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Title:
METHOD AND ARRANGEMENT FOR TESTING AN ELECTRONIC DEVICE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2005/054877
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a testing arrangement and a testing method for testing an electronic device. A fixture (200) comprises at least two fixture parts (2000, 2002), whereof at least one is arranged to be used for testing electronic devices (206) belonging to a product family and whereof at least one other is arranged to be used for product-specific testing of the electronic device (206) of said product family.

Inventors:
Tiismaa, Toomas (Põhja 33-3, Keila, EE-76610, EE)
Application Number:
PCT/FI2004/000731
Publication Date:
June 16, 2005
Filing Date:
December 02, 2004
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ELEKTROBIT TESTING OY (Automaatiotie 1, Oulunsalo, FI-90460, FI)
Tiismaa, Toomas (Põhja 33-3, Keila, EE-76610, EE)
International Classes:
H04M1/24; G01R1/04; (IPC1-7): G01R1/04
Foreign References:
EP1061373A2
US20030179005A1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KOLSTER OY AB (Iso Roobertinkatu 23, PO Box 148, Helsinki, FI-00121, FI)
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A testing arrangement for testing an electronic device, the testing arrangement comprising a test unit (104), which includes a fixture (200) and an actuator mechanism (208), and the actuator mechanism (208) is arranged to move the fixture (200) and the electronic device (206) into contact with one another for testing and to release the fixture (200) from the electronic device (206) at the end of testing, characterized inthat the fixture (200) comprises at least two fixture parts (2000,2002), whereof at least one is arranged to be used when testing electronic devices belonging to a product family and whereof at least one other is arranged to be used in the productspecific testing of the electronic device of said product family.
2. A testing arrangement as claimed in claim 1, character i z e d in that at least one fixture part (2002) intended for productspecific test ing is a modular part of the fixture and is changeable without changing the other fixture parts (2000, 2002).
3. A testing arrangement as claimed in claim 1, character i z e d in that the testing arrangement comprises positioning means (300,304, 310,312, 400) intended for mutually positioning each fixture part (2000,2002) and the electronic device, each fixture part (306) appropriate for productspecific testing is ar ranged to move freely within predetermined limits before positioning, the testing arrangement comprises counterparts (302,308, 314, 402) of positioning means (300,304, 310,312, 400) intended for positioning, and the positioning means (300,304, 310,312, 400) intended for posi tioning for testing and the counterparts (302,308, 314,402) thereof are ar ranged to position each fixture appropriate for productspecific testing and the electronic device (206) as desired in relation to one another while the actuator mechanism (320) is moving the fixture and the electronic device to engage with one another.
4. A testing arrangement as claimed in claim 3, character i z e d in that the positioning means (300) intended for positioning the fixture part (2000,2002) and the electronic device (206) are fixedly located in relation to the test unit.
5. A testing arrangement as claimed in claim 1, character i z e d in that the test unit (104) includes the positioning means (304,310) in tended for positioning each fixture part (2000,2002), each fixture part (306) appropriate for productspecific testing is ar ranged to freely move within predetermined limits before positioning, each fixture part (306) appropriate for productspecific testing com prises counterparts (308) of the positioning means (304,310) intended for po sitioning, and the positioning means (304,310) intended for positioning for testing and the counterparts (308) thereof are arranged to position each fixture part (2000,2002, 306,348, 350) and the electronic device (206) as desired while the actuator mechanism (320) moves the fixture and the electronic device to engage with one another.
6. A testing arrangement as claimed in claim 1, character i z e d in that the test unit includes positioning means (400) intended for posi tioning an electronic device, the electronic device (206) is arranged to move freely within prede termine limits before positioning, the electronic device (206) comprises counterparts (402) of the posi tioning means (400) intended for positioning the electronic device, and the positioning means (400) intended for positioning the electronic device (206) for testing and the counterparts thereof (402) are arranged to po sition the electronic device (206) as desired in relation to the fixture while the actuator mechanism (320) moves the fixture and the electronic device to en gage with one another.
7. A testing arrangement as claimed in claim 1, character i z e d in that the test unit includes the positioning means (308,310) intended for positioning a palette, while the electronic device under test is fastened so as to remain stationary in position on the palette (204), the palette (204) is arranged to move freely within predetermined limits before positioning, the palette (204) comprises counterparts (310,314) of the position ing means (308,312) intended for positioning the palette, and when testing is initiated the positioning means (308,312) intended for positioning the palette and the counterparts (310,312) thereof are arranged to position the palette (204) as desired in relation to the fixture while the actua tor mechanism (320) moves the fixture and the electronic device to engage with one another.
8. A testing method of an electronic device, in which an electronic device (206) to be measured is fed into a test unit, an actuator mechanism (500) is used for moving a fixture (200) and the electronic device (206) into contact with one another for testing and the fixture is released from the elec tronic device at the end of testing, characterized by testing (502) the electronic device (206) using the fixture (200) com prising at least two fixture parts (2000,2002), whereof at least one is arranged to be used for testing electronic devices belonging to a product family and whereof at least one other is arranged to be used in the productspecific test ing of the same product family.
9. A method as claimed in claim 8, characterized in that when the product specification of the electronic device (206) changes at least one fixture part (2000), which is a modular part of the fixture, intended for productspecific testing is changed without changing the other fixture parts (2002).
10. A method as claimed in claim 8, characterized in that when testing is initiated the electronic device (206) is positioned using the posi tioning means (300,304, 310,312, 400) intended for positioning the fixture (200) and the electronic device in the test system and the counterparts (302, 308,314, 402) thereof for aligning the electronic device (206) and the fixture parts (2000,2002) and engaging them with one another.
11. A method as claimed in claim 8, characterized by fas tening the electronic device under test to remain stationary in position on the palette (204), while the palette (204) moves within predetermined limits in the test unit before positioning, and parking the palette (204) when testing is initiated using the position ing means (308,312) in the test unit intended for positioning the palette and the counterparts (310,314) of the positioning means in the palette intended for positioning the palette for aligning the electronic device (206) and the fixture and engaging them with one another.
12. A method as claimed in claim 8, characterized in that while each fixture part (306) appropriate for productspecific testing moves freely within predetermined limits before positioning each fixture part (306) appropriate for productspecific parking is positioned when testing is initiated using the positioning means (304,310) in tended for positioning the fixture and the counterparts (308) thereof for aligning the electronic device (206) and the fixture (200) and engaging them with one another.
Description:
METHOD AND ARRANGEMENT FOR TESTING AN ELECTRONIC DEVICE FIELD [0001] The invention relates to an arrangement and a method for testing an electronic device.

