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This paper describes the design and implementation of a flexible tool for use in developing embedded software and software algorithms. This tool is new and novel because of its capability of monitoring variables used in multiple internal processes (tasks) inside a modern microcontroller while simultaneously acquiring digital and analog data from a physical system to which the microcontroller is connected. Additionally, these data are automatically converted to engineering units. Many types of analog and digital signals (e.g., thermocouples, strain gauges, speeds, solenoid signals) that are not monitored by the processes inside the controller can be acquired. The internal microcontroller data is time aligned with the external digital and analog data so that information, on events and conditions that a control algorithm internal to the controller is subjected to, can be obtained and correlated to the internal state of the process running in the microcontroller. All data acquired with this tool is processed and sent to a host laptop computer via an Ethernet link and archived directly on the hard-drive of the laptop. Another novelty and new development with this tool is a new file format that accommodates large data files and allows for a post-analysis software package to be used to analyze the data.
Instrumentation and Measurement, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:52 , Issue: 3 )
Date of Publication: June 2003