Developing AXI Stream Overlays and interfacing to ZYNQ

This tutorial is aimed at Verilog users who wish to develop PL using AXI Streaming peripherals.
This was developed on Vivado 2020.1 with a TUL-2 board but does not rely on any external hardware.
This assumes a familiarity with generating an overlay and AXI Peripherals.


  1. Build AXI-compliant peripheral to both transmit and receive data streams.
  2. Build Overlay
  3. Configure DMA to stream data to/from PL.

Build AXI-compliant peripheral

Open an new project called “AXIMasterStreamSlaveMasterIP”.

In previous tutorials we have instanced an AXI Lite Slave peripheral interface.
Now we are interfacing three of them. Create an AXI4 peripheral as in prior tutorials and specify the following:

An AXI-Lite Slave Interface, 32-bit words, 8 words deep. This, as usual, lets the CPU configure the peripheral.
An AXI Streaming Slave Interface, 32-bit words. This will take in data from the DMA.
An AXI Streaming Master Interface, 32-bit words. This will master data to the DMA to send back to the CPU.

You will see a peripheral top level instance with all three interfaces.

The AXI Lite peripheral is reasonably complete; it only needs to be updated to route registers to our application. The AXI Master and Slave peripherals are designed to stream 8 words and then stop- they will require more customization.

For this tutorial we will modify all three peripherals:

  1. For the AXI Stream Slave (Stream coming into peripheral), we modify it to report what data was received in each of the 8 registers.
  2. For the AXI Stream Master (Stream leaving the peripheral), we modify it to start at a specific value (i.e. Stream in base to base+7 rather than 0 to 7) and with an enable and reset.
  3. For the AXI-Lite Slave, we will add configuration registers for it.

We define these control registers:

Address Offset Purpose Meaning
0x00 Master Stream Enable Bit0 = Start, Bit 1 = reset
0x04 Master Stream Start Offset 32-bit starting value...
0x08 Slave Stream Register Select Index of stream capture to read
0x0C Slave Stream Register Value Value in selected stream capture register

Now we edit the files as follows:

AXI Stream Slave module

The default module instantiation takes in data from a stream and stores it to an 8-deep register. We'll simply add a path to read back the data streamed to it.

Add the following ports:

    input wire  [2:0] slaveStreamReadRegister;
    output wire [31:0] slaveStreamReadValue;

And add this to the generate statement for the stream_data_fifo instantiation.

    assign slaveStreamReadValue[(byte_index*8)+7 -:8] = stream_data_fifo[slaveStreamReadRegister];

AXI Stream Master module

This module’s default is to go to IDLE, transition to a Counter state where it waits for a period of time, then bursts 8 words of data (32’h00000001…32’h00000008) in a SEND_STREAM state. We’ll add a mechanism to trigger the start and reset via the CPU, and a mechanism to change the start value.

Add the following input ports:

input masterStartStream,
input masterResetStream, 
input [31:0] masterStreamFirstValue, 

update the State machine states as follows:


parameter [1:0] IDLE = 2'b00,        // This is the initial/idle state               
                INIT_COUNTER  = 2'b01, // This state initializes the counter, once   
                                // the counter reaches C_M_START_COUNT count,        
                                // the state machine changes state to SEND_STREAM     
                SEND_STREAM   = 2'b10; // In this state the                          


parameter [1:0] IDLE = 2'b00,   // This is the initial/idle state               	     
                SEND_STREAM   = 2'b01, // Will be triggered by masterStartStream
                STREAM_DONE   = 2'b10; // Resting state. Reset by masterResetStream 

Update the state machine as follows:

For the IDLE state, change:

            mst_exec_state  <= INIT_COUNTER;                              


        if (masterStartStream) 
            mst_exec_state  <= SEND_STREAM;                              

Remove the INIT_COUNTER state and transitions.

