What’s New in In-Circuit Testing

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You can also define your own test program by creating different steps that can be sequenced in an automated sequence. You can give your own conditions and put conditional jumping between different steps. For example, if a particular test is passed then jump to a specific step, otherwise to the other one.

Also, you can protect your test conditions with passwords and ensure another user cannot change them; he can only run the test. You can maintain a record of how many boards were tested and how many failed, and have all the relevant reports of yield rate or efficiency.

For quick debugging and diagnostics, where you want to quickly test any particular area of the PCB, software allows you to perform these localised tests without writing any test sequence. So, if you want to test any particular IC or a few ICs or any other component, you can just make interface for the device under test using interactive GUIs and perform the required tests.

Drawback. The only drawback of the ICT software tools is that they are unique and proprietary for each system. Ganapathy of QmaxTest says, “Every tester has its own driver and capabilities, and so every tester should be directly sequenced with a set of instructions. If someone is thinking of developing a software, they can see the software function and develop one but, however, when you buy any ICT system, the proprietary software only will work.”

Life of an ICT system
Testing at component level will remain for years, but with technological advancements these components are getting smaller and making the circuits more and more complex. These advancements have caused older techniques to fail, and will continue to do so with the coming systems as well. Is there a solution?

Ganapathy explains, “An important consideration while selecting any solution should be the number of test points and the associated scalability. A manufacturer should first analyse how many board types are to be tested, and how many maximum test points are required, and then, finally, what scalability is available with the solution.”

He adds, “Today you might not require a certain number of test points, but at least the equipment should have the capability to add more in future when there is a requirement. For these reasons there are more of open architecture systems coming up, so that as the requirement increases you are able to increase the channel capacity or add new test methodologies as well.”


The author is a technical correspondent at EFY

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