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Review: Advanced Transdata RICE16 Emulator

The RICE16 from Advanced Transdata is an emulator for the Microchip PIC16Cxx family of single-chip microcontrollers. It's a small unit (9" x 4" x 1") that connects to a PC parallel port (with a pass-thru connector so you can keep your printer hooked up, too). It has a trace buffer and trigger outputs than can be configured to change states at a certain address (to trigger a scope or an external device).

Advanced Transdata offers both DOS text-mode and Windows 95 versions of their emulator software, and updates for both are available for free on their web site.

The DOS version has a pretty decent interface, for an emulator. It has its quirks, but it does all the standard emulator things (breakpoints, watches, single-step, step thru functions, etc.), and does them well and reliably. It can handle asm or C source, and allows you to view disassembled C source and single-step C statements. The only problem I found was that the program would occasionally crash if I tried to view too deeply into the trace buffer, but this wasn't much of a problem for me. (All of my use was while running under Windows 95, by the way.)

I have not had the chance to the the native Win95 version of the emulator much yet, but it certainly looks impressive. It has a very nice user interface, with lots of little convenience improvements, like pop-up lists of symbol names for watches and breakpoints. Plus, (at least at 1024x768) you can have all the windows (data memory, register, watches, stack, etc.) open, and still have a large source window. Cool. Later versions of the program include a full IDE, with a text editor and links to all the major compilers and assemblers, including MPC, MPLAB-C, and MPASM. Again, I haven't had an opportunity to really use it yet, but it does appear promising.

Support from Advanced Transdata has been excellent. In addition to the free software upgrades mentioned eariler, support via phone, fax, and e-mail has been quick and professional.

Bottom Line: Highly Recommended!

Contact Info:

Advanced Transdata Corporation
14330 Midway Rd., #128
Dallas, TX 75244
Phone: 214-980-2960
Fax: 214-980-2937

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