Programming Altera FPGA’s

To support programming of the FPGA’s an Altera USB blaster is required. I have personally bought quite a few off E-bay or Ali-express and they all have worked fine. Terasic and Waveshare also offer programmers at a slightly higher price.

The Quartus programming software is free from Altera, but they make you sign up for an account. Just the programmer can be downloaded, which would be my recommendation, unless you have interest in trying to write firmware for the FPGA’s. The programmer only is available in the left column on the web page below. If you are interested in writing firmware, I would recommend version the free version of Quartus at V9.1. The newest versions of Quartus do not support the devices used in my designs.

Installing USB blaster

  1. Install Quartus software
  2. Plug in USB blaster
  3. Allow Quartus to install the programmer
  4. The drivers is located C:\intelFPGA_pro\software version #\qprogrammer\drivers\usb-blaster\


Running Programmer
  1. Run Quartus
  2. Select programmer under tools
  3. Make sure that the drop down window for mode (top right) says JTAG
  4. Make sure that the hardware setup shows your programmer. If not select programmer and select the USB blaster.
  5. Select add file, and load the programming file.
  6. Select program/configure as shown in the picture above.
  7. Ensure that the board is powered and the programmer is plugged into the JTAG port (The 16 universe controller has two ports).
  8. Select START to program the board
  9. Once the software is installed, you will have to cycle power to have the new software loaded into the FPGA.
  10. Ensure that the LED lights blink, indicating it is programmed.

%d bloggers like this: