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An A.T.E. Solutions, Inc. Internet Publication
Volume 10 Number 20 November 1, 2006

The Testability Director Version 3.2



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This Issue's Feature Articles

When to Choose VXI Based Instruments

 By:  Tom Sarfi
Business Development Mngr at VXI Technology, Inc. and 
Current VXIbus Consortium President

Product/Service Focus

This issue's focus is VXIbus Products
You can view and add to our existing list of Test Products/Services, Test Literature, Test Definitions, Test Vendors, containing "VXI"

What's New in Test
  11/1/2006 Winner named at iPod Drawing at the International Test Conference
  10/27/2006 Magma Posts $12.4 million Net Loss
  10/27/2006 Prism selects XJTAG to speed debug and test of complex BGA-populated circuits
  10/26/2006 Agilent announces organizational changes
  10/25/2006 KLA-Tencor Reports Fiscal Q1 Rev Up 9% Year to Year
  10/25/2006 Test Systems Strategies Inc. (TSSI) touts Toshiba agreement
  10/24/2006 Agilent Technologies offers right-to-use licenses for placing test targets on PCB signal traces
  10/24/2006 LogicVision Reports Third Quarter 2006 Financial Results
  10/24/2006 Mentor says Summit acquisition makes ESL "real"
  10/23/2006 LogicVision Announces Expanded Use of Embedded Test Solutions
  10/23/2006 Magma and Virage Logic Collaborate on a Complete RTL-to-GDSII Flow
  10/23/2006 Semiconductor Test Consortium (STC) Expands to Entire Test Process
  10/23/2006 Synopsys and Virage Logic Collaborate to Deliver Embedded Memory Test
  10/20/2006 Apple turns iPod into iWorm that infects Windows PC
  10/19/2006 IC firms collaborate with Synopsys to validate new ATPG tech
  10/19/2006 LeCroy inks acquisition agreement with Catalyst Enterprises
  10/19/2006 Teradyne announces Q3 2006 results
  10/18/2006 Bennetts retires, transfers DFT services to CloverTest
  10/17/2006 Synopsys serves subpoena to Mentor over PTO request
  10/16/2006 HP Appoints New Ethics Chief
  10/16/2006 phoenix|x-ray wins Global Technology Award 2006
Application Notes
  10/17/2006 Debugging an automotive CAN bus
  10/16/2006 Collaboration integrates boundary scan with flying prober
  10/26/2006 IEST updates handbook on data acquisition and analysis
Magazine Articles
  10/28/2006 Milestones That Mattered: Software enables virtual instrumentation
  10/26/2006 Downlink enables remote boundary-scan tests
  10/26/2006 Reducing The Design Impact Of DFT In The Nanometer Era
  10/20/2006 Finally, Salaries Are Rising Again - 2006 Job Data
  10/16/2006 Are engineers diligent or just foolish?
  10/16/2006 DFT rule checkers glue design together
Presentations and Web Seminar Archives
  10/18/2006 Testing for EMC Compliance: Approaches and Techniques
Product Releases
  10/30/2006 LogicVision tool plumbs test data for clues on IC yields
  10/26/2006 Boundary Scan Software Platform SYSTEM CASCON™ with next Generation User Interface
  10/26/2006 Signal Forge adds test functions to signal generators
  10/26/2006 WiMAX Test Options Enhance Handheld Base Station Tester
  10/26/2006 YESTech announces new YTX-6000 automated x-ray inspection system
  10/25/2006 New tool bundles integrate design and verification
  10/25/2006 TestKompress, YieldAssist get upgrades
  10/24/2006 ARM and Cadence Collaborate on Testability Requirements of ARM Partners With Encounter Test
  10/24/2006 ARM develops memory BIST solution
  10/24/2006 ATEasy 6.0 Download Available
  10/24/2006 Azimuth
  10/24/2006 Intellitech announces support for Xilinx Virtex 4 SERDES tests in its Eclipse products
  10/24/2006 Intellitech integrates ASSET Intertech ScanWorks with its Eclipse 1149.1/JTAG products
  10/24/2006 Scan Test-Pattern Compressor Sports Upgrades
  10/24/2006 Synopsys Links Test, Yield Tools for Faster Yield Ramp
  10/23/2006 JTAG Technologies Delivers 1149.6 Testing with Diagnostics
  10/23/2006 Streamlined Software Interface for Production Boundary-Scan Testing
  10/19/2006 Magma affirms design for test strategy
  10/18/2006 GOEPEL electronic presents new low-cost Controller for JTAG/Boundary Scan
  10/18/2006 ProbeStar introduces the MATE series of switching solutions
  10/17/2006 Industry's First Lab Quality Handheld RF Power Meter
  10/17/2006 LXI Wired Trigger Bus (WTB) accessories simplify LXI test setups
  10/16/2006 Globetech Solutions Announces STIL Verifier
  10/16/2006 Pickering Interfaces Introduces New LXI Microwave Switching Platform
  10/16/2006 Spectrum analyzer captures transient RF behavior
Web postings
  10/26/2006 For Truth In Testing, Try An Independent Lab
  10/25/2006 ITC: Behind Closed Doors with Test Experts
  10/25/2006 Test and the fabless company
  10/17/2006 How to Minimize Errors for Low-Current Measurements
  10/16/2006 How to Select a Tool for Testability Analysis and Scan Insertion
When to Choose VXI Based Instruments

