ARM provides a feature called Tarmac Trace to help firmware debugging. It shows what instructions are executed, what addresses are accessed, what internal registers are updated, and so on with timestamps. To enable this Tarmac feature, we don’t need to change hardware or the so-called rtl design. Just follow ARM instruction to enable Tarmac Trace plugin with the simulator. As shown in below, Tarmac is used in early phase of design like simulation and emulation. So Tarmac doesn’t occupy any real silicon and Tarmac is not available on silicon. On silicon ETM, a hardware debug module provided by ARM is normally integrated into ARM processor and provides similar trace capability.
Let’s take a look of what Tarmac trace file looks like and how to interpret it.
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