Terminal Module

Frozen Content

Figure 1. Terminal Module.

Console I/O is a common way of debugging processor systems. The Terminal module (TERMINAL) provides you with a debug console with which to interact with your system directly. It allows you to type text directly in its associated instrument panel, which is then sent directly to the processor in your design, to be handled by the embedded software code running therein. Conversely, it allows the display of text sent from that processor.

Although classed as one of Altium Designer's virtual instruments, the debug console instrument is really a hybrid – part instrument and part Wishbone-compliant slave peripheral. Whereas other instruments are configured and operated directly from a GUI, the debug console instrument requires interaction at the code level, to initialize internal registers and to write to/read from its internal storage buffers.

In terms of functionality as a peripheral, the Terminal module is similar to the WB_UART8 Serial Communications Port peripheral. Whereas the WB_UART8 facilitates serial communication between a processor and a remote device, the Terminal instrument is, in essence, the remote device as well as the facilitator of communications. The processor simply communicates directly (and serially) with the Terminal instrument.

Figure 2 illustrates an example of the run-time panel for this instrument, accessed by double-clicking on the icon for the instrument, in the Soft Devices chain of the Devices view.

Figure 2. Instrument panel for the Terminal module.

Features at-a-glance

  • Based on, and functionally similar to, the WB_UART8 peripheral
  • Type and send text to processor directly from instrument panel
  • Receive text from the processor and display in instrument panel
  • Full Duplex
  • Ability to save text to a log file
  • Ability to copy selected text to the clipboard
  • Wishbone-compliant


From an OpenBus System document, the Terminal module can be found in the Peripherals region of the OpenBus Palette panel.
From a schematic document, the TERMINAL device can be found in the FPGA Instruments integrated library (FPGA Instruments.IntLib), located in the \Library\Fpga folder of the installation.

Designing with the TERMINAL

Use the following links to explore use of the Terminal module in more detail:

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