Basic Concept

The embedded tools company
System Concept
TRACE32 Major Features

Basic Concept
Universal Debug and Trace Systems
Unified GUI for all Architectures
Support all Mainstream Chip Architectures
Ethernet or USB Host Interface
Support JTAG, cJTAG and more Debug Interfaces
Integrated HLL Debugger
Integrated RTOS Debugger
FLASH Programming
Multicore Debugging/Tracing
Parallel and Serial Interface
Performance Analyzer
Logic & Protocol Analyzer
Energy Profiling
TRACE32 is a set of modular microprocessor development tools, which provides integrated debug environments for embedded designs.



TRACE32 supports all the most common microprocessor architectures in use in the embedded market. The tools are designed around common modules which are universal and architecture independent and play a very important role in the development of embedded systems.The tool chain includes:

  • PowerView as universal GUI
  • PowerDebug tools for debugging
  • PowerTrace tools for program/data flow trace
  • PowerIntegrator tools for logic analyzing

These capabilities are implemented by dedicated hardware components. The common user interface PowerView and a joint system bus provide a seamless integration of all the tools into the debug environment.

System Concept

The designers of the TRACE32 system were asked to produce a truly integrated, universal development system i.e. a system which can be connected to most work stations and can contain any combination of instruments which may be required for microprocessor systems development including debugger, tracing tool, logic analyzer, protocol analyzer etc.

In order to achieve this TRACE32 has been designed as a set of modular tools which are universal and architecture independent. The three major instruments i.e. debugger, real-time trace tool and logic analyzer can be operated either standalone or as an integrated set via one system controller. They can be further expanded using a high-speed serial bus PODBUS (EXPRESS). The connection between TRACE32 tools and host computer are set up via USB or ETHERNET which ensures the data transfer speed in between. The integration between instruments is total in that they can all be controlled through the same universal GUI. Intertriggering lines are provided such that each instrument can directly trigger others or be triggered or used as qualifiers for other trigger events. The specially developed window software in combination with the TRACE32 provides an intuitive, consistent, high-performance user interface which may be operated by any combination of mouse, keyboard or softkeys (function keys).

TRACE32 supports up to 64 bit wide CPUs and takes into account the special needs of such systems including multitasking, multiprocessing and many other advanced requirements.

All TRACE32 instruments are constructed using mostly surface mount CMOS components on multilayer pcbs for maximum integration density, low power consumption and the highest possible reliability.

TRACE32 Major Features

High-Performance Interactive User Interface

All commands can be entered via the keyboard, the function keys or with the mouse.

Universal Window System

Windows of any size can be created and positioned anywhere on the screen. In each window there is a horizontal and a vertical scroll bar. Up to 128 windows may be open simultaneously. Windows may either be static (contents fixed), dynamic (contents variable) or temporary. Dynamic windows are updated at a rate of up to 300 times per second. Workstation based software uses the same graphic elements like the host operation system.

Window Configuration Save and Restore Facility

Each window configuration that the user designs can be saved for later re+use. Several user predefined configurations can easily be selected from the keyboard by switching the window pages.

5 Screen Areas

For interactive operation, the screen is split into several areas:
  • State Line
  • Window Area
  • Command Line
  • Message Line
  • Soft Keys (function keys)

Special Test Language for Automatic Test Applications - PRACTICE II

TRACE32 has it's own special BASIC-like meta-language called PRACTICE II which is a superset of it's fundamental commands. Complete programs may be constructed using PRACTICE II for automatic testing or for the construction of command macros. All aspects of the systems may be controlled/programmed via the PRACTICE language.

The PRACTICE Language supports the following Data Types:

  • Boolean, Binary, Hex, Integer
  • Float, Character, String, Range
  • Address, Address Range, Time
  • Binary Mask, Hex Mask

64 Bit Floating Point Arithmetic


All important characteristics of the system can be accessed by the PRACTICE language functions. In particular the PRACTICE program can be used to automatically enter target data.

PRACTICE Command Words

  • ( block )
  • IF, ELSE

Structured Programs

PRACTICE is a highly structured language. Local and global variables may be used. One module (file) may call another.

Inbuilt Source Text Editor

  • Multiwindow Capability
  • Search and Replace Functions
  • Very Fast
  • Block Copy and Block Move

Commands and Parameter History

The last commands or parameters can be recalled from the command buffer.

LOG Capability

All commands, function key and mouse operations may be recorded to a file. The file can be re- executed.

Setup Store

Storing the state of the system generates a PRACTICE file, which may be edited.

