Flashrom, Alix 1.C and FreeBSD

I’m quite surprised that flashrom works pretty much out of the box on FreeBSD running on my Alix 1.C board. All I needed to do was comment out the code in the enable_flash_cs5536() function part of the chipset_enable.c file. Then, this simple command let me read out the BIOS image:

$ flashrom -f -r -c "SST49LF040" bios.bin

Avnet Spartan-3A Eval Board

So I got this Xilinx Spartan-3A Board by Avnet recently. I bought it because it features a fairly large parallel flash chip (32 MBit) and an even larger SPI flash (128 Mbit).

The board also features three clocks. One 16MHz clock is driven by an on-board oscillator while the other two (12 MHz and 32 kHz) are derived from a small controller.

For the last few evenings, I tried to get the parallel flash to work. Since a single cycle of the slow 32 kHz clock meets the timing requirements of the parallel flash chip, I thought I’d try to use that before enhancing the design to also work w/ the faster clock(s).

Unfortunately, that didn’t work. When using the slow clock, mapping a signal directly to an output (LED) worked just fine, but routing the signal through more than few flip-flops didn’t work at all. Apparently, the FPGA didn’t like the slow clock too much.

Bottom line: Took me three days to figure out that the board doesn’t work with the slow 32 kHz clock. Oh well, at least I learned something new…