Perentie-Compatible Debug Host program for the Manchester ARM Board
Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.


Ackie - ARM-Board Host Program

An ARM program designed to run on the Manchester Lab Board v1.1 to provide loading, debug and control facilities to a simple 16-bit processor running onboard the FPGA.

This program implements the Komodo comms interface and exposes a suitably-instrumented 16-bit memory-word processor implemented on the FPGA. The CPU ID/Sub-ID are derrived from the device loaded onto the FPGA and the scan-path description loaded into the host. (See host.s for details).


See USAGE.rst for a brief tutorial on how you use ackie as an end-user.


The clock signal generated for device on the FPGA is very slow. When the device is stepped (i.e. supposed to run a single instruction) clock pulses are sent to the processor until its FETCH signal goes high.

The HOLD_TIME constant in host.s specifies the delay in system timer ticks before a clock edge can be sent.

Memory Map

A 128KB memory is exposed to loaded designs which contains a number of memory-mapped devices. The following areas are mapped:

0x0800: Bottom 8-bits are mapped to the LEDs
0x0801: Bottom 3-bits are mapped to the buttons
0x0802: Bottom bit is the LCD backlight state
0x0820: This and the next 31 words are the current
        contents of the LCD's 32 characters.
0x0840: This and the next 16 words are the current
        contents of the LCD's 32 characters as
        two consecutive characters packed into each
        word (for convenient loading of strings)

To a simple approximation, the memory is synchronous on the back-edge of the clock.

In reality, the memory interface is sensitive at all times between the back-edge of the clock and the next leading clock edge. This is done to ensure that changing the memory containing the next instruction has the expected effect. Note that this can have unexpected side-effects during scanning (see the section on scanning).


The host operates the scan-path in the device on the FPGA to get and set the contents of its registers.

The scan-enable and scan-clock signals will not be asserted while the main clock is being cycled.

The scan-clock is toggled once while scan-enable is low before scanning the register values out of the system (see the note below).

Changing Scan Registers, A Warning

Because the memory interface is active both before and after scanning completes (as it is active while the clock signal is low) if the values scanned into the system change the address, data the CPU is writing to or the write enable signal then the memory will end up being written twice (once before and after the scan occurred).

Note About Clocking with Scan-Enable Low

This behaviour is probably not common but it tests that scan-enable is doing its job(!) and also means that scan registers get a pulse before scanning begins in which to initialise, should they wish.

Download of Host Program

To download the host program onto the ARM board you need to add an entry to the boot table and load the program into ROM.

Setting up the boot-table

An example boot table is given in boot_table.s. This file defines three boots, with the loader and ARM-emulator as boots 0 and 1 and Ackie as the third boot. Assemble using:

aasm -e boot_table.elf boot_table.s

And then load onto the device using:

$ flash
flash> erase 4000
flash> elf boot_table.elf

Installing the host program

Assemble using:

aasm -e host.elf host.s

And then load onto the device using:

$ flash
flash> erase 30000
flash> elf host.elf

The Name

The Ackie is a small monitor lizzard.