Simple Microblaze UART Character to LED Program for the VC707: Part 1

1.0 An Easy First Microblaze Project in Vivado - Flashing LEDs with a Character Received Over the UART

If you're like me, after toying around with some simple RTL code-based projects in an attempt to learn how to use Vivado and program your VC707, you were asking yourself, "How the hell am I supposed to do anything useful with this thing???". I mean, VHDL and Verilog are so low level that it feels like it would take weeks to write even a simple finite state machine! Luckily, we can actually do a lot of really cool things on the Virtex 7 (or whatever board you're using) without writing a single line of Verilog or VHDL!

To do these cool things, we can implement a "soft-core" Microblaze processor on the FPGA. This processor can run standard .ELF (Executable Linker Format) files that are generated from C code. The tool that makes this possible is the Starter Development Kit. If you haven't done a "Hello World" program there, I highly recommend doing one now to get yourself familiar with the tool.

1.1 What are we going to do in this tutorial?

What we're going to do here is generate a soft-core processor on the Virtex 7. It'll come with memory and peripherals and all that good stuff. Once we've created that, we'll be able to write some nice, easy C code to control things.

1.2 What Do I Need For This Tutorial?

To follow along with this tutorial, you'll need the following:

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