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Pin Constraints

I think I’ve found answers for all the big questions about Tiny CPU’s design, and I’m ready to start creating the final schematic and board layout, save for one issue: pin constraints. I need to constrain which signals are assigned to which pins, because once I create the Tiny CPU board, I can’t change those pin assignments again. If a minor bug fix to the Verilog code caused some enable signal to be reassigned to pin 63 instead of pin 20, I’d have to create a whole new revision of the board.

The normal way to address this problem is by specifying pin constraints in the design software, Altera’s Quartus II in this case. I’ve tried that with both the Tiny CPU and Tiny Device designs, which are two entirely separate CPLD projects, but it doesn’t work for either one. If I take the pin assignments that were originally chosen by the design software, enter constraints that specify that it must keep those same assignments, and then recompile the design again, the software complains that the design won’t fit the device. The constraints that define what has already been fit, suddenly no longer fit. This behavior is the same for both designs, and after trying several different methods of specifying constraints at the pin, cell, and LAB levels, using back-annotation as well as manual constraint entry.

I’m going to move forward without constraints, since I don’t have a choice. With luck, any minor bug fixes at the Verilog level will still produce the same pin assignments that I have now. If not, I’ll be spending a lot of money manufacturing board revisions.

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2 Comments so far

  1. Stephen - July 5th, 2010 10:26 pm

    Hi Guy,

    You’re doing a great job!
    You’re verifying your own ability to realize impossible miracle.
    I support you forever in my heart.

    Great challenge!

    I have a good idea. If you can use new theory technique which intel and AMD never use so far, them maybe you can rewrite CPU history.

    My major at University is about Nanomaterial field. Please hesitate to email me if any need, I will give free and warm help.

    Good job!

  2. Gregg C Levine - July 13th, 2010 7:17 pm

    Good job!
    Finding problems like that are difficult and sometimes time consuming. But you almost knew that…..

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