Software-Based Analysis of the Effects of Electrostatic Discharge on Embedded Systems


This paper illustrates the use of software for monitoring and recording the effects of electrostatic discharge (ESD) on the operation of embedded systems, with the goal of facilitating root-cause analysis of resulting failures. Hard-warebased scanning techniques are typically used for analyzing the effect of ESD on systems by identifying physical coupling paths. This paper proposes software techniques that monitor registers and flags associated with peripherals of embedded systems to detect faults associated with the effects of ESD. A lightweight, cost-effective, and non-intrusive software tool has been developed that monitors and records the status of all registers associated with a designated peripheral under test, identifying the fault propagation caused by ESD in the system, and visually presenting the resulting errors. The tool has been used to detect and visually summarize ESD-induced errors on the SD card peripheral of the S3C2440 development board, using local injection and system-level scanning. Root-cause analysis of these faults can potentially assist in identification of coupling paths of electromagnetic interference, as well as determination of areas of the hardware that are more vulnerable to ESD.

Meeting Name

35th Annual IEEE International Computer Software and Applications Conference (2011: Jul. 18-21, Munich, Germany)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Second Department

Computer Science

Research Center/Lab(s)

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Laboratory

Keywords and Phrases

Coupling Paths; Fault Propagation; Non-Intrusive; Physical Coupling; Root Cause Analysis; Scanning Techniques; Software Instrumentation; Software Techniques; Software Tool; Software-Based; System Levels; Computer Applications; Electromagnetic Pulse; Electromagnetic Wave Interference; Electromagnetism; Electrostatic Devices; Electrostatic Discharge; Embedded Software; Errors; Signal Interference; Software Testing; Embedded Systems

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)

978-0769544397; 978-1457705441

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2011 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jul 2011