ACT Educational Series #2 – February 2016

ACT Educational Series #2 – February 2016

Manual vs. Automated Testing

There are two basic approaches to performing electrical tests: manual and automated. ACT offers both types of testing and would like to explain and compare them to help you understand the difference.

Manual testing involves the development of specific test circuits and the use of electronic bench equipment in its execution.  It is a labor intensive methodology that begins with the development of a test procedure, which is followed by an operator who performs the test manually.

Despite this limitation, manual testing is generally mandated by special test conditions.  For example, a special PCB would need to be developed in order to test high speed digital devices where transition times are in the sub nanosecond range. Other drivers would be high current, high voltage or high resistance, as these characteristics are typically beyond the normal capabilities of generalized testers.

Automatic testing, on the other hand, is implemented by running a part-specific algorithm on a general purpose test fixture.  The algorithm is basically the equivalent of a test procedure used in manual testing. The benefits of automatic testing are that (1) Execution is much faster, reducing labor costs and (2) The test is always done exactly the same way.

Automated testing is generally used for testing larger quantities of parts. The cost tradeoff is between estimating the cost to create a procedure and manually test versus the cost to develop a test algorithm and run on a machine. Manual testing is executed by highly trained personnel at significant expense.  Automated testing begins with highly trained personnel developing the algorithm, which is run by lab technicians at a lower labor rate.

Advanced Component Testing offers automated testing (including parametric, functional, burn-in, up screening, binning and more) as well as manual testing to both AC and DC characteristics. Read more about electrical testing with ACT.