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Automatic Test Equipment with Agilent

The project was to design and startup several semi automatic test equipments for a major aerospace electronics manufacturer using a standard Dell desk top PC, with a Microsoft VB.NET interface. Agilent Oscilloscopes, digital volt meters , and DC power supplies were used on a GPIB network and configured for each test using a developed Microsoft Visual Basic 2008 program.

By eliminating the requirement for the operator to setup each instrument manually, initiate each test, then record the results, each test became more repeatable and the total test time was reduced by more than 50%. A Microsoft Access database was selected to manage each test criteria, and another Access database was used to record all test results automatically. 

On completion each semi automatic test equipment was setup to run approximately 120 unique tests in a specific order by part type. After the operator sets a part up to be tested through instructions displayed on the PC, a "continue" soft button is pressed on the touch screen. The power supplies "current limit" protection, and test voltage are set, then the outputs turned on and off via the test program. Depending on the test type a digital volt meter or oscilloscope is setup from the test program with voltage, current, time, trigger levels. The resulting measurements are captured and recorded to the test database before the next "continue" button is displayed. On a part "Fail" the operator is given the option to retest or end the test. It is not possible continue until the previous test has "Passed".

Agilent Technologies has a large selection of instrumentation available for the GPIB network interface. Their IO libraries will work under Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. The development of the Automatic Test Equipment using these libraries was well supported by the Agilent tech support team, and should be easily expanded for future needs.


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posted Jan 10, 2010, 8:07 AM by Jon McArthur

hello

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