Comparing eBIRST and MXT

eBIRST and MXT are both tools which are intended to find relay failures on Pickering Interfaces switching systems by measuring resistance in different paths. However there are important differences between them, Pickering Interfaces recommends users to use eBIRST. The older MXT system will continue to be supported but new fixtures and firmware will not be added.

eBIRST is a tool which does high performance resistance measurements on switching systems and is supported by a free application program. More information on eBIRST can be found here eBIRST.

MXT is a tool introduced in 2008 which uses a fixture to connect a switching system to a DMM. A free application program is used to run a set of tests with the DMM taking measurements and the program changing the state of the switching system. Information on MXT can be found here MXT 

There are important differences between the tools as shown in the following table.

Feature


eBIRST


MXT




Control


USB2 from a Windows PC


DMM driver specific to a few commercially available models, typically via an LXI compliant Ethernet interface




What do you need to buy


eBIRST tools, tools specific to a connector and can be used with any switching system using that connector


MXT fixtures and a DMM, fixture is specific to either one or a few different switching systems - even when using the same connector




Range of modules supported


Almost all PXI, PCI and LXI (Ethernet) controlled switching systems


Limited to PXI modules, only selected versions are supported and new additions are not routinely provided. Supported products are shown in the manual here




Relay fault coverage


100% on supported modules


Most relays but some faults have limited ability to resolve




What it measures


Path resistance between any two pins on the switching system connector(s), measurements which are directly related to data sheet values


Presence of a path, on some designs measures path resistance but in many cases (non matrix switching) series resistors have to be used to separate paths which means that high resistance relays cannot be detected.

Performance of measurement


Measurements are referenced to accurate reference resistors and/or calibration fixtures which provide a traceable test process. Measurements are directly related to data sheet values.


Fixtures do influence the measured values. Results are not directly related to the data sheet values as indirect routing methods are used to access relays.




Output information


Graphical display of faulty relay locations and relay numbers permits repair without the need for manual information


Relay numbers, user refers to manual for location information

eBIRST generally provides a lower cost solution when a user has many different Pickering Interface products to test since just a few tools and adapters cover almost all the Pickering Interfaces product range.

eBIRST also provides its output data in a friendlier form (a graphical plot of the switching system layout and the location of any suspect relays present) and has much more capability to detect marginal relay paths.

We strongly encourage users of MXT to migrate to eBIRST and MXT documentation is now mainly in the MXT manual, which can be found here under the download tab.

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