2.2. Loading the FPGA using the Quartus II Programmer

To program the FPGA device with the pre-compiled example system hardware design, perform the following steps:

  1. Run the Altera Quartus II software on the PC. Select File → Open Project from the menu.

  2. Browse to the supplied CortexM1_ExampleDesign.qpf project in the ExampleDesign directory of the Cortex-M1 FPGA Development Kit installation and select Open as shown in Figure 2.1. This loads the example hardware design project into the Quartus II software.

    Figure 2.1. CortexM1_ExampleDesign project selection

    CortexM1_ExampleDesign project selection

  3. Open the Quartus II Programmer by selecting Tools → Programmer.

  4. Click Hardware Setup and select USB-Blaster in the Currently selected hardware drop-down list as shown in Figure 2.2.

    Figure 2.2. Hardware setup

    Hardware setup

  5. Click Close.

  6. In the Quartus II Programmer window, click Auto Detect from the button list. See Figure 2.3.

    Figure 2.3. Auto Detect button

    Auto Detect button

  7. Select the EP3C25 device then click on Change File.

  8. Select the supplied SOF file found in the ExampleDesign directory:

    • CortexM1_ExampleDesign.sof if you are using the full version of the ARM Cortex-M1 FPGA Development Kit

    • CortexM1_ExampleDesign_time_limited.sof if you are using an evaluation version of the Development Kit.

  9. Turn on the Program/Configure option for the device, as shown in Figure 2.4.

    Figure 2.4. SOF options

    SOF options

  10. Click Start. The Programmer loads the SOF directly into the FPGA device. Figure 2.5 shows the Programmer when programming completes.

Figure 2.5. Programming complete

Programming complete


If you are using an evaluation licence for the processor, you will see a status window about the OpenCore Plus evaluation feature. Canceling the information dialog causes the evaluation timeout to expire, and the processor will no longer function. If you disconnect the USB cable or close the Quartus II software, the evaluation will expire when the timeout period is reached.

When the development board is turned off this design does not persist so it is necessary to reload the SOF each time the FPGA is turned on or the Reconfigure button is pressed. You can program the design into the flash device on the Cyclone III Starter Board using a POF file so that it is loaded into the FPGA automatically at power-on. For details about this see Chapter 7 Software Considerations and Customization and the Cyclone III Starter Kit User Guide.


If you recompile the Example Design project, the prebuilt programming file is overwritten with your new design.

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