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FT-100a System

FT-100a Programmable Functional Tester


ft-100.jpg (55471 bytes)

The FT-100a is a complete stand-alone tester that can be programmed to functionally exercise your circuit board or assembly and monitor its response for proper operation.





♦ Fully Programmable ♦ Built-in Power Supplies for UUT ♦ USB Controller Option
♦ Digital & Analog I/O ♦ Real-time Clock/Calendar ♦ Battery-backed Program Memory
♦ Stand-Alone Operation ♦ RS-232 Serial Communications ♦ Built Tough!
♦ Backlit LCD Display ♦ YES-NO Pod for Operator Interaction ♦ Simple Operation
♦ Expandable I/O ♦ USB/SD Disk Drive ♦ Unlimited FREE Technical Support
♦ Easily Programmed ♦ Built-in Keyboard Interface ♦ Many More Features!

FT-100 Overview

The FT-100a is a programmable functional tester, capable of stimulating and monitoring digital and analog circuits or assemblies. Through its unique and simple programming language, the FT-100a provides virtually unlimited control of its outputs and extremely easy access to its inputs. Although the applications are almost limitless, the FT-100a is most commonly used for functionally testing digital and analog PC board assemblies. After connection of the digital and analog I/O lines to the unit under test, the FT-100a can simulate various operating environments and test for proper responses. Because the I/O is so easily controlled, the unit under test may be exercised in "worst-case" situations as well as the normal operating environment. This is all done in a fully automated manner, providing a very fast and comprehensive test, while requiring a very low skill level for test operation!

Test results may be handled in many different ways: displayed to the operator, hardcopy printout, stored on USB/SD disks, downloaded to another computer or network, etc.. The computational power of the FT-100a allows a very thorough analysis of test results, if desired.

Although the basic FT-100a unit comes equipped with considerable I/O capabilities, optional expansion modules are available when even more I/O is required. Expansion modules are independently housed, affording quick and simple interfacing. No hardware changes or configurations are required. All interaction with expansion modules is transparent to the operator.

FT-100 I/O Configuration

The FT-100a main unit should handle most of your functional test requirements. If more I/O capabilities are needed, external expansion modules may be added.  There are three connectors on the FT-100a for I/O interfacing.  All are IDC-type ribbon cable headers with latches for positive locking. Following is a breakdown of the I/O lines available in the FT-100a:

Power Supply Lines:

+5v. @1 amp
+12v. @1 amp
-12v. @.25 amp
Programmable Supply (0-10v.) @1 amp
Notes:  All power supply lines are overload protected with automatic resetting. The variable voltage supply line is software programmable with its own command.
Digital lines:

40 Digital Inputs- TTL compatible switching levels
40 Digital Outputs - Rail-to-rail output (0-5v.)
Notes:  Digital inputs overload protected to +50v/-35v.
External Trigger:

One external trigger line for one digital input port Notes:  Trigger Polarity is software programmable.  Latch status is software readable.
Analog lines:

8 Analog Inputs (0-10v. or +/-5v.) 12 bit resolution
7 Analog Outputs (0-10v. or +/-5v.)
       (4 outputs @12 bit resolution, 3 @8 bit)
Notes:  Analog Input lines overload protected to +/-66v.
Control Lines:

START/STOP - Start and stop the test program
WAIT/CONT - "Pause" a running program
RESET - Hardware reset
TRIG - External trigger line

FT-100 Hardware Interfacing

The first step in setting up the FT-100a for any test or control task is to establish the interface between the unit-under-test (UUT) and the FT-100a I/O connectors.  This interface may be done in many different ways, often by a simple cable or "interface box".  Y-tek offers an FT100 Connector PCB to assist in the interface to the UUT. The FT-100a comes with 30 inch cables with which to connect to the interface.  Even power supply voltages are provided in the FT-100a I/O interface.  All aspects of hardware interfacing are covered in detail in the FT-100a Operator's Manual.

