The new Ellisys USB Explorer 200, now available from Computer Solutions, is a low-cost, high-speed, non-intrusive full USB 2.0 protocol analyser. It allows users to display the bus states, the contents of packets and whole transactions sent, decode the descriptors, detect errors and incompatibilities in devices or drivers, and measure their performance.
The Explorer 200 is a fully USB 2 compliant analyser that is able to operate at all the USB speeds - 1.5Mbit/s, 12Mbit/s and the 'high-speed' 480Mbit/s. It will automatically detect the speed being used and adjust to it.
An important new feature of the analyser is a set of USB protocol decoders, including mass storage (as used by Flash disks, USB drives, etc), still image (used by digital cameras), video (used by Webcams), audio (used by speakers and audio systems), human interface devices (used by mice, keyboards, joysticks, etc), printers, Bluetooth devices and communication systems (used by modems, Ethernet adaptors, etc).
The unit will also decode the 'On the Go' protocol, as used by USB peripherals communicating in the absence of a PC, such as a camera that prints directly to a printer. Other advanced features include field validation, context extraction and user-friendly data decoding.
In operation, the analyser is connected between a USB host and any USB peripheral. It then provides a detailed view of the traffic on the line. As the data packets are captured, the real-time statistics display provides a check on the transactions status even before the individual packets are viewed.
Ease of use
The USB transactions and transfers are displayed in a chronological list, together with the peripheral's address and the endpoint number. A second window gives details of the selected item. To make it easier to identify specific packets, the software provides filtering and packet colour coding functions.
Computer Solutions says the Explorer 200 is very simple to use, making it suitable for anyone developing USB devices, hosts, embedded software or drivers. It can be used by those developing devices that use the protocols to help with the development, or by those using the protocols within applications by hiding the detail and just showing the data areas.
The price of £1700 makes the unit affordable on a 'one unit per engineer' basis for USB development teams.