What are In-circuit/Emulators/Debuggers?

A debugger is a software program used to break program execution at various locations in an application program after which the user is presented with a debugger command prompt that will allow him to enter debugger commands that will allow for setting breakpoints, displaying or changing memory, single stepping, and so forth.

ICE is an electronic tool that allows for debugging beyond the capabilities of a standard software debugger. An ICE is essentially a hardware box with a 2 to 3 foot cable attached to it. At the end of the cable is a multi-pin connector connected to a CPU processor chip, which is identical to the processor on the target board. The target processor is removed from your target board, and the connector plugged in. The ICE allows for trapping the following types of activities: read/write to an address range, read/write a specific value from an address range, setting a breakpoint in EPROM, mapping emulator memory to target board memory, and other similar features. It also turns the host (a PC for example) into a debug station with supplied software. This allows for debugging of the target board even though the target does not have a keyboard, screen, or disk.

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