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USB Explorer 260 (USB 2.0)
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  Type-C Tracker (Type-C + PD)
  USB Explorer 350 (10G + PD)
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  USB Explorer 200 (USB 2.0)

Ellisys USB Explorer 260 - FAQ

This page answers the questions that our technical team is asked most often. It also features a few hints and practical tips in the question and answer mode.

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General Queries

Q: What is the Ellisys USB Explorer 260?
A: The Ellisys USB Explorer 260 is an advanced multifunction USB protocol test system capable of:
  • analyzing any USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 link, including OTG and IC-USB
  • emulating USB hosts and devices
  • injecting pre-defined errors for stress testing or error recovery
  • verifying the compliance to the USB specification

Q: What does mean multifunction test system?
A: The flexible Ellisys USB Explorer 260 is available in three configurations. Each hardware unit is capable of acting either as a protocol analyzer or packet generator depending on the configuration.

The USB Explorer 260 Analyzer is ideal for validating device enumeration, solving communication issues, detecting interoperability problems and optimizing performance. The analyzer includes Ellisys' extensive analysis features with real-time monitoring, hard-disk data streaming, in-depth class decoding, comprehensive traffic statistics, and powerful triggering and filtering.

Proficient at stress testing and verifying protocol behavior under rare error conditions, the USB Explorer 260 Generator supplements protocol analysis by emulating USB devices and hosts, and by testing corner cases and recovery mechanisms. Reproducible traffic, timing and error scenarios can be created with a powerful scripting environment or captured traffic can be replayed. The Generator also provides the industry's first Inline Error Injection feature to insert programmed errors between a host and device to determine the impact of transmission errors.

The Ellisys USB Pre-Compliance Testing software, included with the generator, controls a generator and an optional analyzer to automatically verify the compliance of devices against the USB specification and the classes specifications such as HID and Mass Storage. Based on the same advanced test methodology developed by Ellisys for the WiMedia compliance testing events, the software executes a suite of tests to generate a compliance report. Any detected issues can be easily debugged using the protocol analysis software.

The Duo includes two full-options hardware units able to act either as Analyzer or Generator to create a powerful test setup.  

Q: Is the same hardware able to act either as analyzer or generator?
A: Yes. Each hardware unit is capable of acting either as a protocol analyzer or packet generator depending on the options purchased.

Q: Why does the Duo contain two hardware units?
A: The Ellisys USB Explorer 260 Duo is a flexible bundle of two full-featured units that can be used as one analyzer and one generator, two protocol analyzers or two packet generators depending on the customer's testing requirements.

More convenient than having both functions on the same unit, this setup allows better sharing of resources and more test flexibility in a team or company.

Q: Is it possible to upgrade my Ellisys USB Explorer 200 to the 260?
A: Ellisys offers a trade-in program to help customers upgrading to its latest generation test products. Please contact our Sales Department for more information about the trade-in details.


Q: Which recording speeds can be analyzed by the Ellisys USB Explorer 260 Analyzer?
A: The USB Explorer 260 supports recording of Low-speed (1.5 Mbit/s), Full-speed (12 Mbit/s) and Hig-speed (480 Mbit/s) links. It can record traffic from any USB 2.0 device, including USB OTG devices and InterChip USB. The analyzer automatically detects the appropriate recording speed for an unequalled ease of use.

Q: The Ellisys USB Explorer 260 Analyzer supports recording data using a USB 2.0 connection. Do I need a USB 2.0 host controller?
A: No. In most cases, the analyzer works just as fine with a high speed connection (480 Mbit/s) than with a full speed one (12 Mbit/s). But you must be aware that a full speed connection may not be adequate if the data flow is too large. If you experience any kind of trouble with the analyzer, please ensure that you are using the recommended configuration.

Q: What is the maximum amount of data that I can record?
A: The analyzer uses the host-computer memory to store recorded traffic. Since the Ellisys USB analysis software records data to the central memory (RAM), the maximum amount of data is usually limited to a few hundreds of megabytes. The hard-disk streaming recording mode permits to record a huge amount of data by storing the analyzed data directly on the hard-disk into several consecutive files. This is the preferred mode of recording for debugging intermittent issues that are not catchable by a trigger.


