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zeeglen   2/12/2014 1:39:56 AM
@David @Aubrey "We now try to document each jig as if it were a product on its own."

Agree 100%.  Someday someone (possibly the designer hirmself) will have to repair, calibrate, or duplicate the jig.  Detailed documentation on how it works is a must.

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Garcia-Lasheras   2/12/2014 4:28:25 AM
@Antedeluvian: "I should have mentioned that- maintaining old PCs and spares discontinued parts also feed into my nightmare."

About the PCs running the test software, I suppose that you are using some old version of Windows OS -- maybe Win98/XP. Am I right?


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antedeluvian   2/12/2014 9:20:51 AM

About the PCs running the test software, I suppose that you are using some old version of Windows OS -- maybe Win98/XP. Am I right

Actually some of it goes back to DOS, Windows 95 as well as 98 and XP.

There are 3 OS aspects:

1. Development environment- will you be able tol go back and recreate it to modify the code. Something I really hope to avoid.

2. Operation under a newer OS. Microsoft is normally quite good with backward compatibilty with the glaring exception of point 3, below

3. I/O Drivers- which is far more problematic as Microsoft scaled back first on the parallel port and then the serial port. Some USB to serial port converters work well.

A bigger problem is the changes in hardware architecture and the maintenance thereof- there is the ISA, PCI etc architectures and there is an added complexity in that sometimes you need a system to configure the hardware in situ- so make sure that all you need  (software as well) can achieve this on whatever hardware you have left if you ever need to repair/reconfigure.

Also the storage medium can be a problem especially (as Duane noted) if you have everyhthing on 5.25" disks, and you only have 3.5" dirves if you are lucky.


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elizabethsimon   2/12/2014 11:42:13 AM

...The JTAG/SWD capability is more for development debugging than for production testing.


Which brings up the point that the test techniques and tools requried for production test are (or can be) significantly different from what is requred for development. After all by the time you get to production you presumabley have a working design and you mostly need to check that it's built right and has the right firmware and calabration values loaded if necessary.


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tb100   2/18/2014 1:42:25 PM
I've worked for a number of companies that use JTAG as part of the production testing for all its products. In fact I haven't worked for any company that didn't do this.

Is my experiance really unique?

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Excellent summary
Test101   2/18/2014 2:03:52 PM
Thanks for writing this. It is a good summary, which can help prepare a checklist to test boards.

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In conjunction with unveiling of EE Times’ Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. One of Silicon Valley's great contributions to the world has been the demonstration of how the application of entrepreneurship and venture capital to electronics and semiconductor hardware can create wealth with developments in semiconductors, displays, design automation, MEMS and across the breadth of hardware developments. But in recent years concerns have been raised that traditional venture capital has turned its back on hardware-related startups in favor of software and Internet applications and services. Panelists from incubators join Peter Clarke in debate.
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