A technique has been devised to enable creation of a dynamic set of test points in an embedded digital electronic system. As a result, electronics contained in an application specific circuit [e.g., gate array, field programmable gate array (FPGA)] can be internally “probed,” even when contained in a closed housing during all phases of test.

In the present technique, the test points are not fixed and limited to a small number; the number of test points can vastly exceed the number of buffers or pins, resulting in a compact footprint. Test points are selected by means of spare logic resources within the ASIC(s) and/or FPGA(s). A register is programmed with a command, which is used to select the signals that are sent off-chip and out of the housing for monitoring by test engineers and external test equipment.

The register can be commanded by any suitable means: for example, it could be commanded through a command port that would normally be used in the operation of the system. In the original application of the technique, commanding of the register is performed via a MIL-STD-1553B communication subsystem.

This work was done by Richard Katz and Igor Kleyner of Goddard Space Flight Center. GSC-15490-1


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the June, 2011 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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