BACKGROUND [0002] Before an electronic device is delivered for sale, the testing thereof is very important. The idea of testing is to ensure that an electronic de- vice, such as a mobile phone, is in perfect working order and structurally fault- less. During testing the electronic device under test is connected to a fixture of a test unit that holds the electronic device under test in position and operates as a user interface to the electronic device. The electronic device is controlled through the fixture and measurement signals are transferred from the elec- tronic device to signal processing equipment.

[0003] The fixture comprises mechanical parts that are device- specifically arranged in the electronic device. Such parts must naturally be in accordance with the dimensions and shapes of the electronic device under test. The mechanical parts allow fastening the electronic device under test tightly to the testing and the possibly required electronic, acoustic and optical connections are established well enough The fixture may comprise sensors or actuators or the like that allow carrying out various tests.

[0004] The electronics industry includes a considerable number of devices made on the same basic solution but in which different variations have been made according to the needs of the market. Such devices belong to the same product family, as they share many common features in spite of their differences. The products belongingto different families do not in turn gener- ally share many common features in respect of the testing.

[0005] When designing test apparatuses the aim has been to manu- facture completely universal test systems. However, known solutions are as- sociated with problems. To design and manufacture a universal fixture would require an enormous amount of resources and careful planning of the testing arrangement together with the manufacturers. This is not often possible. Fur- thermore, a new modification in the product family forces to design and manu- facture a totally new kind of fixture, which is expensive and difficult and slows down the testability of the product.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION [0006] It is an object of the invention to provide an improved testing arrangement and method. This is achieved with a testing arrangement for test- ing an electronic device, the testing arrangement comprising a test unit, which includes a fixture and an actuator mechanism, and the actuator mechanism is arranged to move the fixture and the electronic device into contact with one another for testing and to release the fixture from the electronic device at the end of testing. The fixture also comprises at least two fixture parts, whereof at least one is arranged to be used when testing electronic devices belonging to a product family and whereof at least one other is arranged to be used in the product-specific testing of the electronic device of said product family.

