IQ Introduces the Prodigy Suite of Automatic In-System Microcontroller Device Programmers

May 30, 2017

Intrinsic Quality is pleased to announce several new options for the programming of flash devices for your manufacturing process: IQ’s Suite of highly flexible Prodigy Microcontroller Programming Stations, including IQ’s new entry level Prodigy In-System Programmer; and the complete line of PC-based Prodigy and Paragon models.

It’s time to reimagine your programming process. Are your techs randomly shuffling your random and obsolete computers and peripherals to create a variety of programming tools for a solitary task in your test process? IQ’s Prodigy Suite has affordable solutions to upgrade your flash programming for the long term. All our micocontroller device programmers feature IQ’s brilliant design integrated with SMH’s FlashRunner in-system programmers.

SMH IQ Prodigy1011 pngOur Prodigy 1011 is a stand-alone microcontroller based programmer (no well) that is set up for an external harness or fixture. The 1011 is our response to the need for an affordable production ready, high speed, entry level programming station. Based on the SMH FlashRunner FR01ENG, Prodigy 1011 is the perfect answer to low volume high mix manufacturers who previously could not justify a commercial programming station. The Prodigy 1011 is remarkably capabable of adapting to multiple devices, protocols and various vendors for long-term functionality. Adaptability: Auto selection of part number is based on a 5 bit ID provided by the fixture or ATE OR for higher volume applications, the 1011 connects readily to simple interchangeable bed of nail fixtures. In ATE applications, Prodigy easily connects to the ATE fixture with auto detect remote operation. Prodigy 1011’s  throughput is impressive, as production can move rapidly with minimized operator error and lightning fast programming times. View all of IQ’s Prodigy 1011 features here.

ProdigyBlog5-30 IQ‘s Prodigy 2000 single or dual well programmer stations are desogmed fpr easo;u interchangeable fixtures and include Intrinsic Quality‘s expert device programming services. All programming parameters are included as firmware revision, power, and signal levels are automatically verified and set up. The Prodigy 2111 and further models are available in an amazing variety of configurations that include single or dual well and multiple channel capabilities. For more information, visit our Prodigy Models detail page.

Harnessing the power of flash programming with IQ‘s innovative FlashRunner based Universal Flash Programmer station is the right decision for your manufacturing process.  

IQ’s Paragon 3118: High Speed PC based Production Device Programmer

Paragon 3118 and additional models include the cutting edge technology of SMH’s FlashRunner 2.0 ISP programmer for blistering speed and renowned programming accuracy.

Like the Prodigy, these microcontroller programmers are flash based PC units with dual or single well configurations and a variety of multiple channel options.

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Intrinsic Quality: USA Distributor for the FlashRunner In-System Programmer

February 11, 2015

FlashRunner Microcontroller ProgrammingIntrinsic Quality is pleased to be the Midwest’s leading distributor of SMH’s FlashRunner – A Revolutionary, Universal, Production In-System Flash Programmer.  FlashRunner answers the call for a Universal In-System Programmer that supports multiple microcontroller device manufacturers.  You’re looking for a fast and reliable way to program your devices that ensures data integrity and uninterrupted production.  With In-Circuit or In-System Programming, Flashrunner has answered that call and superceded traditional on-socket or pre-programmed programmable devices with several noteworthy advantages.

 

 

FlashRunner’s attributes:

  • Seamless integration into your ATE and Fixtures
  • On-board programming of microcontrollers, CPLDs, EEPROM and flash devices
  • Economical – lowers manufacturing and testing costs
  • Compatible with Agilent, Teradyne, SPEA, Genrad and other device manufacturers
  • Effortless programming
  • Allows for last minute reprogramming
  • Flexible in-circuit testing
  • Multiple device programming on single or multiple boards in a panel assembly
  • Firmware updates are smoothly integrated without additional cost
  • Priced starting from $1,900

There are several different FlashRunner Series from which to choose that are easily integrated into your production environment adapting to various ATE, ICT and other test fixtures.

For more information about FlashRunner, contact Intrinsic Quality today:

(847)258-5598      or     info@intrinsicquality.com

 

 

 


High Praise from a Major OEM

February 5, 2015

Intrinsic Quality recently delivered a custom engineered test fixture to a major OEM. During our quality control meeting, we asked the Vice President “What is Your Impression of IQ?”. His response wasn’t unexpected, after all, we know our standards for quality engineering are paramount, but we were happy to hear his high praise: “our perception of Intrinsic Quality is that you make darn good fixtures”.

