Introducing VTOS Runner for Automatic Circuit Board Test
VTOS Runner is a tool for running automatic circuit board tests. The tool provides a simple test executive allowing you to string multiple tests together. You can test DDR, Ethernet, USB, MMC, NAND, SPI, I2C, and run custom tests; then run flash programming – all in a single configuration. This tool is provided by Kozio at no extra charge, but does require a run-time (vAccess) license.
The VTOS Runner GUI allows you to set up a test configuration for any number of circuit board designs, or unique circuit board configurations, and then add test items. Use VTOS Runner for board bring-up, regression testing, prototype testing, and manufacturing test. The testing can be performed interactively or using a command line interface. Read on to learn more about using VTOS Runner.
Create a Circuit Board Test Configuration
Launch VTOS Runner by double-clicking on the VTOS Runner desktop icon picture above.
Click on the New button to create a new test configuration. This example uses an i.MX 6Quad (ARM Cortex-A9) Nitrogen board from Boundary Devices. Save the configuration as “nitrogen” and a new nitrogen.cfg configuration file is created.
Click on the Test Settings node in the configuration tree on the left-hand side of the main panel. This will update the right-hand panel with all available test settings. The same test settings are used for all Test Items, which we will add later.
For now, we will leave the Logging, Run Control, and Environment Variables as is. You can change these values later as needed but the defaults will work to get us started.
For our setup we selected, imx_usb_loader as our Firmware Loader. This utility is provided by Kozio and works with the ROM code built into i.MX processors to automatically load a firmware image over a USB connection. (For other target processor types, Kozio provides vAccess to work with the JTAG connections, or Xmodem to work with TI Sitara processors.)
For Processor, select iMX6.
For Connection, we are using a serial (Serial COM) connection through a USB to Serial converter. So we entered COM104 as our serial port. JTAG TCK is not needed here; it is used for JTAG connections.
That is it for our test settings. Click Save.
Adding Circuit Board Test Items
The next step is to add test items to your test configuration. In this example, we will add tests for DDR, Scan Plus, Ethernet, MMC, SATA, and USB.
Select the <Add Test> node under the Tests node in the configuration tree. Use the right-mouse menu option to Add Test Item.
For the first test item, enter “DDR Test” for Name. Leave Enable Test set to True. This parameter controls whether the test item is executed or not.
Click on the Firmware File parameter, to the right of the label, and a small ellipses button will appear. Click on that button to use the file browser. Browse to “%KOZIO_HOME%\VTOS_DDR\fw\”. All firmware files ending in *.ivt are used with the imx_usb_loader utility. Each file is names according to the UART and RX/TX signals enabled. If a UART setup is missing, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will produce a new setup quickly. For vAccess configurations, the Firmware File is not needed as it is calculated automatically.
Here is a quick list of firmware file locations for the various VTOS products:
- VTOS DDR – %KOZIO_HOME%\VTOS_DDR\fw\
- VTOS Program – %KOZIO_HOME%\VTOS_Program\fw\
- VTOS Scan – %KOZIO_HOME%\VTOS_Scan\fw\
Now click on the Script Test File parameter and browse for a script file. For this example, we distributed example script files with the VTOS Tools Installer and placed them in the “regression-tests” folder under VTOS_HOME. For your platform, you will use the VTOS DDR GUI to create and verify a configuration that works with your custom board, and then use the File -> Export feature to export your settings to a Kozio Script File.
Now click on the Post Test File parameter and browse for a script file. This script file will be executed after the test script competes successfully. Since the i.MX6 ROM loader only works after a power-on-reset, to activate the i.MX6 ROM code, we use a script to execute a board reset. Kozio provided a reset script file (reset.ksc) that will issue a board reset. You can omit using a Post Test File or use a script customized to your circuit board.
For our example, we repeated the above steps for remaining five (5) test items, as captured in the Test Settings screen shot above. All example scripts are provided with the VTOS Tools Installer. Once all tests are added, you can select any test item and use the right-mouse menu to Enable/Disable a selected Test Item. We disabled the SATA testing since that requires additional board setup, such as a SATA drive and separate power supply, that we not available for this demonstration.
Click Save to save all your settings.
Running Circuit Board Tests
Now that we have test settings and test items, we can start running tests. There are many ways to run the tests. We suggest you start by running each Test Item separately to debug each test item settings.
Running a Single Test Item
Click on the Test Item::DDR Test node in the configuration tree. Use the right-mouse Run menu option to run this single test only. We found that this is the best way to start and debug each test item. You can repeat this process for the remaining test items. The three screen captures below show the menu option, the DDR test running, and the final results. Click on any image to enlarge.
It may be helpful to click on the Clear button after each test to clear the console window and make it easier to debug each test item. Based on our default test settings, all console data is also logged to the specified log file, so you can review that file as needed. Clearing the GUI does not clear the log file.
Running All Test Items
Click on the Run Once button to run all test items. This will perform a single pass through all test items, running them from top to bottom. If you want to change the execution order, select a Test Item node in the configuration tree and use the right-mouse menu options to move up or down.
A new feature in VTOS Runner is the ability to loop through all test items multiple times. Click on the Run Loop button and your looping choices appear.
You can run all test items multiple times, or run for a specified number of minutes. These settings are stored in your test configuration file after you click on Run. Click Run to run all test items for around 10 minutes. If you need to cancel a loop, click on the Cancel button. The cancel button will submit a cancel event and then wait for any currently executing test item to complete.
VTOS Runner Test Executive Summary
VTOS Runner provides an easy way to run multiple Kozio script files and perform automated circuit board testing. The new Run Loop feature allows you to run tests for a numbered count or for a certain number of minutes. Use the VTOS Developer tools to create script files used by VTOS Runner, then perform your own regression or production testing. Use the VTOS Runner GUI to create multiple test configurations, and test them, and then use the VTOS Runner command line option to automate the testing.
You can launch multiple VTOS Runner GUIs or command lines operations to test one or more boards in parallel. You should create a unique configuration file for each test settings. For example, save the nitrogen.cfg file as “nitrogen-com101” and “nitrogen-com102” to designate the unique COM port settings.
A VTOS Runner User Manual is provided with the VTOS Runner GUI.
If you see other features that would make your task of circuit board testing easier, please contact us. We are always pleased to add new features that benefit our growing list of customers.