ASSET's two new embedded instruments test memory from a board-tester-in-a-chip

Instruments for ScanWorks FPGA-controlled test (FCT) perform DDR2, DDR3 and generic memory tests at maximum speeds

Richardson, TX (August 7, 2012) – ASSET® InterTech has added two new memory test instruments to its ScanWorks® embedded instrumentation library for its FPGA-controlled test (FCT) circuit board test tool, giving electronics manufacturers a cost-effective non-intrusive means of increasing test coverage. ASSET ( is the leading supplier of tools for embedded instrumentation.

The new instruments, which ScanWorks FCT can temporarily or permanently embed in a functional field programmable gate array (FPGA) on a circuit board, include a DDR2/DDR3 memory link test instrument and a generic memory tester. After engineers have selected as many instruments as they need to implement their non-intrusive board test strategy, ScanWorks FCT automatically configures, inserts, operates and subsequently removes the FPGA-based board tester. This tester-in-a-chip can be employed during design to accelerate the board bring-up process by validating early prototypes before firmware and software are available, during manufacturing to ensure the quality of assembled boards and later as a troubleshooting tool in field service. After it has been used, the ScanWorks FCT tester can be quickly removed and the FPGA’s functional firmware loaded.

A recent research project concerning built-in self test (BIST) by the International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI) found that the ability to test on-board memory was one of the two most pressing needs for electronics manufacturers. (For information on the iNEMI study, go to

“We asked manufacturers what test problem they would like to have solved by BIST or embedded instruments and they put testing soldered-down memory right at the top of the list along with high-speed I/O validation,” said Al Crouch, co-chairman of the iNEMI Built-In Self-Test (BIST) Program which compiled the research report. Crouch is also the chief technologist for core instruments at ASSET. “The participants in our research said they expected a big cost savings and better failure, debug and diagnostic information when they had the ability to test memory with BIST mechanisms and embedded instruments rather than external testers. In fact, a related iNEMI study found that the ability to test soldered-down memory was a crisis in waiting.”

InterTech recently published a white paper on memory test called “How to test high-speed memory with non-intrusive embedded instruments.” To download this white paper, go here.

Deploying ScanWorks FCT to perform memory test is an automated process. First, the instruments that will be embedded in an FPGA are selected from the ScanWorks instrument library. Next, the target FPGA is selected from another library of supported devices. Once the parameters have been set on the instruments, ScanWorks automatically generates the architecture of the embedded tester and facilitates the synthesis of the instrument code into a firmware image compatible with the target FPGA. ScanWorks then inserts the tester in the FPGA and subsequently serves as a drag-and-drop user interface to operate and manage the embedded tester. ScanWorks functions as a unified and automated environment for the entire process.

FCT is one of several non-intrusive validation, test and debug technologies that make up the ScanWorks platform for embedded instruments. Users can configure the ScanWorks platform to meet their specific needs and overcome the growing deficiencies of traditional legacy intrusive instruments and testers which are losing physical access for their probes. The other non-intrusive technologies supported by ScanWorks include boundary-scan test (BST), processor-controlled test (PCT) and high-speed I/O (HSIO) signal integrity validation.

Pricing and Availability

Licensing ScanWorks FCT authorizes access to ASSET’s online instrument library. No additional fees are required. The DDR2/DDR3 memory link tester and generic memory instrument are available now. For product information, call 888-694-6250, fax 972-437-2826, e-mail or visit

About ASSET InterTech

ASSET InterTech is the leading supplier of tools for embedded instrumentation for design validation, test and debug. The ScanWorks platform provides automation, access and analysis tools in one environment. Users can quickly and easily validate and test semiconductors, circuit boards or entire systems during every phase of a product’s life, including design, manufacturing/repair and field maintenance. ASSET InterTech is located at 2201 North Central Expressway, Suite 105, Richardson, TX 75080.