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  • Why Choose Proteus VSM?

    When choosing the right software solution it is often easy to lose sight of which products offer what functionality, particularly when several software companies offer packages which at first glance may look identical. Proteus VSM was the first microcontroller co-simulation package and offers more models with greater detail at the best price. To help clarify this, and to avoid confusion over product offerings, we have compiled some functional comparisons below.

    Microcontroller Model Functionality

    The core of any embedded system design is the microcontroller and the completeness of the model as well as it's accuracy are therefore of primary importance. You should always ensure that simulation models for microcontrollers not only support a peripheral that you want to use but support the mode in which you want to use the peripheral and to a satisfactory level of detail. We have found that some microcontroller models are in fact little more than instruction set simulators (which is light years away from from the level of detail in Proteus VSM microcontroller models !!) The following chart details model particulars - please note that not all peripherals exist on all devices.

    Proteus VSM EWB MultiMCU
    Simulates in Real Time Yes No
    Instruction Set Simulated Yes Yes
    Pin Operations Simulated Yes Yes
    Timers Simulated Yes Yes
    UART/USART/EUSARTs Simulated Yes UART only
    Interrupts Simulated Yes Yes
    SPI Simulated Yes No
    MSSP Simulated Yes No
    PSP Simulated Yes No
    PMP Simulated Yes No
    ADC Simulated Yes No
    CCP/ECCP Simulated Yes No
    I2C/TWI Simulated Yes No
    Analog Comparator Simulated Yes No
    External Memory Simulated Yes Yes
    Real Time Clock Simulated Yes No
    Hover the mouse over the entries for a more detailed analysis.

    The above listing is of course not comprehensive and we have tended not to include peripherals specific to a particular device or one particular family (the Memory Accelerator Module in the LPC2000 family for example). We have however, included all peripherals relevant to devices supported by alternative packages. If you have any questions on Proteus VSM microcontroller models please feel free to contact us.

    Microcontroller Coverage

    It's not a great deal of use to have a functionally perfect microcontroller model of a variant that you don't want to use and have no model at all for a device you do want to use. The following chart details the model families available . Note that you should always check that variants you want to use are actually modelled - Proteus VSM offers well over 150 microcontroller variants across our range and we are continually responding to customer demand to implement additional variants.

    Proteus VSM EWB MultiMCU
    8051 models Yes Yes
    Microchip PIC models Yes No
    PIC10 family Yes No
    PIC12 family Yes No
    PIC16 family Yes 16F84A only
    PIC18 family Yes No
    PIC24 family Yes No
    Atmel AVR models Yes No
    ATTINY family Yes No
    AT90x family Yes No
    ATMEGA family Yes No
    Motorola HC11 models Yes No
    Parallax Basic Stamp models Yes No
    BS1 family Yes No
    BS2 family Yes No
    ARM7 models Yes No

    Peripheral Support

    In embedded systems design it's vital that you have simulation models for the peripherals that you are likely to use. Aside from the standard collection of TTL/CMOS libraries, opamps, diodes, transistors, etc. the following chart lists some common embedded peripherals and their support within various packages.

    Proteus VSM EWB MultiMCU
    Interactive 'building blocks' Yes Yes
    Keypad Models Yes Yes
    TTY/RS232 Terminal Yes Yes
    DC/Stepper/Servo Motor Models Yes Yes
    Alphanumeric LCD Displays Yes Yes
    Graphical LCD Displays Yes Yes
    Ethernet Controller Models Yes No
    Direct Hardware Interface Yes No
    Data Storage Devices Yes No
    Real Time Audio Devices Yes No
    I2C / SPI / 1-Wire peripherals Yes No
    Thermometers / Temperature Devices Yes No
    Drivers and Controller models Yes No
    Hover the mouse over the entries for a more detailed analysis.

    The list above is by no means complete covers only a smattering of common embedded peripheral devices (a more detailed listing of such peripherals in VSM can be found here). Peripheral modelling is an area in which we are extremely active and we would be happy to either answer questions on availability of a particular model or indeed to add a model request to our development list. Please feel free to contact us with suggestions, questions, or for clarification.

    Debugging Capabilities

    Being engineers ourselves we are always conscious that being able to simulate a schematic design is only part of the process. The real value and timesaving potential of co-simulation software lies in it's ability to help you find and fix bugs in both your software and hardware design. The comparison chart below covers some of the common debugging facilities you will find in various packages.

    Proteus VSM EWB MultiMCU
    Tool / Language Support
    Native Assembly Language Yes Yes
    Generic support for C compilers Yes No
    Support for PIC Basic Yes No
    Instrumentation
    Virtual Instruments Yes Yes
    Slave mode Protocol Analysers Yes No
    Master mode Protocol Analysers Yes No
    Source Level Debugging Yes No
    Assembly Level Yes Yes
    High Level ('C' or Basic) Yes No
    Breakpoint Support
    Standard Breakpoints Yes Yes
    Conditional Breakpoints Yes No
    Hardware Breakpoints Yes Yes
    Memory Displays
    On CPU's Yes Yes
    On Peripherals Yes No
    Trace / Debugging Modes
    On CPU's Yes No
    On Peripherals Yes No
    Watch Window
    Live display of values Yes Yes
    Supports compound types Yes No
    Supports drag and drop Yes No
    Includes named SFR's Yes No
    Expandable into named bitfields Yes No
    Variables Window Yes No
    Stack Monitoring Yes No
    Net Contention Warnings Yes No
    Trace mode on models Yes No
    Integration with other Compilers / IDEs Yes No

    Conclusion

    The above discussion is intended to highlight the completeness of Proteus VSM as an essential embedded tool both in industry and in education. It is our genuine belief that you will not find a better co-simulation tool anywhere either in terms of functionality or in terms of price. We are always happy to discuss capabilities or requirements with customers - please do feel free to contact us should you have any questions.

    This comparison is, to the best of our knowledge, accurate at the time of writing.