Test Connections

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) are a type of gate array that can be programmed in the field. Like many technological components, FPGAs can become obsolete and need to be replaced. When companies are in a situation in which they need to replace outdated FPGAs or other semi-custom devices, the preferable way to do so is to verify the functionality of the new set of FPGAs without having to test the entire system into which they're being installed.

When a leading U.K. aerospace manufacturer encountered this problem, the company contacted Ensilica, an IC design company based in the U.K. The company wanted Ensilica to design a set of five devices that used modern FPGAs.

After the new devices were created, the manufacturer wanted to test and verify
the functionality of the new devices against the older FPGA devices. However, it wanted to test the FPGAs without having to perform a battery of flight-ready tests that would have required a lot of time and money.

Terotest, a U.K.-based supplier of Automated Test Equipment (ATE) was hired to create a system that would verify equivalent performance of the old and new FPGAs using test vectors created through design simulation. The company needed a test solution that could meet the requirements associated with testing the replacement devices and turned to Geotest.

Terotest used the Geotest GX7600 PXI Express 8 slot chassis and the GX5292 Dynamically Controlled High Speed Digital I/O PXI card for its test solution which met the need to support real-time test rates of up to 32 MHz with over 11 million test patterns. It also used Geotest's DIOEasy software to import, edit and display the test vectors. Using the DIOEasy software, the test vectors were imported directly from the simulation, which greatly simplified verification and pass/fail results checking.

If you need a solution for a similar problem, contact Geotest for more information about its digital instrumentation.
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