Windows PC will find the new hardware and try to install the driver.

Since Windows cannot locate the driver for the device the automatic installation will fail and the driver has to be installed manually. In the Device Manager right click on the USB-Blaster device and select Update Driver Software.

In the next dialog box select the option Browse my computer for driver software. A new dialog will open where it is possible to point to the driver’s location. Set the location to altera\<version number>\quartus\drivers\usb-blaster and press Next.

If Windows presents you with a message that the drivers have not passed Windows Logo testing, please click “Install this driver software anyway”. Upon installation completion a message will be displayed to inform that the installation is finished.


15 Sep 2011 15:23

AD7327 Evaluation Project Overview

The evaluation project contains all the source files needed to build a system that can be used to configure the AD7327 and capture data from it. The system consists of a Nios II softcore processor that is implemented in the FPGA found on the BeMicro board and a PC application. The softcore controls the communication with the Device Under Test (DUT) and the data capture process. The captured data is saved into the onchip RAM of the BeMicro board and aftwerwards it is read by the PC application and saved into a comma separated values (.csv) file that can be used for further data analysis.

The following components are implemented in the FPGA design:

Name Address IRQ
CPU 0x00000800 -
JTAG UART 0x00000090 0
uC-Probe UART 0x000000A0 1
OnChip RAM 0x00010000 -
LED GPIO 0x00000100 -
GPIO 0x00002080 -
CTRL GPIO 0x000020A0 -
SYS ID 0x00000040 -
TIMER 0x00000060 3
Main PLL 0x00000080 -
AD7327 0 0x00000120 -
Table 1 System components

The Nios II processor contains a peripheral that implements the communication protocol with the DUT. The peripheral is divided into three logical modules: a module which implements the interface with the Avalon bus and the communication with the onchip RAM, a module which implements an Avalon master interface which is used to write data directly in the onchip RAM and a module which is the actual driver of the DUT. The driver can also be used as standalone in FPGA designs which do not contain a softcore. Following is presented a block diagram of the HDL driver and a description of the driver's interface signals.

HDL driver block diagram

Table 2 describes the ports of the AD7327 HDL driver.

Port Direction Width Description
Clock and reset ports
FPGA_CLK_I IN 1 Main clock input
ADC_CLK_I IN 1 Main clock input
RESET_I IN 1 Active low reset signal
IP control and data ports
WR_DATA_N_I IN 1 Active low signal use to initiate a data write. The data to be written to the driver must be active on the DATA_I bus one clock cycle before this signal is set low and must be kept active until the DATA_WR_READY_O signal returns to high
DATA_I IN 32 Input bus used to receive the data to configure the operation of AD7327 driver
DATA_O OUT 16 Parallel bus to transfer the data to the upper module
DATA_RD_READY_O OUT 1 Signals that at port DATA_O there is new data available
DATA_WR_READY_O OUT 1 Signals that the write from upper module has been performed
External connectors
ADC_SDO_I OUT 1 The conversion result from the AD7327 is provided on this pin as a serial data stream
ADC_SDI_O OUT 1 Data to be written to the control register of the AD7327 is provided on this pin
ADC_SCLK_O OUT 1 This pin provides the serial clock for accessing data from the part. It is also used as the clock source for the conversion process of the AD7327
ADC_CS_N_O OUT 1 This pin provides the dual function of initiating conversions on the AD7327 and also frames the serial data transfer
Table 2 AD7327 driver ports description

The following figures present the timing diagram for the read and write operations for the AD7327 driver:
Read operations time diagram

Read operations time diagram

Table 3 describes the ports of the Avalon peripheral:

Port Direction Width Description
Clock and reset ports
CLK_I IN 1 Main clock input
RESET_I IN 1 System reset
Avalon Slave Interface
AVALON_WRITEDATA_I IN 32 Slave write data bus
AVALON_WRITE_I IN 1 Slave write data request
AVALON_READ_I IN 1 Slave read data request
AVALON_ADDRESS_I IN 2 Slave address bus
AVALON_READDATA_O OUT 32 Slave read data bus
Avalon Master Interface
AVALON_MASTER_WAITREQUEST IN 1 Master wait request signal
AVALON_MASTER_ADDRESS_O OUT 32 Master address bus
AVALON_MASTER_WRITE_O OUT 1 Master write signal
AVALON_MASTER_BYTEENABLE_O OUT 4 Master byte enable signals
AVALON_MASTER_WRITEDATA_O OUT 32 Master write data bus
External connectors
ADC_SDO_I OUT 1 The conversion result from the AD7327 is provided on this pin as a serial data stream
ADC_SDI_O OUT 1 Data to be written to the control register of the AD7327 is provided on this pin
ADC_SCLK_O OUT 1 This pin provides the serial clock for accessing data from the part. It is also used as the clock source for the conversion process of the AD7327
ADC_CS_N_O OUT 1 This pin provides the dual function of initiating conversions on the AD7327 and also frames the serial data transfer
Table 3 Avalon peripheral ports description

