Data Center Software Series: Capture Control Window

The Total Phase Data Center Software is a free software interface that allows users to seamlessly monitor traffic occurring on USB, CAN, I2C, SPI, and eSPI buses. The software provides a variety of different ways to debug and analyze data and has become a familiar tool to engineers across the world. A feature that users often find beneficial is the Capture Control window. In this article, we will provide insight into the Capture Control window, including how it’s used and its different features. First, we will provide a brief overview of the Data Center Software.

About the Data Center Software

The Data Center Software is a bus analyzing software that can be used to interface with Total Phase protocol analyzers. These protocol analyzers, including the line of Beagle Protocol Analyzers, USB Power Delivery Analyzer, Promira Serial Platform with the eSPI Analysis Application, and Komodo CAN Duo Interface, are used in conjunction with the software to capture and display USB, I2C, SPI, USB Power Delivery, eSPI ad CAN bus data. The Data Center Software is easy to use and is the only protocol analysis software on the market with true real-time capture and support for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

The Data Center Software is packed with time-saving and useful features, including the Capture Control window.

Capture Control Window

The Capture Control window provides users a way to see real-time statistics of the ongoing capture, as well as the ability to start and stop the capture.

Capture Control Software Capture Buffer

Software Capture Buffer

Within the Capture Control window is the “Software Capture Buffer” progress bar. This bar represents the total amount of memory available for use from the analysis PC.

When a capture is initiated, the Software Capture Buffer progress bar will begin to fill up with a solid green bar, which indicates the amount of memory used by the Data Center Software. Once this progress bar is completely green, the capture will automatically stop as this means the capture data limit has been reached. A timer is located at the bottom right-hand corner and indicates the time elapsed since the capture was started.

Data Center Software’s capture buffer is reliant on the analysis PC’s onboard RAM. By using the Capture Control settings dialog, users can adjust the data capture limit. Within these settings, the capture data limit must be at least 16 MB and no greater than 80% of available system memory. By default, the capture limit is set to 50% of available memory. Total Phase recommends using caution when setting the capture limit above the upper limit amount. On an extremely busy computer, the capture limit should be set even lower. If the application starts swapping memory, incoming capture data may be lost.

Button Controls

The Capture Control dialog provides various ways to interact with and control the capture:

Start Capture

Start Capture

The "Start Capture" button can be used to start the capture.

Manual Trigger

Manual Trigger

The "Manual Trigger" button is used to manually trigger the capture.

Stop Capture, Download Data

Stop Capture Download Data

The "Stop Capture, Download Data" button is used to stop the capture and to continue to download all captured data. This button is only available when using the Beagle USB 480 Power Protocol Analyzer or the Beagle USB 5000 v2 SuperSpeed Protocol Analyzer.

Stop Capture, Stop Download

Stop Capture Stop Download

The "Stop Capture, Stop Download" button is used to stop the capture and to immediately stop downloading data.

USB 3.0 Capture Settings

The Capture Control window discussed above is the standard control window that most users will interface with. However, when using the Beagle USB 5000 v2 SuperSpeed Protocol Analyzer, additional features will appear.

USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 Progress Bars

The Capture Control window for a Beagle USB 5000 v2 SuperSpeed Protocol Analyzer is more complex and adds two additional progress bars alongside the Software Capture Buffer:

  • The "USB 3" progress bar displays the status of the USB 3.0 hardware memory buffer on the Beagle analyzer
  • The "USB 2" progress bar displays the status of the USB 2.0 hardware memory buffer on the Beagle analyzer.

Capture Control 2.0 and 3.0 progress bars

If the Beagle USB 5000 v2 analyzer is configured to only capture USB 3.0 data, the "USB 2" progress bar will be disabled and vice versa. Both the "USB 3" and "USB 2" progress bars behave similarly.

The entire progress bars represent the total amount of memory available. White areas indicate the amount of memory apportioned for the pre- and post-trigger buffer, which can be defined in the “Device Settings”. Gray areas indicate memory that is not accessible or not in use, which can occur when the capture buffer is set to limited. For infinite captures, the entire status bar is used. When memory is used for the capture, the white areas are filled with orange (pre-trigger data) or blue (post-trigger data).

Once a capture starts, the pre-trigger buffers will fill and the orange bar in the progress bar will grow. The pre-trigger buffer is a circular buffer and will only fill up to the limit set in the “Device Settings”.

Filling Pre Trigger progress bar

When the capture trigger occurs, several things happen simultaneously. The pre-trigger (orange) buffer will stop being filled, the post-trigger (blue) buffer will start being filled, and the analyzer will start streaming the data to the analysis PC.

Since the pre-trigger buffer has stopped, the orange bar will stop growing, and any remaining white areas will be filled with gray to indicate that the pre-trigger memory is no longer available since the pre-trigger capture is complete. The orange buffer will be replaced with gray as the pre-trigger data is streamed off the analyzer. The pre-trigger capture is complete when all the orange has been replaced by gray, indicating that all the data has been downloaded to the analysis PC.

Downloading Post Trigger progress bar

While the pre-trigger data is downloading, the post-trigger buffer will fill and the blue bar in the progress bars will grow. Once all the pre-trigger data has been downloaded, the post-trigger data will start being streamed off which will result in the blue buffer being replaced with gray.

The post-trigger will continue to fill until the capture reaches its set limit, the analysis PC runs out of memory, or the user stops the capture. Once the capture stops, any remaining white areas will be replaced with gray. The remaining data will download off the analyzer until the progress bars are completely gray, indicating that all data has been downloaded from the buffers.

Software Capture Buffer Green Status Bar

Once data starts downloading to the analysis PC, the "Software Capture Buffer" will start to fill with green.

Additional Button Controls

In addition to the progress bars, new controls for the Beagle USB 5000 v2 SuperSpeed Protocol Analyzer are available in the Capture Control window as well.

Target Power

Target Power

The "Target Power" button is used to toggle whether VBUS is passed to the target device or not. This has the same effect as pressing the Target Power button on the front of the Analyzer. When VBUS is being passed to the target device, the button will be green. When VBUS is not passed through, the button will be red.

Receiver Termination 

Receiver Termination

The “Receiver Termination” button is used to configure the receiver detection system. When the button is clicked, a pull-down menu provides the ability to set automatic receiver detection or to force receiver termination to be either on or off in either the upstream (UP) direction, downstream (DS) direction or both directions. This button is only active when using a Beagle USB 5000 analyzer to capture USB 3.0 data.

Data Scrambling

Data Scrambling

The "Data Scrambling" button is used to configure the data scrambling detection. When the button is clicked, a pull-down menu provides the ability to set automatic data scrambling detection or to force data scrambling to be either on or off in either the upstream (UP) direction, downstream (DS) direction or both directions. This button is only active when using a Beagle USB 5000 analyzer to capture USB 3.0 data.

Polarity Detection

Polarity Detection

The "Polarity Detection" button is used to configure the polarity detection. When the button is clicked, a pull-down menu provides the ability to set automatic polarity detection or to force polarity to be either inverted or non-inverted in either the upstream (UP) direction, downstream (DS) direction, or both directions. This button is only active when using a Beagle USB 5000 analyzer to capture USB 3.0 data.

See our video: Managing your USB 3.0 capture with Capture Control in Data Center Software to learn more:

For additional information and complete details on using the Capture Control window, please visit the Data Center Software User Manual.

Summary

As you can see, the Capture Control window provides users with a plethora of capture-related controls. This window gives users a quick overview of what is happening with the ongoing capture, enabling greater insight and understanding into the bus trace. For more information on the Capture Control window or other Total Phase solutions, please contact us at sales@totalphase.com.