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ATE Selection, Design and Programming

ATE Selection, Design and Programming
  ATE Selection, Design and Programming 

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What you will learn: 

This course covers the major aspects of a test engineer's responsibility. You will learn how to select an automatic test equipment (ATE) from the number of choices and generically different types available. You will learn how to build an ATE from instrumentation and other building blocks. You will learn the bussing requirements of the IEEE 488, VXIbus, and PC-based instruments such as PXI. You will also learn the software issues. The course will teach you how to approach a functional test programming activity for digital circuits. (In the longer, three-day course, analog test programming is also covered.) Finally, you will learn test management issues, such as test program development estimation, acquisition and quality assurance.


This course provides a test engineering curriculum. From a quick introduction of ATE, the course goes on to test strategies. Test requirements and test specifications are discussed in detail. Next, the course dissects the ATE and looks closely at Stimulus Measurement, and Switching Instruments. The IEEE 488 (GPIB or HPIB), VXIbus and PXI are introduced. ATE maintenance issues and specmanship is also covered. The course then provides a structured approach to test program development in which the students get hands-on experience. Simulation and Automatic Test Pattern Generation (ATPG) are explored. ATE languages, such as ATLAS, are also discussed. Finally, the students are taught how to estimate and manage test engineering resources.

Who should Attend: 

This course offers an in-depth education in test engineering that is missing from the university curriculum. Every test engineer, whether new to the field or already experienced will greatly benefit from the structured approach this course provides. Anyone dealing with Design for Testability issues will also find this course an important prerequisite. Understanding of Test Engineering problems is probably the best way for a designer to figure out how to make circuits more testable.

Course Content:


  • ATE's Historical Development
  • When to Test. When Not to.
  • The Test Philosophy

The ATE Introduced

  • Manual Tester Subsystems
  • Automatic Tester Subsystems

ATE Selection

Testing Methods

  • IC Testers
  • Automatic Optical Inspection (AOI) and X-ray (AXI)
  • Assembly Fault Testers
  • Manufacturing Defects Analyzers
  • Flying Probe Testers
  • In-Circuit Testers
  • Boundary-Scan Testers
  • Functional Testers
  • Systems Testers
  • Environmental Test - Burn-In
  • Field Service Testers

Test Economics

  • Cost of Testing
  • Costs of Not Testing
  • Manual vs. Automatic Testing
  • Military vs. Commercial ATE
  • Effect of Fault Distribution
  • Work Load Analysis
  • Capacity Calculations
  • Test Effectiveness
  • Investment Appraisal Method

Test Strategy Development

  • Analyzing the UUT
  • Fault Distribution
  • Test Stage Mixes
  • Assessing ATE Requirements
  • Test Cost Estimation Software

The Test Manager's Role

Test Requirements

  • Test Specifications
  • Test Requirements Document (TRD)
  • Test Requirements Analysis (TRA)
  • Test Strategy Report (TSR)
  • Test Program Set (TPS)

Building your ATE

ATE Building Blocks

  • Stimulus Subsystems
  • Measuring Subsystems
  • Routing Subsystems

Introduction to GPIB, HPIB, IEEE 488.1 and 488.2

Introduction to the VXI Bus

  • Why instrumentation buses?
  • The IEEE 488 Bus
  • The VME Bus
  • Construction of a VXI card
  • P1 (VME) Connector
  • P2 & P3 Connector Signals
  • Local Bus Signals

VXI Plug&Play Alliance

PC-Based Instruments and PXI

Test Executive and Test Software

ATE Maintenance

  • Upgrading an ATE
  • ATE Reliability
  • Sources of ATE Errors

ATE Buy/Build Decision

Digital Test Programming

Functional Board Testing

  • Stuck-at Fault Models
  • Fault Detection
  • Fault Isolation
  • Path Sensitization


  • The Simulation Model
  • Good Circuit Simulation vs. Fault Simulation
  • Fault Scoring
  • Guided Fault Probing
  • Fault Dictionary

Analysis Before Coding

  • Testability Concerns
  • Timing Considerations
  • Bus Considerations


  • Mechanical Interfacing
  • Electrical Interfacing
  • Test Adapter Design
  • Test Adapter Test

The Test Strategy Report (TSR)

  • Why we need TSRs?
  • Contents of the TSR
  • TSR Review Process

Example Test Program

Automatic Test Pattern Generation (ATPG)

  • When is ATPG useful?
  • ATPG Techniques
  • Limitations of ATPG

ATE Languages

  • Characteristics
  • Standardization
  • ATE Language Translation

Analog Testing - Included in a three-day version of the class

Introduction to the Analog World

  • Measurement Problems
  • Stimulus Problems
  • Speed Problems
  • Automation Problems

Analog Testing

  • Measurements Criteria
  • Failure Analysis
  • Digital Signal Processing
  • Fixturing Considerations

Analog Fault Isolation

  • Concept of the Active Element Group (AEG)
  • In-Circuit Test Methods

Analog Simulation

  • Using ISPICE
  • Mathematical Modeling
  • Tolerances and Accuracies
  • Analog Automatic Test Generation

Managing Automated Test

Managing Test Resources

  • TPS Cost Estimation
  • TPS Acquisition
  • In-House TPS Development
  • TPS Quality Assurance
  • The Test Strategy Report

Managing Various Test Functions

  • Design for Testability
  • Production Testing
  • Software Testing
  • Maintenance Testing
  • Field Return Testing
  • Concurrent Engineering

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