Bringing up prototype circuit boards is a tipping point in the product development cycle. Unfortunately, it too often becomes a tripping point. Boards that won’t come up derail the project, delaying launch and generating staggering opportunity costs. The legacy technologies that have been employed for board bring-up have their limitations. They rely on physically probing the board while probe access is disappearing. Now many engineers are turning to software-based non-intrusive embedded instruments to perform tests, to gather validation data and to diagnose any hardware faults that may be present on a circuit board. These tools can be employed before operating firmware or software have been loaded onto the board.