Protocol analyzer for I2C, SPI, USB

Started by MyUsenetAccount July 25, 2006
Hi,
We are looking for a good Protocol Analyzer to use mainly for I2C, SPI
& UART. Also it would be nice if the analyzer supported (via add-ons or
similar) other protocols (USB, ATAPI, Firewire).

We are not in a rush to buy one, and would prefer to analyze the market
first and then invite suppliers to demonstrate their products.

Advanced features are nice but primarily we should be able to trust
that the analyzer receives all traffic, I've had not altogether good
experiences in the past (esp. with PC based analyzers)

With this information I'd like to ask the group for experiences,
recommendations or tips they might have on this topic. What features
would you consider as 'must-haves'? Also what ballpark figure can we
expect to pay?

Many Thanks

MyUsenetAccount wrote:
> Hi, > We are looking for a good Protocol Analyzer to use mainly for I2C, SPI > & UART. Also it would be nice if the analyzer supported (via add-ons or > similar) other protocols (USB, ATAPI, Firewire).
I needed a device for the I2C bus and found a couple of devices from Total Phase. Originally I considered them because they seemed to have one device that could be both a bus monitor and an interactive controller (either master or slave). But when I contacted them they did not recomend this device for monitoring as its capabilities were limited. This was the Aardvark. They recommended the Beagle for monitoring. I have used the Aardvark for programming some devices on the I2C bus as a controller, but not as a slave or monitor. The interface was pretty intuitive and easy to use. It interfaces to the PC by USB which seems to work without problems. Others here have used the Beagle for monitoring, but it was not able to keep up with their performance requirements. I believe they were dumping data to a DAC in the SPI bus to generate a sine wave output and the engineer could not get the data from the software person, so he had to try to capture it on the monitor. At 4 Mbps the Beagle did not keep up with the bus. Both of these devices work on SPI or I2C and can even provide general purpose IO. I did not do a thorough survey because none of the others had both monitoring and control in one device (at least at under $1000). These units were $250 and $300, IIRC and the flying lead adaptors were another $25 each. There is a European company that makes a dongle called the Chameleon which is mainly used for JTAG work. It is based on a CPLD and is setup so that the firmware is downloaded via a PC parallel port o change the functionality. I have considered that this might be a good approach for an open source project to create an analyzer like you want. With different downloads it could be I2C, SPI, UART or pretty much any other protocol. It could even have a dual mode converter to support RS-232, RS-422 or RS-485 electrical interfaces. I could easily design the hardware and the CPLD load, but it has been a long time since I have done Windows programming and would want someone else to support that. Anyone interested?
"MyUsenetAccount" <myusenetaccount@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:>
> experiences in the past (esp. with PC based analyzers) >
Analyzers which do their hard work on a PC always run the risk of loosing data i.e. not being able to keep up with the actual bus speed. There are two strategys for handling this - one is to stretch the bus and the other is to simply drop data. Both ways are hardly acceptable. I would therefore look for an analyzer which does the actual tracing in logic. One other thing you want to watch out for is the ability to generate accurate time stamps. You'll need this once you have to track down an occasional error that occurs dependent on some other event / trigger / time condition. Depending on what you are actually doing with the I2C bus an integrated oscyloscope feature might help if you experience electrical problems and you are unable to trigger your standard scope on it to see what's wrong. Have a look at this one: http://www.telos.info/traciixl/ /Roland
On 25 Jul 2006 06:50:10 -0700, "MyUsenetAccount"
<myusenetaccount@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