Tom Sarfi
Business Development Mngr at VXI Technology, Inc. 
Current President of the VXIbus Consortium

The first VXIbus specification was introduced to the test and measurement community in 1987 and was initially developed to provide a card-based instrumentation platform for applications that required high density and high performance.  The platform continues to thrive today by leveraging off the original specifications which define the necessary physical (real estate/cooling) and electrical standards for demanding applications and has established itself as the ‘time-tested bus you can trust’ for requirements that must be supported in excess of ten-fifteen years.  

The systems base for which VXI is optimally designed, in addition to those that require density and performance, is that which demands the stability over time that can only be provided by a true instrumentation bus.   The VXIbus platform has shown a remarkable ability to adapt to the latest communication bus structures and improve on the original specifications, while maintaining backward compatibility with product that was first released 19 years ago.  The current revision of specifications (VXI 3.0) has increased the backplane speed to 160 MB/s.  

Additionally, through the introduction of various interfaces to a VXI mainframe, users can communicate to the instruments via various open-communication links including GPIB, Firewire, USB and most recently, Gigabit Ethernet.  This versatility and adherence to backward compatibility has allowed system designers to utilize the latest advances in technology, while maintaining existing investment.  Bridge interfaces have also been introduced on the VXI platform that allow system designers to seamlessly integrate other platforms like LXI with VXI in hybrid systems.  A VXI-LXI bridge interface (slot 0) provides a mechanism through which a VXI mainframe and instruments become part of an LXI network.  It is for these reasons that system implementations continue to make use of the VXI architecture in the original target market of military and aerospace, as well as the automotive, telecommunications and semiconductor industries.  

The physical layout of VXI modules makes it the preferred solution for higher performance applications in both test and data acquisition application spaces.  For example, the center spacing and card depth allow for the use of more rugged and ergonomically-friendly connectors in single-slot modules and also for more robust components.  This is particularly evident in signal switching, the heart of virtually every ATE, where recent advancements in technology allow for very high channel counts of high-voltage and high-current relays with densities that are unmatched in any other platform.  Physical layout also plays a critical role in data acquisition applications where signal conditioning for sensors such as strain gages, thermocouples and accelerometers can be integrated into the module without sacrificing density or performance.

One of the most important aspects of the success of the VXI platform and why it continues to thrive is that significant investment is being made by consortium members in the form of major product introductions.  Suppliers continue to introduce new cutting edge products to address today’s test and measurement challenges.  Examples of these are new synthetic dynamic signal analyzers that are considered the ‘gold-standard’ for modal and rotational applications.  A commitment to sustaining engineering and designing out component obsolescence that inevitably occurs in a platform that has a 19-year track record has ensured that test programs continue to execute without significant engineering investment by the user.

The VXIbus has a 19-year track record of supplying high-performance and high-density instrumentation to the test and measurement and data acquisition markets.  Its versatility, ability to adapt and integrate the latest technologies, and adherence to backward compatibility has provided a combination of stability and forward looking technology to the customer base for which the platform was originally designed.  New product introductions by a number of suppliers, and new system installations that heavily rely on the VXIbus architecture ensure that the platform will thrive well into the future making it the ‘time-tested bus you can trust’.

Next Issue's Product/Service Focus
In our next issue of Product/Service Focus we will cover All/PXI. You can add or upgrade a listing before the next issue comes out.

If you would like to include an exclusive article on how to best select All/PXI, please contact

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New Definitions
New terms added to the Test Definition section:
Double Data Rate Synchrounous Dynamic Random Accses Memory
Serializer / Deserializer
Utopia Bus
We now have 2238 test terms in our Test Definition section.

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