Since we have learned to make full adder as well as half adder, we now can make a N-bit adder which is a scalable version of adder.

This is a more practical approach to making an adder, since the Full Adder and Half Adder are building blocks of this module.

If you do not know how to make a full or half adder please do visit this below link, to clear basic concepts of adders


Concepts to be covered

  • Understanding the N-bit adder
  • Instantiating a module in another module
  • RTL view (what does for loop mean in Verilog)
  • Writing testbench for our adder: covering the edge cases
  • Analyzing the output : Stimulation

1. Understanding the N-bit adder

The adder is one of the most fundamental part of any digital circuit, yet it is inefficient if used as just the base forms i.e. as full adder and half adder.

As these only add one bit at a time, while in reality we need a lot more than that to occur simultaneously.

So, we combine the functionality of both the adders and put it together to build a more practical approach -> N-bit Adder.

Since we have a parameter N, we can scale it up to as many bits as we need to.

A N-bit adder can be made by using:

  • 1 half bit adder
  • N-1 full bit adder

A 4-bit adder using 3-full adder and 1-half adder

The above is the example of the 4-bit adder using one half bit and three full bit adders.

2. Instantiating modules in another module

We can use our already ready code for the half and full adder to make the new N-bit Adder, by simply instantiating the modules in our new module.

// the tech social -> Verilog Programming 
// half adder module 
module half_adder (
    input a, b,
    output sum, carry
    assign sum = a ^ b;   // sum of half adder
    assign carry = a & b; // carry of half adder

// the tech social -> Verilog Programming
// full adder module
module full_adder (
    input a, b, cin,
    output sum, cout
    assign sum = a ^ b ^ cin;
    assign cout = (a & b) | (cin & (a ^ b));


// the tech social -> Verilog Programming
// N-bit adder module
// here let N = 8 => 8-bit adder
module N_bit_adder 
#(parameter N = 8)
    input [N-1:0] input1, input2,
    output [N-1:0] answer
    wire [N-1:0] carry;// intermediate carry outputs
    wire carry_out;// for the end carry output
    genvar i;// general variable

      for (i = 0; i < N; i = i + 1) begin: generate_N-bit_adder
        if (i == 0) // LSB bit adder
          half_adder b(input1[0], input2[0], answer[0], carry[0]);
        else // rest all adders
          full_adder b(input1[i], input2[i], carry[i-1], answer[i], carry[i]);

        assign carry_out = carry[N-1];

We can see that we generate half adder only for the LSB adder and other are all Full adders. We accomplish this with the help of simple for loop followed by if-else condition.

3. RTL View (what does for loop mean in Verilog)

Here you can see the “for loop” works differently than it works in C or C++.

Yes you got that right, here it generates hardware using synthesis tools. Which means the number of times we instantiate the full adder through the for loop, it generates the full adder hardware the respective number of times.

To put it simply we can directly look at the RTL view of the module.

RTL view generated using Xilinx ISE

It seems we are close enough to the verification of our module now!!

4. Writing testbench for our adder: covering the edge cases

Testbench turns out to be the most critical part of any chip design since it is this process which sets apart a good design from a bad one.

Writing the test bench for this n-bit adder however is quite easy, and simply involves the knowledge of addition in binary numbers.

Since, the adder we designed will be able to add 8 bits we can play around some possibilities such as 256 + 1, – 2 – 4, etc. The following test bench might be sufficient as per this module.

Also here is my git repo for the N-bit adder code -> https://github.com/nirbhay12345/chipDesign/N-bit_adder

//the tech social
// testbench for N-bit(in this case 8-bit) adder
module N_bit_adder_tb;
    // parameter N = 8;
    reg [7:0] i1, i2;
    wire [7:0] answer;

    // initialization of the design block
    N_bit_adder uut(.input1(i1), .input2(i2), .answer(answer));

    initial begin
        i1 = 230;
        i2 = 10;
        i1 = 256;
        i2 = 1;
        i1 = -1;
        i2 = -3;
        i1 = 100;
        i2 = 200;
        i1 = 30;
        i2 = 70;
        i1 = 2;
        i2 = -255;


5. Analyzing the output : Stimulation

This is were we learn our designs capability :

stimulated output for 8-bit adder

Okay so we have successfully achieved our goal. 😎


Verilog Programming – full adder

Full adder using Verilog and Isim stimulation.

Concepts covered in the blog :

Half adder

If you are reading this blog, then you are probably familiar with digital electronics. If not then here is some basic on full adder what it is and why we need it, if yes then this might be a quick revision for you all.

So what is a full adder? before that we need to know what is a half adder.

Basically, half adder is a digital circuit which adds two bits. It is the simplest form of a adder circuit.

Let us take that bits to be A and B. Thus what the half adder digital circuit does is that, it generates a Sum and Carry according to the given input.

Truth table for a half adder

Thus, from the truth table we can infer the following Boolean equations :

A ⊕ B = Sum

A . B = Carry

Thus, we can easily obtain the above visualization of half adder.

Full adder -> Concept

Half adder is good enough but the tricky part begins when we switch to addition of more than one bit. Yes, you guessed it right.

In addition of more than two bits, we need to consider the Carry that is generated by the LSB (Least Significant Bit), or to say the bit having a lesser place value.

Here, full adder comes into picture. the full adder also takes into consideration the carry of the previous bit, increasing one input in the circuit, this might be more clear by seeing the truth table and then visualizing the full adder.

Truth table for Full Adder

Sum = A ⊕ B ⊕ Cin

Cout = A.B + Cin(A ⊕ B)

Thus, by now you might be clear about what a half adder and full adder does and comprises off.

Now, to answer the question -> how can you create actual hardware, using the HDL language like Verilog?

Verilog Code

Verilog is one of the languages used to describe hardware, hence the name -> HDL (Hardware Description Language).

You might need a tool like -> Xilinx ISE design suite or others to create the following. Better to check you have installed everything.

module adder_carry(
    input wire [3:0] i_a, i_b,
    output wire [3:0] o_sum,
    output wire o_cout

	wire [4:0] int_sum;
	assign int_sum = {1'b0, i_a} + {1'b0, i_b};
	assign o_sum = int_sum[3:0];
	assign o_cout = int_sum[4];

The above code represents a 4-bit full adder Verilog code.

The 5th bit of the int_sum variable is taken to represent the carry generated from MSB of the addition of i_a and i_b signals.

RTL view

The RTL view is generated by the tool you are using automatically, by just synthesizing the code.

It has predefined hardware for a particular code and the tool then converts your written code into actual hardware schematic.

The above given is the RTL view of the code written above. It is necessary to understand that through Verilog we are trying to create a hardware and thus the RTL view helps us to visualize the hardware schematic before it can be further evaluated.

Also, RTL view helps us to see what does the hardware comprises of and gives us a digital circuit insight for further understanding of the hardware.

Different methods in Verilog may give different hardware approaches, thus the choice of hardware customization entirely depends over the designer and the methods he/she may use.

Finally, our goal is to make systems with the most efficient yet with reasonable hardware, where the trade-off between the hardware and the speed of execution of a particular task plays an important role.

Stimulation (ISIM)

The stimulation of a given circuit further helps us to understand the response of the circuit in dynamic conditions. Thus, helping us to know the in’s and out’s of the circuit.

This helps in visualization of the circuit response and also rectifies for any error that our system may possess.

The Stimulation of the above Verilog code is given below.

The result is as expected.

Wish you a happy learning!!