FPGA provides a board-tester-in-a-chip - Embedded.com

FPGA provides a board-tester-in-a-chip

ASSET InterTech has expanded its ScanWorks platform for embedded instruments engineers with tools to select instruments, set parameters and insert them into a field programmable gate array (FPGA) to function as a circuit board tester.

ScanWorks FCT then operates the board-tester-in-a-chip from a drag-and-drop user interface to perform validation, test and debug.

ASSET says that escalating gate densities make FPGAs an effective platform for embedded test and measurement functionality.  It believes that faster speeds and greater complexities have increased the electrical sensitivities of chips and boards to the point where a physical probe will not provide adequate test coverage or reliable results.

Circuit board design projects can run into delays because the hardware on the board can’t be validated and tested until the firmware or operating system software have been completed. ScanWorks FCT does not depend on any product software as designers can insert a board tester, bring up and wring out first prototypes of a circuit board design and then remove the tester. If it will be needed later in the lifecycle, it can be inserted again or part of it can remain in the FPGA.

ScanWorks automates practically all of the FCT process. Instruments or instrument functions are selected from a library and matched with a description of one of the supported FPGA devices which is contained in another ScanWorks library.

After the user sets the configuration parameters on the instruments selected, ScanWorks automatically generates all of the constructs for the embedded tester, facilitates the synthesis of the instrument code into the firmware required by the FPGA and creates the software image of the tester to program the FPGA.

ScanWorks then inserts the tester in the FPGA and provides a drag-and-drop user interface to operate and manage the tester.

FCT’s capabilities add to the coverage ScanWorks delivers with its other non-intrusive technologies, including boundary-scan test, processor-controlled test (PCT) and high-speed I/O (HSIO) validation.  

ScanWorks FCT will be available in December of 2011 from ASSET InterTech and its distributors with development license pricing  of $35,000.

ASSET InterTech

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