FPGA Development Board 3 — Avnet MicroBoard Spartan-6 LX9 MicroBoard

The Avnet MicroBoard Spartan-6 LX9 MicroBoard currently is the most »portable« offering at a size just slightly larger than a USB stick. Even though about 60% more as expensive than the SP3A-EVAL400 was in absolute terms, it is also affordable since it delivers more onboard devices to play with. It mainly adds Ethernet and DRAM over the SP3A-EVAL400 and has two 6x2 Pmod connectors, but drops the capsense buttons and expansion header. It also comes with device-locked (and node-locked) ChipScope and SDK licenses, so it is clearly geared towards providing a cheap learning platform for MicroBlaze (most of the tutorials from Avnet require an EDK license, but if you really want to run them you can get a 30 day evaluation license from Xilinx). It can be powered from either USB port and about the only thing one could miss (ever since I learned how nicely this works on the Digilent ATLYS) is a micro-HDMI (HDMI-D) output and perhaps a shroud for when you want to take it on the road.

No HDMI output
I was hoping to get video output from the MicroBoard by plugging it into the VmodMIB extension board I bought for the Digilent Atlys. Mechanically it would work well, but all signals to the Pmod connectors on the MicroBoard go to Bank 1 — which is the only IO bank that does not support TMDS configuration…
Programming with the Digilent tools on Linux
Even though Impact does program the device just fine, the djtgcfg command line tool from digilent fails with a non-descript error. What actually happens is that it doesn't recognize the device type since the LX9 is not listed in the configuration file. The following patch corrects that omission:
--- data/jtscdvclist.txt
+++ /usr/local/share/digilent/data/jtscdvclist.txt
@@ -621,6 +621,7 @@
+                        9      04001093h       0FFFFFFFh
                        16      04002093h       0FFFFFFFh
                        45      04008093h       0FFFFFFFh
                        150     0401D093h       0FFFFFFFh