What is Mass Interconnect for an Automated Test System?
Mass Interconnect is a mechanical interface that simplifies connection between the power supplies, instruments and switching to the Device Under Test (DUT) in a test environment. In the illustration here, a test receiver is connected to the front of the modular instrumentation, in this case, a PXI chassis. This receiver is connected to the switching and instrumentation. An Interface Test Adapter (ITA) has a series of mating connectors that plug onto the Mass Interconnect. These connectors are wired either to a series of connectors that mate to the DUT or to a connector where a DUT PCB is inserted for testing. An enclosure is installed to protect the wiring and connectors.
Making Your Choices
If you have concluded that you need Mass Interconnect, you need to select a vendor. As listed above, there are two major players in the market – MAC Panel and Virginia Panel (VPC) as well as several other smaller players. Pickering is not making any recommendations, your choice should be based on available product, level of support needed, and your test budget. All of these companies can support you in terms of configurations, technical consultation, and customization as required. For ITA selection, the provider of your Mass Interconnection can help.
Connector types have very well-defined specifications and they should be observed and connectors are rated for max voltage, current, power, and frequency. A connector rated at 100 Volts and 10 Amps is not necessarily a 1,000-Watt connector—it maybe be up to 100 volts or up to 10 Amps and not both. Be sure you understand your needs before specifying connectors. Before you make the vendor selection, be certain that you have determined the test system hardware required for all DUTs to be tested (this helps to determine how large the receiver needs to be), specifications and accuracy to be tested and DUT dimensions. If the DUT is a PCB, then CAD files will be critical for PCB placement. With the above information, your vendor(s) can help select the size of the receiver and ITAs and configure the proper pinouts, receiver connectors, and the wiring required.
To learn more about interconnect methods in your automated test system, download our book SwitchMate - A Practical Guide to Switching for Automated Test Systems