Original Date: 05/01/2000
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : In-Circuit Test
Northrop Grumman Defensive Systems Division’s (DSD’s) development process for In-Circuit Tests (ICTs) has evolved to provide improved test performance while reducing manual labor requirements. As expected, testing has migrated from the use of product-specific dedicated test equipment to automated and semi-automated capabilities. Additionally, the process utilizes compiled libraries of automated test routines. The sharing of these test routines between functional and ICT equipment has proven to further enhance savings in both schedule and labor. Faults normally found in final tests can be identified before labor is added to install the circuit card assembly (CCA) into the final assembly.
The company’s current practices are derived from component specifications including specified pin assignments (e.g., power, input, output, bi-directional). Software automatically makes pin assignments for non-standard parts in a rapid and efficient manner. Peripheral benefits have included improvements in fixture development time, data entry errors, and required fixture modifications. Clearly, the automation of repetitive tasks has been the principal contributor to labor reduction. The specific recognition of duplication between functional and ICTing appreciably aided this feature. Previously, the conduct of ICT development varied from minutes to hours as a function of circuit complexity. Currently, such tests can confidently be planned and conducted within minutes, despite a significant increase in the average circuit complexity (e.g., total components, interconnects). Additionally, a proactive approach is in process to significantly reduce current ICT development time.
Northrop Grumman DSD’s move from stand-alone functional test equipment to ICTs contributed to better test coverage and a decrease in test development costs. Full implementation of this provision is expected to improve development costs, identify defects earlier, aid identification of field return faults, and improve fault isolation capabilities.
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