YoSys to FPGA

YoSys can output synthesised designs targeted for Xilinx primitives. So lets have a go!

This tutorial is targeted for the Zynq ZEDBOARD development kit. (zedboard.org). Porting to other Xilinx kits is as simple as modifying the user-constraints file and changing the part-number.


module top(clk, ctrl, led_7, led_6, led_5, led_4, led_3, led_2, led_1, led_0);

input clk, ctrl;
output led_7, led_6, led_5, led_4;
output led_3, led_2, led_1, led_0;

reg [31:0] counter;

always @(posedge clk)
	   counter <= counter + (ctrl ? 4 : 1);

assign {led_7, led_6, led_5, led_4, led_3, led_2, led_1, led_0} = counter >> 24;


The module is simple, it takes a clk signal and outputs leds at various divisions of the clock frequency. (A binary counter).

The ctrl signal can be used to speed up the clk counter increment by 4x.

Synthesis script

set -ex


yosys - <<- EOT
	read_verilog example.v
	synth_xilinx -edif synth.edif

$XILINX_DIR/bin/lin64/edif2ngd -a synth.edif synth.ngo
$XILINX_DIR/bin/lin64/ngdbuild -p $XILINX_PART -uc example.ucf synth.ngo synth.ngd
$XILINX_DIR/bin/lin64/map -p $XILINX_PART -w -o mapped.ncd synth.ngd constraints.pcf
$XILINX_DIR/bin/lin64/par -w mapped.ncd placed.ncd constraints.pcf
$XILINX_DIR/bin/lin64/bitgen -w placed.ncd example.bit constraints.pcf

$XILINX_DIR/bin/lin64/promgen -w -b -p bin -o example.bin -u 0 example.bit -data_width 32

The script executes YoSys, and gets it to synthesise our simple counter example. The next commands do the following:

  1. Convert the synthesised output from yosys (in edif format) into the native xilinx format.
  2. { part of above } ??
  3. Map the design to the targetted part’s technology.
  4. Place and route the design. (Hopefully we can use torc for this soon).
  5. Generate a bitstream binary file.

  6. This is an optional stage which byte-swaps the bit file so it can be piped into the Zynq devcfg device easily.

User Constraints file

NET "clk" TNM_NET = clk;
TIMESPEC TS_clk = PERIOD "clk" 50 MHz HIGH 50%;

NET "clk" LOC = Y9		   | IOSTANDARD=LVCMOS33;  # "GCLK"
NET "ctrl" LOC = P16		   | IOSTANDARD=LVCMOS18;  # "BTNC"

NET "led_0" LOC = T22 | IOSTANDARD=LVCMOS33;  # "LD0"
NET "led_1" LOC = T21 | IOSTANDARD=LVCMOS33;  # "LD1"
NET "led_2" LOC = U22 | IOSTANDARD=LVCMOS33;  # "LD2"
NET "led_3" LOC = U21 | IOSTANDARD=LVCMOS33;  # "LD3"
NET "led_4" LOC = V22 | IOSTANDARD=LVCMOS33;  # "LD4"
NET "led_5" LOC = W22 | IOSTANDARD=LVCMOS33;  # "LD5"
NET "led_6" LOC = U19 | IOSTANDARD=LVCMOS33;  # "LD6"
NET "led_7" LOC = U14 | IOSTANDARD=LVCMOS33;  # "LD7"


Simply run:

bash example.sh

Download to zedboard

You can use the xilinx tools to download the bitstream via JTAG…. Or even better, just place a pre-built bootthunder binary on your sd-card and load the bitstream from the command line.