The flexible modular design means that it can meet a range of need from relatively simple to highly complex. The benefits of the automation that the AVoptics auto test system can provide include:
- A significant reduction in the time (and hence cost) required for testing.
- Automatic detection and identification of routing errors.
- Automatic generation of test records incorporating harness identification information.
- Aiding traceability.
- Aiding fault finding.
- Reducing human error.
The AVoptics test system hardware has no user controls or displays, it is designed to be controlled remotely via Ethernet. This is done by transmitting commands in a human readable language reminiscent of Standard Commands for Programmable Instruments (SCPI). While the SCPI like language provides a flexible means to control the test system, using it requires a level of expertise. To simplify use of the test system, software tools have been developed that present a simple user interface, deal with the Ethernet communications and translate the users’ input into suitable command sequences. Again, a flexible approach has been adopted by placing the controlling routines into a library that is (largely) separate from the user interface. This allows multiple user interfaces to be designed, potentially including customers’ own designs.
While the automated testing procedures provide a means to rapidly execute well defined tests, the AVoptics test system can also be used as a general diagnostic tool. It can be thought of as an array of light sources and power meters, each of which can be controlled individually. Not only can the light sources be switched on and off at will, but pulse width modulation allows their average output power to be adjusted over a range of more than 20 dB. In addition a low frequency digital modulation can be applied to the output. Typically, the power meters are designed to be operated at a wavelength matched to the system’s light sources. However, if required, the power meters can be calibrated over a range of wavelengths and the operation point can then be adjusted as required.