[0007] The invention further relates to a testing method of an elec- tronic device, in which an electronic device to be measured is fed into a test unit, an actuator mechanism is used for moving a fixture and the electronic device into contact with one another for testing and the fixture is released from the electronic device at the end of testing. The method also includes testing the electronic device using the fixture comprising at least two fixture parts, whereof at least one is arranged to be used for testing electronic devices be- longing to a product family and whereof at least one other is arranged to be used in the product-specific testing of the same product family.

[0008] The preferred embodiments of the invention are disclosed in the dependent claims.

[0009] The method and arrangement of the invention provide sev- eral advantages. The fixture need not be completely product-specific but the fixture can be modified in accordance with the product family under test. The fixture can according to the manufacturer of each product be designed and prepared so as to take the different development stages of the product into account.

LIST OF DRAWINGS [0010] In the following the invention will be described in greater de- tail by means of the preferred embodiments with reference to the accompany- ing drawings, in which Figure 1 shows the structure of a test apparatus, Figure 2 shows the principle of a parking solution used in testing, Figure 3 shows the parking solution, Figure 4 shows the parking solution, and Figure 5 is a flow chart.

DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS [0011] A testing arrangement and method according to the invention are applicable to be used for testing electronic devices in particular, for in- stance for testing mobile phones, however, without being restricted thereto.

[0012] Here, an electronic device refers to an electronic component or an entity formed of the components, in which at least one component is an electronic component.

[0013] Let us first take a closer look at the structure of a test appa- ratus according to the solution shown in Figure 1. The test system comprises at least one item of measuring equipment 100 for testing electronic devices.

The measuring equipment 100 may be located in a test framework 102, for instance a 19"rack casing, in which the marking"refers to inches correspond- ing to 25,4 mm. The test framework 102 can easily be provided with a fixture required in testing, a test handler and measuring equipment that may comprise the testing electronics. A test handler is supposed to carry out the movements for connecting the electronic device under test in the test unit. What is fre- quently used in the test system is a test manipulator that conveys the elec- tronic device under test from the main track thereof to the test unit to be tested, although the test manipulator is not necessary.

[0014] The test framework 102 may comprise for instance two test units 104-106, test apparatuses 108-110 of the measuring equipment, a test controller 112, a monitor 114 and a conveyor 116. The test unit may comprise measuring devices, a test unit controller, a control bus, a power source etc.

(not shown in Figure 1). The measuring devices of the measuring equipment measure the electronic device under test controlled by the test controller 112 and the unit controller. The unit controller provided with a microprocessor and appropriate programs may also be used for pre-processing signals, for in- stance filtering and signal processing. However, the unit controller is not nec- essarily required. The test controller 112 may function as the control means of each test unit through the control bus. Both the electronic parts of the test unit and the electronic device under test may receive the electric power employed from the power source of the test unit.

[0015] The structure of the test apparatus may comprise cabling (not shown in Figure 1), by which the electronic device under test (DUT) and the test electronics of the test unit are connected to one another through a product-specific or product family-specific fixture and a test handler connector interface belonging thereto. Data transmission of the test handler and the test system control is carried out through the cabling.

[0016] The mechanical parts of the fixture enable to fasten the elec- tronic device under test firmly to the testing and to establish the required elec- trical, mechanical and optical connections well enough. The fixture may include sensors, contact surfaces, optical and acoustic components or actuators that allow performing mechanical tests.

