Legacy System Update for Test Board

Highlights

PSA developed a custom board to perform testing of specialized railroad equipment using LabVIEW. It was necessary to replace outdated hardware used for manual testing with a new fully automated testing solution. This minimized the amount of manual testing required and simplified the testing process for the operator.

Challenge

Our railway Customer had an obligation to perform 100% testing coverage of critical train control equipment. Our client had a legacy solution that required manual testing and hardware no longer available on the market, and needed a solution to provide automated testing using LabVIEW with quick turnaround time. The key project objective for the end Customer, Long Island Railroad, was to enhance safety and continuity of train operations through a sustainable supply of spare equipment ready for immediate use. 


Since Railway is an essential, heavily regulated industry, all solutions used in the project had to meet a number of strict requirements.

During the development phase, we found out that some of the equipment could not be tested in the initially planned way.

Our client had a very large range of PCB modules that required testing. However, some of them were released decades ago and required special test equipment that was no longer available or supported. In addition, most of the Customer's tests were performed on their own test stations with the LabVIEW environment.

Due to their technical features, the old PCB boards had been tested with an outdated device for testing – Fluke 9010A Micro-System Troubleshooter, which was no longer produced. It was impossible to replace with the existing hardware, because it emulated the operation of the processor (writing and reading in/from the system bus).


Thus, it was necessary to find a unique solution that would allow replacing the missing test equipment and using the Customer's existing testing stations with LabVIEW.

Solution

To solve this problem, PSA engineers decided to analyze the circuit design of the tested PCB boards and develop their own device for solving testing problems on the Customer's equipment. The problem was that the PCB board under test required connection to the processor socket (DIP40), and at the same time to the edge connectors. We developed a design variant that solved these tasks simultaneously. The use of the card module format with a socket connector allowed us to minimize the configuration of the test equipment.

Development Included

  • Analysis of old tests and their translation into test sequences.
  • Analysis of circuit design of the tested PCB board and preparation of a test plan.
  • Device design development.
  • Block diagram development.
  • Development of the electrical circuit.
  • Development of the PCB.
  • Device firmware development.
  • Creating the test interface in LabVIEW.

Block Diagram

Block Diagram

LabVIEW Examples

LabVIEW Examples
Example of Interaction Between Test Fixture and Host Machine

Technology Breakdown

Industry
Project size
  • 4 Team members
Duration
  • 12 Weeks

Customer Benefits

In a short period of time, the Customer solved the problem of testing and at the same time received a low-cost solution that is compatible with the existing equipment. If necessary, this device can be manufactured by any electronics manufacturer, which allows the customer to carry out a long period for maintenance of this solution.

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