Professional video gets connected, with help from XJTAG boundary scan

The engineering team at Vitec Videocom’s UK headquarters in Suffolk is responsible for producing embedded computing boards used in the company’s range of professional network video cameras and robotic cameras. Testing and programming the densely populated boards is entrusted to XJTAG boundary scan, throughout prototype development and full production.

The company’s engineers are using XJTAG boundary scan to develop tests for embedded computing boards used in the camera networking and control applications. These boards contain components such as processors, memories, FPGAs and analogue/digital converters, in various fine-pitch and BGA-style packages. Production boards are built, tested and programmed by Vitec’s contract manufacturing partner Prima using the XJRunner production-optimised boundary scan test station to augment Automatic Optical Inspection (AOI), functional testing, and flying probe testing.

Martin Smith, Electronics Design Engineer at Vitec Videocom, says the XJTAG system is well liked throughout the company’s engineering community. “The XJTAG environment is feature-rich, yet cohesive and easy to understand and use,” he says. Praising the intuitive user interface that simplifies setup while also helping engineers visualise the tests being applied and the responses produced by the board, he adds, “The system is clearly the result of joined-up thinking, focused on the needs of the user”.

He explains that XJTAG’s features are easily accessible, even for engineers with little experience of XJTAG, and that custom test scripts can be re-used allowing greater efficiency. The unique device-centric nature of XJTAG tests holds the key to this reusability, allowing a test script to be written once for a given component type and used again each time the component is used. Engineers can store tests written during development, and these can provide the basis for production tests thereby saving test-engineering time. The tests can also be re-used in subsequent projects, delivering further savings in time and costs. In addition, the high-level XJEase programming language simplifies the process of creating tests; by abstracting the user from low-level JTAG test vectors, it allows engineers to work effectively without having a detailed understanding of boundary scan testing.

XJTAG’s in-system device programming capability allows efficient programming of production boards built by Prima. XJTAG can program components such as Flash memories, CPLDs and configuration PROMs by running SVF or STAPL files or using XJEase scripts. In addition, the XJFlash or XJDirect modules, which are unique to XJTAG, allow ultra high-speed Flash programming.

Martin Smith continues, “Our favourite aspect is the ability to identify faults associated with individual BGA I/O pins, which is simply not possible with other test methods such as AOI and flying probe”. XJTAG pinpoints the exact location and shows the faulty connection graphically, which significantly increases the testability of boards containing BGA devices. “For boards in production, XJRunner provides a cost-effective solution for test and programming at the point of manufacture, which allows a high level of confidence in the assembly processes and helps reduce defects further down the production line.”

The XJTAG environment is feature-rich, yet cohesive and easy to understand and use. The system is clearly the result of joined-up thinking, focused on the needs of the user.

Our favourite aspect is the ability to identify faults associated with individual BGA I/O pins, which is simply not possible with other test methods such as AOI and flying probe. For boards in production, the XJRunner test station provides a cost-effective solution for test and programming at the point of manufacture, which allows a high level of confidence in the assembly processes and helps reduce defects further down the production line.

Martin Smith, Electronics Design Engineer – Vitec Videocom

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