Tips for automatic testing equipment

Tom Fleet writes on Hackster:

Are You Shelling Out Too Much on ATE? Has a Few Tricks to Help You Claw Back Some Margins!

Anyone of us can build something.

Fewer of us, myself included, excel at building a great number of something, and when it comes to scaling a design to any level of volume production, it quickly becomes obvious that in order to save your sanity, the only sensible option is to outsource the onerous process of production to an OEM, or similar set of subcontracted companies, that can handle the production of your products.

Some of them make designing the board seem like the easy bit. You’ll need a clear and concise build pack, not only with the PCB data supplied in the preferred format of your fab house, but also preferably with clear supporting documents to illustrate any quirks of the design that might need explaining.

The BoM must be complete and well sourced, backup suppliers and all. And providing you can get a well assembled set of PCBA out the end of your subcontracted process, you then have the not insignificant task of verifying the work that has been done — you need to test, and program if required — this box of boards that you have been delivered.

The type of testng that you might apply to these boards is going to be dictated by what they do. For something such as a simple SAO, that might mean poking a bit of pin header, attached to a coin cell battery, into the required pins.

For a more complex board, such as the OrangeCrab FPGA development board, things can quickly start to get a bit more involved… There is a whole suite of functionality to validate — from the basics of bringing up the power supplies,to ascertaining the analog inputs, and finally booting a bit-stream, there’s a fair amount of functionality that needs that “final test” check mark.

Tips for automatic testing equipment

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