FT-100a Programmable Functional Tester
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:
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.
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:
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.
The serial communications port may be used for several purposes:u Serial Printer output
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:
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:
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.