NOTE: this page discusses a product that is currently in development. Features and specifications listed here are subject to change.
Frequently Asked Question: "Why does the testQube 5220A offer independent quad site testing?"
Multi-site testing was something that was requested by various customers. Modern mixed-signal ICs cover a huge range of applications. Lynium has been involved in the testing of power meter ICs that could easily require a day to complete a single test. In addition, we've tested multiple ADCs in large system-on-a-chip (SOC) integrate circuits (ICs) where test coverage over all permutations of operation was impossible in any reasonable period of time.
Lynium was already familiar with the concept of providing the same digital and analog stimulus to multiple devices, at the same time, to decrease the test time per device. Using this technique, multiple devices can be tested, but they must be same type of device, they must be tested at the same time, and they must be tested in exactly the same way. This approach is fairly common when testing multiple devices on large, expensive production mixed-signal test systems. These systems cost a great deal of money to purchase, support, and operate so testing as many devices as possible in the shortest amount of time makes sense. This was one approach that was considered for the testQube 5220A.
During the development of various test heads, Lynium kept running into issues with too few resources even though only a single device was being tested. Because of that experience, we decided it was desirable to have a significant number of resources on the testQube. It's not difficult to include additional circuitry if there's plenty of power, room, and control resources available to operate it, particularly if it's the same as circuitry that's already there. As we looked into it, we realized it would be relatively easy to simply duplicate all of the resources four times. That provided a tremendous amount of resources for a single device or the option of testing up to four devices.
Another interesting reason shows how small our World has become. Validation and debugging of ICs is often performed by engineers many thousands of miles away from the test system. This often occurs while employees at the location of the test system are at home asleep. Having four devices- under-test (DUTs) to "play with" during this overnight period can greatly accelerate the debug and validation phase of IC testing.
For the most part, the testing of four mixed-signal ICs is completely independent on the testQube. In those cases where a single resource is used for multiple DUTs, then that resource must be shared. During that time, testing on other devices under test (DUTs) may have to wait for the resource. One example of this is that the communication path between the PC software and the testQube is a single resource. Thus, the downloading of data from one quadrant precludes the downloading of data from any other quadrant. The only solution to that problem would be to have one computer per quadrant and each quadrant would have its own communication path.
In the end, we think we came up with a reasonable compromise of test resources, test time, complexity, and cost. The solution is much cheaper than buying four single site testQubes yet offers the flexibility of testing a single, very demanding mixed-signal IC should that need arise.