Prolex Design


Automated Test Equipment (ATE) is computer controlled equipment that is used for testing the performance and functionality of electronic devices or even help in subassembly of electronic components, PCBs or PCAs. Furthermore, ATE is used to perform stress testing which involves minimal human interaction. ATE performs tests on a device, known as the Device Under Test (DUT). This device is very efficient in measuring the performance and evaluating the test results. DUT is physically connected to the ATE through a machine called a Handler or Prober and a customized Interface Test Adapter (ITA) that helps in familiarizing the ATE's resources to the DUT.

In order to measure the electrical energy used, one needs a power monitor. Power meters and panel meters come in handy, too. One of the mainstays of electronics engineering is electronic test equipment, also known as testgear or benchtop. Electronic test equipment is essential for measuring and sending signals and detecting responses of electronic devices which are being tested for functionality and quality.

When there is a failure in the receipt of the signal or the generation of response, it might mean that the Device Under Test (DUT) has a defect. By using electronic test equipment, this defect is detected and repaired, even before the DUT is used by the client. Therefore, electronic test equipment is essential for effective and efficient troubleshooting.

Kinds of Electronic Test Equipment

The basic equipment for electronic testing include measuring devices, stimulus sources, response analyzers and connectors. Power supplies, pulse generators, digital pattern generators and signal generators serve as sources of the stimulus. Ammeter, ohmmeter and voltmeter, as indicated by their names, measure current, resistance and voltage respectively.

These measurements can be also be recorded by a single equipment called multimeter. A multimeter may be a Volt-Ohm-Milliameter (VOM) and or a digital multimeter (DMM). The analysis of the response of the DUT is done through detection of changes in current, resistance and voltage over time by an oscilloscope or changes in frequency by frequency counter. Test probes are used to connect these devices to the DUT.

Electronic Testing

Panel meters are devices that measure and display information from other electronic testing equipment. There are two types: the analog panel meter and the digital panel meter.

The analog panel meter has two components: a dial and a mobile needle. The taut band analog meter utilizes a needle and two ribbons of metal to measure direct current (DC). The pivot and jewel analog meter uses a coil and a pointer, a supporting steel and two jewel bearings to measure alternating current (AC).

The digital meter is considered more accurate than the analog panel meter. It can measure and present different electrical data such as input signal, voltage, current and frequency. Most digital meters have multiple LEDs representing alphanumeric characters. This facilitates easier and more accurate reading of measurements, compared to the single needle or pointer present in analog panel meters.

In addition, digital meters can receive and display several inputs at the same time. They can display bar graphs, perform computations and record data with their multifunction capacity, it is no wonder they are replacing their analog counterparts, both in the market and in the industry.

Digital panel meters also have alarm options, calibration options and on/off controls that allow the user to start or stop a testing a circuit. Currently, many of these devices can now connect to a computer and to the Internet for data transfer or storage.