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How to Automate Benchtop Test Setups

Typical Benchtop Test Setup

A benchtop test setup refers to an assembly of various electronic testing and measurement equipment, all arranged on a workbench or similar surface, used primarily for designing, debugging, and testing electronic circuits and devices. This setup is a staple in environments such as electronics laboratories, engineering workshops, and R&D departments.

Key components of a typical benchtop test setup include:

  1. Test Article: The primary device or circuit under examination. This could be anything from a simple resistor to a complex printed circuit board (PCB).

  2. Multimeter: A versatile instrument used to measure voltage, current, resistance, and sometimes other parameters like capacitance and temperature. Digital multimeters (DMMs) are common due to their precision and ease of reading.

  3. Oscilloscope: Essential for visualizing electronic signals. It displays voltage signals as waveforms, revealing details like amplitude, frequency, noise, and other signal characteristics.

  4. Power Supplies: These provide controlled and stable DC (Direct Current) or AC (Alternating Current) power to the circuit under test. They often have adjustable voltage and current settings.

  5. Function Generator: Used to create various types of electrical waveforms (sine, square, triangular, etc.) over a wide range of frequencies. Useful for testing response and behavior of circuits.

  6. And any other necessary test equipment

Challenges with Manual Testing

One of the primary challenges of manual testing in a benchtop setup is the need for meticulous setting and adjustment of every piece of test equipment. Each device, be it a multimeter, oscilloscope, or power supply, requires manual configuration to the specific requirements of the test. This process can be time-consuming and prone to human error, as it demands precise calibration and attention to detail. Furthermore, during the testing phase, the technician must constantly monitor and manually record the readings from these instruments. This task is not only tedious but also increases the likelihood of inaccuracies in data recording. For instance, transcribing multimeter readings or capturing transient phenomena from an oscilloscope screen can lead to errors or omissions, particularly during lengthy or complex testing procedures. The manual compilation of these readings into a test report further compounds the potential for errors. This labor-intensive process hampers efficiency and can significantly slow down the overall testing workflow, emphasizing the need for automated solutions to enhance accuracy, reduce human error, and streamline the testing process.

Automating Your Benchtop Tests

Now let's look how can you can automate benchtop tests with FunTEST where you can control and command all your test equipment, create automated test sequences and generate test reports.

Controlling Test Equipment

FunTest elevates the efficiency and effectiveness of test equipment management by offering centralized control from a single interface. Its advanced capability to automatically recognize connected test equipment streamlines the setup process significantly. Users can effortlessly send commands, receive measurement data, and even capture oscilloscope screens, all through FunTest's intuitive platform.

Creating Automated Test Sequences

After you have everything connected and integrated you can create automated test sequences to conduct your testing.

One of the most striking features of FunTest is its simple yet powerful editor, which allows users to create automated test sequences without any programming knowledge. This functionality enables the automation of entire testing processes, such as activating power supplies, measuring voltages, and configuring instrument settings like measurement type and range. By automating these steps, FunTest drastically reduces the time spent on repetitive tasks and eliminates the need for manual configuration of each instrument, enhancing both precision and productivity.

Generating Test Reports

Furthermore, FunTest brings a new level of sophistication to testing procedures with its ability to define specific pass and fail criteria within the test sequences. This feature allows for immediate assessment of test results, facilitating quicker decision-making during the testing process. The culmination of this automation is the generation of comprehensive test reports. FunTest automatically compiles the collected data and analysis into well-organized reports, thereby eliminating the tedious and error-prone task of manual post-processing and report writing. This not only saves valuable time but also ensures a higher level of accuracy and consistency in test documentation.

See it in action!

How to get even more out of your benchtop setup

Building on the capabilities of automation in benchtop testing, implementing our product, the Matrix Box, takes the efficiency and scope of testing to the next level. The Matrix Box is an automated test switching system designed to seamlessly switch signals between the test equipment and the test article. This innovative solution enables access to hundreds of test points on the test article without the need for manual reconnection. By integrating the Matrix Box into the testing setup, users can automate a substantial portion of the testing process that previously required manual intervention. This system not only saves considerable time but also reduces the risk of connection errors, ensuring a more accurate and efficient testing procedure. The combination of FunTest software and the Matrix Box offers a comprehensive solution, significantly enhancing the automation and effectiveness of benchtop testing.

By automating the control of test equipment and signal switching, these tools collectively enhance the efficiency, accuracy, and scope of testing procedures. The shift from manual to automated systems not only streamlines the testing process but also minimizes human error and increases productivity. With these innovations, engineers and technicians can conduct more complex and comprehensive tests with ease, paving the way for faster development and higher quality in electronic product testing.

Contact us today to get started!

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