I'm teaching myself Verilog with HDLbits and tackling this problem. According to this post, assignment with the LHS of the expression as a concatenation should work. In practice I've used this many times before. However, when I assign a wire to a concatenation and then use a non-blocking assignment on that wire, the wire is not driven.

module top_module (
input clk,
input reset,
input [3:1] s,
output fr3,
output fr2,
output fr1,
output dfr
parameter lowest = 3'b000, aboveS1 = 3'b001, aboveS2 = 3'b011, aboveS3 = 3'b111;
parameter hf = 3'b111, mf = 3'b011, lf = 3'b001, zf = 3'b000;
reg [2:0] state, next_state;
wire [2:0] flowrate = {fr3,fr2,fr1}; //problem area

always @ * begin
    next_state = {s[3],s[2],s[1]};

always @ (posedge clk) begin
    if(reset) begin
        state <= lowest;
        {fr3,fr2,fr1} <= hf;
        dfr <= 1'b1;
    end else begin
        if(next_state != state)
            dfr <= next_state < state;
            dfr <= dfr;
            aboveS1 : flowrate <= mf; //problem area
            aboveS2 : flowrate <= lf;
            aboveS3 : flowrate <= zf;
            default : flowrate <= hf;
        state <= next_state;

The above code fails as fr3, fr2, and fr1 are stuck at ground. But when the case statement is changed to the following:

aboveS1 : {fr3,fr2,fr1} <= mf;
aboveS2 : {fr3,fr2,fr1} <= lf;
aboveS3 : {fr3,fr2,fr1} <= zf;
default : {fr3,fr2,fr1} <= hf;

The code works fine, and the outputs are driven. Why does this occur?

There is also this warning thrown by Quartus which I'm sure is related:

Warning (10036): Verilog HDL or VHDL warning at top_module.v(13):
object "flowrate" assigned a value but never read File:             
/home/h/work/hdlbits.2001977/top_module.v Line: 13
Warning (13024): Output pins are stuck at VCC or GND
Warning (13410): Pin "fr3" is stuck at VCC File: 
/home/h/work/hdlbits.2001977/top_module.v Line: 5
Warning (13410): Pin "fr2" is stuck at VCC File: 
/home/h/work/hdlbits.2001977/top_module.v Line: 6
Warning (13410): Pin "fr1" is stuck at VCC File: 
/home/h/work/hdlbits.2001977/top_module.v Line: 7

The following replacements in the upper area also break:

wire [2:0] flowrate;
assign {fr3,fr2,fr1} = flowrate;


wire [2:0] flowrate;
assign flowrate = {fr3,fr2,fr1};

Edit: clarified error a bit more

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ FYI, SystemVerilog has the alias and let constructs that both give you the bidirectional semantics you are looking for. \$\endgroup\$
    – dave_59
    Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 6:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks dave_59, I'm trying to familiarize myself with the idiodyncrasies of Verilog before I move on to SystemVerilog, but maybe I should just focus on the latter and not waste the time. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 5:12

2 Answers 2


Two main issues:

  1. Assignments are make to the LHS (Left-Hand-Side).
  2. Anything assigned by an always block needs to be a non-net type. flowrate should be a reg type instead of a wire.


wire [2:0] flowrate = {fr3,fr2,fr1};

Should be:

reg [2:0] flowrate;
assign {fr3,fr2,fr1} = flowrate;

You seem to be expecting that the declaration

wire [2:0] flowrate = {fr3,fr2,fr1};

creates some sort of bidirectional equivalence between flowrate and the three outputs, such that assigning to flowrate is in effect an assignment to the outputs. There's nothing about the semantics of the Verilog language that would support this.

Instead, you would need to do something more like:

wire [2:0] flowrate;
assign {fr3,fr2,fr1} = flowrate;
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, that breaks because there are multiple drivers for flowrate then, in the sequential logic and the assign statement \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 5:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your help, I should've noted that I originally wrote and tested it with assign statements outside of the declaration, I must've accidentally changed that line when I was editing it to post on SO. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 5:17

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