BEWARE of Quartus JTAG Programmer on Linux

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Martin CejpMartin Cejp 04/29/2018 at 08:094 Comments

If you plug in your eBay "Altera USB Blaster" and try to talk to you device, chances are you get an error such as this: 

/opt/intelFPGA_lite/17.1/quartus/bin> ./jtagconfig -d
1) USB-Blaster [2-2]
  Unable to read device chain - JTAG chain broken

  Captured DR after reset = ()
  Captured IR after reset = ()
  Captured Bypass after reset = ()
  Captured Bypass chain = ()
  JTAG clock speed 6 MHz

This would usually indicate that something is wrong with your board, the power, the FPGA, or perhaps the programming cable. Don't despair!

There is a known issue which is still present in the latest versions of Quartus. It has to do with a library called libudev. It is easy to find solutions for various distros, but I haven't seen one specifically for Fedora (27). In my case, what worked was:

ln -s /lib64/ /lib64/

Now the board is detected and can be programmed.

What have I learned? If you can't 1-800-JTAG to your board, check with a known-good board to quickly find issues on the PC side.


korane7208 wrote 06/18/2021 at 17:21 point

thanks for the solution! i was going nuts as well!

in my case of ubuntu 21.04, was in /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ instead

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alain Lou wrote 02/07/2021 at 02:43 point 

I'm not sure I totally understood your error, but here are some things you could try:

1. Configure udev:

(you may need to reboot after configuring udev)

2. Plugging in stuff in the "right" order (this is what solved my problem on RHEL 8)

(see the comment starting with "I find the issue: The USB-blaster must first be powered from the board and then connected to the PC.")

  Are you sure? yes | no wrote 01/27/2021 at 22:27 point

Good Afternoon and Thank You for helping resolve this issue.

I have tried everything, scouring the internet for days to use my Altera USB Blaster on Ubuntu 20.  It works with the drivers on my windows machine but I do all of my development on my Ubuntu laptop.  I have set the permissions, but I get an error message from dmesg|tail when I first plug in my device to my PC.  Also, installed Quartus II, and jtagd --debug shows a message can't claim interface.  jtagconfig says that the chain is already in use.  I took screenshots and have them on my developer blog here

Any help is greatly appreciated.  Kind Regards,

  Are you sure? yes | no wrote 06/15/2019 at 06:55 point

Thanks that worked for me!  I was going nuts.

  Are you sure? yes | no