To run your designs from the flash disk, you need to first convert your bit files to System ACE files (.ace). One simple system for doing this is to copy all your bit files to one folder and use a batch file in that folder to perform the conversions from the command line.

  1. To start, you should create a folder and copy your bit file(s) there (eg. “C:SysACE”).
  2. If you are copying your bit files from the “implementation” folder of the EDK project, they will be named “download.bit”. You should rename them to something that is appropriate for the designs. For example, if my design is an Ethernet design, I might call it “ethernet.bit”.
  3. You should create a batch file in this folder called “makeace.bat”. The batch file is just a text file that you can create with Wordpad and it must contain the following text:
    @echo off
    if "%1" == "" goto error
    xmd -tcl ./genace.tcl -jprog -hw %1.bit -board ml505 -ace my_%1.ace
    goto end
    echo Makeace - by FPGA Developer
    echo Usage:   makeace bitfile (without .bit extension)
    echo Example: makeace project


  4. To use the batch file, you must open up a command prompt. From Windows, select “Start->Run” and type “cmd”. Press “Enter” and you should have a command prompt.
  5. Use the “cd” command to reach the folder where you have the bit files and makeace batch file (eg. “cd SysACE”). In this example, you should now have the prompt: “C:SysACE>”.
  6. From the command line, type “makeace” followed by the name of the bit file you wish to convert (without the .bit extension). For example, to convert the “ethernet.bit” file, we type “makeace ethernet”. This will produce a few files, but the important one is the System ACE file that will be called “my_ethernet.ace”.

You can now copy the System ACE file into your Flash disk and run the design from there. To convert other designs, you need only copy the bit file into the “SysACE” folder, rename it appropriately and run the “makeace” batch file as shown.

Jeff is passionate about FPGAs, SoCs and high-performance computing, and has been writing the FPGA Developer blog since 2008. As the owner of Opsero, he leads a small team of FPGA all-stars providing start-ups and tech companies with FPGA design capability that they can call on when needed.

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