Intrinsic Quality ICT 2Custom FlashRunner Fixture

While this test fixture project wasn’t unusual for IQ, our challenge was to facilitate the placement and firmware programming of a 4 pin connector consumer control within a conveyor assembly station. IQ engineered a quick mount fixture that takes the operator just a few seconds to click the consumer control module into place, lower the connector cover and load the firmware. The operator then places the loaded consumer control module into the System Control Panel on conveyor. Our IQ Test Fixture incorporated FlashRunner™ a high-performance, standalone In-System Programmer which instantly loaded the OEM’s firmware. Our achievement in this fixture was remarkable – we had created a fixture where in one smooth motion the operator could place the component into the System Control Panel. So successful that each operator is now able to operate two IQ test fixtures simultaneously and maintain the conveyor assembly’s speed. With IQ’s fixture this OEM was able to boost their manufacture to over 25000 units a day.

Every company is striving to improve its reputation with their customers.  Hearing acknowledgement of your reputation feels like you’ve just knocked one out of the park.  But we asked that question also to explore other ways we might serve this OEM  – Yes, we make darn good test fixtures but we also take pride in the quality of our test executive, reliable measurement software, and test data management.  Call IQ today at 847-258-5598  and let’s talk about your ATE needs.        


Intrinsic Quality’s Flash Programming Station – IQPS Revealed

September 25, 2014

Flexible Parallel Programming Fits High Volume Manufacturing

Intrinsic Quality’s Flash Programming Station can substantially reduce manufacturing costs.

Background

Medium to high volume manufactures are pressed to reduce manufacturing costs while retaining maximum flexibility.  One process step in manufacturing a microcontroller based printed circuit board assembly is getting correct firmware into the flash memory of the microcontroller.  There are several options for this so called flashing of the micro, each with advantages and disadvantages.

 

One of the process techniques often selected is In System Programming (ISP).  ISP refers to flashing the micro after it has been assembled onto its circuit board.  Using ISP has the advantage of last minute programming which provides desired flexibility.  ISP also eliminates the extra cost of buying preprogrammed parts.  ISP can be integrated into the production process either by adding the programming to a production tester or adding a separate process step.

 

When production volumes increase, the beat rate, takt of the production line becomes a critical issue.  Often production test (ICT or Functional) struggles to keep pace with a balanced line.  Flashing a sizeable file into the micro can be a time consuming process, so adding the programming time to already stressed production testers spells trouble.

 

Flash Programming Station Features:

Having a separate process step requires a dedicated programming station.  The features necessary at this station have a commonality with features at each of the manufacturing steps.

  • Setup and change-over should be quickly and easily accomplished by factory personnel.
  • The use of the equipment by line operators should be intuitive and require a minimum of training.
  • The programming and handling operation must be less than the takt to keep pace with line beat rate.
  • The equipment must be durable and easily maintained.
  • Addition of new boards, devices or firmware must be easily accommodated
  • The cost of the equipment should be modest
  • The equipment should be able to program various devices from various manufacturers with a common programming API.

 

Intrinsic Quality’s IQPS Programming Station effortlessly meets all of these requirements:

Introducing the IQ Programming Station:

 

TIQPShe architecture of the IQPS is specifically designed to meet the requirements for cost effective, high reliability and versatile manufacturing equipment.  The concept is simple.  Use a Windows PC, a high quality fixture receiver with interchangeable bed of nails fixtures, and couple this to a powerful universal ISP programmer.  The programmer, the station sensors and displays and the DUT will require proper power and control so the IQPS adds power supplies, switching, measurement and sourcing so that the final station has the resources necessary to do the job.

 

Call Intrinsic Quality today to discuss how our Engineering Team can respond to your needs: (847) 258-5598

 

 

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Making LED Test a Breeze

May 31, 2013
Feasa LED analyser with Brass Tubing

Click to enlarge.

Feasa Analyzer – Nearly Effortless LED Testing:

 

Recently Intrinsic Quality visited with a major manufacturer of electronic interface panels. They were looking to have a PCB assembly tested with 18 LEDs mounted. They were concerned about the ease of implementing LED test and were not interested in changing their current testers. Instead, they wanted an easy to set up secondary test station for the functional testing of the LEDs on assemblies.