>Hi, >We are looking for a good Protocol Analyzer to use mainly for I2C, SPI >& UART. Also it would be nice if the analyzer supported (via add-ons or >similar) other protocols (USB, ATAPI, Firewire). > >We are not in a rush to buy one, and would prefer to analyze the market >first and then invite suppliers to demonstrate their products. >
Maybe this Logic analyzer can do it 34 CHANNEL LA1034 LOGICPORT LOGIC ANALYZER http://www.pctestinstruments.com/index.htm It is supposedly able to decode Uart/I2C/SPI and be a normal LA I have seen some good rewires of this as a Logic Analyser Carsten
Carsten wrote:
> On 25 Jul 2006 06:50:10 -0700, "MyUsenetAccount" > <myusenetaccount@yahoo.co.uk> wrote: > > >Hi, > >We are looking for a good Protocol Analyzer to use mainly for I2C, SPI > >& UART. Also it would be nice if the analyzer supported (via add-ons or > >similar) other protocols (USB, ATAPI, Firewire). > > > >We are not in a rush to buy one, and would prefer to analyze the market > >first and then invite suppliers to demonstrate their products. > > > > > Maybe this Logic analyzer can do it > > 34 CHANNEL LA1034 LOGICPORT LOGIC ANALYZER > > http://www.pctestinstruments.com/index.htm > > It is supposedly able to decode Uart/I2C/SPI and be a normal LA > > I have seen some good rewires of this as a Logic Analyser
That might be ok if you just wanted to monitor the low level bus. But if you are trying to debug a higher level protocol or you need to use the tool as either a master or a slave, then a logic analyzer is just not going to cut if for you. One of the other engineers here wanted to do a capture on the SPI bus of data coming from the DSP to a DAC. He just wanted to know what data was going out through the DAC and the software team was not providing any info. The SPI analyzer we had, the Beagle, would not keep up with a 4 Mbps continuous stream. The logic analyzer would capture the data, but there was no way to get this into a file. So it seems to me that the afforable tools out there can't do the job and the ones that can are pretty pricey. It shouldn't be that hard to come up with a tool that can both capture a few kBytes of data and be a master or slave and has a nice user interface so you can pull data into or out of files. The Total Phase products seem to have a pretty good user interface, but the hardware just can't keep up with the higher speeds.
Hello,

> any info. The SPI analyzer we had, the Beagle, would not keep up with > a 4 Mbps continuous stream. The logic analyzer would capture the data,
have a look for DigiView from www.tech-tools.com, especially for their compression. Perhaps it fits your needs ? Regards, Martin
On Sun, 30 Jul 2006 20:00:35 +0200, Carsten <xnews1@luna.kyed.com>
wrote:

>On 25 Jul 2006 06:50:10 -0700, "MyUsenetAccount" ><myusenetaccount@yahoo.co.uk> wrote: > >>Hi, >>We are looking for a good Protocol Analyzer to use mainly for I2C, SPI >>& UART. Also it would be nice if the analyzer supported (via add-ons or >>similar) other protocols (USB, ATAPI, Firewire). >> >>We are not in a rush to buy one, and would prefer to analyze the market >>first and then invite suppliers to demonstrate their products. >> > > >Maybe this Logic analyzer can do it > >34 CHANNEL LA1034 LOGICPORT LOGIC ANALYZER > >http://www.pctestinstruments.com/index.htm > >It is supposedly able to decode Uart/I2C/SPI and be a normal LA
I've not tried it on I2C but it works great at decoding and displaying UART and SPI data. The setups for each are quite flexible. The PC-side software can be run in demo mode, without the analyzer attached, so you can get a trial run on it. Given that they have the basic mechanism in place, I'd guess that the manufacturer would be open to adding additional protocols if there were sufficient demand (and return on the NRE). -- Rich Webb Norfolk, VA
Martin Maurer wrote:
> Hello, > > > any info. The SPI analyzer we had, the Beagle, would not keep up with > > a 4 Mbps continuous stream. The logic analyzer would capture the data, > > have a look for DigiView from www.tech-tools.com, > especially for their compression. Perhaps it fits your needs ?
At $500 it is getting a bit rich, especially considering that it is only an analysis tool and can not participate in the protocol. I would really like a tool that can do either or even both. But the digiview is fast working up to 100 MHz.
> >>We are looking for a good Protocol Analyzer to use mainly for I2C, SPI
> >>& UART. Also it would be nice if the analyzer supported (via add-ons or > >>similar) other protocols (USB, ATAPI, Firewire). > >> > >>We are not in a rush to buy one, and would prefer to analyze the market > >>first and then invite suppliers to demonstrate their products. > >> > > > > > >Maybe this Logic analyzer can do it > > > >34 CHANNEL LA1034 LOGICPORT LOGIC ANALYZER > > > >http://www.pctestinstruments.com/index.htm > > > >It is supposedly able to decode Uart/I2C/SPI and be a normal LA > > I've not tried it on I2C but it works great at decoding and displaying > UART and SPI data. The setups for each are quite flexible. The PC-side > software can be run in demo mode, without the analyzer attached, so you > can get a trial run on it. > > Given that they have the basic mechanism in place, I'd guess that the > manufacturer would be open to adding additional protocols if there were > sufficient demand (and return on the NRE). >
I also own this logic analyzer from pctestinstruments.com, and I HAVE used it to analyze I2C traffic. It did an excellent job IMHO (converted the bus transitions to actual I2C commands/states automatically), and helped me quickly track down a weird bug I was having with an I2C device. But as was mentioned, no support for master/slave, just monitoring. And its a pretty nice logic analyzer as well. DEFINITELY worth the money. Regards, John
> >>We are looking for a good Protocol Analyzer to use mainly for I2C, SPI
> >>& UART. Also it would be nice if the analyzer supported (via add-ons or > >>similar) other protocols (USB, ATAPI, Firewire). > >> > >>We are not in a rush to buy one, and would prefer to analyze the market > >>first and then invite suppliers to demonstrate their products. > >> > > > > > >Maybe this Logic analyzer can do it > > > >34 CHANNEL LA1034 LOGICPORT LOGIC ANALYZER > > > >http://www.pctestinstruments.com/index.htm > > > >It is supposedly able to decode Uart/I2C/SPI and be a normal LA > > I've not tried it on I2C but it works great at decoding and displaying > UART and SPI data. The setups for each are quite flexible. The PC-side > software can be run in demo mode, without the analyzer attached, so you > can get a trial run on it. > > Given that they have the basic mechanism in place, I'd guess that the > manufacturer would be open to adding additional protocols if there were > sufficient demand (and return on the NRE). >
I also own this logic analyzer from pctestinstruments.com, and I HAVE used it to analyze I2C traffic. It did an excellent job IMHO (converted the bus transitions to actual I2C commands/states automatically), and helped me quickly track down a weird bug I was having with an I2C device. But as was mentioned, no support for master/slave, just monitoring. And its a pretty nice logic analyzer as well. DEFINITELY worth the money. Regards, John
Martin Maurer wrote:
> Hello, > > > any info. The SPI analyzer we had, the Beagle, would not keep up with > > a 4 Mbps continuous stream. The logic analyzer would capture the data, > > have a look for DigiView from www.tech-tools.com, > especially for their compression. Perhaps it fits your needs ?
At $500 it is getting a bit rich, especially considering that it is only an analysis tool and can not participate in the protocol. I would really like a tool that can do either or even both. But the digiview is fast working up to 100 MHz.
On Sun, 30 Jul 2006 20:00:35 +0200, Carsten <xnews1@luna.kyed.com>
wrote:

