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Xilinx FPGA Parallel Programmer

This is the SparkFun version of the Xilinx Parallel cable III, also known as the DLC5, with a pinout designed to work with SparkFun FPGA boards.

This unit does not ship with a 10-pin IDC cable. We are still waiting for them from our supplier.

Please note: This programming connection is not pin compatible with Xilinx or other manufacturers boards. We use our own pinout to allow longer ribbon cable runs without crosstalk. Ensure that the cable is connected as shown in the photos, as damage to the programmer and or FPGA board can result if it is improperly connected.


Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • Just curious.. Does this board emulate the Xilinx Parallel cable III exactly, i.e. can it be used with directly with Impact (found in the Xilinx ISE Webpack) as the Xilinx cable? Has anybody had success using it like this?
    I noticed that there was a script for programming the Spartan 3 dev board that uses Xilprg, an open-source command-line tool. Looks like ti will probably work fine as well, but just curious..
    What's the best way program the dev board? I've got lots of bitstreams ready to go and just want to start loading them up!

    • Also, if you plug this into the dev board backwards (easy to do because the header on the board is not keyed like the header on the programmer is) you will most certainly fry the programmer. Trust me on that much. The dev board will probably survive though...

  • Hmmm, parallel port, let me see, I had one of those about 20 years ago.
    Do I have to go around all the garage sales looking for an old PC to use this programmer?

  • According to one Source, that style can also work as a basic JTAG cable. Please confirm.

  • Ok... so there is no conceivable way to interface a laptop with this device; and this seems to be a technology limitation. This means you must have a desktop pc to use it.

  • I'm new to this FPGA world - I have the sparkfun spartan 3E board (the one with serial port) and have just ordered the programmer. I feel it should be made more clear that the programmer is also needed and is not part of the development board.
    Will this programmer work with iMPACT in the Xilinx Webpack? I assume it will work as Parallel cable v3...
    @JoshEEG - you should get the Xilinx WEBpack, free to download from Xilinx.
    Thanks for any suggestions or pointers in the right direction!!

  • Very interesting it is low cost and neat. I run ubuntu so xilinx webpack is the only free linux fpga software I seen. It is not open source thow.
    Does anyone know what command to run to start Xilinx software in linux? I would like to start my design before I buy the cables and FPGA.

  • I am little curious. You have used a 74ACT125 chip on your JTAG programmer board and the recommended power supply is 4.5V to 5.5V. But the FPGA board supplies a 3.3V power supply to the JTAG programmer. Does/Would it still work?

  • its a tremendous work..marvellous..fentastic

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