Table 4 describes the registers of the Avalon peripheral:

Name Offset Width Access Description
CONTROL_REGISTER 0 32 RW Bit 0 is used to start data acquisition
Bit 1 is used to initiate software reset of the core
Bit 2 is used to configure the Avalon write master core to write data to the same location
Bit 3 is used to write data to the AD7327 driver
ACQ_COUNT_REGISTER 1 32 RW Register used to configure the number of samples to be acquired when acquisition is started
BASE_REGISTER 2 32 RW Register used to configure the base address of the memory location where the acquired data is to be written
STATUS_REGISTER 3 32 R Bit 0 is used to signal that the acquisition is complete
Bit 1 is used to signal that the internal memory buffer has been overflown
Bit 2 is used to signal that the user has performed a read of an unavailable register
DUT_WRITE_REGISTER 4 32 RW Data to be written to the ADC driver.
Table 4 Avalon peripheral registers description

Quick Evaluation

The next sections of this lab present all the steps needed to create a fully functional project that can be used for evaluating the operation of the ADI platform. It is possible to skip these steps and load into the FPGA an image that contains a fully functional system.The first step of the quick evaluation process is to program the FPGA with the image provided in the lab files. Before the image can be loaded the Quartus II Web Edition tool or the Quartus II Programmer must be installed on your computer. To load the FPGA image run the program_fpga.bat batch file located in the ADIEvalBoardLab/FPGA folder. After the image was loaded the system must be reset. Now the FPGA contains a fully functional system and it is possible to skip directly to the Demonstration Project User Interface section of this lab.

03 Sep 2012 17:42 · Adrian Costina

NIOS II Software Design

This section presents the steps for developing a software application that will run on the BeMicroSDK system and will be used for controlling and monitoring the operation of the ADI evaluation board.

Create a new project using the NIOS II Software Build Tools for Eclipse

Launch the Nios II SBT from the Start → All Programs → Altera 12.0sp2→ Nios II EDS 12.0sp2 → Nios II 12.0sp2 Software Build Tools for Eclipse (SBT).

NOTE: Windows 7 users will need to right-click and select Run as administrator. Another method is to right-click and select Properties and click on the Compatibility tab and select the Run This Program As An Administrator checkbox, which will make this a permanent change.

1. Initialize Eclipse workspace

  • When Eclipse first launches, a dialog box appears asking what directory it should use for its workspace. It is useful to have a separate Eclipse workspace associated with each hardware project that is created in SOPC Builder. Browse to the ADIEvalBoardLab directory and click Make New Folder to create a folder for the software project. Name the new folder “eclipse_workspace”. After selecting the workspace directory, click OK and Eclipse will launch and the workbench will appear in the Nios II perspective.

2. Create a new software project in the SBT

  • Select File → New → Nios II Application and BSP from Template.

  • Click the Browse button in the SOPC Information File Name dialog box.
  • Select the uC.sopcinfo file located in the ADIEvalBoardLab/FPGA directory.
  • Set the name of the Application project to “ADIEvalBoard”.
  • Select the Blank Project template under Project template.
  • Click the Finish button.

The tool will create two new software project directories. Each Nios II application has 2 project directories in the Eclipse workspace.

  • The application software project itself - this where the application lives.
  • The second is the Board Support Package (BSP) project associated with the main application software project. This project will build the system library drivers for the specific SOPC system. This project inherits the name from the main software project and appends “_bsp” to that.

Since you chose the blank project template, there are no source files in the application project directory at this time. The BSP contains a directory of software drivers as well as a system.h header file, system initialization source code and other software infrastructure.

Configure the Board Support Package

  • Configure the board support package to specify the properties of this software system by using the BSP Editor tool. These properties include what interface should be used for stdio and stderr messages, the memory in which stack and heap should be allocated and whether an operating system or network stack should be included with this BSP.
  • Right click on the ADIEvalBoard_bsp project and select Nios II → BSP Editor… from the right-click menu.

The software project provided in this lab does not make use of an operating system. All stdout, stdin and stderr messages will be directed to the jtag_uart.

  • Select the Common settings view. In the Common settings view, change the following settings:
    • Select the jtag_uart for stdin, stdout and stderr messages. Note that you have more than one choice.
    • Select none for the sys_clk_timer and timestamp_timer.

