End Testers for the PCB and Cable Harness of an IoT Product

Background

The client had developed a 2G remote controlling and monitoring device in order to cut costs related to the maintenance of its dynamic and digital billboards. As a next step, they wanted these devices to work flawlessly without any interruptions. The vision was to develop two end testers for it, one for the electronic board and one for the cable harness. These testers would be used at the end of the assembly line to flash the software on the electronic board and check if the product was performing as expected.

Challenges

The cable harness tester had to be simple and quick to operate. It could not influence the production price too much but also had to simulate real-world loads on all wires. This required testing multiple wires with up to 15A of current in spike mode and durability mode, as well as testing low-current signal wires. Heat management was also a major concern since the tester had to dissipate a lot of power.

The electronic board tester had a more complex process that started with scanning a QR code on the PCB and mounting the PCB on the tester. Following this, the tester would download the software to be flashed from a server, flash it, perform the necessary tests, store the results on the server and inform the operator if the board had passed or not. With this approach, the client also had traceability in place that helped to identify and understand problems faster.

Solution

Our team members took complete ownership of developing these two testers and worked closely with the customer’s development teams to complete the project. We assisted the client with the entire process: drafting the requirements, development of the tester hardware, embedded software and housings, and developing an integration plan for the production line.

At the request of the client, the hardware for the testers was based around one of the most popular DIY platform, Arduino. More specifically, the cable harness tester was based on Arduino Micro and the electronic board tester was based on the Arduino Due. All software was written in C++.

Results

The client was very pleased that they now have a consistent way of ensuring the quality of their device, and a traceability system in place for whenever an issue comes up.

Key features:

  • Hardware development of two end testers
  • Embedded software development
  • Storing of the test results for traceability

Industry: IoT

Technologies: C++, 2G, Arduino, JavaScript, HTML, PHP, MySQL

Tools: Eagle, Visual Studio, Git, Jira

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