Feasa GUI

Click to enlarge.

 

 

Setting up the test will be a breeze. The test parameters can be set using the Feasa analyser software utilities’ “Auto-Learn” feature. This will take the readings of a known good board and use those settings as the test specifications. Tolerences can be set either numerically or by percentage. The software has a friendly user interface and can be enabled for data logging.

Implementation of  functional LED test is expected to improve the manufacturer’s throughput while decreasing the number of defective units shipped – all easily accomplished with Feasa LED analyser hardware and software. Additional information about Feasa products is located at IntrinsicQuality.com/feasa

Feasa Implemenation

Click to enlarge.


Intrinsic Quality Poised to Work with ITAR Certified Companies

April 4, 2013

Intrinsic Quality is pleased to announce they have been registered with the DLA Defense Logistics Agencyitar and the U.S. / Canada Joint Certification Office, enabling them to work with ITAR certified companies. This registration allows them to:

a. Request unclassified technical data controlled by the DOD or DND;

b. Respond to defense-related contracts whose specifications involve unclassified technical data releasable only to certified contractors;

c. Attend restricted gatherings where unclassified technical data are presented (i.e., symposia, program briefings, meetings designed to publicize advance requirements of the contracting agency, pre-solicitation, pre-bid, pre-proposal and pre-award conferences); and

d. Arrange unclassified visits directly with other certified U.S. or Canadian defense contractors or U.S. and Canadian military facilities.

Intrinsic Quality: ITAR registered for Defense and Military Electronics Testing Solutions

Any technology used for American space–commercial, NASA-related, or defense is typically ITAR controlled. Intrinsic Quality has developed electronics testing solutions in a variety of industries for over 25 years, and is looking forward to start working with ITAR certified companies to meet their electronics test needs.  Call IQ today at: 847-258-5598 


Functional Flexible Circuit Board Tester

September 6, 2012

Biomedical Test Equipment Development: Functional Tester for Flexible Circuit Boards

It has been a busy few weeks at Intrinsic Quality. We recently completed the build and debug of a complex, custom, precision functional tester for flexible printed circuit board testing. The tester was commissioned by an American medical manufacturer and the flex board being tested will eventually end up in an endoscope assembly.

Functional Tester for Flexible Circuit BoardsFlexible Circuit Board Test:

The flex board seemed fairly simple.  It had a female SIP header, a set of a dozen flexible brass battery contacts, a dual stage push button and a small speaker/buzzer. To achieve the necessary throughput, the tester was to test four boards in parallel in a dual well configuration.

The specification required several different types of tests for the device.  First, continuity was tested between the contacts and header. Then the height of each contact was measured within a thousandth of inch.  Next, the force and the resistance at the two switch points of the push button were measured.  Finally, the tester would measure the speaker’s sound pressure level at several frequencies. The customer requested data logging and a printer to print detailed fail tickets.

To measure the contact heights, the flex boards were precisely registered and clamped onto a precision ground plate.  Intrinsic Quality used a stepper motor to raise a platform of fixed test pins which had been ground coplanar and parallel.

Stepper Motor Control Board

Stepper Motor Control Board.

These pins were raised in steps until they would make electrical contact with the flex’s contacts.  Both make contact and break contact tests are performed, with the test results displayed in the custom created GUI (graphic user interface).

Custom Tester GUI

Custom created Tester GUI.

Electronics Testing utilizing Stepper Motor Control:

The two stage push button on the device was tested with a separate set of stepper motors and a precision force transducer. Because the switch actuation was dynamic, the switch force was collected into an array as the stepper gradually moved to close the switch.  In the charts below, a graph of the actual results are compared to the manufacturer’s specifications.  Once the data was collected software analysis identified the local peaks.

To test the speaker, microphones were mounted below the flex boards and connected by means of a switching matrix to a sound pressure meter that interfaced with the PC.  A voltage controlled oscillator was used to set frequency and voltage levels using a pair of digital-to-analog-converters.  The oscillator was sequentially switched to each of the speaker inputs on the flex boards.

Diligence and attention to quality resulted in an excellent multitasking precision functional tester that exceeded customer expectations. For more information about Intrinsic Quality functional testers, visit:

 www.IntrinsicQuality.com/functional