  • Select File → Save to save the board support package configuration to the settings.bsp file.
  • Click the Generate button to update the BSP.
  • When the generate has completed, select File → Exit to close the BSP Editor.

Configure BSP Project Build Properties

In addition to the board support package settings configured using the BSP Editor, there are other compilation settings managed by the Eclipse environment such as compiler flags and optimization level.

  • Right click on the ADIEvalBoard_bsp software project and select Properties from the right-click menu.
  • On the left-hand menu, select Nios II BSP Properties.
  • During compilation, the code may have various levels of optimization which is a tradeoff between code size and performance. Change the Optimization level setting to Level 2
  • Since our software does not make use of C++, uncheck Support C++.
  • Check the Reduced device drivers option
  • Check the Small C library option
  • Press Apply and OK to regenerate the BSP and close the Properties window.

Add source code to the project

In Windows Explorer locate the project directory which contains a directory called Software. In Windows Explorer select all the files and directories from the Software folder and drag and drop them into the Eclipse software project ADIEvalBoard.

  • Select all the files and folders and drag them over the ADIEvalBoard project in the SBT window and drop the files onto the project folder.

  • A dialog box will appear to select the desired operation. Select the option Copy files and folders and press OK.

  • This should cause the source files to be physically copied into the file system location of the software project directory and register these source files within the Eclipse workspace so that they appear in the Project Explorer file listing.

Configure Application Project Build Properties

Just as you configured the optimization level for the BSP project, you should set the optimization level for the application software project ADIEvalBoard as well.

  • Right click on the ADIEvalBoard software project and select Properties from the right-click menu.
  • On the left-hand menu, select the Nios II Application Properties tab
  • Change the Optimization level setting to Level 2.
  • Press Apply and OK to save the changes.

Compile, Download and Run the Software Project

1. Build the Application and BSP Projects

  • Right click the ADIEvalBoard_bsp software project and choose Build Project to build the board support package.
  • When that build completes, right click the ADIEvalBoard application software project and choose Build Project to build the Nios II application.

These 2 steps will compile and build the associated board support package, then the actual application software project itself. The result of the compilation process will be an Executable and Linked Format (.elf) file for the application, the ADIEvalBoard.elf file.

2. Verify the Board Connection

The BeMicroSDK hardware is designed with a System ID peripheral. This peripheral is assigned a unique value based on when the hardware design was last modified in the SOPC Builder tool. SOPC Builder also places this information in the .sopcinfo hardware description file. The BSP is built based on the information in the .sopcinfo file.

  • Select the ADIEvalBoard application software project.
  • Select Run → Run Configurations…
  • Select the Nios II Hardware configuration type.
  • Press the New button to create a new configuration.
  • Change the configuration name to BeMicroSDK and click Apply.
  • On the Target Connection tab, press the Refresh Connections button. You may need to expand the window or scroll to the right to see this button.
  • Select the jtag_uart as the Byte Stream Device for stdio.
  • Check the Ignore mismatched system ID option.
  • Check the Ignore mismatched system timestamp option.

3. Run the Software Project on the Target

To run the software project on the Nios II processor:

  • Press the Run button in the Run Configurations window.

This will re-build the software project to create an up–to-date executable and then download the code into memory on the BeMicroSDK hardware. The debugger resets the Nios II processor, and it executes the downloaded code. Note that the code is verified in memory before it is executed.

The code size and start address might be different than the ones displayed in the above screenshot.

04 Sep 2012 09:08 · Adrian Costina

Demonstration Project User Interface

After the FPGA is correctly programmed the data acquisition process can start by executing the data_capture.bat script. The data_capture.tcl file can be modified so for different configuration words to be programmed on the AD7327.

Demonstration Project Command Interface

If the resulting csv file is opened with Microsoft Excel, the data will be displayed on a different number of columns, each column corresponding to a channel.

Note: If several consecutive data acquisitions are performed the captured data is appended to the Acquisition.csv file.


In case there is a communication problem with the board the follwing actions can be perfomed in order to try to fix the issues:

  • Check that the evaluation board is powered.
  • Check that the USB connection cable is properly connected to the device and to the computer and that the USB Blaster Device Driver driver is installed correctly. If the driver is not correctly installed perform the steps described in the Getting Started → Install te USB-Blaster Device Driver section.
04 Sep 2012 09:24 · Adrian Costina

More information

resources/fpga/altera/bemicro/ad7327.txt · Last modified: 26 Jan 2021 01:21 by Robin Getz