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Digital Electronics FPGA Board Hardware Driver for Windows 10

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My son has just made me aware that his high school owns a dozen National Instruments Digital Electronics FPGA boards but they have never been able to get them to work or actually use them in curriculum. It seems that he has let his instructor know that I've worked with Xilinx FPGAs for over 10 years and now everyone is counting on me to get these boards working. The issue seems to be the USB driver. Following the User manual, I tried DEFB2012_5_2.exe which simply refused to run on this Win 10 x64 machine. DEFB_4_3.exe ran but complained that LabView components weren't installed and would not continue. Could someone please tell me how to install ONLY the USB driver so that we can upload bit files using IMPACT? In terms of a school budget, the investment they have in these boards is not insignificant. Thank you.

Message 1 of 29

Hello TGregor,


Would it be possible to let us know what specifc part number you are using?


Also could you also post some screenshots of the issue with complaints of the LabVIEW components?


There might be more to the boards than just the FPGA's but in the past if you've needed to send a bitfile you might be able to do this with the method below.


How Do I Download a Bitfile to My Target Without LabVIEW FPGA? -


In general here is a white paper that talks about managing our FPGA deployments on our devices.


Managing FPGA Deployments -

AE Specialist, RF and Communications
National Instruments
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Message 2 of 29

Thanks for the quick response. AFAIK the specific name of the board is actually "NI Digital Electronics FPGA Board" as referenced on this current web page:


I am attaching a screen grab from that web page showing the exact board. However, following the link that says "Purchase the NI Digital Electronics FPGA Board" takes me to a different product, the ELVIS II, and the PCB component of the ELVIS II is not the same board at all.


As far as the driver goes, and following the instuctions on this same page...


"You can use LabVIEW FPGA or Xilinx ISE tools to program the FPGA on the NI Digital Electronics Board. Use of the NI Digital Electronics Board does require a driver, which you can find by following the driver download link in the technical resources section above."


... we are directed to a link that says "NI Digital Electronics FPGA Board Hardware Driver" which sound like the very thing I need. However this link is dead:


I appreciate your assistance with this.


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Message 3 of 29

Hey TGregor,


Sorry this took a bit but I'm talking to our web team to try get the weblinks fixed.


In the mean time I think the drivers you were using are incompatible or the wrong drivers. There techncially is a driver for iMPACT and one for LabVIEW so I think you might've been using the LabVIEW one.


Either way if you are ever wondering about finding all the drivers check out where I found a 2015 driver that is not the LabVIEW version.


Driver Search -


Digital Systems Development Board Driver for LabVIEW 2015 -


This one should be compatible with Windows 10.

AE Specialist, RF and Communications
National Instruments
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Message 4 of 29

Hi,I;ve just found this page after months of searching on and off.  i am in a similar situation, and have also struggled to get the board working with either windows 7 or windows 10 64 bit.  Is there a driver available for either or win10/7 that I can install without having the labview software installed.  My college has 16 FPGA boards and most are still in the cellophane after five years.



Ps just noticed I haven't found this before as it is a newish thread ;-)



Message 5 of 29

Hello JY,


I might be missing something. You've given me two links:


The first link is an index of drivers. The newest link I see in the list that is NOT indicated as being for LabView is the November 2012 release DEFB_2012_5_2. The link is


This is definitely one that I tried. I get the installation fail as shown in the attached screen grab.


The second link you gave me is a 2015 driver that actually says it's for LabView. I haven't tried it for that reason. Should I?


What I don't see is a 2015 driver for Impact, that is, one that is not designated as being for LabView. Could you give me the direct link to that downoad if you have it? Thx.


P.S. Hello DaveCarroll and welcome. So the count is 28 boards total now.


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Message 6 of 29

Hi TGregor,

Just as a side note I also found some info regarding Xilinx Dev boards not working with Win10, and tried to back door one of their drivers in instead and had a little more success.  I managed to get a green light on the dev board near the USB port, but Multisim couldn't see it still.  I think that there will be a possibility of a 64 bit driver, but we need someone to drag it out of what is already there.




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Message 7 of 29

Hi Dave,


I'd like to see/try the information you mention. Can you please provide a link? I am not familiar with Multisim (familiar with ISim and ModelSim only) but for me right now the critical thing is to be able to load FPGA images though the USB. If you have a driver that enumerates the USB (presumably this is the green light you mention) then I'd want to try it with Impact for sure.




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Message 8 of 29

Hi Tom,

I'm pretty certain it was here.

I searched xilinx win10 driver as a last resort.

I had to go into device manager find the unknown hardware and install via have disk and then untick compatible only or something along those lines.  I managed to get the green light un but not recognised, and also got one that caused mayhem as the device kept disappearing and reappearing every few seconds.  It also complainee about USBII.

Hope this helps, I'm just on my way out of work so I'll check later.



Can't remember which choice worked best, sorry!!!  It was one of the first two or three choices I think.



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Message 9 of 29
Accepted by topic author TGregor
10-21-2016 10:58 AM

Hello Dave and TGregor,


Hopefully I can clear some things up here. I am sorry that you are running into so many issues with your DE FPGA boards. 

First, the direct answers:


The LabVIEW 2015 DE FPGA driver should install the necessary components to use the board with Xilinx tools on WINDOWS 7, this will not work on any newer operating system as the driver was developed prior to the release of Windows 8 and 10.


My recommendation for Windows 8 or 10 is to instead install Xilinx ISE which you can find either on the Xilinx site or on the NI downloads page:

The difficulty you may face here is that Xilinx ISE tool is officially only supported on Windows 7 and below. So while I believe this will work (and it will install unlike the DE FPGA driver link above) for Windows 8 and 10, you may continue to face some issues.


Now are you all looking to program the FPGA using an HDL, Multisim, or LabVIEW? If you are just using an HDL, you should be all set to go and program in the dev environment you were planning on using. Multisim is NI's circuit design and simulation tool which does include a complete library of graphical digital components. A digital circuit can be built using the graphical logic gates in Multisim then downloaded directly to the FPGA without having to first learn VHDL or Verilog. It is fairly popular with introductory digital logic classes and we can help you through setting that up as well if you are interested. 


For anyone else who might stumble upon this page, I want to make sure you all are aware that while the DE FPGA board is still supported and sold, it was developed a number of years ago and has recently been replaced by the Digital System Development Board (DSDB) which uses a Zynq 7020 and has many more periphrials to program than the DE FPGA. So I know this isn't helpful to the current issue but anyone researching whether they would like to purchase more DE FPGA boards, I recommend looking at the DSDB instead.




Brian H. -- Electronics & Measurements Product Marketing Manager
Message 10 of 29