>On 25 Jul 2006 06:50:10 -0700, "MyUsenetAccount" ><myusenetaccount@yahoo.co.uk> wrote: > >>Hi, >>We are looking for a good Protocol Analyzer to use mainly for I2C, SPI >>& UART. Also it would be nice if the analyzer supported (via add-ons or >>similar) other protocols (USB, ATAPI, Firewire). >> >>We are not in a rush to buy one, and would prefer to analyze the market >>first and then invite suppliers to demonstrate their products. >> > > >Maybe this Logic analyzer can do it > >34 CHANNEL LA1034 LOGICPORT LOGIC ANALYZER > >http://www.pctestinstruments.com/index.htm > >It is supposedly able to decode Uart/I2C/SPI and be a normal LA
I've not tried it on I2C but it works great at decoding and displaying UART and SPI data. The setups for each are quite flexible. The PC-side software can be run in demo mode, without the analyzer attached, so you can get a trial run on it. Given that they have the basic mechanism in place, I'd guess that the manufacturer would be open to adding additional protocols if there were sufficient demand (and return on the NRE). -- Rich Webb Norfolk, VA
Hello,

> any info. The SPI analyzer we had, the Beagle, would not keep up with > a 4 Mbps continuous stream. The logic analyzer would capture the data,
have a look for DigiView from www.tech-tools.com, especially for their compression. Perhaps it fits your needs ? Regards, Martin
Carsten wrote:
> On 25 Jul 2006 06:50:10 -0700, "MyUsenetAccount" > <myusenetaccount@yahoo.co.uk> wrote: > > >Hi, > >We are looking for a good Protocol Analyzer to use mainly for I2C, SPI > >& UART. Also it would be nice if the analyzer supported (via add-ons or > >similar) other protocols (USB, ATAPI, Firewire). > > > >We are not in a rush to buy one, and would prefer to analyze the market > >first and then invite suppliers to demonstrate their products. > > > > > Maybe this Logic analyzer can do it > > 34 CHANNEL LA1034 LOGICPORT LOGIC ANALYZER > > http://www.pctestinstruments.com/index.htm > > It is supposedly able to decode Uart/I2C/SPI and be a normal LA > > I have seen some good rewires of this as a Logic Analyser
That might be ok if you just wanted to monitor the low level bus. But if you are trying to debug a higher level protocol or you need to use the tool as either a master or a slave, then a logic analyzer is just not going to cut if for you. One of the other engineers here wanted to do a capture on the SPI bus of data coming from the DSP to a DAC. He just wanted to know what data was going out through the DAC and the software team was not providing any info. The SPI analyzer we had, the Beagle, would not keep up with a 4 Mbps continuous stream. The logic analyzer would capture the data, but there was no way to get this into a file. So it seems to me that the afforable tools out there can't do the job and the ones that can are pretty pricey. It shouldn't be that hard to come up with a tool that can both capture a few kBytes of data and be a master or slave and has a nice user interface so you can pull data into or out of files. The Total Phase products seem to have a pretty good user interface, but the hardware just can't keep up with the higher speeds.
On 25 Jul 2006 06:50:10 -0700, "MyUsenetAccount"
<myusenetaccount@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