[0017] The electronic device under test can be placed in either of the test units 104-106, in which different test apparatuses 108-110 of the measuring equipment, such as sensors and possibly mechanical testers, are used to measure and test the operation of an electronic device. Testing is con- trolled by a test controller 112, which may also store the test results. A per- sonal computer or the like controlling and carrying out corresponding digital signal processing may function as the controller 112. Test results and other information associated with the testing and serving the user can be shown on a monitor 114. The devices under test can be transferred through a test appara- tus structure 100 from the testing or to the following test apparatus structure using door openings 116 and a conveyor 118 placed in the test apparatus structure 100. The electronic devices under test are fed into the test units 104- 106 of the test apparatus structure 100 through door openings 120-122 in the test apparatus structure. The electronic devices under test can also be put out from the test apparatus structure 100 through the same door openings 120- 122, but generally the test apparatus structure 100 is on opposite sides thereof also provided with door openings for outputting the electronic devices. In gen- eral, the aim is to make the test unit, which may also be referred to as the test chamber, a completely closed space for the duration of the test in order to re- duce interference. Especially when radio frequencies are tested the walls and doors of the test unit should prevent the radio frequency radiation from exiting the test unit and from entering the test unit. The walls and doors of the test unit may be made of a material that conducts electricity, such as metal, or of an adequately small-sized wire mesh. Isolation is also required in optical and acoustic testing.

[0018] Let us now take a closer look at the solution shown in Figure 2. A test unit 104 includes an actuator mechanism 208 and a fixture 200 com- prising two fixture parts 2000,2002. An electronic device 206 placed on a pal- ette 204 is fed into the test unit 104 through an opening on the left side of the test unit (not shown in Figure 1) as shown by the arrow. After testing, the elec- tronic device 206 on the palette 204 is removed from the test unit 104 through an opening on the right side (not shown in Figure 1) as the arrow shows. When the actuator mechanism 208 moves the fixture part 2002 upwards sufficiently enough as the arrow shows in order to start testing, the electronic device 206 on the palette 204 and the fixture part 2000 may be connected to the electronic device from above and the fixture part 2002 may be connected to the elec- tronic device from below for testing. When connected, the fixture may establish a mechanical contact to the electronic device 206 or the palette 204 or both.

What can be employed in the fixture is sensors, which are in galvanic contact with the electronic device, or sensors, which are not in galvanic or in any other mechanical contact with the electronic device. Examples of measurements to be carried out without mechanical contact are radio frequency measurements, optical measurements and acoustic measurements. At the end of testing, the actuator mechanism 208 descends the fixture part 208 downwards as shown by the arrow, whereby the palette 204 including the electronic devices 206 thereof also descends downwards and the fixture parts 2000,2002 are re- leased from the electronic device 206.

[0019] In accordance with the solution shown, the fixture comprises at least two fixture parts 2000,2002, whereof at least one (for instance fixture part 2000) is arranged to be used for testing electronic devices belonging to a product family and whereof at least one other (for instance fixture part 2002) is arranged to be used for the product-specific testing of the electronic device belonging to said product family. This means that the fixture part 2000 can be used for testing various kinds of electronic devices, as long as the electronic devices under test belong to the same product family. The fixture part 2002 can, in turn, be used for testing only one particular type of electronic device, i. e. the fixture part 2002 must always be changed when the type of the device under test changes, although remaining in the same product family. The differ- ent products of the product family are built on the same base but different products are provided with different properties, which have been achieved with different structural or software changes. For instance in the mobile phone product family, different mobile phones may be provided with the same per- forming engine but the upper and lower covers and/or the key mat of the key- board may be different. In general it is also possible that the performing unit in different electronic devices may differ from one another but the covers are the same.

[0020] According to the solution shown, at least one fixture part (for instance fixture part 2000) intended for product-specific testing is a modular part of the fixture, which can easily be changed without changing the other fix- ture parts. In the solution shown, other fixture parts may also be easily changeable, which means that the mechanic and electric interfaces can be implemented without toots.

[0021] Figure 3 shows the testing arrangement in more detail. In this Figure the fixture parts include an upper adapter 348, a lower adapter 350 and a fixture part 306. Of these parts the upper adapter 348 and the lower adapter 350 can be considered as product family specific parts and the fixture part 306 can be considered as a product-specific part. Different fixture parts may be floating, meaning that they can move freely at least within predeter- mined limits. It is also possible that the fixture parts may be fixed or they may be fastened to the test unit. The lower adapter 350 may be fastened to the framework of the test unit for instance through a connector 354.

