Flowchart Editor and Debugger in TINA
Writing MCU assembly code is often a hard and tedious task. You can simplify software development and gain more time to design the electronics hardware if, instead of manual coding, you use TINA’s Flowchart editor and debugger to generate and debug the MCU code, using just symbols and flow control lines, and then run or debug this code in digital or mixed circuit environment.
In the following example, a flowchart to controls a MCU embedded in a simple circuit. The flowchart adds two numbers that are read from two ports of the PIC16F73 microcontroller.
The controlling flowchart looks like this.
To view the generated code, press the Code tab on the top of the flowchart window.
TINA automatically produces the assembly code required for the simulation from the flowchart.
Using the flowchart debugger feature of TINA you can test and debug the previously completed flowchart.
You can run the program continuously by pressing the Run button, step-by-step by pressing the Step Forward button, or stop the program by pressing the Stop button. The debugger will show the active flowchart component by setting its background color to yellow.
There are three important tabs at the top-left corner of the debugger that establish the view of the source. If you select the Flowchart tab, you can see and debug via the Flowchart. If you select the Flowchart+Code tab, TINA will display both the flowchart and the assembly code.
You can, in this view, place breakpoints both in the flowchart and in the assembly code. If you select the last mode, Code, you can debug using traditional assembly language debugging.
Note that in order to synchronize the flowchart and the assembly code, and to make the code more readable, TINA inserts additional labels and comments into the code; for example:
Flowchart label2: ;x <- PORTA
These labels do not alter the performance or the operational logic of the code.
Breakpoints are used to halt code execution at user-specified points, permitting the examination of registers and parameters. TINA offers several ways to insert and remove breakpoints.
Mixed Mode Example
One of the most useful feature of TINA’s flowchart programming is that you can test debug circuit operation including MCUs programmed by flowchart, in mixed analog-digital environment. The following circuit, included in TINA, is a motor controller which you can run and debug in the interactive mode of TINA.