Functional test FAQs

What materials do I need for a functional test request for quote (FCT RFQ)?

As a minimum, CAD data in ASCII format, Schematics in searchable PDF format, Bill of Materials in excel, csv or text format and functional test implementation plan a.k.a functional testplan are required.

If a functional testplan is not available, we would require a theory of operation document or any product functionality description documents so we can develop a testplan plan for you.

Also, if you have a pre-assigned budget, please share it with us so we can scope the solution within your cost requirements.

What is a functional test implementation plan a.k.a. functional testplan?

A functional test implementation plan is a document that describes in detail all the test steps in a given functional test application. Among other things:


  • Required inputs for the test step
  • Expected outputs for the test step
  • Board or circuit conditions necessary for the test step
  • Datalogging requirements for the test step
  • Any other relevant comments for the test step

I do not have a functional test implementation plan available, what should I do?

Many customers do not have the time or the resources to scope out the functional test specifications for their product. Our engineers will work with you based on your product schematics, theory of operation, coverage and budget expectations to develop a functional test implementation plan tailored to your needs and goals.

What is a benchtop functional tester?

Benchtop functional test solutions are used for low complexity/low volume/low cost applications. The simplest form of these stations is a computer controlling parts of the board test level (Boot sequence, test firmware execution etc..) through simple and available protocols (USB, RS232) as well as some of the switching to and from the instruments. The instruments (DMM, Scope etc..) and the inputs (Power, waveform generator) are set up manually. The instruments readings are collected by the operator (LED visual test, LCD reading, instruments reading etc..). The fixture interface (bed of nails) for these solutions is generally a HOLD-DOWN GATE mechanism (manual) and not vacuum actuated.

This type of solutions are suitable for low complexity/low density products and have the advantage of a lower cost because they use standard, non controllable instruments available at the Contract Manufacturer (DMM, Scope etc..). The level of automation is kept to a minimum to save cost and real estate (housing of the instruments, standard PC vs. industrial PC etc..). On the other hand, test time tend to be higher due to handling and results collection.

What is a semi-automated/table top functional tester?

As the instruments control, product complexity and volumes increase, the semi-automated solutions become necessary. The software is more specialized (Labview, LabWindows CVI, Teststand etc..) and the operator generally only handles the boards and starts the test. There might be some limited operator intervention (visual LED test, LCD reading, pushbuttons/switches etc..) but can be eliminated if the budget allows using LED sensors, LCD reading modules etc.. The fixture interface can be vacuum actuated and controlled automatically by the software. The instruments are software-controllable and are integrated inside the station and not accessible to the operator.

What is a fully-automated/rack mounted functional tester?

A fully automated functional test solution has all the advantages of a semi-automated solution plus the advantage of re-using the test station for different products. Only the fixture interface and the software application changes for each product. This solution generally uses industry ATE hardware standards (PXI,VXI,GPIB). It has also the advantage of being expandable by adding more modules if needed should new products need them.

Also depending on the real estate needed for the instruments, the fully automated solutions can also be implemented on a table top type station.

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