Our team at EMC Technologies has the ability to provide discretely wired and wireless functional testing fixtures that are designed for use with the performance verification of Circuit Card Assemblies (CCAs) and Electronic Assemblies (EAs). When it comes right down to it, the testing of electronic assemblies involves three primary elements. The first is the device under test. The second is the test equipment itself. The third is the fixturing that is used to make the connections between the device under test and the test equipment.
Automated Test Fixtures
The challenge for a test engineer who needs to build a custom test system is when the instrumentation needs to measure thousands of different test points through the mechanical interconnect. Fixture based test systems have a lot of different features and components. It is important to understand what each part includes and how it contributes to the in-circuit test fixture or mobile test station for industry testing.
A bare board test uses printed circuit boards (PCBs) that are tested before any other components are mounted to the test product. The in-circuit test fixture enables an electrical test to be performed on an assembled board as a means of checking to ensure that all components are present and that they are of the right type and value. It also checks to ensure that there are no opens or shorts and that the components are all connected properly. A functional test, such as wireless functional testing or RF functional testing, is used to test a printed circuit board or product that is powered up so the circuit can be exercised during operation.
Test Fixture Wiring
When it comes to establishing a contact between the product PCB being tested and a probe-based test fixture, there are three primary methods that are used. They include the long wire fixture, the short wire fixture, and wireless functional testing fixtures. It is important to choose the best fixturing approach for each specific application. It is vital to the total system costs and longevity of the tester. Other decisions must also sometimes be made with regard to the use of removable fixtures using some form of mass interconnect between the testing instruments and the in-circuit test fixture.
- Long Wire Fixtures – Used for lower probe count product PCBs or in prototype situations where the design is subject to change. Long wire fixtures are the most affordable of these options, as they can be easily adapted, changed and avoid non-recurring costs.
- Short Wire Fixtures – Provide a better signal than long wire fixtures. It can be more difficult to make changes to short wire fixtures than long wire fixtures due to the compact design.
- Wireless Functional Testing Fixtures – There are many advantages associated with using wireless test fixtures. They work to decrease debugging time, provide greater signal fidelity, and increase capacities. Wireless test fixtures can test low voltage and multi-logic modules while reducing crosstalk. While much more reliable than wired fixtures, as PCB designers can control how each trace is routed on the bottom side of the T-board, it is more expensive than long and short wire fixtures.
PCB Design and Assembly
EMC Technologies boats a full in-house machine shop, which features CNC milling centers, drilling equipment, knee mills, lathes, and sheet metal brakes. This provides us with the unique ability to fabricate nearly any machined part no matter how simple, complicated, or tight-tolerance. Our team can also perform prototyping or even run high-volume parts in-house to save you time and money. Our designs can accommodate requirements from simple double-sided PCBs to complex multi-layer designs. We can create designs directly from the client’s requirements, or we can fully develop solutions in-house.
Our team can utilize the design and manufacture of PCBs as an essential component of the interface test adapter. We do this for a number of reasons. One reason is greater signal integrity and repeatability. This works to reduce debug time and create faster, cheaper duplicates of ITAs, and provide better organization for relays, power and ground bases, and signaling components. It also works as part of a connector saver card to provide easier maintenance on-site for high-volume testing.
Contact EMC Technologies
If you are interested in learning more about our wired and wireless functional testing, give us a call at 508-672-0808. Whether you need RF functional testing, a mobile test station, in-circuit test fixtures or a custom testing solution, you can count on EMC Technologies. Call today to schedule a consultation or to speak with one of our technicians.