Get Started with VHDP

Software Setup

Use the benefits of code suggestions and vendor-independent libraries by using VHDPlus IDE, the easiest way to program your FPGA.

Important Notes:

⚠ At this point VHDPlus IDE has not left WIP state. Breaking changes might occur until version 1.0.**

⚠ We have not obtained a Microsoft Certificate yet. If the Windows installer got blocked by SmartScreen, click on "More info" and then "Run anyway".

Install VHDPlus IDE

  1. Download MAX 10 device support¹
  2. Download and install Quartus Prime Lite for Windows²
  3. Download and install VHDPlus IDE
32 Bit64 Bit

¹MAX 10 device support:
The VHDPlus Core is equipped with a MAX 10 FPGA. Select the device family depending on your development board.

²Quartus Prime:
Quartus Prime is necessary for compiling your code and programming your FPGA.


You need to install the drivers according to your programmer at hand in order to program your FPGA. Our VHDPlus Core features an ARROW USB Programmer because of its additional USB to UART interface.

Follow this guide to download and install the driver for the Arrow USB Programmer.

Connect VHDPlus IDE with Quartus

For direct compiling and programming of VHDPlus IDE a connection via Quartus is necessary. If Quartus is installed in default directory no further steps are needed. Otherwise an adjustment of the Quartus' path can be realized by opening the VHDPlus IDE and navigating throughExtras -> Options -> General

Select Quartus Path

When Quartus is detected successfully the boundary around Quartus' path eventuelly turns green.

Addional Programs

Code Simulation:

With ModelSim:

  1. Download and install ModelSim or ModelSim for Linux
  2. Read our instructions here

With GHDL:

  1. Install GHDL with the Installer for Windows or with sudo apt-get install ghdl on linux
  2. Download an extract GTK Wave for Windows or install it with sudo apt-get install gtkwave on linux
  3. Specify the path to the "gtkwave" folder in Extras/Settings/Simulator/GTKWave path
  4. Read our instructions here

Program with VHDP

Creating a program with the VHDP IDE is simple, but to get started even faster we have created tutorials including a written instruction:

Video Tutorial

Create your first program:


  1. Start VHDPlus IDE and create a new project (top left) which automatically creates a .vhdp file.
  2. Inside the vhdp file you can write your code. More information about this here. To get a better understanding as a beginner use this demo code:
Blink example
--I/Os of the FPGA
LED : OUT STD_LOGIC := '0'; --STD_LOGIC contains states like '1', '0' or 'Z' for High Impedance
Process Demo ()
Thread --Every Thread is an endless loop
LED <= '1';
LED <= '0';
  1. If no errors appear while analyzing you can click on create (green arrow) and a window opens up. In it you can create connections of in- and outputs from Main to physical I/Os (they are labelled on the development board and shield). Before clicking on OK you should check if Quartus' path is correct. On Windows this path is usually C:\intelFPGA_lite\18.1\quartus"
  2. In case of errors while compiling you can double click on the error in the error list. When you have found the error, you have to fix the error within the .vdhp file.
  3. When compiling is finished, which can last up to several minutes, because the compiler attempts to find the most efficient way to connect the logic elements, you can program the FPGA. In order to do that you have make shure that the correct drivers are installed and to click on Program (blue arrow). If you have problems, use the Quartus programming window next to the Program button.

Comparison between Arduino (C++), VHDP and VHDL

If you are familiar with software or hardware programming, check out this comparison here.

Use other HDL files and IP Cores

If you are not new to FPGAs and want to profit from VHDP while still using your old code and IP Cores, check out this tutorial.


Check out what other people have done with VHDP. Here is a list of tutorials from us:

  1. Smart route following robot
  2. Camera with Object Detection
  3. LED Matrix
  4. Spectrum Analyzer

You can find much more examples here.

Last updated on by Hendrik Mennen