Documentation System

  • Save any window to a file
  • Complete listings or graphics
  • ASCII or postscript files

Printer Interface

  • Text and graphics printing
  • Different printers and formats


Through the use of high integration techniques (e. g. surface mount, multilayer pcbs etc.) it is now possible to manufacture small pod sized test instruments. The controls for these instruments are provided via the workstation windows environment. PODBUS is a specially developed serial bus which operated at up to 10Mbyte/s transfer rate. The instruments (up to 16) are powered via the PODBUS and intertriggering and synchronisation signals are available in a similar fashion to the TRACEBUS.

Automatic Software Configuration on Bootstrap

  • Automatic hardware recognition
  • Driver selection by setup file
  • Interface coding by cable connector

Computer and Operating System Independency

The TRACE32 development system has a high-performance 32 bit CPU with large directly addressable memory, the largest part of which is used to run the control software. The connection to the host system is made using a fiber optic or Ethernet interface. If required standard serial (RS232) or parallel (LPT) interface is also possible. The only host specific parts of the systems are the driver software which runs on the host (i.e. a relatively small part of the total software) and the interface card. For operating systems such as MS-DOS, XENIX and UNIX there are standard drivers and interface cards available. This host independency together with the modular hardware and software structure, ensures that the system will not become prematurely obsolete.

Support for High-Performance Workstations and Networks

Because of the high transfer rate of the optical interface it becomes possible to fully utilise high-performance host computers. Loading times of 50 - 500 Kbytes per second are typical and screen updates are instantaneous (up to 1000 windows/sec). Colour graphic screens are supported with up to 256 x 256 characters and use on large screens is highly recommended.

Supported Operation Systems

  • MS-DOS
  • WINDOWS 3.11
  • Windows 95/98/2000/ME/XP/Vista/Windows7
  • Windows NT
  • OS-9
  • UNIX
  • Linux
  • Open Windows
  • SCO Open Desktop
  • Novell Unixware


  • SUN3
  • Sparcstation
  • HP9000 (300,400,700)
  • VAX-Station
  • DEC-Station
  • AXP-OSF1


  • VAX with VMS

Complete Development System

TRACE32 supports several development and test instruments. Apart from the In-Circuit Emulator there is a Universal Device Programmer (XPRO), Timing Analyzer (TA32), Stimulus Generator (STG ). All instruments are controlled through a con- sistent command set via the window interface.

Open Structure of the Hardware and Software

All data formats are open so that the adaptation of existing software is easily accomplished. Via the modular cassette design of the hardware, expansion of the basic instrument can be done at any time and with the minimum of disruption.

Independence from Special Bus-Based Computer Systems

The only computer specific part of the hardware is the interface card. Therefore, the transfer of the instrument to a different host system does not require significant investment as regards the TRACE32 system.

Support for Multiprocessor Development

All emulator modules are fitted with special start/stop synchronisation logic so that several emulators can be synchronised with less than 0.5 us timing skew, for the effective debugging of multiprocessor targets.

Intertriggering Facility over the System Bus

In the instrument bus there are four intertrigger lines to allow instruments to trigger each other. These trigger channels can be used to trigger external instruments or to take in external triggers from other instruments to be used as triggers or qualifiers.

Expansion Capabilities

Up to 16 major instruments (e.g. emulators, logic analyzers or device programmers or any combination) can be connected to the system bus.

Portable System

A flight case is available.

Easy Software Updates

Apart from the boot loader, there are no parts of the TRACE32 software in EPROMs, the software is simply loaded from the host development system into the sys- tem controllers ram. The software updates are distributed on CD-ROM, PC formatted disks, QIC150 or DAT tapes. The firmware is, wherever possible, loaded from disk.

Comprehensive Documentation

A 6000 page manual set is provided. However this manual is reproduced exactly within the system control software which may be accessed at any time by simply opening a window to it.

Integrated Operating Manual

The TRACE32 contains a 6000 page operating manual built into the software. It is fully indexed and cross referenced by keywords shown in bold text. The manual is accessed by opening a window to it or to a specific command. From there it is possible to browse through a section or move to a related section by using the mouse to point to an index keyword or by typing a new command or function name. Context sensitive help is also provided on the message line.

Software Updates

Software updates for the first year is included in the price.

3 Years Warranty

The warranty period for the TRACE32 system is 3 years. Not included are all probe pins, plugs etc. or damage through mistreatment.

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Last generated/modified: 02-Jan-2023