FT-100 Programming

Initial program development for the FT-100a may be done using any simple word processor or text editor and loaded in as ASCII text.  Programs may be loaded through the serial communications port, or the built-in disk drive.   Since the disk drive is PC compatible, program development may even be done "off-line" on a PC compatible computer.

The simplicity and speed of programming the FT-100a is one of its more powerful features.  The programming language is much like BASIC, but the I/O commands are much easier to use.  While experience in some form of programming never hurts, programming the FT-100a does not require a software engineer, and is well within the grasp of inexperienced programmers (remember, help is as near as your phone, and it's free!)

Through the test program, outputs may be set, inputs read, and comparisons made to determine proper response.  When needed, the operator can be prompted by the LCD display, and reply using the YES-NO pod.  Test results may be displayed, stored, or sent to another serial device (computer, network, etc.).  With a keyboard attached, the operator may enter data directly (very useful for "serial number" or "test operator identification").

One of the more unique features of the FT-100a programming language is its ability to address inputs and outputs like variables.  This cuts through many of the problems associated with I/O boards installed in a PC.  Even with expansion modules attached, the FT-100a automatically "knows" the module configurations, allowing easy access to the extra I/O lines.  Configurations or set-up are never required!

Test Results and Data

The FT-100a is capable of acquiring and processing very large quantities of test data. Data may be:

  • Displayed to the operator - Using the built-in backlighted LCD display.
  • Printed as it is acquired - Producing a hardcopy printout of the data.
  • Sent out the serial communications port - To another computer or network, etc.
  • Stored on either the USB or SD disk media - Stored data is compatible with spreadsheets, word processors, SPC, etc..

Because of its ability to handle large quantities of data, the FT-100a is ideally suited for applications that require long-term monitoring, such as environmental and life testing.  Combined with the serial communications ability, the FT-100a can be very easily connected to ongoing Statistical Process Control systems.   The FT-100a could even be used as a stand-alone SPC data collection and analysis system.

Serial Communications

The serial communications port may be used for several purposes:u Serial Printer output

  • Terminal or Computer interface
  • Remote control of FT-100a Control of external test equipment (equipped with RS-232 interface)
  • Transferring Programs and Data

The FT-100a uses RS-232C at baud rates or 110 to 19.2K and standard cables for all serial communications. The manual clearly describes the cable requirements.

The FT-100a can communicate with almost any ASCII terminal or computer running a terminal emulation program (the computer does not need to be PC compatible).  Other equipment with RS-232 capabilities may be controlled and monitored by the FT-100a as well.  This allows the FT-100a to interface with, or control, other test equipment. An optional "add-on" USB interface is available which uses the RS-232 port.

An optional Serial Port expansion, model 1041, can be attached to allow up to four RS-232 lines.  This inexpensive option simply plugs into the Serial connector and may be added at any time.  The supporting software is already in place.

Direct Mode Operation

By connecting a standard PC-type keyboard to the FT-100a or connecting a data terminal or computer to the serial port, all functions of the FT-100a may be controlled remotely.  This makes short work of the initial check-out of the hardware interface and is very useful during test program development.  Commands can be executed, one at a time.  This allows setting outputs and reading inputs - right from your keyboard!

Using the FT100 for Troubleshooting

One of the most powerful uses for the direct mode of operation is for troubleshooting.  It's one thing to find defective assemblies, but someone must repair these units!  By using the direct mode of operation, inputs may be individually set up as desired and outputs observed for proper results - all from the keyboard!  This gives the repair technician an extremely powerful troubleshooting tool.  Design engineers can even specify test setups and required results that test technicians can follow.

Expansion Module Overview

If your particular test application requires more I/O capability than the FT-100a main unit can supply, Expansion Modules may be added to provide significantly more I/O capacity.  Each module is independently housed and connects to the expansion port (on the rear panel) in "daisy-chain" fashion.   Up to seven expansion modules may be added. Addition of expansion modules require no setup or configurations, and all operation is completely transparent.

