Xilinx Artix 7 FPGA Boards

Mimas Artix 7 FPGA Development Board with DDR SDRAM and Gigabit Ethernet

0 views July 23, 2018 vijayalakshmi 0


Mimas A7 is a serious upgrade to our lower cost Mimas V2 FPGA Development board. Based on Artix 7™ 50T FPGA, Mimas A7 plenty powerful as it is versatile. This FPGA Development Board follows the philosophy of offering large variety of peripherals on a compact form factor to allow minimal external components to run and evaluate as many designs as possible. Mimas A7 is a great platform for implementing Soft processors such as Microblaze to make it a complete embedded platform. The built-in Gigabit Ethernet offers low latency high bandwidth data transfer to host. The USB 2.0 host interface based on popular FT2232H offers high bandwidth data transfer and board programming without the need for any external programming adapters. Onboard HDMI IN/OUT interfaces along with large DDR3 SDRAM makes Mimas A7 a great platform for video capture, processing, and rendering. The staple peripherals such as switches and seven segment displays offer great value for learning, prototyping and debugging.

Board Features

  • Device: Xilinx Artix 7 FPGA (XC7A50T-1FGG484C)
  • DDR3: 2Gb DDR3 (MT41J128M16HA-125 or equivalent)
  • Built-in programming interface. No expensive JTAG adapters needed for programming the board
  • Onboard 128Mb flash memory for FPGA configuration storage and custom user data storage
  • High-Speed USB 2.0 interface for On-board flash programming. FT2232H Channel B is dedicated for SPI Flash /JTAG Programming. Channel A can be used for custom applications.
  • 100MHz CMOS oscillator
  • Micro SD card slot for memory expansion
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • HDMI IN/OUT interfaces
  • High-Speed Serial Interface (GTP) available on mini DisplayPort connectors
  • 8 LEDs, 4 Push Buttons and 8 way DIP switch for user-defined purposes
  • FPGA configuration via JTAG and USB
  • Maximum IOs for user-defined purposes
    • FPGA – 80 IOs (40 professionally length matched Differential Pairs)
    • FT2232H – 8 IOs


  • Product Prototype Development
  • Accelerated computing integration
  • Development and testing of custom embedded processors
  • Signal Processing
  • Communication devices development
  • Educational tool for Schools and Universities
  • Video processing

How to use Mimas Artix 7 FPGA Development Board

The following sections describe in detail how to use this module.

Hardware Accessories Required

For easy and fast installation, you may need the following items along with the Mimas A7 module.

  • USB A to USB B cable
  • DC Power supply
  • A Xilinx Platform Cable USB II compatible JTAG programmer

Connection Diagram

The following connection diagram should be used for reference only. The schematics are available at the end of this document for detailed information.

Note: Micro SD slot is available at the bottom side of the board.

USB Interface

The onboard full speed USB controller helps a PC/Linux/Mac computer to communicate with this module. Use a USB A to USB B cable to connect with a PC(the picture on the right shows USB B connector).


DC Power Supply

The board is configured to use power from DC power supply by connecting it to the External DC Jack. Please refer to the marking on the board for more details. The external power supply should be in the range of +5 to +12V, with sufficient current rating.

Power Select Switch

The Power Switch S12 is used to configure the power source to the board. Sliding it to ON to supply power to the board from External DC Jack. Sliding it to OFF to power off the board.

JTAG Connector

JTAG connector allows the FPGA’s JTAG registers to be accessed using a JTAG cable, compatible with Xilinx Platform Cable USB. Use this header, to attach JTAG cable for programming and debugging.

Configuration Mode Switch

FPGA startup configuration mode can be selected using switch M2. Sliding it to ON puts FPGA in “JTAG” configuration mode. Sliding it to OFF puts the FPGA to “Master SPI” configuration mode.

PROG_B and Reset Buttons

PROG_B Button

Mimas A7 features a Push-button S1 normally meant to be used as “PROG_B” signal for configuration reset. Push-button S1 is connected to FPGA pin N12. For enabling manual configuration reset, push-button S1 is connected to GND. The user can reconfigure the FPGA manually, by pressing this push-button S1.

“PROG_B” is active-low input pin (pulled up with 4.7K external resistor) to the FPGA and it controls the configuration logic. When PROG_B pin is de-asserted, resets the FPGA and initializes the new configuration.

Reset Button

Mimas A7 features a Push-button S3 normally meant to be used as “Reset” signal for designs running on FPGA. Push-button S3 is connected to FPGA pin M2. Push-button S3 is active-high. This pushbutton can also be used for any other input and is not just limited to be used as a Reset signal.

LED, Push Button and Dip Switch

Mimas A7 Development Board has four push button switches, an eight position DIP switch and eight LEDs for human interaction. All switches are directly connected to Artix 7 FPGA and can be used in your design with minimal effort.

Micro SD

The Mimas A7 board features an onboard Micro SD adapter. You can add the data logging, media storage, and other file storage by installing Micro SD Card and appropriate IP. The connection between FPGA and Micro SD Card is shown below

7Segment LED Display

This board features three 7-segment LED display multiplexed for low pin count operation. Each module can be separately turned on and off with the three switching transistors.

