RF DC Evaluation Tool for ZCU208 board - Quick Start

This page provides a step-by-step guide for using the RF DC Evaluation Tool with the ZCU208 board, including GUI installation, board setup, and signal generation and acquisition.

Table of Contents


The Zynq® UltraScale+™ RFSoC ZCU208 kit and RF DC Evaluation Tool includes everything needed for quick out of box evaluation of the excellent Gen 3 DAC/ADC performance. The RF DC Evaluation Tool provides the perfect SW platform for easy generation and acquisition of RF signals to quickly get you moving toward the prototype/development stage.

To download the file go to  https://www.xilinx.com/products/boards-and-kits/zcu208.html#toolsip You must log into your Xilinx account and request access to get the file.


  1. Under the Tools & IP tab, Click on “RF Evaluation Tool and Board Setup” to download the software, then unzip the install package in your desired location.

  2. Double-click "Setup_RF_DC_Evaluation_UI.exe".

  3. NOTE: An administrator account on your laptop/PC might be necessary to complete the install.

  4. Click next and select the options you desire such as the install location.

  5. If you have a previous version of the RF DC Evaluation tool, it is a recommended to install the new version in a different location.

Board setup


Basic Assembly

  1. Assemble the ZCU208 (main board) with the CLK-104 clocking board as shown.

  2. Carefully attach the XM655 extender board with the screws provided.

  3. Connect the power and network cables as shown.

  4. Note the location of the Micro SD card slot.

  5. Note the location of power switch.

  6. Note the location of DIP switch SW2.




XM655 connections

Example: Loopback between DAC Tile 0: DAC 0 and ADC tile 0: ADC 0.

  1. Connect the HC2-to-SMA cables to locations JHC1 and JHC5 and tighten with the hex key provided.

  2. Connect pins 0 and 1 of JHC1 and JHC5 to the 10MHz-to-1GHz baluns on the XM655/616B as show below.

  3. Use the cable provided to interconnect J13 and J17 and complete the loop-back as shown.



Jumpers and Switch Settings

The ZCU208 will have all Jumpers and Switch Settings in their default position when unboxed. If necessary, you can refer to “Default Jumper and Switch Settings” in the ZCU208 Board User Guide to check.

  1. Change DIP switch SW2 to SD boot mode as follows;





SD Card

  1. Copy the files contained in folder <install_path>/image/208 onto a micro-SD card formatted to the FAT standard.

  2. Insert the SD card into the ZCU208 SD slot.


Network connection

  1. Connect a network cable between the board and host computer.


Power Up

  1. Connect to a power source and turn on the board power using switch SW15.

  2. The board powers on and boots from the SD card using the programmed images.

  3. It takes approximately 60s for the operating system to fully boot and for the embedded software to start.


Start the Evaluation tool

Double-click on the “RF Data Converter Evaluation User Interface” shortcut created during the install process, or from the install directory double-click on RF_DC_Evaluation_UI.exe.

If the embedded software on the ZU208 is ready, then the evaluation application will quickly establish communications and start to read the device configuration.


Computer Network settings

This step is necessary only if the automatic connection failed.


The application auto-start function creates an IP connection at address (file <install_path>/image/208/autostart.sh). The autostart IP address can be changed to suit your network restrictions. For the computer to connect to this address, a fixed IP address must be setup. The last part of the IP address must be different.

On Windows open the “Network Status” ->"Network and Sharing Center", click on the Ethernet connection created.

Click “Properties”, double-click on "Internet Protocol Version 4".




An example of the IP address settings is shown below;




When device configuration reading is complete, you will see a screen similar to the following;


The right-hand side of the window is used to display information about selected blocks, for example a single-click on “ADC Tile 0” will show;





DAC Signal Generation


  1. Double-click on DAC Tile 0.

  2. Double-click on DAC channel 0, (avoiding the selectable sub-blocks).



Click on "Generate" to start signal generation by the DAC.


ADC Signal Acquisition

  1. Double-click on ADC tile 0.

  2. Double-click on ADC 0, (avoiding the selectable sub-blocks).




Click “Acquire” to see the signal that has been looped back from DAC Tile 0: DAC 0. 

Select suitable windowing to reduce the distortion of the spectrum due to incoherence.






Further Exploration


Check configuration of external clocks from the CLK-104.

You can check this with single-click on “Clock Settings” to see;


Check Clock Distribution Configuration

Click on "Clock Distribution".




You can check that the clock distribution matches the following default setting;




Next Steps

For more information on the ZU48DR silicon used on the ZCU208 board or any other RFSoC silicon visit https://www.xilinx.com/products/silicon-devices/soc/rfsoc.html

For board schematics, BOM lists, user guides, and other ZCU208 documentation, go to the ZCU208 website https://www.xilinx.com/products/boards-and-kits/zcu208.html#documentation


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