Update driver software free to expand hardware digital test capabilities

By Control Engineering Staff October 18, 2005

Digital test engineers now can use the new National Instruments NI-HSDIO 1.4 driver software with NI high-speed digital devices to perform time-critical digital test applications, such as bit error rate testing (BERT), stimulus response testing, and pass/fail manufacturing tests.

The new driver is available as a free update and adds key features to existing NI 6552 and NI 6551 digital waveform generator/analyzers. New features include cycle-to-cycle tristate for bidirectional communication and hardware comparison for stimulus response applications. These features make the NI 655-series devices ideal for digital test applications in the semiconductor and communications industries, NI says.

Engineers can use the cycle-to-cycle tristate feature of the new driver software to perform true bidirectional communication for testing the latest electronics and communication buses, such as an I2C bus. With cycle-to-cycle tristate, engineers can drive data to the device under test (DUT) in one clock cycle and then acquire data from the DUT immediately on the next clock cycle. The cycle-to-cycle tristate gives engineers the option of placing an output channel into a high-impedance, or high-Z state, on a per-cycle basis, explains NI.

The hardware comparison feature addresses applications where engineers and designers historically had to use a CPU-intensive software solution to compare response data to expected data for applications such as BERT and stimulus response. With this feature, engineers can perform hardware-timed comparison of acquired response data to an expected waveform, which decreases development and execution time, NI says. Engineers can capture and store complete error information for basic pass/fail decisions or detailed error analysis.

–Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering , MHoske@cfemedia.com