[0022] Typically the test system comprises positioning means 300, 304,310, 312, which are intended for mutually positioning the electronic device 206 and each fixture part 2000,2002. Each fixture part 306 appropriate for product-specific testing may freely move within predetermined limits before positioning. The test system comprises counterparts 302,308, 314 of the posi- tioning means 300, 304, 310,312 intended for positioning. For testing, the po- sitioning means 300,304, 310,312 intended for positioning and the counter- parts 302,308, 314 thereof each position the fixture part 306 and the elec- tronic device 206 as desired in relation to one another while the actuator mechanism 320 moves the fixture and the electronic device to engage with one another.

100231 The test unit may comprise positioning means 300 intended for positioning the palette 204 that are fixedly located in relation to the test unit.

The positioning means 300 may then be fastened to the upper adapter 348, which may be attached to the framework of the test unit through a connector 352. A sensor or actuator module 370 may also be fastened to the upper adapter 348, an example of which is for instance a rear connector intended for a mobile phone. The positioning means 300 may be control pins as shown in Figure 3. The palette 204 may be arranged to move freely before positioning, but within the test unit the movement remains within predetermined limits. The palette 204 comprises the counterparts 302 of the positioning means 300 in- tended for positioning, which may be as shown in Figure 3 openings arranged in the control pins. At the start of testing, the positioning means intended for positioning the palette 204 and the counterparts 302 thereof are pressed and aligned towards one another, parking the palette 204 while the actuator mechanism 320 moves the fixture and the electronic device into contact with one another. Since the electronic device 206 under test is fastened to remain stationary in position on the palette 204, the electronic device 206 is also posi- tioned precisely in the desired place. The actuator mechanism 320 in Figure 3 corresponds to the actuator mechanism in Figure 2.

[0024] The test unit may comprise positioning means 304 intended for positioning each fixture part that are fixedly located in relation to the test unit and may be fastened to the lower adapter 350. The positioning means 304 may be openings in the lower adapter 350 as shown in Figure 3. In addition, the lower adapter 306 may comprise modules 340, which are connectors, sen- sors or actuators for engaging with, measuring, controlling or employing the device 206 under test. The lower adapter may, in turn, be fastened to the framework of the test unit. Each fixture part 306 appropriate for product- specific testing may be arranged to move freely within predetermined limits before positioning. Each fixture part 306 appropriate for product-specific testing may comprise the counterparts 308 of the positioning means intended for posi- tioning the fixture. In addition each fixture part 306 intended for product- specific testing comprises modules 330, which are connectors, sensors or ac- tuators for engaging with, measuring, controlling and employing the device un- der test 206. For this purpose the lower adapter is provided with an opening or openings (not shown in Figure 3). At the start of testing, the fixture part 306 and the positioning means 300 intended for positioning and the counterparts 308 thereof are arranged to position each fixture 306 suitable for product- specific testing while the actuator mechanism 320 moves the fixture 306 and the electronic device 206 on the palette 204 into contact with one another.

Thus the pins 308 functioning as the counterparts are pressed in the openings functioning as the positioning means 304.

[0025] However, the positioning means 304 intended for the parking of the fixture part are not necessarily fixedly located in relation to the test unit, but the positioning means 304 intended for positioning each fixture part may move freely within predetermined limits. This is possible for instance when the lower adapter 350 is not fastened to the framework of the test unit. The palette 204 may include the positioning means 310 arranged in the counterparts 308 and intended for positioning that may be a notch suitable for the pin. When the fixture part 306 appropriate for product-specific testing ascends towards the palette 204, the pins functioning as the counterparts 308 are pushed through the holes 304 functioning as the positioning means 304 of the lower adapter into the positioning means 310, whereby both the lower adapter 350 and the fixture part 306 appropriate for product-. specific testing are accurately posi- tioned in the desired position for testing.

[0026] The lower adapter 350 may also comprise separate position- ing means 312 intended for positioning the fixture part, and the counterparts 314 thereof may be placed on the palette 204. The positioning means 312 may be pin-like and the counterparts 314 may be openings suitable for the pins.

These positioning means and the counterparts thereof are also pressed against one another, when the actuator mechanism 320 moves the fixture in contact with the electronic device.

