Ensuring functionality and reliability
Electronic assemblies inside the components of vehicles, machines and systems consist of numerous integrated and discrete digital and analogue circuits. The printed circuit boards (PCB) which are equipped with them represent the technical basis of all signal processing. The circuit solutions and components which are used are crucial for the functionality, reliability and longevity of each component. Errors in the design of circuits, the PCB layout or the selection or dimensioning of components lead to failures, malfunctions or safety risks, and must be identified and eliminated at an early stage in the project. Experienced DVE specialists carry out all of the necessary electronics tests using highly specialized equipment in collaboration with customers and certified laboratories.
Electronics test in detail
The basic properties of an electronic circuit are examined in characterisation tests with regard to
- Electrical parameters such as voltages, currents and impedances
- Time and frequency behaviour
- Performance and temperature behaviour
- Noise and signal distortion
against the existing requirements and calculated expected values. Variations in component values within the permitted tolerances are also taken into consideration when doing this.
Circuits are tested under extreme conditions in robustness and stress tests, some of which even go beyond the planned application area, e.g. with regard to temperatures, overloads, voltage peaks or interference signals from the environment. This is intended to ensure that the circuits in the target system function in all of the anticipated physical situations.
Insights into the reliability and the duration of the service life can be obtained from the electronics behaviour that is observed and measured during these tests.
Highly accelerated life testing (HALT) is a special form of these tests, and provides information about components which will be the first to fail in certain situations. This test procedure may be required for safety-critical applications, for example.
Strict requirements regarding the sensitivity and emission of electronic components apply in vehicles and industrial applications. In electromagnetic compatibility tests (EMC tests) it is determined whether electromagnetic interference via cables or radio waves makes electronics malfunction, or whether the electronics of the tested component itself are the source of this interference. Experienced EMC experts can also give electronics developers advice on optimizing circuitry, filtering and layouts in order to minimize the number of optimization loops in hardware development.
Component testing levels
Testing of individual components
The basic functions of individual components can be tested on the table top setup. Only a power supply and a few test signals are usually required for this. The behaviour of the component is observed by an experienced tester.
Component tests in a network
Some component functions only become visible and testable by exchanging information with other components. For this purpose, components are tested in a network. In the test setup, some of the components can be physically present or reproduced by means of simulation on a test computer. DVE takes over the development and assembly of test racks, the development and automation of test sequences and also residual bus simulations.
Testing in the target system
Components with an advanced level of maturity can be integrated into the target system and tested under real operating conditions. This includes vehicle tests on test benches, on test tracks or in road traffic. DVE takes care of the installation of components to be tested in test vehicles, updating components with the latest software and organizing and carrying out test drives.
In addition to the functional test, some components require the evaluation of certain physical or technical properties or behaviour under special environmental conditions. Examples of this are visual and acoustic characteristics, or the performance of component functions within a wide range of temperatures. DVE creates suitable test plans and carries out the tests at the OEM or Tier1 or in certified partner laboratories.