Spartan 3E kit, Windows Drivers Install

Author: Scott R. Gravenhorst

This page is a record of the problems I had getting my Spartan-3E starter Kit up and running.

What NOT to do:

DO NOT PLUG THE BOARD INTO THE USB PORT ON YOUR COMPUTER UNTIL YOU HAVE BEEN INSTRUCTED TO DO SO.

DO NOT EXECUTE THE install_drvers.bat FILE WITHOUT FIRST READING THE README.DOC FILE INSIDE THE ZIP FILE.

If you do not heed this warning, you will end up with a half installed USB driver that will neither be removable nor will the driver installation ever complete successfully. I tried following the instructions for removing windrvr6 to no avail, I also tried to purge the registry of references to this file and the xusbdrvr.sys file and was still not able to complete the installation nor was I able to remove the corrupt installation. I gave up and reinstalled Windows 2000, then did a proper installation of the ISE, update and USB cable driver and it worked perfectly.

What to do:

  1. While you are waiting to receive your board, go to Xilinx and download the Webpack ISE software and the update for it and install it. Note that the Webpack installer is over 700 megabytes and the update is around 120 megabytes, so be patient.
    I used the file download option which places a copy of the complete installer on your computer, I felt that the sometimes cheesey DSL connection I have could be far more frustrating if I did the web based install. Your mileage may vary.
    I installed on Windows 2000 Professional.
  2. When you get your new board, do not pay attention to the Start Here card that comes in the box with it. It's out of date. When you power up your new board, it will NOT say "PASS" or "FAIL" as is described. You will see a Xilinx web URL and "Spartan-3E Starter Kit" scroll across the LCD forever. While this is happening, twiddle the rotary encoder knob and watch the LEDs display a light the moves left or right depending on which way you turn the knob. Pushing the rotary encoder knob will cause the program to alternate between it's two 'modes' ;-
    • twiddling the encoder moving the LED
    • using switches (four around the encoder and the four below the LEDS) will turn on the LEDs.
  3. Jim Patchell told me that for XP, the USB drivers were found sort of automagically and there wasn't much frustration with that part. I've not been that lucky with 2000. For Windows 2000, you need to download these drivers.
    Unzip the two files inside the zip into the same directory where you installed the Webpack software and follow the instructions in the README.doc file explicitly.
    Here is what the installer looks like running in a command prompt window:

    C:\Xilinx\bin\nt>install_drivers.bat
     
    C:\xilinx\bin\nt>wdreg -inf "C:\Xilinx\bin\nt"\windrvr6.inf install
    install: completed successfully
     
    C:\Xilinx\bin\nt>wdreg -inf "C:\Xilinx\bin\nt"\xusbdrvr.inf install
    install: completed successfully
     
    C:\Xilinx\bin\nt>

  4. Finally, be sure not to install webpack into a directory with spaces. Webpack will give you 222 errors.