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Automated High Volume Board Level Testing
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
2022 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The adaption of new space concepts has started to change the space sector. From traditionally slow, costly, and only a few products in a project to products developed cheaper and in comparably higher volumes. Beyond Gravity is developing a new type of space computer called the Constellation On Board Computer (cOBC), which is to be manufactured in higher volumes. However, the higher volumes pose several challenges when it comes to testing. This purpose of this thesis was to evaluate how to perform testing for high volumes with respect to space applications and establish a method for it. Specifically for testing at board level of the core module (CM) board within the cOBC.

Firstly, a review of test methods used in the industry to test Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) was conducted. It covered optical and x-ray inspection, in-circuit testing, boundary scan, burn-in, and functional testing - with their own respective strengths and weaknesses. Principles of testing in production were also reviewed leading onto a discussion of test coverage theory and its importance to testing. Just because a board passes a set of tests does not mean the board is without defects. The test has to be able to identify the defect in question. A method to generate test coverage from board data was presented, which was utilized in the development of a Test Coverage Application to simplify the calculation of test coverage. Statistical process control was also reviewed.

Interviews were conducted with Actia, an electronics manufacturing service provider, and Husqvarna, to see how they handled testing. Actia has a production line with optical inspection and x-ray which is complimented by the usage of an integrated test system running boundary scan, measurements, and other functional tests. It was built using Ingun for the test fixture and custom software. The department at Husqvarna focused on functional testing and they used Beckhoff EtherCAT modules connected to an application developed with LabVIEW.

To evaluate the boundary scan method, the XJTAG boundary scan suite was acquired. It was shown to be able to create a significant coverage, where the setup was aided by an user interface. Furthermore, an overview of existing hardware and software was performed to get an idea of what other tools are available that could be utilized for testing. The CM board was analyzed to determine how it should be adapted to be better suited for testing. Adding test points for to use be able to fully utilize boundary scan with the compatible component and putting tests points on one side of the board would be advised. From analysis and evaluation and inspired by the results from the interviews ultimately led to the proposal of a test system, both hardware and software. The proposed test system would connect with the board using bed of nails and enable boundary scan, in-circuit tests, and functional tests and support programming actions. A prototype test executive, or test runner, software was developed that could run a set of tests in a sequence. This functionality was exposed in a graphical interface to be used by an operator.

In conclusion, from the review of test coverage it was evident that utilizing a combination of test methodsis required to get adequate test coverage at board level. Performing optical inspection is essential, whether that be automated or not, for catching many defects. This is typically already a part of the manufacturing line. However, it is advised to extend the testing as it becomes more and more costly and complex the further down a possible defect is detected. Combining many test steps and actions in a united test system is a way to adapt it for high volume testing, as shown with the proposed test system as part of the report. Statistical process control is something applicable to control the process but due to the comparably low volumes that are within this space application it is arguable if it is worth the effort as the process does not have time to stabilize.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2022. , p. 146
Keywords [en]
Board level testing, Boundary scan, Automation, PCB test
National Category
Engineering and Technology Aerospace Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-93434OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-93434DiVA, id: diva2:1701060
External cooperation
Beyond Gravity
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 30 credits
Educational program
Space Engineering, master's level
Presentation
2022-09-14, Zoom, Zoom, Zoom, 14:15 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2022-10-13 Created: 2022-10-04 Last updated: 2022-10-14Bibliographically approved

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