The traditional technique for debugging printed circuit boards is to “observe” the state using oscilloscopes or multi-meters and deduce a fault. This method actually suppresses a very powerful engineering instinct that would help us a lot if we could only give it a better chance. Let me illustrate the point with an example:-

Did you ever attempt to diagnose, understand or repair a mechanical or electro-mechanical mechanism (perhaps a toaster that won’t toast or even a gearbox from a car or motorbike)? Once you’ve removed the covers and are able to look at what you have, if you are lucky you may immediately see a broken component, but more than likely it will be hidden from immediate view. That’s when the engineers’ instinct to start moving the parts of the mechanism will become difficult to resist. Say you turn an input shaft and it gets stuck, you can use that as a starting point and ask “why is it stuck?” That’s a new track that may well lead to the answer you are looking for. Interacting with a problem, not simply observing is much more powerful as a problem solving method.

XJAnalyser is an ideal engineers’ tool that will allow you not only to observe, but also to interact with your board to debug or fault-find problems. Because it’s a “plug and play” tool, it’s always there when you need to explore board level issues in an intelligent, interactive and inspirational way. It won’t hold back your natural problem solving instincts by requiring a lengthy set-up.

The tool allows you to make use of the inbuilt JTAG test access. XJAnalyser allows you to not only to control circuit nets with a click of the mouse, but also show you the result on a clean graphical view. Just like the mechanical fault analogy, you are able not only to observe, but also to manipulate.

You can quickly put your circuit into a state that will test your hunch. This might be impossible (or just very time consuming to achieve) within the “mission mode” operation of the circuit, perhaps requiring board mods or even special fault finding software to be written. Just like being able to turn the shaft of a gearbox to answer instinctive curiosity, with XJAnalyser you can either provoke some aspect of the problem or eliminate one of a number of possible explanations.

In fact, the analogy with mechanical systems understates the full power of XJAnalyser because it gives you visibility (and control) of circuit nodes which increasingly in modern electronics are entirely hidden from view and physical access. Once used XJAnalyser will quickly take its place alongside oscilloscope, logic analyser and multi-meter as an indispensable part of your work bench.