Getting started:

In order to communicate with a stand alone board like the ml403 from Xilinx some tools are necessary. The readmes of that board can be found directly at Xilinx at: or directly at my homepage,document section, readmes and howtos.

general connection scheme

General Idea to connect to the ml403 evaluation board:

  • null modem cable to connect the UART via the RS232
  • minicom (or any other terminal program) to connect to the UART of the chip (RS232 seems to be fully equiped)
  • second networkcard in order to connect via a private network (not really needed but required at GSI...(or not?))
  • network connection via cross link cable (due to the 10/100/1000 Mbit chip on the board one can use a normal patch cable too)
  • analog monitor connection
  • keyboard and mouse connection
  • run the demo software on the board (slide show, linux is running, rest not testable due to networlproblems)

This would work out straight forward if one would have the control of the own "work" PC

remark: The connection to any board is done in the way described above...

what you need to know

If you know the tools this is all you need for the ml403:

  • serial port setting (minicom):
A -    Serial Device      : /dev/ttyS0
B - Lockfile Location     : /var/lock
C -   Callin Program      :
D -  Callout Program      :
E -    Bps/Par/Bits       : 9600 7E1
F - Hardware Flow Control : No
G - Software Flow Control : No   
Seems to work for: Bootloader, Webserver Demo (gives just the messages of the webserver and webserver startup), Linux Demo (gives a direct login shell), QNX Demo

Tools and knowledge

There are some topics one has to know before starting. Knowledge is something which is not really defined and hard to get;-) And from time to time not even usefull... or not recognised by by theone who should see it;-)


I use minicom as a terminal program. It can be used for any acces to the serial interface of a PC (modem stuff, terminal emulations are build in). If not installed (GSI standard) install it to your groupserver or let someone install it. (apt-get install minicom) At its first run it needs to write a configuration file at: /etc/minicom/ named as minirc.dfl. (if you have problems contact the IT devision) Problem: you need to be root the first installation. The serial port name is normally: /dev/ttyS0 this needs to be writable for you as a normal user. The implications of just the use/installation of such an easy program can be drawn by any reader him/herself.

ctrl A Z gives the help screen. The serial port settings depend on the board. Find the ml4003 settings above.


Boards like the ml403 have normally an ethernet chip on it. The connection to the ewthernet phy are done at the FPGS part of the mein chip (the virtex 4 has a FPGA part and a hard coded PowerPC). The Linux on board allways needs a network configuration.

Keep in mind that usually for the direct connection of a network card in your computer and the board a cross link cable is needed. BUT: the ethernet chip on the ml4003 can detect how it's connected to the network. NO cross link cable is needed. (It's anyway not easy to get at GSI;-))

With SuSE I just used yast to "install" the secound networtk device. With the GSI sarge installation it's /etc/network/interfaces which needs to be adopted (Yes in SuSE too...).
/etc/network/interfaces as of
# generated by FAI
# changed by christo
# eth0: ip1394
# eth1: add-on card
# eth2: onboard

auto lo eth2 eth1

iface lo inet loopback

iface eth2 inet dhcp

iface eth1 inet static 

-- MarcRStockmeier - 29 Nov 2005
Topic revision: r3 - 2005-11-29, MarcRStockmeier
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