[0027] The actuator mechanism 320 may operate for instance as shown in Figure 3. The actuator mechanism 320 may comprise a pneumatic or hydraulic compression cylinder 3200 that pushes or pulls a piston 3202. The piston 3202, in turn, moves back and forth a wedge-shaped part 3204 that is in contact with a roll 3206. The roll 3206 is fastened to a support part 3208 that is in contact with the product-specific fixture part 306. The support part 3208 may be mechanically fastened to the structure 360, to which the product-specific fixture part 306 is fastened. The lower adapter 350 may in turn be fastened to the structure 360. When the wedge-shaped part moves, the roll 3206 rolls along the surface of the wedge-shaped part 3204 and ascends or descends depending on the direction, in which the wedge-shaped part 3204 moves.

Then the lower adapter 350 and the structure 360 including the fixtures 306 ascend and descend, thus establishing or releasing the connections required in testing. The movement of the wedge-shaped part 3204 can also be achieved with an electric engine instead of a compression cylinder. In addition, connecting the whole actuator mechanism 320 and the fixture parts to the de- vice under test can be implemented in various ways and the functionality of the solution shown does not depend on how the actuator mechanism actually op- erates.

[0028] When using positioning means intended for positioning each fixture part and positioning means intended for positioning the palette simultaneously, each fixture appropriate for product-specific testing and the palette can be accurately positioned in relation to one another, when the actuator mechanism moves the fixture and the electronic device into contact with one another.

[0029] The test unit may include positioning means 400 intended for positioning the electronic device instead of (or in addition to) the positioning means intended for positioning the palette as shown in Figure 4. Thus, the electronic device 206, in the same way as the palette, may move freely within predetermined limits before the parking. The electronic device 206 may com- prise counterparts 402 of the positioning means 400 intended for positioning the electronic device. When testing is initiated the positioning means 400 in- tended for positioning the electronic device and the counterparts 402 thereof are arranged to position the electronic device 206 as desired in relation to the fixture while the actuator mechanism 320 moves the fixture and the electronic device to engage with one another.

[0030] The electronic device 206 may be provided with positioning means 410 arranged in the counterparts 308 intended for positioning, which positioning means may be a notch suitable for a pin. When the fixture part 306 appropriate for product-specific testing ascends towards the electronic device 206, the pins functioning as the counterparts 308 push through the holes 304 functioning as the positioning means 304 of the lower adapter into the position- ing means 410, whereby both the lower adapter 350 and the fixture part 306 appropriate for product-specific testing are accurately positioned in the desired location for testing.

[0031] The lower adapter 350, which may be fastened to the framework of the test unit through a connector 354, may also comprise sepa- rate positioning means 412 intended for positioning the fixture part, and the counterparts 414 of the positioning means 412 may be placed in the electronic device 206. The positioning means 412 may be pin-like and the counterparts 414 thereof may be openings that fit into the pins. These positioning means and the counterparts thereof are pressed against one another while the actua- tor mechanism 320 moves the fixture into contact with the electronic device.

[0032] In the solution shown, positioning and aligning are carried out using mechanical structures provided with matching shapes. Such struc- tures are for instance shape-mated structures or bolt joints, in which the bolt functions as a third shape-mated structure for both parts aligned towards one another. Although reference has been made in the above described solutions to pins, openings and notches, the positioning can also be carried out using many kinds of mechanical structures and shapes, since when engaging with one another all shapes arranged with one another reducing or restricting the freedom of movement also align the parts with one another.

[0033] Figure 5 shows once again the most important steps of the method. In step 500, the actuator mechanism is used to move the fixture and the electronic device into contact with one another for testing and the fixture is released from the electronic device at the end of testing. In step 502, the elec- tronic device is tested using a fixture comprising at least two fixture parts, whereof at least one is arranged to be used for testing the electronic devices belonging to the product family and whereof at least one other is arranged to be used for the product-specific testing of the same product family. At least one fixture part intended for the product-specific testing, which is a modular part of the fixture, can be changed when the product specification of the elec- tronic device changes without changing the other fixture parts.

[0034] Even though the invention has above been explained with reference to an example according to the accompanying drawings, it is appar- ent that the invention is not limited thereto but can be modified in various ways within the scope of the appended claims.