Fundamentals of Building a Test System

Defining a test strategy that aligns with your desired business outcomes and planning your test-system investments are both critical to reducing cost, optimizing your test-investment life cycle, and maximizing product development and manufacturing efficiency. Learn how to build test systems—including test strategies, best practices, and design tradeoffs—from start to finish.


Selecting Instrumentation

Picking the right tool for the job isn’t always easy—especially when you’re navigating and evaluating trade-offs in building and managing your test system. This guide describes the major instrument categories and common selection criteria to help you narrow down the best choices for your applications.

Switching and Multiplexing

Many automated test applications require routing signals to a variety of instruments and DUTs. Often, the best way to address this is to implement a network of switches that routes signals between the instrumentation and the DUTs. Use this Switching and Multiplexing Guide to ensure that you’re creating a successful automated functional test system.

System Power Infrastructure

Powering an automated test system or automated test equipment (ATE) is different from powering a PC or lamp on your desk. Simplify it by choosing the right components and making the right design decisions using power-layout and equipment-selection best practices. This guide helps you plan your test system power layout with step-by-step processes and considerations.

Rack Layout and Thermal Proofing

Often overlooked, thermals can impact measurement quality and measurement system reliability. Learn basic design approaches and explore thermal modeling tools for designing a rack measurement system.

Mass Interconnect and Fixturing

A mass interconnect system is designed so that you easily can connect a large number of signals either from or to a DUT or DUT fixture. Learn how to choose a suitable mass interconnect system and design an appropriate fixture that seamlessly connects your DUTs to the rest of your test system.

Software Architecture and Test Sequencing

A powerful, robust test software architecture can help you achieve more, faster. Evaluate how different architecture choices can impact your results, and learn how to effectively divide responsibilities for successful test-system development and maintenance. Lay the foundation for a strong, flexible test system software stack.

Hardware and Measurement Abstraction Layers

Hardware and measurement abstraction layers are effective design patterns that make test software highly adaptable. Rather than employ device-specific code modules in a test sequence, you can use abstraction layers to decouple measurement types and instrument-specific drivers from the test sequence. Learn how you can use these frameworks to drastically reduce development time and ownership cost over the lifetime of your test system.

Configuration and Test Data Management

Before deploying your test system, you should plan to manage its configurations, test results, and data. Minimize unplanned downtime and bad test data by managing both hardware and software configurations. Improve efficiency and reliability by considering various test code deployment strategies. And turn your test data into actionable and impactful insights.

Designing for Maintainability

Maintainability lowers test-system ownership cost and increases peak performance across the life cycle. Designing your system for maintainability from the ground up and implementing a proper maintenance program helps you manage costs and reduce risk of expensive unplanned downtime. Explore top design considerations to keep your system operating correctly and get it working again quickly if it stops.

Modeling Total Cost of Ownership

Total cost of ownership (TCO) is so much more than simply test-system capital—it encompasses people and processes. Understanding your total cost of test is essential to optimize your test program, turning it from a cost center into a competitive advantage. Learn how to perform a TCO evaluation to create and refine your test strategy.