Pickering Interfaces Brings Relay Self Test to PXI Switching

BIRST
(PresseBox) ( Clacton-on-Sea, UK, )
Verification and diagnosis of complex switching operation in a test system has always been an issue, especially in the PXI platform. For this reason, Pickering Interfaces has announced that it is introducing built in self test to select models of their PXI switching modules. This feature is called BIRST(TM) , or Built In Relay Self Test.

The first range of modules with built in self test have been released and include:

- 40-560A BRIC(TM) 150 Volt, 0.5 Amp, 1 Pole Matrix Relay Family
- 50-561A BRIC(TM) 150 Volt, 0.5 Amp, 1 Pole, 1 Pole Screened, or 2 Pole Relay Matrix Family
- 40-562A BRIC(TM) 150 Volt, 1 Amp, 1 Pole, 1 Pole Screened, or 2 Pole Relay Matrix Family
- 40-563A BRIC(TM) 40 Volt, 0.25 Amp, 1 Pole Solid State Matrix Family
- 40-584 128 X 2, 300 Volt, 2 Amp, 1-Pole VHD Matrix Module
- 40-585 64 X 4, 300 Volt, 2 Amp, 1-Pole VHD Matrix Module
- 40-586 32X 8, 300 Volt, 2 Amp, 1-Pole VHD Matrix Module
- 40-587 16 X 16, 300 Volt, 2 Amp, 1-Pole VHD Matrix Module
- 40-527 64×2, 300V, 2Amp, 1-Pole HD Matrix Module
- 40-528 32x4, 300V, 2Amp, 1-Pole HD Matrix Module
- 40-529 16x8, 300V, 2Amp, 1-Pole HD Matrix Module

The BIRST tool allows the user to very easily check system switching operation on command. BIRST will identify any relay failures in the switch module and is capable of detecting relays with deteriorating contacts which may indicate they are in the process of failing. To conduct a test the user simply disconnects the switching module from the UUT and runs the supplied application program. No supporting test equipment is needed; the test simply runs and identifies the position of any defective or suspect relays within the module.

David Owen, Business Development Manager for Pickering Interfaces commented "Historically, complex switching systems on platforms such as VXI and Pickering's System 10/20 GPIB products have included a degree of self test for the relays. But in PXI, the industry has not included self test on switching because of the compromises introduced on density and cost when implementing previous self test architectures. The work that Pickering has undertaken has greatly improved the test methodology to the extent it is now possible to include full self test with minimal cost penalty or reduction in switching density, a feature that is sure to benefit users used to having such features in their solutions. The BIRST tool not only finds defective relays quickly, it also finds relays that are expected to fail in the future. It is far more effective at managing the life of switching systems than older measures such as relay operation counting as they do not take account of the switching load conditions - factors that have an impact of three or four orders of magnitude on relay life. It will help avoid unnecessary service operations and help guarantee peace of mind in terms of test system reliability."

Over time, the BIRST solution will also be applied to other Pickering Interfaces PXI modules as well as the Pickering LXI product family, which include a range of very large matrices. Availability of BIRST on the above mentioned modules is immediate and is noted on Pickering Interfaces web site.
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