Demo and Bench Evaluation Systems
Receiving samples of a manufactured IC is a thrilling moment for any designer. For some ICs a simple breakout board and a stack of general-purpose lab equipment still suffices, but the complexity of many modern ICs calls for specialized test equipment and thoughtful design and preparation of a test bench well in advance. Test automation has become increasingly valuable as an aid to consistent implementation of sophisticated tests, and many companies turn to elaborate hardware and software systems, and employ specialists to write application code. We find it effective to create a custom FPGA-based test board for each type of device under test, to generate stimuli and to capture the resulting signals of interest. We typically complete the board and its firmware while the IC is still being fabricated, so that the bench evaluation is ready for use by the time samples arrive.