If you want to download a bit file (.bit) to your FPGA without using ISE or EDK, you can use iMPACT directly from the command line.

  1. To start, you should copy your bit file to a known folder (eg. “C:MyFolder”) and rename it to download.bit if it isn’t already called that.
  2. Then you should create an iMPACT script file called download.cmd. The script file is just a text file that you can create with Wordpad and it must contain the following text:
    setmode -bscan
    setCable -p auto
    assignfile -p 5 -file download.bit
    program -p 5

  3. From Windows, select “Start->Run” and type cmd. Press “Enter” and you should have a command prompt.
  4. Use the cd command to reach the folder where you have the bit file and iMPACT script (eg. “cd MyFolder”). In this example, you should now have the prompt: “C:MyFolder>”.
  5. Turn on your ML505 board and ensure that the JTAG programmer is connected.
  6. From the command line, type impact -batch download.cmd.

iMPACT will then program the FPGA with your bit file.

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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