With expansion modules, the FT-100a I/O capabilities can be increased to a maximum of:

  • 880 Digital Input lines (110 Digital Input Ports)
  • 880 Digital Output lines (110 Digital Output Ports)
  • 428 Analog Input lines
  • 105 Analog Output lines
  • 43 Externally Triggered Digital Input Ports (344 lines)

Several FT-100a's may be interconnected via their serial ports for truly unlimited I/O capacity!


The FT-100a Functional Tester has many applications, even beyond the more obvious functional testing duties.  Because of the ultra simple I/O addressing and interfacing, along with the data handling capabilities and the simple programming, the FT-100a is ideally suited for almost any control and monitoring task:


u  PC board subassembly testing - Verify functionality of subassemblies before installation at final assembly.
u  Cable testing - The FT-100a is less expensive than most commercial cable testers!  Plus, it can test active
                                       components that some "smart cables" are now using!

u  Environmental testing - Control, exercise, and monitor assembly being tested. Record and evaluate large
                                                         quantities of data while environmental conditions are changing.

u  IC component evaluation - Easily verify digital and analog component operation. PAL's, Gate arrays, etc.
u  Process control and monitoring - Ideally suited to control, monitor, and record almost any process.
u  Product Life testing - Control and monitor assembly under long-term test and record all data.
u  Data acquisition - Record vast amounts of data and analyze for given conditions.
u  Product Development testing - Verify product functions and operations before releasing new products.
u  R & D Experiments - Perform laborious and tedious control and monitoring; record and analyze results.
u  PC board continuity testing - Find defective "raw" PC boards before "stuffing". 


Parameter  Min.  Typ.  Max. Units Notes
Digital Inputs (including control lines)
    Maximum Input Voltage
    Input Range (min. high & max. low)
    Input Impedance

-35                         50
2.05                      0.8
44650               49350


Absolute max. ratings (not recommended operating)
HTCMOS input device (TTL levels)
47K ohm pull-up to 5v. on each line
Digital Outputs
    Output voltage:  (no load)
    Output Current:  Maximum per line
  0                          5
Each line has 220 ohm current limiting series resistor
Absolute max. ratings (not recommended operating)
Analog Inputs
    Maximum Voltage at Input
    Input Voltage Range (0-10v Range)
                                   (+/-5v Range)
    Input Current
    Overall Accuracy (+/-)
0                        10.0
-5.0                      5.0
               45        300
2.44                  20
Absolute max. ratings (not recommended operating)

Cumulative error (accuracy, non-linearity, offset, gain)
Analog Outputs
    Output Voltage Range (0-10v Range)
                                          (+/-5v Range)
    Output Current                    Source
    Overall Accuracy (+/-)    Outputs 1-4
                                             Outputs 5-8
0                        10.0
-5.0                      5.0
2.44                  20
39.1                  70

Absolute max. ratings (not recommended operating)

Cumulative error (accuracy, non-linearity, offset, gain)

Physical Specifications

Standard Accessories

Power Requirements: 90-130 VAC, 47-63 Hz.
Operating Temperature: 0 - 50 deg C
Storage Temperature: -30 to 70 deg C
Dimensions: 11.2"W x 3.75"H x 8.8"D
Unit Weight: 5.75 lbs.
Shipping Weight: 10 lbs.
1 - YES-NO pod (with 6 ft. cable)
1 - 30 inch 50-conductor interconnect cable
1 - 30 inch 40-conductor interconnect cable
1 - 30 inch 30-conductor interconnect cable
1 - Operator's Manual
1 - AC Power cord, 6 ft.


If, within two weeks of receiving the FT-100a, you find that it does not live up to your expectations, simply return the unit and all accessories in good condition, for a full, no hassle refund.

Not only do you get a full one-year parts and labor warranty, you also get unlimited technical support.  If you have any problems or questions about the FT-100a, technical or not, just pick up the phone and call for assistance.  Someone will be glad to help you. Customers are TOP priority at Y-tek!

If your FT-100a fails after the warranty period, you may send it to Y-tek for fast turnaround repair.  All IC's in the FT-100a are standard "off-the-shelf" integrated circuits that are readily available from many sources.  All interface IC's are socketed for accessibility and ease of service.