USB Byte Blaster BSOD on Windows/Quartus - NO MORE..!

On occasion it’s been necessary to reprogram the LimeSDR or Lime-Mini using the JTAG port on the Lime of choice and an Altera USB Byte Blaster. Some have found when setting this up with the clone (read here Chinese) ‘Altera’ USB Byte Blasters using various versions of the programming application, Quartus II, that if you’re using Windows 10 (and even the recently expired Windows 7, let’s not even discuss Windows 8) that plugging in the USB Blaster into your USB port on your PC when the application has been installed created a confounding issue where the drivers for the application would install the it as a USB device and immediately cause the PC to enter the ‘Blue Screen of Death’ - nobody likes to see that. This usually created the need to uninstall the USB Blaster and try it again…to no avail. There was a version of Quartus that didn’t do this (version 16.1) but it was usually hard to find and wasn’t available to most users.

Well, those days are over…No more will you have to fight to install the Chinese Clone USB Blaster or make unnecessary resistor modifications to it - - none of that is needed to make it work with ANY version of the Quartus-Lite programming tool…Keep reading…

As it turns out, most users thought that you needed to install the USB Blaster as a USB device…I thought this was a reasonable thing to do, too. But recently I had a need to re-install mine to not only to reprogram a Lime Mini, but also to reflash my Hermes Lite II to a new gateware version. In the HL2+ forum one of the members mentioned that you don’t install the USB Blaster as a USB device, BUT AS A JTAG CABLE DEVICE. If you obtain the drivers from the Quartus II installation, within that Windows install you will find the following path to the USB Blaster II drivers:


When you get to that subdirectory use this procedure to install the driver:

1,.) Open the Device manager and locate the ‘Altera Byte Blaster’ in the list

2.) Choose the ‘Update driver’ option when you right-click on that entry

3.) Choose ‘Browse my computer …’ option

6.) Choose the ‘Let me pick …’ option to find the device type, this will be JTAG CABLE DEVICE

7.) Choose the ‘Have disk…’ option at this prompt

8.) Browse to the file’s location at c: > intelFPGA > 18.1 > qprogrammer > drivers > usb-blaster-ii

9.) Select its inf file, (in this case, select usbblasterii.inf)

10.) Click on ‘Open’ to select that file and then click on ‘OK’

11.) Select the correct hardware from the list if there are multiple entries shown - usually the first one in the list is the correct entry, but choose the right one for your application

12.) Click on ‘Next’ and allow the driver to install

13.) After the install you’ll need to choose the new hardware for the programmer (in my case I downloaded and use the 18.1 version of Quartus II Lite) and this will be the new JTAG Cable Device for your Quartus II programmer. Allow the Quartus II programmer to setup the JTAG Cable Device.

14.) You’re DONE with the installation.

So that’s the procedure - it works excellent and you’ll NEVER go through the pain of the BSOD with your Chinese clone USB Blaster ever again.

73 de Marty, KN0CK