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What is Proteus VSM?
Proteus Virtual System Modelling (VSM) combines mixed mode SPICE circuit simulation, animated components and microprocessor models to facilitate co-simulation of complete microcontroller based designs. For the first time ever, it is possible to develop and test such designs before a physical prototype is constructed.
This is possible because you can interact with the design using on screen indicators such as LED and LCD displays and actuators such as switches and buttons. The simulation takes place in real time (or near enough to it): a 300 MHz Pentium II can simulate a basic 8051 system clocking at over 12MHz. Proteus VSM also provides extensive debugging facilities including breakpoints, single stepping and variable display for both assembly code and high level language source.
The VSM architecture allows additional animated models to be created by anyone, including end users. Whilst many types of animated model can be produced without resort to coding, a documented interface has been provided for developers to write their own models packaged as Windows DLLs. These models can implement purely electrical behaviour or combine this with graphical behaviour so that almost any kind of application specific peripheral can be simulated.
Proteus VSM uses our proven Schematic Capture software to provide the environment for design entry and development. ISIS is a long established product and combines ease of use with powerful editing tools. It is capable of supporting schematic capture for both simulation and PCB design. Designs entered in to Proteus VSM for testing can be netlisted for PCB layout either with our own PCB Design products or with third party PCB layout tools. ISIS also provides a very high degree of control over the drawing appearance, in terms of line widths, fill styles, fonts, etc. These capabilities are used to the full in providing the graphics necessary for circuit animation.
At the heart of Proteus VSM is ProSPICE. This is an established product that combines uses a SPICE3f5 analogue simulator kernel with a fast event-driven digital simulator to provide seamless mixed-mode simulation. The use of a SPICE kernel lets you utilise any of the numerous manufacturer-supplied SPICE models now available and around 6000 of these are included with the package.
Proteus VSM includes a number of virtual instruments including an Oscilloscope, Logic Analyser, Function Generator, Pattern Generator, Counter Timer and Virtual Terminal as well as simple voltmeters and ammeters. In addition, the simulator can display the logic state at every pin using coloured dots. This can be extremely useful when single stepping I/O code
Should you wish to take detailed measurements on graphs, or perform other analysis types such as frequency, distortion, noise or sweep analyses of analogue circuits, you can purchase the Advanced Simulation Option. This option also includes Conformance Analysis - a unique and powerful tool for Software Quality Assurance.
Co-Simulation of Microcontroller Software
Co-Simulation of Microcontroller Software
The most exciting and important feature of Proteus VSM is its ability to simulate the interaction between software running on a microcontroller and any analog or digital electronics connected to it.
The micro-controller model sits on the schematic along with the other elements of your product design. It simulates the execution of your object code (machine code), just like a real chip. If the program code writes to a port, the logic levels in circuit change accordingly, and if the circuit changes the state of the processor's pins, this will be seen by your program code, just as in real life.The VSM CPU models fully simulate I/O ports, interrupts, timers, USARTs and all other peripherals present on each supported processor. It is anything but a simple software simulator since the interaction of all these peripherals with the external circuit is fully modelled down to waveform level. VSM can even simulate designs containing multiple CPUs, since it is a simple enough matter to place two or more processors on a schematic and wire them together.
Source Level Debugging
Whilst Proteus VSM is already unique in its capabililty to run near real time simulations of complete micro-controller systems, its real power comes from its ability to perform these simulations in single step mode. This works just like your favourite software debugger, except that as you single step the code, you can observe the effect on the entire design - including all the electronics external to the microcontroller.
VSM achieves this in a number of ways, dependent on the processor family and the tools that you are using. For detailed information on the third party compilers supported by Proteus VSM please see the Third Party Compilers page.
In addition to the microprocessor models for each supported family, each Proteus VSM package includes a library of over 6000 device models such as:
- All manner of standard electronic components including resistors, capacitors, diodes, transistors, SCRs, op-couplers, op-amps, 555 timer etc., etc.
- 74 series TTL and 4000 series CMOS devices.
- Memory devices including ROMs, RAMs EEPROMs, I2C device etc.
- Microprocessor support devices such as I/O ports and USARTs.
The Proteus VSM library also contains a number of complex peripheral models including LED/LCD displays, matrix keypad, teletype terminal, DC motors, speaker/sounders and much more These models will allow you to interact with the software running on the simulated microcontroller, much as though you were working with a physical prototype.
Animated Graphical LCD panel - this part sits directly on your schematic just like an ordinary component. When you run the simulation, the output from the simulated display controller chip is drawn directly on the screen.
See the calculator picture, above, for further clarification of how the peripheral models work.
In addition to providing high quality Schematic Capture and PCB Layout for traditional computer aided design Proteus VSM is uniquely suited to teaching students about the design and operation of embedded systems solutions. For the first time a full virtual debugging interface is available in software, obviating the need for expensive hardware and allowing your students the freedom and flexibility to design and develop microcontroller solutions without the need for a physical prototype.
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