The Proteus Design Suite is wholly unique in offering the ability to co-simulate both high and low-level micro-controller code in the context of a mixed-mode SPICE circuit simulation. With this Virtual System Modelling facility, you can transform your product design cycle, reaping huge rewards in terms of reduced time to market and lower costs of development.
If one person designs both the hardware and the software then that person benefits as the hardware design may be changed just as easily as the software design. In larger organisations where the two roles are seperated, the software designers can begin work as soon as the schematic is completed; there is no need for them to wait until a physical prototype exists.
In short, Proteus VSM improves efficiency, quality and flexibility throughout the design process..
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 1GMHz Pentium III 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.
Screen shot of the ISIS schematic editor showing a fully functional virtual representation of the Microchip™ PICDEM2+ Evaluation Board, containing PIC18F452,Alpha LCD, TC74 temp sensor, 24LC256 I2C EEPROM, RS232 terminal and various buttons, pots, LED's etc.
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, we provide dedicated Master/Slave/Monitor mode protocol analysers for SPI and I2C - simply wire them onto the serial lines and monitor or interact with the data live during simulation. A truly invaluable (and inexpensive!) way to get your communication software right prior to hardware prototyping.
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.
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 and the entire system is therefore simulated.
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.
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.
Debugging windows for the PIC24 Virtual Explorer16 Design. Shown are the source code showing breakpoints and both high level and low level instructions, watch window with expandable named SFR's, variable window with expandable compound types and user configurable IDLOC memory dump.
Proteus is equipped with comprehensive diagnostic or trace messaging. This allows you to specify which components or processor peripherals that are of interest at any given time and receive detailed textual reporting of all activity and system interaction. This is invaluable as a debugging aid, allowing you to locate and fix problems in both software and hardware much faster than you could when working on a physical prototype.
Diagnostic Setup and Simulation Advisor showing trace messages from the Alphanumeric LCD Display model
In addition to the microprocessor models for each supported family, and literally thousands of 'standard' models for passives, TTL/CMOS, memories, etc. Proteus VSM is equipped with a comprehensive library of embedded peripheral models, from alphanumeric and graphical LCD displays, through DC, BLCD and servo motors to ethernet controller chips. A summary listing of the peripheral models included with Proteus can be found here.
Whilst we believe Proteus VSM is functionally so far ahead of any other product that it really has no competition, you may also want to look at our competitive analysis to compare features against other offerings on the market or read some existing customer comments.