Developing a High-Speed Analog-to-Digital Converter Automated Test System

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"Using LabVIEW, we created a unique software environment specialized for R&D and mass production that saved a significant amount of development time."

- Andranik Aghajanyan, Project Integration LLC

The Challenge:
Designing a system to measure and perform functional control of static and dynamic parameters of high-speed (up to 800 MHz) A/D converters.

The Solution:
Using NI PXI products and LabVIEW software to create an automated testing system with an easy-to-use interface to measure static and dynamic parameters of high-speed A/D converters.

Andranik Aghajanyan - Project Integration LLC
Norayr Harutyunyan - Project Integration LLC
Vardan Aleksanyan - Project Integration LLC

Project Integration, an NI Silver Alliance Partner, provides design, implementation, installation, and service for modern industrial measurement and automated test systems. The company’s qualified engineers use NI graphical system design technologies to design, prototype, and deploy solutions in the fields of automated testing and production management. They also offer a comprehensive approach to customer requirements.

A/D converters are essential building blocks in modern electronic systems, so characterizing and testing their performance is important. Three enabling technologies—fast data capture, precision clock timing, and linear stimulus generation—determine the A/D converter testing. We combined NI hardware and Project Integration custom hardware, compatible with the NI PXI platform, to provide these technologies in the testing system. We based our high-speed A/D converter automated test (ATE) system on the PXI platform and used the LabVIEW graphical programming environment to develop the software that powers the system. The ATE system helps measure the two categories of A/D converter parameters, static and dynamic, and performs functional control.

Static Parameters

Static parameters include: current consumption of the analog part of the A/D converter, current consumption of the digital part of the converter, differential output voltage values, logical levels’ voltages of the synchronizing signal, internal reference source voltage, thermal diode’s voltage, input resistance, offset error, measuring scale offsets, range of the complete scale, integral nonlinearity, and differential nonlinearity.

Dynamic Parameters

Dynamic parameters include: signal-to-noise ratio, signal-to-noise and distortion ratio, spurious-free dynamic range, total harmonic distortion, second- and third-degree harmonic components, and aperture jitter.

Functional Control

Functional control includes: SPI serial bus operation test, saturation indicator’s operation test, and self-calibration indicator’s operation test. We designed the ATE system for industrial and research tests.

Among the most valuable benefits of the modularity of PXI are cost effectiveness and flexibility. Key NI technologies and methodologies make a large impact on the test and measurement industry. Our solution includes custom adapter modules, compatible with PXI, that support specified test conditions.

We used the following NI hardware to achieve all requirements:

  • PXI-4130 power source measure unit (SMU) as an analog and digital power supply
  • NI PXIe-4141 4-channel precision SMU as a reference signal generator
  • NI PXIe-5451 dual-channel arbitrary waveform generator as a test input signal generator
  • PXI-5652 RF and microwave signal generator as a clock signal generator
  • NI PXIe-6556 digital waveform generator/analyzer as an A/D converter mode controller and PPMU
  • NI PXIe-7962R FlexRIO FPGA module with NI 6587R low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) adapter module as an A/D converter output signal analyzer
  • PXI-2567 64-channel external relay driver module

We used the following NI software to achieve all requirements:

Using LabVIEW, we created a unique software environment specialized for R&D and mass production that saved a significant amount of development time. Our software also:

  • Offers a self-explanatory, easy-to-use interface
  • Specifies test conditions, including customizing measuring parameters and setting test processing
  • Selects the types and sets the sequences of measuring parameters
  • Provides instruments of visualization
  • Includes measurement results reporting and accumulation in the databases, and statistical processing of the measuring results

Our hardware also features:

  • Synchronized multichannel analog and digital signal generation and acquisition
  • High-count LVDS channel simultaneous acquisition
  • High-count single-ended simultaneous acquisition and generation with per pin programmable voltage levels for voltage output high (VOH), voltage output low (VOL), termination voltage (VTT) voltage input high (VIH) and voltage input low (VIL)
  • Logical level registration of the digital lines
  • Testing of analog and digital blocks of A/D converters

We used the benefits of the NI PXI platform and LabVIEW system design software to create a unique ATE system to measure the static and dynamic parameters of high-speed A/D converters, as well as perform functional control. We also met IEEE Standard 1241-2010 with this system.

Author Information:
Andranik Aghajanyan
Project Integration LLC
Dro str. 14/1
Tel: +37410219798

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