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FPGA-Controlled Test (FCT): What it is and why is it needed?

An FCT whitepaper by Al Crouch, Chief Technologist at ASSET InterTech and Co-Chairman of the IEEE P1687 IJTAG Standard Working Group.

The precedent for embedding test and measurement instrumentation into semiconductors is well established. Chip suppliers have been doing it for years to characterize, validate and test their devices. Recently, the usefulness of these embedded instruments has been extended to circuit board validation, test and debug. Now, the next logical step is to embed the multiple instruments that would make up a board tester into an FPGA and thereby extend the test coverage capabilities of software-driven non-intrusive board test (NBT) and validation even further.

This white paper describes how an FCT board-tester-in-a-chip works, including a diagram and explanation of the IJTAG architecture in the FPGA. It also gives details of the board test coverage that can be obtained using FCT.