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Lessons Learned
The positive aspects of the performed activities entail exposing students to the domain of BST and the need to use different
I&M technologies for final application development. Furthermore, by this application, we have translated an industrial
subject of interest into a dedicated educational activity.
The downside of the performed activities was the time
synchronization of the project stages. Some students find
it difficult to keep up the pace due to the required knowledge in different domains. This problem was solved with
help of other colleagues under the supervision of the teaching coordinator.
It is worth noting that starting with the new academic year
2019-2020, this application will be included as a set of laboratory experiments for the Modelling and Simulation discipline.
This discipline is mandatory for AE fourth-year students.

Integration of Flying Probe with an LCR
Meter
Flying Probe Technology
The integration of standardized platforms, such as FP, In Circuit Test, Functional Test, and Boundary Scan, with modular
and flexible commercial, off-the-shelf hardware, can generate
cost reduction and technological benefits [8], [9].
Introduced by Takaya in 1987, the FP technology is used
for test and measurement procedures specific to electronic devices prototype development. In some cases, this technology is
present on the production line for inspecting low to medium
product volumes. These test machines represent a combination of advanced electrical measurements and high accuracy
mechanical operations [10].
One of the most important automotive manufacturers in
Romania and worldwide observed that for some PCBs, due
to schematics particularities and the presence of small valued
capacitors and/or inductors, the stand-alone Takaya Flying
Probe equipment [10] was not able to accurately measure and
validate component values. This situation caused the faulty acceptance for some electronic products.

Educational Objectives
The application was a summer practice option for the thirdyear AE students. The stage, of about 240 hours, was taught at
a partner company which provides the necessary equipment,
including the Takaya APT 1400F FP and the BK Precision 891
LCR. Attendees (usually 2 to 4 students) needed to have a good
background in analog electronics, measurement fundamentals

and LabVIEWTM programming. After the performed activities,
the following skills were assessed:
◗◗ Understanding the purpose of FP presence during the
prototype and production processes, the advantages and
challenges of this technology, and the general operation
principles;
◗◗ Understanding the purpose of FP-LCR integration;
◗◗ Understanding the method of communication between
the FP and external instrumentation- Dynamic Data
Exchange (DDE function);
◗◗ Ability to understand LCR meter measurement principles;
◗◗ Ability to implement a functional communication protocol, at software level, between the FP and the LCR.

Description of the Application
The goal of this application is to avoid the apparition of FP
erroneous measurements, for circuit-mounted L and C components, by integration between an LCR meter with the FP. This
application was implemented with the help of a partner company which provided the required equipment: the Takaya APT
1400F FP [10] and the BK Precision 891 LCR meter. Laboratory
experiments for students were also taught at this company.
The circuit-mounted L and C components frequency response characteristic up to 300 kHz, which is the maximum
work frequency for the used LCR meter, was analyzed. This
procedure takes several minutes per component and represents the first step of the measurement process. For the
considered L or C component, the frequency which leads to
the most accurate measurement was selected from the related
response characteristics. That frequency is used in the second
step of the measurement process, which is part of the normal
FP test program and executes within seconds.
Table 2 presents a 4-wire measurement setup which uses
the mobile probes of the Takaya APT 1400F to contact the PCB.
This approach connects the LCR meter channels, via the FP
Function scanner board (FSB) terminals and the mobile probes,
to the Virtual Nails (VNs) defined for each Test Point (TP). The
LCR meter was connected to the FP computer by the NI GPIBUSB-HS+. The LCR meter channels were connected to the FSB
terminals using RG316 BNC to DSub25 coaxial cables.
In Table 2, N17 and N202 represent a pair of virtual nails,
defined on TP1. Mobile probes 1 and 2 (P:1 and P:2) will be
joined on this TP and will be connected to FSB terminals 1 and
2 (T:1 and T:2). Consequently, HCUR and HPOT will be connected
to TP1. In the same way, LCUR and LPOT will contact TP2.
Once the probes contact the PCB, the LCR meter is triggered and the measurement values start to be displayed.

Table 2 - The connectivity conventions
TPs
TP1
TP2

April 2020	

VNs

Probes

FSB Terminals

LCR Channels

N17

P:1

T:1

HCUR

N202

P:2

T:2

HPOT

N25

P:3

T:3

LCUR

N203

P:4

T:4

LPOT

IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine	23



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