Tool monitors and captures MCU interfaces

by Colin Holland , TechOnline India - April 28, 2011

MicroBench MB-500 is a test tool from Anewin that can simultaneously monitor and source common microcontroller and embedded digital interfaces, even when long time intervals separate events.

MicroBench MB-500 is a test tool from Anewin that can simultaneously monitor and source common microcontroller and embedded digital interfaces, even when long time intervals separate events.

Since these interfaces typically have activity separated by idle periods, the MB-500 captures on activity, not periodic sampling, so engineers can see the details of a burst, such as a protocol transaction, along with the context of many.

When there is a need to control device inputs, the MB-500 can source a mix of protocol, digital, and analog signals. This enables it to simulate digital or electrophysical signals, or an I2C or SPI master or slave device.

The MicroBench MB-500 integrates with a PC and combines a protocol device simulator and monitor, digital pattern generator, logic analyzer, analog waveform generator and programmable power supply, and Anewin's Live Logic's 500MS/s logic capture tool with voltmeter.

The MicroBench logic source is a 9-channel, 125MS/s digital pattern generator. Up to a thousand patterns can be programmed into its pattern memory with 8ns resolution. Patterns are output in sequence, or the sequence can be controlled by jump commands. Pattern output halts when a stop command is reached. A pattern can be output once, started by the Run button or any MicroBench tool, or a pattern can loop continuously. Within the pattern, commands can generate events to trigger action by other MicroBench tools.

                           

                             

 

A pattern editor is provided in the application software. Double-clicking on any pattern bit will toggle its value, or the hex value can be edited directly from the keyboard. A block edit feature allows selected bits in a group of vectors to be programmed to count up, count down, toggle, fill with a value, or invert. CSV pattern files can be saved or opened, allowing re-use by the logic source, review in the logic analyzer timing display, or exchange with a spreadsheet or text editor application.

Live Logic provides two channels of 500MS/s digital capture for active logic signals with a live oscilloscope-like display. A single circuit connection is made for each channel using a standard 10MΩ, 10x scope probe for simple browsing. With Anewin's event auto-tracking, Live Logic will automatically capture and display any signal activity with a relevant time scale while maintaining full 2ns event timing resolution.  A built-in voltmeter always showing the average DC voltage at the scope probe tip is useful to check power supply or logic levels or duty cycles.

Captured signals are displayed in a timing display that can be controlled with convenient zoom and scroll knobs on the front panel or with a mouse. To focus on specific events in real-time, Live Logic can be set to watch for events of interest on any channel or combination of channels.

A single Live Logic acquisition capture can be run, a sequence of 10 acquisitions can be run, or acquisitions can be run continuously. At any time Live Logic may be manually stopped with the press of a button or mouse click. Live Logic can also be set to watch for a defined event from any other MicroBench to capture the data of interest.

When Live Logic is stopped, captured data can be reviewed in the timing display, including any of the multiple acquisitions captured in a sequence, and data can be saved to a CSV file.

The MicroBench MB-500 costs from $1,325 to $2,525.

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