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PXI controller enhances ScanWorks' compatibility with NI's test executives

The new PXI-100 Boundary Scan Controller integrates ScanWorks into the PXI-based test platforms that are used extensively in functional test operations.

According to Eric Starkloff, PXI and Instrument Control Platform Manager at National Instruments (NI), combining ScanWorks with other test instruments in a single PXI platform enhances the productivity of electronic test operations.

"By integrating ASSET's ScanWorks boundary scan test system with NI's TestStand test management software, test technicians will find it much easier to apply a diverse suite of tests to a circuit board," said Starkloff. "The flexibility inherent in a PXI-based test platform with NI TestStand ensures the easy deployment of test strategies that are best suited to the circuit board or subsystem being tested."

ScanWorks has long been capable of seamless integration under tools such as NI's TestStand™, LabVIEW™ and LabWindows/CVI™, as well as Visual Basic. A PXI-based test platform with ScanWorks improves the productivity of electronic test operations because ScanWorks' extensive test and diagnostic capabilities can be employed on the same platform where functional tests and analog measurements are performed.

"Functional test is being used more and more because physical access to devices on printed circuit boards is disappearing as a result of very dense semiconductor packages like ball grid arrays (BGA) and others," said Dave Bonnett, technical marketing manager for ScanWorks. "Without physical access, testing and diagnosing the structural integrity of a printed circuit board with in-circuit test (ICT) equipment is often impractical or impossible. But with the boundary-scan capabilities of ScanWorks on a PXI platform test, technicians can quickly test the board's structural integrity before its functionality is verified. If boundary scan identifies some sort of fault, ScanWorks can be used to pinpoint the source of the problem before a lot of time and energy is spent on functional test."

In addition to testing a circuit board, ScanWorks running on a PXI-based platform with the new PXI-100 controller can load new software or software updates into programmable logic devices (PLDs) and flash memory after these devices have been soldered onto a board. This in-system programming (ISP) is much faster than removing devices from the board and programming each one individually. It also reduces handling and enables just-in-time product configuration before functional test.

PXI-100 Controller

The PXI-100 ScanWorks controller card conforms to the PXI specification and takes one standard 3U slot in a PXI card cage. The PXI-100 has programmable test application speeds up to 16.6 MHz. ScanWorks with the PXI-100 controller is capable of applying test data to the board under test at a rate of 16.6 megabits per second (Mbps) without gating the system's test clock during scan operations.

The PXI-100 with ASSET's Buffer Pods, including the new Four-Tap Buffer Pod, supports a broad range of reference voltages from 1.8V to 5.0V. In addition, the PXI-100 provides differential output signals allowing the single-tap pod, multiple-tap pod, or a test fixture to be located more than 16 feet from the PXI card cage and still achieve speeds up to 16.6 MHz.

For more information on the PXI-100, click here.