Note: All signals (a, b, c, d, e, f, g, dot, enable 1, enable 2, enable 3) used for controlling 7-Segment display are active-low signals. So, for example, for displaying “8” in display-2, users need to drive Enable 2 to 0 as well as drive signals a, b, c, d, e, f to 0. All other signals need to be driven to 1.


Onboard HDMI IN/OUT interfaces along with large DDR3 SDRAM makes Mimas A7 a great platform for video capture, processing, and rendering. The HDMI IN/OUT interfaces are buffered using HDMI buffer IP4776CZ38 for better signal strength and signal integrity.


Mini Display Port

Mimas A7 includes onboard mini DisplayPort (miniDP or mDP) IN/OUT connectors and it is a miniaturized version of DisplayPort digital display technology. The mini DisplayPort is having four lanes along with auxiliary channel and a hot plug detect signal. High-Speed Serial Interface (GTP) available on mini DisplayPort connectors.


Gigabit Ethernet

Mimas A7 Development Board features RTL8211E, a highly integrated Ethernet transceiver from Realtek that comply with 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, and 1000Base-T IEEE 802.3 standards. It supports communication with Ethernet MAC layer via standard RGMII interface. RTL8211E-VB implements auto-negotiation to automatically determine the best possible speed and mode of operation. It contains a high-performance 10/100/1000T transceiver and RGMII interface supports 1000Mbps (1Gbps) operation.


JTAG/SPI Configuration on FT2232H Channel B

Channel B of FT2232H can be connected to the SPI bus that connects the SPI Flash chip to the FPGA or to the JTAG pins of the FPGA. When FT2232H channel B is connected to FPGA JTAG, the JTAG signals can be accessed directly through FT2232H. This is the default configuration set when Mimas A7 is shipped.

Please see the tables below for information about selecting SPI or JTAG for FT2232H channel B.

Solder Jumpers P3

Jumper Configuration for SPIJumper Configuration for JTAG
1 - 21 - 3
5 - 64 - 6

Solder Jumpers P8

Jumper Configuration for SPIJumper Configuration for JTAG
1 - 21 - 3
5 - 64 - 6

By default, Mimas A7 ships with the solder jumpers in JTAG configuration. During normal usage, users should not change these jumpers from their factory default configuration.


This device is equipped with a maximum 80 user IO pins that can be used for various custom applications. All user IOs are length matched and can be used as differential pairs.

Header P12

Pin No. On The HeaderGPIO Pin NameArtix-7 (FGG484) Pin No.Pin No. On The HeaderGPIO Pin NameArtix-7 (FGG484) Pin No.

Header P13

Pin No. On The Header GPIO Pin NameArtix-7 (FGG484) Pin No. Pin No. On The Header GPIO Pin NameArtix-7 (FGG484) Pin No.

FT2232H - Artix-7 (FGG484) FPGA Connection Details

FTDI Pin No.Pin Function (245 FIFO)Artix-7 (FGG484) Pin No.

Driver Installation


This product requires a driver to be installed for proper functioning when used with Windows. The Numato Lab Mimas A7 driver can be downloaded from http://productdata.numato.com/assets/downloads/driver/Driver.zip. When driver installation is complete, the module should appear in Mimas A7 Flash Config Tool as Mimas Artix-7 FPGA Development Board.



The Linux ships with the drivers required for Mimas A7. It should be enough to run the following two commands in the terminal:

>> sudo modprobe ftdi_sio
>> echo 2a19 1009 > /sys/bus/usb-serial/drivers/ftdi_sio/new_id

Generating Bitstream for Mimas A7

The bitstream can be generated for Mimas A7 in Vivado by following the steps below:

Step 1: It is recommended to generate .bin bitstream file along with .bit bitstream file. Click “Bitstream Settings”.

Step 2: In the window that pops up, select “-bin_file*” option and Click OK.

Step 3: Finally click “Generate Bitstream”.

Powering UP Mimas A7

Mimas A7 can be powered directly from external supply.  It is practically very difficult to estimate the power consumption of the board, as it depends heavily on your design and the clock used. XILINX provides tools to estimate the power consumption. Mimas A7 requires three different voltages, a 3.3V, a 1.8V supplies and a 1.2V supply. On-board regulators derive these voltages from the Ext power supply.

Configuring Mimas A7

The Mimas Artix -7 Development Board can be configured by two methods,

  1. Using Tenagra application.
  2. Using the Xilinx Platform Cable USB II or any compatible JTAG hardware

Configuring Mimas A7 using Tenagra

Mimas A7 FPGA Board can be configured using Numato Lab’s Tenagra application. Using Tenagra we can program bitstream files to the SRAM and SPI Flash. Mimas A7 has an onboard FTDI FT2232H device which facilitates easy reprogramming of on-board SPI flash through USB interface. The FTDI receives bit stream from the host application and program it in to the SPI Flash. The Numato Lab’s Tenagra application can be downloaded from here. The steps below shows how to program the Mimas A7 FPGA Board in Tenagra.

