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{ Monthly Archives } July 2014

HDMI2USB – Production Board Bring Up – Day 8 (28th July 2014)

  • Updated the HDMI2USB variant spreadsheet with new Numato board pin out.
  • Successfully generated a HDMI2USB firmware for Numato board with new pin information. That fixes the constraint issue!
  • Successfully generated a HDMI2USB firmware for Numato board with second receive port (RX2) disabled!
    • Was able to view the HDMI2USB test image output on TX2!
    • Was able to capture the HDMI2USB test image via mplayer!
    • Was unable to detect a screen on RX1.
  • Created a “” script to use libFPGALink to flash the FPGA and then load the Cypress firmware.
  • Wrote a Python script to interrogate the CDC serial port for status of the firmware.

HDMI2USB – Production Board Bring Up – Day 5, 6 and 7 (25th, 26th and 27th July 2014)

25th July 2014

Streaming System Hacking

  • Made the configuration system better and adding a lot of comments to the json file (which isn’t really valid json any more).
  • Made slightly better and able to parse PyOhio format (based on the PyCon US format).
  • Added hack to make to use at some periods.
  • Set up a bunch of encoders in the Oregon EC2 region.
  • Get access to again and deployed the updated website.


26th July 2014

  • Went into the Adelaide Hackerspace and created a cable to interface the USB3300 ULPI chip to 2xPMOD headers.
  • Got streaming working for day 1 of PyOhio, it was late as we were disorganised.
  • aps-sids foolishly pointed out a bug in the title of the streaming system, so I taught him about how we actually flumotion for an event.


 27th July 2014

  • Did a lot of spreadsheet hacking on the production board pin planning spreadsheet;
    • Added half bank / BUFIO2 regions.
    • Added dedicated clock pin information.
  • Started work on reshuffling the pins to fix the timing issue.
  • Helped aps-sids get Flumotion working on the latest Twisted release. Turned out that someone else had already done most of the work and only a couple very small fixes where needed. aps-sids reported that he was now able to run flumotion on Ubuntu Trusty!


HDMI2USB – Production Board Bring Up – Day 4 (24th July 2014)

Generally slow progress today, but some success.

  • Able to successfully load libFPGALink firmware onto Cypress chip and programmed the FPGA using it. Yay!
  • Wrote a test firmware based on to transmit 720p output from both the TX ports.
    • Images are successfully received on both devices but there is a weird artifact in the image.

 Numato HDMI2USB Prototype driving 2 screens  HDMI2USB weird image artifact

HDMI2USB - Rohit's VGA Capture board


  • Set up the streaming system for Carl and PyOhio
    • Tried to figure out where was hosted.

HDMI2USB – Production Board Bring Up – Day 3 (23rd July 2014)

  • Looked into if Travis CI has IPv6 connectivity. It appears so!
  • Investigated git server side hooks as a method to run CI on
    • Travis-CI does a git push to which does a make in the post-recieve.
    • Issues;
      • For non-pull requests we could encode the private key using Travis’s encrypted environment variables.
      • What about pull requests? Mean anyone can send arbitrary code to – Maybe use QEmu’s COW support and reboot after each build?
    • Looked a jig for a nice way to write the git hooks.
      • Sent a pull request to fix some documentation.
      • Really designed to run as a “pre-commit” hook locally on a person’s machine rather than a server side hook. Logged an issue to discuss that.
      • Has a lot of nice plugins for Python development already.
      • Would allow us to add hdl-pretty as a commit hook.
    • Alternatives to jig appear to be;
      • – Written in bash
      • – Written in python
  • Got my “fake” Xilinx Platform Cable USB (Model DLC9G) working under Linux – Full instructions can be found at
    • The device was purchased from eBay on the 11th July, costed $37 USD with shipping and arrived at Joel’s house on Monday.
    • First issue was /opt/Xilinx/14.7/ISE_DS/ISE/bin/lin64/setup_pcusb didn’t understand I had udev and was trying to install for the ancient hotplug.
      • Fixed by changing line 26 from TP_USE_UDEV=”0″ to TP_USE_UDEV=”1″
    • Next setup_pcusb didn’t tell udev to reload the udev rules. Had to do that with udevadm control –reload-rules
    • Next setup_pcusb didn’t ask me to install fxload, so I needed to install it with apt-get install fxload
    • Next the rules that were installed to /etc/udev/rules.d/xusbdfwu.rules were invalid; they caused the following errors in /var/log/daemon.log
Jul 23 16:40:29 laptop udevd[841]: unknown key 'SYSFS{idVendor}' in /etc/udev/rules.d/xusbdfwu.rules:2
Jul 23 16:40:29 laptop udevd[841]: invalid rule '/etc/udev/rules.d/xusbdfwu.rules:2'
Jul 23 16:46:11 laptop udevd[841]: unknown key 'SYSFS{idVendor}' in /etc/udev/rules.d/xusbdfwu.rules:3
Jul 23 16:46:11 laptop udevd[841]: invalid rule '/etc/udev/rules.d/xusbdfwu.rules:3'
    • This was fixed with;
      • Changing SYSFS to ATTRS
      • Changing BUS to SUBSYSTEM
      • Changing $TEMPNODE to $tempnode
    • The little status light then turned on red! Yay!
    • Was able to do a boundary scan in iMPACT on a Zybo development board after soldering a header onto it.
  • Received the HDMI2USB production boards created by Numato!
    • Started with bunch of stuff to do with LEDs;
      • Logged issues about LEDs not been label intelligently. Such as the “power” LED being labeled “D33”.
      • Researched the DONE net again so I could understand the D2 LED (which should be named D_FPGA_NOT_CONFIGURED or DNCFG for short). Started adding the information to the JTAG/Reset documentation.
      • Figured out why D3 (connected to the Cypress INT1 pin) was only faintly lit.
    • Logged a bunch of issue regarding small silk screen fixes to make future boards easier to understand.
    • Logged an issue about adding some standoffs in the center of the board for mechanical stability.
    • Logged an issue about having a good GND point to connect your probe too.
      • This page describes the two good ways to add a GND test point –
    • Starting researching the 5V rail and if we could remove it totally (thus saving a bunch of stuff). Looks like we can, but needs more investigation.
    • After replacing the JTAG cable was able to use iMPACT to boundary scan and it found Spartan 6 chip!
  • Discovered CEC is 3V3 signal.

