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Teaching old tricks to new dogs [automatic test equipment]

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1 Author(s)
R. Peet ; SEICA, Inc., Methuen, MA, USA

This describes why transferring test programs and fixtures from obsolete automatic test equipment (ATE) to new equipment are not as simple as it should be. No one would argue that technology has made major advances on test in the last 30 years. Today, speed, overall performance, computing power, and software tools are more sophisticated than 20 or 30 years ago, when the first ATE appeared. As these ATE now head for retirement and as the programs they support still have a long life to live, one would think legacy replacement with new ATE would be a simple task. Unfortunately, this is seldom the case. We realize that old ATE had a number of cards up their sleeves to deal with. For example, high voltage technology, lack of computer aided engineering (CAE) data, requirements for parametric tests, extensive usage of the guided probe, and many other aspects might be not so simple to be reproduced with modern, yet powerful, ATE. The paper shall identify the specific constraints involved with old technology and give examples of success stories where new ATE has been adapted to respond to the challenge. Paraphrasing (in reverse) and old saying, it is like "teaching old tricks to new dogs".

Published in:

IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine  (Volume:20 ,  Issue: 7 )