Step 1: Open Tenagra application. Click “Refresh” if Mimas A7 FPGA Board is not detected automatically. And select the Mimas A7 FPGA Board in list of boards section.

Step 2: Click on the “Program Device” tab to program the board.


Step 3: Then to add Configuration Files click on “Add a configuration from your computer”.

Programming to SRAM

Select the bitstream file (.bit or .bin) which you wish to program on the board and select the “SRAM” tab and then click on “Run” tab. This will program the board with the selected bitstream file.

Programming to SPI Flash

Select the bitstream file (only .bin) which you wish to program on the board and select the “Flash Memory” tab and then click on “Run” tab. This will Configure, Erase, Program and Verify the board with the selected binary file.

Configuring Mimas A7 using JTAG

Mimas A7 – Artix-7 Development Board features an onboard JTAG connector which facilitates easy reprogramming of SRAM and on-board SPI flash through JTAG programmer like “XILINX Platform-cable usb”. Programming Mimas A7 using JTAG requires “XILINX Vivado Hardware Manager” software which is bundled with XILINX Vivado Design Suite. To program the SPI flash we need a “.mcs/.bin” file needs to be generated from the “.bit” file. Steps for generating “.mcs/.bin” file are as below. Programming FPGA SRAM does not require a “.mcs/.bin” file to be generated.

Generating Memory Configuration file for Mimas A7 using Vivado

The screenshots showed in the following steps are captured from the Vivado Design Suite 2018.2.

Step 1: Open Xilinx Vivado Hardware Manager. Connect the board, click “Generate Memory Configuration File….” from “Tools” menu. “Write Memory Configuration File” pop up window will open.

Step 2: Select the ‘Format’ and Configuration Memory Part as shown below. Choose the format as MCS/BIN/HEX depends on your requirement. Now, click “OK”.

Step 3: Browse the path and type the file name as “sample.mcs” to save the memory configuration file (The format of the file may change depends on your “Format”). Select the “Load bitstream files” under the ”Options” tab and browse the “.bit” file we already generated then click “OK” to generate memory configuration file.


Programming QSPI Flash using Vivado

A .bin or .mcs file is required for programming Mimas A7’s onboard QSPI flash.

Step 1: Open Vivado project and open the target by clicking on the “Open Target” in “Open Hardware Manager” in the “Program and Debug” section of the Flow Navigator window. Select “Auto Connect”.

Step 2: If the device is detected successfully, then select “Add Configuration Memory Device” by right click on the target device “xc7a50t_0” as shown below.

Step 3: Select the memory device “mt25ql128-spi-x1_x2_x4 (which is equivalent to n25q128-3.3v-spi-x1_x2_x4)”, then click OK.

Step 4: After completion of Step 3 the following dialog box will open. Click OK.

Step 5: Browse to the working .bin file or the .mcs file (whichever applicable) and click OK to program as shown below. If programming is successful, a confirmation message will be displayed.

Programming FPGA using Vivado

Mimas A7 – Artix-7 FPGA Development Board features an onboard JTAG connector which facilitates easy reprogramming of SRAM and onboard SPI flash through JTAG programmer like “Xilinx Platform cable USB”. Following steps illustrate how to program FPGA on Mimas A7 using JTAG.

Step1: By using JTAG cable, connect Xilinx platform cable USB to Mimas A7 and power it up.

Step2: Open Vivado project and open the target by clicking on the “Open Target” in “Open Hardware Manager” in the “Program and Debug” section of the Flow Navigator window. Select “Auto Connect”.

Step3: If the device is detected successfully, then select “Program Device” by right click on the target device “xc7a50t_0” as shown below.


Step4: In the dialog window which opens up, Vivado automatically chooses correct bitstream file if the design was synthesized, implemented and bitstream generated successfully. If needed, browse to the bitstream which needs to be programmed to FPGA. Finally, click “Program”.

As soon as “Program” is clicked, a red colored LED (D1) on Mimas A7 should light up, indicating that programming process is going on. This LED will turn off when the configuration is complete.

Technical Specifications

Parameter *ValueUnit
Basic Specifications
Number of GPIOs80
On-board oscillator frequency (ASEM1-100.000MHZ-LC-T)100MHz
DDR3 SDRAM (MT41J128M16HA - 125 or Equivalent)2Gb
Quad SPI Flash Memory (N25Q128A13ESE40E)128Mb
Power supply voltage (USB or External)5 - 12V
Number of LEDs8
Number of Push Buttons4
Number of Dip Switches8
FPGA Specifications
Internal supply voltage relative to GND -0.5 to 1.1V
Auxiliary supply voltage relative to GND -0.5 to 2.0V
Output drivers supply voltage relative to GND -0.5 to 3.6V

* All parameters considered nominal. Numato Systems Pvt Ltd reserves the right to modify products without notice.

Physical Dimensions

Mimas A7 GPIO Easy Reference

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