Instrumentation and Test Expert

Mass Interconnect for ATE (page 3)

Figure 8. shows a “custom interface chassis on a board.” This is an extremely attractive option as the cost of the printed circuit board can be less than the costs associated with assembling a “box full of wires.” It becomes an even more attractive option when there are multiple copies of the interface within the system. The downside is that design errors or new requirements discovered during integration can be much more difficult to address.

In both Figures 7. and 8. there are many connectors on the back of the interfaces that in turn have many contacts within them. This is very common in centralized switching architectures. The reliability and maintainability of these connections should be considered when choosing the switching architecture. As discussed above, consider the interconnectivity of the relays and analyze the option of creating a custom relay board to lower external wire count.

Figure 10. shows the portion of a mass interconnect solution that is located on the tester console. This is often called the receiver. A test adapter removably attaches to the receiver and functions as the mapping layer to the UUT. The receiver and test adapter combination forms a central location through which all tester resources pass and thus is by definition a part of centralized switching solution.

The primary benefit associated with the mass interconnect solution is the versatility it provides. Multiple test adapters and cable sets can allow a single tester console to test ten, twenty or even more different units under test. Figure 11. shows three different test adapters that allow a single tester to test units under test in three different applications. 

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