>Hi, >We are looking for a good Protocol Analyzer to use mainly for I2C, SPI >& UART. Also it would be nice if the analyzer supported (via add-ons or >similar) other protocols (USB, ATAPI, Firewire). > >We are not in a rush to buy one, and would prefer to analyze the market >first and then invite suppliers to demonstrate their products. >
Maybe this Logic analyzer can do it 34 CHANNEL LA1034 LOGICPORT LOGIC ANALYZER http://www.pctestinstruments.com/index.htm It is supposedly able to decode Uart/I2C/SPI and be a normal LA I have seen some good rewires of this as a Logic Analyser Carsten
"MyUsenetAccount" <myusenetaccount@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:>
> experiences in the past (esp. with PC based analyzers) >
Analyzers which do their hard work on a PC always run the risk of loosing data i.e. not being able to keep up with the actual bus speed. There are two strategys for handling this - one is to stretch the bus and the other is to simply drop data. Both ways are hardly acceptable. I would therefore look for an analyzer which does the actual tracing in logic. One other thing you want to watch out for is the ability to generate accurate time stamps. You'll need this once you have to track down an occasional error that occurs dependent on some other event / trigger / time condition. Depending on what you are actually doing with the I2C bus an integrated oscyloscope feature might help if you experience electrical problems and you are unable to trigger your standard scope on it to see what's wrong. Have a look at this one: http://www.telos.info/traciixl/ /Roland
MyUsenetAccount wrote:
> Hi, > We are looking for a good Protocol Analyzer to use mainly for I2C, SPI > & UART. Also it would be nice if the analyzer supported (via add-ons or > similar) other protocols (USB, ATAPI, Firewire).
I needed a device for the I2C bus and found a couple of devices from Total Phase. Originally I considered them because they seemed to have one device that could be both a bus monitor and an interactive controller (either master or slave). But when I contacted them they did not recomend this device for monitoring as its capabilities were limited. This was the Aardvark. They recommended the Beagle for monitoring. I have used the Aardvark for programming some devices on the I2C bus as a controller, but not as a slave or monitor. The interface was pretty intuitive and easy to use. It interfaces to the PC by USB which seems to work without problems. Others here have used the Beagle for monitoring, but it was not able to keep up with their performance requirements. I believe they were dumping data to a DAC in the SPI bus to generate a sine wave output and the engineer could not get the data from the software person, so he had to try to capture it on the monitor. At 4 Mbps the Beagle did not keep up with the bus. Both of these devices work on SPI or I2C and can even provide general purpose IO. I did not do a thorough survey because none of the others had both monitoring and control in one device (at least at under $1000). These units were $250 and $300, IIRC and the flying lead adaptors were another $25 each. There is a European company that makes a dongle called the Chameleon which is mainly used for JTAG work. It is based on a CPLD and is setup so that the firmware is downloaded via a PC parallel port o change the functionality. I have considered that this might be a good approach for an open source project to create an analyzer like you want. With different downloads it could be I2C, SPI, UART or pretty much any other protocol. It could even have a dual mode converter to support RS-232, RS-422 or RS-485 electrical interfaces. I could easily design the hardware and the CPLD load, but it has been a long time since I have done Windows programming and would want someone else to support that. Anyone interested?
Hi,
We are looking for a good Protocol Analyzer to use mainly for I2C, SPI
& UART. Also it would be nice if the analyzer supported (via add-ons or
similar) other protocols (USB, ATAPI, Firewire).

We are not in a rush to buy one, and would prefer to analyze the market
first and then invite suppliers to demonstrate their products.

Advanced features are nice but primarily we should be able to trust
that the analyzer receives all traffic, I've had not altogether good
experiences in the past (esp. with PC based analyzers)

With this information I'd like to ask the group for experiences,
recommendations or tips they might have on this topic. What features
would you consider as 'must-haves'? Also what ballpark figure can we
expect to pay?

Many Thanks