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A DIY microcontroller-based functional tester

1/18/2012 02:36 AM EST
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kcooley
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re: A DIY microcontroller-based functional tester
kcooley   1/25/2012 1:32:27 PM
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Agreed that some systems need a high level of accuracy, documentation, and traceability. Other projects simply need a large number of inputs or something else simple that would otherwise require a costly amount of off the shelf components. Either way, http://iascorp.net/ can help build the device needed.

antedeluvian
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re: A DIY microcontroller-based functional tester
antedeluvian   1/19/2012 3:02:55 PM
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Continuing (the forum limits the length of a comment to 2000 characters) 6. ISO9000 requires calibration of all instruments, if you built it in house only your organization can calibrate it. One more thing on the To Do list. 7. How do you package the board? There can be dangerous voltages and the user must be protected. I have also seem damage to the exposed parts of test boards, both intentional and unintentional.

antedeluvian
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re: A DIY microcontroller-based functional tester
antedeluvian   1/19/2012 2:46:19 PM
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I work for a small operation and part of any project is to design the test (including the equipment where needed) on each product which can involve built in tests etc. Often the products are analog and the test equipment can be many times more complex than the products themselves. It can be challenging and I often find that it is the most interesting part of the project. However, with over 30 years of experience let me suggest that you consider evaluate building your own test equipment carefully. 1. The test jig must be documented. Even if it is done with the best will in the world (and there are always other demands on your time) there is no verification process where someone else gets to check your documentation to find the errors in the way that happens when you build several (or more) units. 2. The development is done in a particular environment and then things change- early on we used to manufacture in house so we knew the testers and their abilities and the climate and we were only a flight of stairs away. Then we went to local subcontractors and then to China (no understanding of English by the operators, no air-conditioning, dust humidity and grime). When there is a problem, how do you fix it? 3. The test jig will become the albatross around your neck. When the test jig fails after 10 years, only you can fix it relying on memory and whatever documentation exists. This is particularily when you build a product from protoboard and it develops a crack in a track or solder connection. 4. From your employer's perspective, what happens if you leave the company? 5. I would also reccomend in developing in the lowest form (or most universal form) of software possible so that anyone can understand it, like a BASIC interpreter or LabView (if you can afford to invest). Trying to go back and finding a bug 5 years on may prove very difficult if you don't maintain the tools for older versions of software like Visual Basic 4.

David Ashton
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re: A DIY microcontroller-based functional tester
David Ashton   1/19/2012 9:52:33 AM
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"This article originally appeared in Test & Measurement World, in May, 2012..." It's only January now...is this a sneak peek, or has someone been time-travelling and brought it back? Nice article though, I might have a go at this.

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