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Debugging Communications Links


As more and more embedded developments involve distributed processing, the recording and analysing of the communications traffic becomes an increasingly important part of the development strategy.  Fast links between multiple stations with complex message structures can optimise the use of the lines but further complicates the engineer's job of identifying what is going on at the application level. COMSOL has brought together a number of tools to help.

Ethernet

We recommend the excellent Ethereal which is an open source Network Logic Analyser that will display traffic by packets but more importantly it knows about over 680 protocols saving a lot of field decoding and byte counting.

CAN

Peak-System CAN products are now available from COMSOL   They are a leader in CAN controllers, diagnostics and CAN based modules.  Their Explorer package is virtually a bus analyser providing a full log of CAN transactions and a VBScript macro language for development of test applications.

LIN

COMSOL can supply a CAN to LIN gateway this allows LIN development via a CAN interface and using that the Explorer package is virtually a bus analyser providing a full log of LIN transactions and a VBScript macro language for development of test applications. Alternatively the PCAN-USB-Pro includes up to two Lin channels.

RS-232

One of the simplest and most common communications mechanisms but as serial port access (or a RS232-USB converter) is easily available no special hardware is required to diagnose RS232 problems and we have two tools each with its own particular advantage.  StreamTeam - Windows based with multiple packet collection triggers allowing messages to be easily isolated.  MicroTap is a DOS based RS-232 character logging utility that will time characters to the nearest microsecond. 

USB

If you are developing USB hardware or applications software you need a bus analyser to see what messages and data has been passed over the bus.  The Ellisys Explorer 200 USB protocol analyser  will log and display Low speed, Mixed speed and Full speed USB 1 & 2 at up to 480Mbits/sec.  It allows users to rapidly familiarise themselves with the USB protocol and then to focus in on their applications data.  It has powerful triggering and enhanced filtering and can be enhanced to decode USB device classes.  Their  Explorer 300 will debug Certified Wireless and WiMedia’s Ultra wideband USB protocols over air or via a MAC/PHY interface.

I2C

A simple bus used to link chips on local boards and provide low pin-out control. Our logic analyser can be supplied with an I2C monitor option.


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