A digital pattern generator would save my time when testing embedded systems
“Actually, we have found a small bias with the above results, as a significant part of our respondents are already Byte Paradigm’s customers. We think that having a preliminar experience with digital pattern generators or other of our products may explain the high number of respondents in favor of DPGs for speeding up the testing and debugging process.” – Says Frederic Leens at ByteParadigm.
This said, there is a remarkable split between the ones clearly agreeing with the above statement, and the ones ‘somewhat agreeing’ with it. We investigated the answers of these last ones -here is what they say:
Careful planning of the testing process is the key:
- DPG requires a connector on your board, where you can have a direct access to the signals you’ll want to stimulate.
- DPG is useful for stimulating I/Os with a predefined set of pattern / stimuli that need to be sent on a cycle-to-cycle basis. When it is tolerable to have unpredictable latencies, variable timing, and slow(er) operation – a microcontroller with a GPIO may be a better option. DPG is useful when you need a cycle-accurate data vector generation – for instance, when you would like to investigate a specific sequence that causes a bug or when you would like to reuse data from a simulation.
- DPG alone will not lead to a productivity increase if its counterpart is not carefully planned too: think about how you’ll observe the system’s response. Will an oscilloscope be enough? Do you need a logic analyzer or a data acquisition device? Will you have to write software with your board microcontroller?
- Efficiency with a DPG highly depends on its integration in the test plan. How will you run the DPG patterns? Do you need control from your test software? Do you need synchronization with your board software? With another equipment? Respondents in our surveys stressed the fact that a programmable DPG – or a DPG that you can control from PC software (C/C++, Visual Basic, Labview, Python, …) usually allow better testing plan since they can be synchronized with other equipment and software.
DPG is an essential piece of equipment for the digital embedded engineer, together with scopes, LA, data loggers/data acquisition devices, and software emulators in order to increase productivity during embedded system design.