QTrace Overview

QTrace provides real-time ETM instruction tracing for ARM Cortex M3/M4 processors running up to 180MHz.

With a rich feature set at an affordable price, QTrace is a game changer and takes debugging to the next level.

Trace data is acquired at full processor speed and is continuously streamed, avoiding any hardware buffer limits. It is completely unobtrusive and requires no additional code.

The QTrace hardware probe and Windows® based QTrace Analyser run side-by-side with your existing IDE and JTAG adapter so you don’t need to change them.

The target ETM trace interface is configured using a debugger script run from your IDE. Scripts are supplied for most common IDEs.

Trace Background Trace Background

If you are unfamiliar with trace then click here for some background information.

Why use QTrace? Why use QTrace?

There are a number of reasons for using QTrace. The bottom line is reduced development time and more deadlines met.

QTrace gives exceptional insight and detailed views of how your application is running in real-time. It helps to quickly locate bugs which would take much longer to find with conventional JTAG-only debugging.

Trace Preconceptions Not just for hunting tricky bugs

You may think trace is only good for solving tough problems and profiling. QTrace excels here but its other features super-charge day-to-day debugging. After experiencing the power of live code coverage and having an entire execution history at your finger tips, you won’t want to debug without it.

See more reasons to consider using QTrace.

System Connection

QTrace System Connection

QTrace Key Features

  • A professional ETM trace tool at an affordable price
  • Unlimited real-time tracing streamed via USB 3.0
  • Unobtrusive tracing of targets running up to 180MHz
  • Live global code coverage  (≅1000’s of breakpoints)
  • Call stack visualisation without stopping execution
  • Application profiling to highlight CPU bottlenecks
  • Quickly pin-point the cause of hard faults
  • Effortless interrupt and loop timing measurements
  • Integrated ITM printf-style debug viewer
  • Works with your current development tools
  • Perfect for applications which are difficult to debug with breakpoints e.g. IoT communication stacks, motion control, high speed data acquisition, PID controllers, etc.

Typical set-up

QTrace Typical Set-up

QTrace Analyser

The QTrace Analyser is a 64 bit PC application that runs on Windows 7 / 8.1 / 10.
It decodes and presents the trace data streamed from the QTrace hardware
probe and runs side-by-side with your existing IDE, ideally on a 2nd screen.

There are 3 primary trace data visualisations outlined below.

QTrace Code Coverage Features Live Coverage

Shows live execution coverage as C/C++ and disassembly views as well as an execution heatmap. Enables loop timing, function navigation, conditional searches and more.

QTrace Analyser View

QTrace Capture Features Trace Capture

Takes a snap-shot of program execution using several trigger options while tracing continues in the background. Displays a call stack as a function timeline.

QTrace Analyser View

QTrace Profiling Features Profiling View

Displays sorted function statistics in real-time including number of calls, timing, interrupt frequencies. Highlights which functions are taking the most CPU time.

QTrace Analyser View

Tap the image below to see QTrace Analyser in action (tap or move away to pause):

Click on the video below for a more in-depth demonstration

Best viewed in full HD

Supported Devices

Currently the QTrace Analyser currently supports the following devices:

ManufacturerDevice/Family Core
Cypress CY8C6347M4/M0+
Microchip SAM-E54M4
Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840*M4
LPC407x M4
Silicon LaboratoriesEFM32GG11 M4
EFM32PG12 M4
STMicroelectronicsSTM32F1xx M3
STM32F2xx M3
STM32F3xx M4
STM32L47x M4

* Limited supported for SoftDevices


1. In most cases, unlisted varients of the above devices will work with little or no modification to the supplied scripts. Contact us about support for varients or for devices from other manufacturers.

2. The QTrace Probe will work with any ARM Cortex M3/M4 device that complies with the ARM ETM timing specification.

Supported IDEs

QTrace Analyser has support for the following IDEs:

IDEVersion Tested
Atmel StudioV7.0
Atollic TrueSTUDIOV9.3
Cypress ModusToolboxV1.1
IAR Embedded WorkbenchV8.20
Keil uVisionV5.27
Rowley CrossStudioV4.4
Segger Embedded StudioV4.16
ST System WorkbenchV2.4

System Requirements

Below is a summary of the system requirements for successful tracing.

  • A PC running 64-bit Windows 7, 8.1 or 10 with the preferred hardware specification:
    • Intel i5/i7 dual or quad core CPU running at 2GHz min.
    • 8GB RAM
    • A spare USB 3.0 port
    • Screen resolution of 1366 x 768 or better (preferably a 2nd screen)
  • A user supplied IDE and JTAG adapter
  • Target hardware with an ARM Cortex M3/M4 based processor and a 1.27mm pitch,
    20 way ETM trace connector (see pin-out) with 1.8V – 3.3V signal levels
20 way ETM Trace Header


This is different to a 0.1″ pitch
JTAG-only connector



QTrace Probe

Low cost USB 3.0 powered trace probe enabling real-time instruction tracing for ARM Cortex M3/M4 processors running up to 180MHz.

QTrace ETM Trace Probe for ARM Cortex-M3/M4 CPUs


  • USB 3.0 micro B connector
  • 10 way, 1.27mm trace connector, clock + 4 data
  • Signal voltage levels: 1.8V – 3.3V
  • Max. trace clock frequency: 90MHz
  • Current consumption: 300mA @ 5V
  • Bicolour front panel status LED
  • Dimensions: 66 x 70 x 23mm
  • Cables and JTAG converter PCB included
Price: £295.00


The QTrace probe does not have integrated JTAG/SWD

STM32 Demonstrator Board

The STM32Eval demonstrator is an optional add-on for the QTrace system and is designed to showcase the capabilities of QTrace without requiring an expensive development board or waiting for an in-house PCB to be ready

ARM Cortex-M4 STM32F466 Evaluation PCB


  • Cortex-M4F STM32F446 microcontroller
  • Runs up to 180MHz
  • 20 way ETM trace connector
  • USB 2.0 port for power & data
  • Micro SD-Card containing example projects
  • Pre-programmed as a USB FLASH disk
Price: £60.00

QTrace-STM32Eval Kit

Contains everything needed to evaluate the QTrace system out-of-the-box. A quick-start guide highlights the key features of QTrace without needing to install an IDE or attach a JTAG adapter.

QTrace for ARM Cortex ETM STM32 Trace Evaluation Kit


  • QTrace probe
  • STM32-Eval demonstrator board
  • JTAG converter PCB
  • USB and ribbon Cables
  • QTrace Analyser for Windows
  • Quick start guide
Price: £329.00