For the SEND_STREAM_STATE, change the end state to STREAM_DONE rather than IDLE.


            mst_exec_state <= IDLE;                                       


            mst_exec_state <= STREAM_DONE;                                       

And add a STREAM_DONE State.

        if (masterResetStream) 
            mst_exec_state <= IDLE;
            mst_exec_state <= SEND_STREAM;                                

Finally, update stream_data_out:

          stream_data_out <= read_pointer + masterStreamFirstValue;  

AXI Slave Lite Module

Add the same ports as above:

 // Users to add ports here

 output masterStartStream,
 output masterResetStream,
 output [31:0] masterStreamFirstValue,

 output  [2:0] slaveStreamReadRegister,
 input  [31:0] slaveStreamReadValue,

 // User ports ends

Locate the always statement which assigns slv_reg0…slv_reg3. Update the slv_reg3 and slv_reg7 assignments in the register update section.

slv_reg3 <= slaveStreamReadValue;

Remember to remove case 3’h3 from the case statement.

// And place these assigns in the user logic section:

assign masterStartStream  = slv_reg0[0];
assign masterResetStream  = slv_reg0[1];
assign masterStreamFirstValue = slv_reg1;
assign slaveStreamReadRegister = slv_reg2[2:0];


At the top level, add these five interconnecting wires before the port instantiation:

    wire  [2:0] slaveStreamReadRegister;
    wire  [31:0] slaveStreamReadValue;
    wire masterStartStream;
    wire masterResetStream;
    wire [31:0] masterStreamFirstValue;

snd wire the three AXI submodules together.

You will likely want to test the overlay. I’ve included a testbench as a simple guide.

Build Overlay

Start a project called “AXIMasterSlaveStreamFPGAImage”.

Start a new Board Design and add the following IP:

  • ZYNQ 7000
  • Your AXIStreamSlave Peripheral
  • AXI Central Direct Memory Access.

You will need to configure your ZYNQ 7000 to have one “HP” (High performance) AXI Channel (in the PS/PL interface). This serves as the DMA’s path to the ZYNQ to send/receive data for streaming.

You will need to configure your DMA as follows:
* Scatter/gather off.
* Write Channel off.

You can use Block and Connection automation to wire up the interfaces.

There are three interfaces to worry about here:

DMA S_AXI_LITE Allows the CPU to configure the DMA through Memory Mapped writes
DMA M_AXI_MM2S Master MM2S -- interfaces with DDR to get data to stream to peripheral.
DMA M_AXI_S2MM Master S2MM -- interfaces with DDR to get data streamed in from peripheral back to memory

Your top level should look like:

Configure DMA to run your peripheral

Upload the HWH and Bit files to your ZYNQ.

From python, you can do the following to test the slave stream:

def TestStreamSlave(input_buffer):

  # Send MM2S data from CPU Memory to Stream by DMA. 


  # Query the peripheral for the data we sent it. 
  for i in range(8):
    actual =
    if not (actual == input_buffer[i]):
      print("Error on data from input buffer " + str(i) + \
            " Actual " +str(actual) +                     \
            " Expected " + str(input_buffer[i]))
      return 0
  return 1


  input_buffer     = allocate(shape=(8,),dtype='u4')
  input_buffer[:]  = [(x*iteration)*100 for x in range(8)]

Likewise, to test the master out of the peripheral into our DMA:

def TestStreamMaster(baseval):

  # Set DMA to write SS2M data to a specifc physical address 
  output_buffer    = allocate(shape=(8,),dtype='u4')
  output_buffer[:] = 0

  # Configure the peripheral to send baseval to baseval + 7


  # Check the data matches. 
  for i in range(8):
    expected = baseval + i
    if not (output_buffer[i] == expected):
      print("TestStreamMaster: Error on output buffer " + str(i) +      \
          " Expected " + "{:x}".format(expected) +  \
          " Actual " + str(output_buffer[i]))
      return 0
  return 1

Roger –

Thanks for the simple example. One suggestion:

It appears that the master reset does not reset the read_pointer or tx_done. If I run TestStreamMaster twice, the notebook stops generating output. This can be fixed by adding the masterResetStream to the reset logic for those signals:

  if(!M_AXIS_ARESETN || masterResetStream)                                                            
      read_pointer <= 0;                                                         
      tx_done <= 1'b0;                                                           



Thanks James- I had missed listing that one edit. It looks like I can’t go back and fix but I appreciate you flagging it (and for going through the tutorial).