Decreasing Programming Time Of On-Board Flash Memory During ICT

Anyone who has tried to program a flash device using an in-circuit test platform knows that this is a time intensive process. The first step in this procedure, which is uploading the program to the tester’s internal memory, is the longest. Although the time required for subsequent programming instances is considerably shorter, this method of flash memory programming is not a viable one for use during the manufacturing test process, especially when the size of the flash memory increases or when a board has multiple flash devices used as a single bank flash.
In-circuit test fixture
In order to minimize programming time, our Test Engineering group designed a test fixture with a mechanism that would communicate directly with on board flash devices for programming and verification, bypassing the ICT programming method. By using this approach, the time required to program a parallel flash decreased from 30 minutes for the first time, and about 7 minutes for subsequent instances to about 1 minute. To do this, it is necessary to include ancillary hardware in the test fixture resulting in a more expensive test fixture however, this extra expenditure is significantly lower than what it would cost in terms of longer programming time required during the manufacturing stage. With this technique, modifications to the program can be done quickly and easily so, implementation of ECOs is hassle free. Our test group use this approach for a program an fixture development project on the HP 3070 in-circuit test platform.
In-circuit test fixture with flash reader