HLA - Analyzer Frame Format

Documentation for output produced by Saleae's built-in Analyzers

Python High Level Analyzers allow users to write custom code that processes the output of an analyzer. The below list of pre-installed low level analyzers can be immediately used with high level analyzers (HLAs).

Adding HLA Support for More Analyzers

We've released documentation on our FrameV2 API below, which can be used to add HLA support for any low level analyzer that is not listed above, including custom analyzers that were created using our Protocol Analyzer SDK.

pageFrameV2 / HLA Support - Analyzer SDK

Writing an HLA

In order to write a high level analyzer, the data format produced by the connected source analyzer must be understood.

For example, a high level analyzer which consumes serial data needs to understand the serial analyzer output format in order to extract bytes, and this code is very different from the code required to extract data bytes from CAN data.

# Reading serial data

    def decode(self, frame):
# Reading CAN data

    def decode(self, frame):
        if frame.type == 'identifier_field':
        elif frame.type == 'data_field':
        elif frame.type == 'crc_field':

To write a Python high level analyzer for a specific input analyzer, navigate to the section for that analyzer.

There is one page for each analyzer that is compatible with python HLAs. Each analyzer produces one or more frame types. These frame types have string names and will be in the type member of the frame class.

Each frame type may have data properties. The documentation page will list the data properties for that frame type, along with the data type and a description. These can be accessed from the frame.data dictionary.

Here is an example of you you might handle different frame types from I2C:

    def decode(self, frame):
        if frame.type == 'address':
            if frame.data['read'] == True:
                print('read from ' + str(frame.data['address'][0]))
                print('write to ' + str(frame.data['address'][0]))
        elif frame.type == 'data':
        elif frame.type == 'start':
            print('I2C start condition')
        elif frame.type == 'stop':
            print('I2C stop condition')

State Managment

In some cases, such in I2C HLA programming, each frame only contains a single byte. Therefore a state machine is needed to keep track of the byes as they are received so that thye can be properly interpreted, specifically if multiple control modes or multi-byte instructions are required. For example the first byte of the data payload is often the slave addres, followed by a control byte. The control byte would determine if follow-on bytes should be interpreted as commands or memory register data. The following example provides some recommendations for state mangement.

An example set of states follows:

  1. Idle: Waiting for I2C transaction to begin

    • Next State: waiting for Start

  2. Start: I2C start condition signals the beginning of the transaction

    • Next State: waiting for the expected slave device Address

  3. I2C Slave Address: Typically a 7-bit device address is read, direction bit (read/write) is determined

    • Next State: waiting for wainting for control byte

    • Note that the I2C LLA automatically shifts the address back right by 1 bit to recover the original 7-bit address.

  4. I2C Control Byte: When used, it often determines how follow-on bytes should be interpreted (commands or data)

    • Next State: waiting for data

  5. Data: Data can be supplied as one or more bytes

    • The I2C LLA (low level analyzer) pass data bytes, one byte at a time to the HLA for decoding.

    • If a multi-byte instruction is received, tracking of the previous byte(s) may be requied to interpret the current byte correctly.

    • Next State: Loop to receive next Data byte until Stop is received

  6. Stop: I2C stop condition signals the end of the transaction

  • Next State: return to Idle

Instruction Set Lookup Table

Developing an instruction set lookup table in JSON is best practice that allows you to quickly build an analyzer that interprets received data into human readable annotations. Often at a minum the instruction, name, and numbrer of parameters is needed to build out the state machine.

instructions = {
    0x81: {"name": "Set Contrast Control", "param_description": "Contrast values (0-255)", "params": 1},
    0xA4: {"name": "Entire Display OFF", "param_description": "", "params": 0},
    0xA5: {"name": "Entire Display ON", "param_description": "", "params": 0}

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