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Digital Design Using Digilent FPGA Boards


Digital Design Using Digilent FPGA Boards


Product Description

By Richard E. Haskell & Darrin M. Hanna 
LBE Books, 2012

ISBN: 978-0980133776


This book uses over 75 examples to show you how to get started designing digital circuits in VHDL or Verilog®, simulate them, and quickly and easily download them to your Basys, Nexys 2, or Nexys 3 board. Get up and running quickly from the basics to the 7-segment display, memory, VGA port, PS/2 port, and more - step-by-step, by example! 

A major revolution in digital design has taken place over the past decade. Field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) can now contain over a million equivalent logic gates and tens of thousands of flip-flops. This means that it is not possible to use traditional methods of logic design involving the drawing of logic diagrams when the digital circuit may contain thousands of gates. The reality is that today digital systems are designed by writing software in the form of hardware description languages (HDLs). The most common HDLs used today are VHDL and Verilog. Both are in widespread use. When using these hardware description languages the designer typically describes thebehavior of the logic circuit rather than writing traditional Boolean logic equations. Computer-aided design tools are used to both simulate the VHDL or Verilog design and to synthesize the design to actual hardware. 

This book assumes no previous knowledge of digital design. You start at the beginning learning about basic gates, logic equations, Boolean algebra, and Karnaugh maps. In over 75 examples we show you how to design digital circuits using VHDL or Verilog, simulate them using the Aldec Active-HDL simulator, and synthesize the designs to a Xilinx® Spartan™-3E FPGA on either the Basys, Nexys 2, or Nexys 3 FPGA board. A free student edition of Active-HDL simulator is available from Aldec Inc ( To synthesize your design to a Spartan-3E or Spartan-6 FPGA, you will need to download the free ISE WebPACK™ from Xilinx ( The Xilinx synthesis tools are called from within the Aldec Active-HDL integrated GUI. We will use the Adept 2 utility to download your synthesized design to the Xilinx FPGA. The Adept 2.8.1 software suite can be download free from Digilent, Inc.


Software and Hardware Versions:
To program a Basys 2 or Nexys 2 board, you must use a "front end" design tool to create a source file that defines the intended circuit, and "back end" tools to synthesize the source file and download it to the board. Xilinx's free WebPACK software contains all needed tools, including source file editors, a synthesizer, and downloader. Aldec also produces a free front-end tool that can be used to create source files. Called Active-HDL, this front-end design tool presents a more student-friendly design interface, and it can automatically route design files to Xilinx's back-end tools. The authors recommend Active-HDL due to its more intuitive interface. 

If you are using a Basys board, you must use the user constraints file (.ucf) file for the Basys board (basys.ucf) available at 

If you are using a Basys 2 board, you must use the user constraints file (.ucf) file for the Basys 2 board (basys2board.ucf) available at and you must download the Adept 2.1 (or above) software from the Adept Software page. 

You cannot use Adept 1.10 with the Basys 2 board.

Click here to download the complete table of contents. (VHDL Edition)
Click here to download the complete table of contents. (Verilog Edition)


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