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The following is a synopsis of a paper to be presented at the AUTOTESTCON 2011 conference, Sept. 12-15. Join Geotest’s Mike Dewey and DME/Astronics’ Jim Ginn to learn how a next generation PXI test architecture can meet the ongoing requirement for portability, performance and cost-effective test solutions and address both Depot-level and O-level test needs.


For over 30 years, ATE has been a key resource and tool for the maintenance and repair of electronic systems, subsystems and board level assemblies deployed on a wide range of military-aerospace systems. ATE has been relied upon to maintain and support electronic assemblies for avionics, weapons systems and communication systems. In addition, repair logistics and the uptime demands for these systems have resulted in the need for repair and support strategies that shorten the repair loop. For the U.S. Marine Corps, the need to minimize this repair loop is acute and has resulted in the adoption of a maintenance/repair strategy that employs Depot-level test capabilities which can also be deployed at the field or O-level.

This paper describes the development and features of a prototype system
5960-Card
developed by DME/Astronics: the Common Off-the-Shelf Benchtop Rapidly Deployed Advanced / Tester (COBRA/T). This IR&D effort demonstrates how the current VIPER/T and TETS platforms can be downsized while retaining and even expanding the current capabilities of the VIPER/T. Geotest’s involvement included supplying the PXI chassis and digital subsystem as well as software tools for migrating legacy digital vectors.

Key features of the platform and application/demonstration included:

A PXI-based, performance digital I/O subsystem (GX5960) supporting 50 MHz data rates, offering 144 channels with per-pin timing capability.
Improved Digital I/O performance: The existing TETS digital subsystem was based on VXI and offered a 25 MHz data rate and 32 KB of memory per channel with a limited programming range for digital levels from -2 to +5 volts. The PXI system offered a higher data rate — 50 MHz instead of 25 MHz — more channel memory (256 KB); and wider programmable voltage levels — -11 to +15 V — at a 60 percent lower per channel cost.
A suite of software tools (DTIFEasy) that provided the means to migrate existing digital bursts or LASAR .tap files to the PXI digital subsystem.
The resulting platform met all of the initial requirements including lower power dissipation, lower cost, smaller footprint and virtually “one button” TPS conversion for digital vectors.

For more details about this system and application, please plan on attending AUTOTESTCON session 2D4 on Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

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