Ten tips for debugging: Page 2 of 4

August 24, 2011 //By Heiko Riessland, PLS Development Tools
Ten tips for debugging
With increasing complexity of microcontrollers and circuits, debugging is becoming increasingly important. But which diagnosis and debug functions are really needed and what is unnecessary? The following are 10 tips on what to pay attention to when selecting a suitable debug tool.
families, there are special emulation devices, which have been available for a long time, that are 100 percent footprint compatible with the production chip. In addition to the production chip, these emulation devices have also implemented an additional debug logic and trace logic. According to the current state of technology and from personal experience, this is the most efficient diagnosis and debug approach, because it is de facto technically much more difficult and complicated to transport the internal large amount of data gathered in a complex SoC to the outside for diagnostic purposes. In the meantime, there are signs that other manufacturers will probably also take the same approach. If an appropriate emulation device is available then some prototypes of a new hardware should be equipped with it. The manageable additional effort in hardware and supporting tools mostly makes it already worthwhile in the first search for the cause of a more complex error.



Figure 3: Configuration of a trace task with Universal Emulation Configurator


Tip No. 4: A picture tells more than a thousand words

To maintain an overview of a modern SoC application, the debug tool should contain a view of the system in various levels of abstraction. Typical examples of this are the graphical representation of data and process variables over time and in relation to each other, function runtimes and program flow. The possibility of a fast tendentious process evaluation is important. This is sufficient for an initial quick assessment of the situation. For a detailed analysis, the measurements in parallel with the graphic are then still always available.

Figure 4: Graphical display of variable expressions

Tip No. 5: A debugger is far too good to be used only for troubleshooting

Nowadays, modern debuggers are often far more than just an interactive tool for troubleshooting. For example, for smaller projects, with a scriptable debugger even tests can be created and automatically executed. For

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