Q: What is the Ellisys USB Explorer 260 Generator useful for?
A: The Ellisys USB Explorer 260 Generator supplements protocol analysis by emulating USB devices and hosts, and by testing corner cases and recovery mechanisms. Reproducible traffic, timing and error scenarios can be created with a powerful scripting environment. Captured traffic can be replayed to test a particular situation.

Q: Is the Ellisys 260 Generator able to generate packets interactively?
A: Yes. The timing constaints of the USB protocol are very straight and no equipment was previously able to generate packets interactively based on received responses, still having a low-level control over the packets, the timings and the errors. The Ellisys generator achieve this by using a specialized processor designed by Ellisys.

Q: Why is the Ellisys 260 Generator so powerful?
A: The Ellisys 260 Generator contains specialized processor designed by Ellisys. The specialized processor is able to react fast enough to compute responses the adapted answer depending on the application and the protocol. Standard USB products contains a dedicated hardware managing USB transactions and transfers. For testing purposes, this has the drawback to not let the developer fully define error cases, timings and scenario. The Ellisys generator permits at the same time to write scripts able to implement high-level protocols, still having a low-level control over the packets, and timings and the errors.

Q: What is Inline Error Injection?
A: The new error injection features lets developers deliberately introduce errors to see how the device under test reacts. This helps increase the robustness of a product -- to test not just a device's compliance with protocol-correct traffic, but its ability to handle and recover from error situations.

Q: I saw a suspect behavior of my device with my Ellisys' analyzer, but I am unable to reproduce the same conditions to verify whether the error is fixed. Can the generator help?
A: Traces recorded with the 260 Analyzer can be exported from the analysis software to the generator. If your trace contains enough information, you will be able to reproduce the problem using the generator, and verify that you fixed the the issue by using the protocol analyzer in conjunction.

Configuration and Connection

Q: What is the recommended configuration to use an Ellisys USB Explorer 260?
A: The USB Explorer 260 records the data to be analyzed in real time using a USB 2.0 high speed connection. To achieve this, two host controllers are necessary: the first one to connect the peripheral to be tested and the other to record the data. You must therefore have either:
  • Two computers, one for analysis and the other for testing.
  • One computer with two host controllers. This happens when an USB 2.0 extension card is being used.
To insure best performance results, we highly recommend the use of two computers, one of them fitted with a USB 2.0 high speed connection.


Q: Which requests is the software able to decode?
A: The software decodes all standard requests and descriptors, and also all classes requests and descriptors, primarily for Audio, Mass Storage, Communication, Human Interface Device, Still Image, Printer, Bluetooth® HCI, Video, Wire Adapter, Device Firmware Upgrade and Hub. The software also has an extension enabling the decoding of Vendor Specific protocols.

Q: I would like to filter out certain undesirable information. What do I need to do?
A: A text zone for each column is provided for this. Simply enter '2,3' in the device column to display peripherals 2 and 3 only. In the same way, entering '!0,1' in the endpoint column conceals all the endpoints except 0 and 1.

Q: The software shows a descriptor in the detailed view but it seems that some fields are missing. Where are they?
A: The software hides fields that are irrelevant. You can display them by clicking on the (Show full-details) button. Additional fields will appear in a slightly darker color.

Q: What do consecutive SOF and NAK mean?
A: Consecutive SOF and NAK gather similar transactions to avoid overloading the screen. So, recording a bus with no activity for a few seconds will gather thousands of SOFs on the one line.

Q: Will an invalid SOF packet be lost in a consecutive SOF?
A: No, an invalid SOF will separate the group to which it belongs into two valid groups and will be placed in between these two groups. It will also be identified by an icon indicating that it is not valid.


Q: Is it possible to upgrade the USB Explorer 260 firmware?
A: Yes, the analyzer firmware is automatically upgraded with each new USB analysis software release. No user intervention is required. Our newsletter is sent to all subscribers when a new software is released.

Q: Which packets do light up the Activity indicator?
A: DATA packets light up the Activity indicator for around ten milliseconds. In a busy bus case, this indicator blinks rapidly.

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