Automatic Testing: The Test Engineers’ Role

What you will learn:
This course covers every aspect 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 instrument bus technologies for the classic (but still available) IEEE 488, VXIbus, to more cost-effective PC-based instruments. You will also learn the software issues. The course will teach you how to approach a functional test programming activity for digital circuits. 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) and the PC bus is introduced and the VXIbus is examined in detail. The course also covers, PXI, LXI and AXIe. ATE maintenance issues and specmanship is also covered. The course then provides a structured approach to test program development. Simulation and Automatic Test Pattern Generation (ATPG) is 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. Technically savvy engineers from other disciplines, such as design engineering will find the curriculum useful and exciting. Understanding of Test Engineering problems is probably the best way for a designer to figure out how to make circuits more testable. A good prerequisite to this course is “Automatic Testing: Management’s Role.”

Course Content

• Reviewing topics covered in “Automatic Testing:  Management’s Role.”

  • Introduction to Automatic Testing
  • Testing Methods
  • Test Economics
  • Test Strategy Development
  • Test Requirements

ATE Building Blocks

  • Stimulus Subsystems
  • Measuring Subsystems
  • Routing Subsystems

Introduction to GPIB, HPIB, IEEE 488.1 and 488.2

Introduction to the VXI Bus

VXI Plug&Play Alliance

LXI and Instrumentation on the Internet

AdvancedTCA Extensions for Instrumentation and Test (AXIe)

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

Topics can be included here from the course “Analog Test and Fault Isolation.”

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

Three-degrees of Test Engineering Freedom

Making the UUT more testable

  • Design for Testability Guidelines
  • JTAG/IEEE-1149.x Boundary Scan
  • Built-In Self Test

Constructing the ATE

  • Improving the ATE
  • Better Instruments
  • Better System Integration

Improving the Test Programs

  • Reusable Tests
  • Test Development Tools
  • Scalable Tests

Summary and Conclusions

  • Questions/Answers

Pre-Requisite Course

The 1-day course, “Automatic Testing:  Management’s Role” offers a good, albeit less technical pre-requisite for this course.  Those new to test engineering may wish to take that pre-requisite.


Louis Y. Ungar
Louis Y. Ungar, President of Advanced Test Engineering (A.T.E.) Solutions, Inc. holds a B.S.E.E. and Computer Science degree from UCLA and has completed course work towards a M.A. in Management. As a test engineer, Mr. Ungar designed automatic test equipment (ATE), created hundreds of test programs for dozens of ATEs. As a design engineer he designed payload systems for the Space Shuttle, eventually leading a team of designers. With both engineering and management experience in test and design, Mr. Ungar founded A.T.E. Solutions, Inc. in 1984, a highly respected test and testability consulting and educational firm. Mr. Ungar serves as Testability Committee Chair for the Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA), as Consultant to the American Society of Test Engineers (ASTE), the founding President of the Testability Management Action Group (TMAG) and various test and testability groups of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He has recently balloted on the IEEE-1149.1-2013 and the IEEE-1687. He also developed the Testability section of a Design for Excellence (DFX) Guideline by the IPC to be published in 2018.

Other qualified A.T.E. Solutions, Inc. instructors may teach this course.


Private Forum:
Date: Your choice
Length: 2-days
Location: Los Angeles
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Date: Your choice
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On-Site Webinar:
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Length: 8 x 90 min modules
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Format: PDF File
Distribution: emailed
Price: $299.50
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