Pickering Interfaces is highlighting an automated HASS (highly accelerated stress screening) test application using PXI and LXI switching products. TBG Solutions, a national UK test, measurement, and control business, wanted to test three avionics remote input/output printed circuit boards (PCBs) simultaneously. The test necessitated performing multiple procedures per UUT in parallel, each having 500 test points encompassing a variety of signal types while situated in a HASS chamber. The company’s previous test system, which was GPIB- and VXI-based was too slow to get the results needed in a timely manner.
TBG Solutions worked with Pickering Interfaces to design a fully automated test system that employs Pickering’s PXI and LXI switching products. The system performs 50,000 electrical tests, measuring voltage, resistance, current, capacitance, frequency, phase, and load trip, on three parallel units residing in a HASS chamber. The system generates and executes HASS profiles, and operators can exclude or include specific tests and adjust temperature and vibration levels and ramp rates. The fully automated parallel testing involves aircraft simulation, a two-part firmware download, capacitance measurements, and load trip testing.
TBG Solutions designed and built the system using CAD and computer-aided manufacturing and controlled it via National Instruments’ LabVIEW and TestStand. TBG chose a Pickering 18-slot LXI chassis incorporating a suite of Pickering’s PXI switch modules, including high-power, matrix, and RF switches, along with three Pickering LXI matrix modules with Pickering’s Built-In Relay Self-Test (BIRST) technology. TBG created an interface driver for each instrument within the system, and the commonality within the Pickering software API allowed TBG to combine these drivers and other components together seamlessly to create test sections that could then be sequenced on the fly. TBG took advantage of switch parallelization to test the three units as a batch, starting and ending the testing simultaneously.
TBG reported that the system not only tests three units in parallel but also brings the individual single-unit test time down from three hours to 45 minutes.
“Our team decided on using Pickering Interfaces’ PXI and LXI switching products in this test system as they provide both flexibility and maintainability so we will be able to take advantage of them both now and into the future,” said Steve Bale at TBG Solutions.