FPGA-based soft instruments – "Virtual Instruments" – are a powerful way of embedding debug tools inside FPGAs. With Altium Designer's Custom Instrument component, fully customizable instrumentation can be created and programmed into FPGAs for any purpose.
For an Application Engineer, or Service Engineer out in the field, access to the GUI of a Custom Instrument – embedded within an FPGA design – needs to be fast, straightforward, and not limited to the use of a PC with Altium Designer – or the Viewer Edition of Altium Designer – installed. To this end, Altium has created a standalone application to do just that – the Altium Instrument Dashboard.
The Altium Instrument Dashboard is a free, downloadable application, that can be installed on any PC. Out in the field, a trusty laptop computer loaded with the Dashboard is all that is needed to access and interact with custom instrument controls.
Accessible from the Windows System Tray, simply connect your laptop to the target in which the design is currently running and launch the Dashboard. Even easier, there's an option to have the Dashboard open when Windows starts up!
Working with the Altium Instrument Dashboard
Use the following links to explore use of the Altium Instrument Dashboard in more detail: