Diagnostic Test Tools for Switching Systems

Verification and diagnosis of complex switching operation in a test system has always been an issue. Two of our latest offerings in diagnostic test tools provide a quick and simple way of finding relay failures within LXI, PCI and PXI switch systems:  

  • Built-in-Relay-Self-Test - switching system diagnostic toolBIRST™ -  Built-in Relay Self-Test: Available on some of our LXI & PXI matrix switching systems. BIRST requires no purchased external tools, it simply requires  a free software installation on a Windows controller. 
  • eBIRST relay test & diagnostic tools eBIRST™ - Switching System Test Tools: A set of tools that provide a means of quickly determining if a switching system has faults, identify where the fault is located and allow fast corrective action.

Why choose Pickering products supported by BIRST and eBIRST?

Both of these diagnostic test tools will quickly test the switching system, locate the faulty relay and inform you what relays to replace via a graphical output. Considerably reducing downtime and minimizing the problem of ineffective repairs caused by misdiagnosed faults. 

We pride ourselves on having a long history of offering diagnostic test tools. From our GPIB products with a degree of self-test for the relays, MXT PXI switching test tool and now BIRST and eBIRST.

eBIRST switching system diagnostic tools Built-in-Relay-Self-Test - switching system diagnostic tool System dependent test
Equipment required Toolset to support specific connectors used in switching system None, built into the matrix None if already part of the system
User software investment None, application program provided None, application program provided Responsibility of user or integrator
Cost Low - tools can be shared across multiple requirements None, built into matrix High software investment for each test system requirement
Ease of fault identification Simple - tool finds specific relay at fault and its physical location in the switching system Simple - tool finds specific relay at fault and its physical location in the switching system
Typically identifies only a general indication of fault paths, will include cable faults but unable to distinguish them from relay faults easily
Fault coverage 100% coverage of relay faults in a switching system Covers only matrix core, cannot test non-matrix architectures Typically identifies only a general indication of fault paths. Will include cable faults but unable to distinguish them from relay faults easily
Repair time
Short - tool has identified all the faults Short - tool has identified the matrix faults Long - the user has to resolve the cause of the problem
Chance of 
misdiagnosed repairs

Low 
Low if in matrix 
Significant risk
Downtime Short Short if the fault is in a matrix Long - especially if the fault leads back to switching system vendor repair


Consider the Alternatives

Only Pickering offers this level of support for our switching systems. If you use another supplier’s switching system, you will have first to establish what sub-assembly or module is faulty, then test the individual modules to find what relay has failed. You can do this manually, consuming hours of engineer or technician time. Or you can try to write your self-test program to provide a diagnosis—again consuming hours of engineering time gaining knowledge of the test system and the way the switching system is put together. You will still have to check that the diagnosis is correct to avoid failed repair attempts.

With the BIRST and eBIRST diagnostic test tools, all of this becomes unnecessary. Simply choose the tool that can be applied to the switching system and run the tests. BIRST requires no upfront investment; just choose a module that has BIRST. For eBIRST, you buy the tools that cover your switching systems, a one-time upfront investment to reduce the cost of owning a switching system.

Want to learn more about our Diagnostic Test Tools?

Feel free to contact one of our Switching Experts or take a look at our knowledgebase for information on the principles behind our diagnostic test tools