Non HDMI2USB stuff

  • Tried to figure out why my home router has decided that it wants to hand out address in the 2001:44b8:31dc:8d01::/64 rather than the 2001:44b8:31dc:8d00::/64 range it use too.
  • Found a bunch of issues with domains served of as the secondary servers where disabled. Root cause was an old version of PowerDNS failing on TCP zone transfers causing domains to become stale and get dropped from the secondaries. Enabled email notification when secondary disables the zones.


HDMI2USB – Production Board Bring Up – Day 2 (22nd July 2014)

Non-HDMI2USB related stuff

HDMI2USB related stuff

  • Worked from Joel’s house today to receive the production HDMI2USB boards, they didn’t turn up 🙁
  • Create a trusty VM on server for Joel to setup HDMI2USB CI on.
  • Investigated origin of files in HDMI2USB code. Current status seems to be;
    • hdl/edid – Written by us (Jahanzeb).
    • hdl/hdmi – Mostly written by Xilinx and released in application notes. Need to figure out the exact licensing of the files (are they MIT? Only for use on Xilinx parts?) and move them to third party.
    • hdl/jpeg_encoder – OpenCores mkjpeg core. Need to move to third party.
    • hdl/usb – Written by us (Jahanzeb).
    • ipcore_dir – Cores generated by Xilinx. Need to figure out the exact licensing of the files (are they MIT? Only for use on Xilinx parts?) and move them to third party.
    • cypress – Confusing mess. We know this and plan to rewrite the firmware using only FOSS tools.
      • Bunch of proprietary binary blobs.
      • Bunch of headers of unknown copyright.
      • Bunch of code written by us.
  • Logged a lot of bugs about warnings Xilinx tools are generating when compiling the firmware.
  • Made generate a file for Atlys functionally identical to existing HDMI2USB.ucf file. Was able to successfully build the firmware with generate HDMI2USB.ucf file for the Atlys board.
  • Started trying to get firmware to compile with the Numato HDMI2USB.ucf file, ran into the following issue
Phase 4.2 Initial Placement for Architecture Specific Features
ERROR:Place - ConstraintResolved NO placeable site for
ERROR:Place - SIO has over-constrained componet hdmiMatri_Comp/dvi_rx1/ioclk_buf
 to have to placeable sites. Constraints come from driver constraints AND load
 IO constraints
/bin/sh: line 16: 28981 Segmentation fault (core dumped) map -filter "../ise/iseconfig/filter.filter" -intstyle ise -p xc6slx45-csg324-3 -w -logic_opt off -ol high -xe n -t 1 -xt 0 -register_duplication off -r 4 -global_opt off -mt off -ir off -pr b -lc off -power off -o hdmi2usb_map.ncd hdmi2usb.ngd hdmi2usb.pcf
make: *** [map] Error 139
  • Rohit GSoC mentoring;
    • Emailed Rohit about reimbursement for VGA Board hardware parts.
    • Rohit has shipped me a board which should arrive at Joel’s tomorrow.
    • Weekly mentoring meeting.
    • Reviewed Rohit’s weekly summary blog post.
    • Reviewed Rohit’s VGA board V2 schematic.
    • Reviewed Rohit’s VGA board V2 PCB.

HDMI2USB – Production Board Bring Up – Day 1 (21st July 2014)

  • Wrote snippets for the last 3 days.
  • slidelint work
  • Got set up in Joel and Rusty’s coworking space.
  • Explained to Ajit the idea of routing the debug output to multiple locations. Added a diagram to the Debug Design document.
  • Fixed command line processing in hdl-pretty code. Started down the path of auto-generating help from the customize stuff and then realised I had more important things to do.
  • Got most of my way through a Python program to generate UCF files from the HDMI2USB Variants spreadsheet.
  • Xilinx “Compatible” JTAG programmer turned up at Joel’s house. Yet to test to see if it works.

HDMI2USB – Production Board Bring Up – Snippets – Prep Work

Two weeks ago I decided that I was going to take a week of work and spend it full time working on bringing up the HDMI2USB Production board that I’m working on creating with Numato. Since I’m making all our GSoC students do daily snippets, I thought it would be good for me to do snippets too! Will be good to look back on the week and see what I ended up actually doing.

The following snippets are for the preparation work I did before the week;


Friday – 18th July


Saturday – 19th July

  • Day off. Spent day playing DOTA 2 and StarCraft 2 with Joel’s mates.


Sunday – 20th

  • Concentrated on getting slidelint website up and running, targeting announcement at PyCon AU.
  • Created DNS configuration and deployed it. Also updated the domain tracking spreadsheet.
  • Rewrote the setup documentation (and ported it to Markdown).
  • Set up a nginx frontend.
  • Attempted to get circus-web interface working.
    • Turns out it doesn’t work under Python 3 as torandio2 is unmaintained.
    • Ported circus-web to sockjs-torando.
    • Found the tests don’t work.