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What is ScpiStudio?

I would like to introduce ScpiStudio to you, as I expect it will soon go “VIRAL” at an test engineer near you.

ScpiStudio can used to perform automatic test and/or process control in the semiconductor, electronic, bio tech and automation industries. Additionally, it will be modified in future revisions by adding barcoding, motion control, and vision systems and include other technical industries which have a need to perform data acquisition and control processes.

ScpiStudio (ATE) is an extremely easy to use script (text) driven test engineering software development suite. The test program contains simple to understand test engineering and software commands that reside in database tables. How one writes the script controls the sequence of commands sent to the peripherals (test equipment, etc.).

Why use ScpiStudio?

ScpiStudio is an inexpensive, simple to use, and robust process control application development suite. It is incredibly easy to develop powerful data acquisition and process control applications.  You develope a test program by using a simple to understand high level ascii script specifically to be very similar with the SCPI control language for automated general-purpose test equipment.  It is truly easy to develop powerful data acquisition and process control applications (which is similar to developing a python application). 

The major difference between ScpiStudio and other test engineering development platforms is that the test engineer does not have to concern themselves with the lower level software engineering aspects of a typical test engineer program, but rather only concern themselves with, the type of test, what commands (typically SCPI) to use for their test equipment, the test limits, and the sequence of operations. This is accomplished as the control language is abstracted from the software engineering development tool.

ScpiStudio contains the intelligence to communicate with and interrogate xternal test equipment and other peripherals using industry standard I/O API (application programming interface) via NI-VISA (National Instruments Virtual Instrument Software Architecture™), compare with limits of test, and data log the measured results.  ScpiStudio is an inexpensive and robust process control application development suite.

ScpiStudio contains the intelligence to communicate with and interrogate external test equipment and other peripherals using industry standard I/O API (application programming interface) via VISA (Virtual Instrument Software Architecture) and data log the measured results.

How is ScpiStudio organized?

ScpiStudio is comprised of various threads (Main, Test, Tcpip, Queue, Cloud, plus a one second timer tread.  ScpiStudio threads communicates via queues, interprocess communication (IPC) via the database control tables, and/or Tcp/Ip..

The Main User Interface (UI) thread allows the operator to select and configure which control table and test program to run. During execution,this thread displays tracing and graphical information. At the end of execution, this thread displays the duration time of the test and passed/failed information, as well as the data logged information.

The Test thread acts as a test engine for the UUT (unit under test), PCB, or electronic system. This thread engine sequences through the selected database table(s) (test program(s)), which contains simple or complex control and data
acquisition commands. The thread also, via the sequenced commands, interrogates peripherals, controls program execution, branches on test results, and data logs accordingly. When finished returns control back to the Main thread.

All the other threads are subservient to either the Main or Test Thread.

What makes ScpiStudio unique and special?

ScpiStudio provides a new and innovative way for a test or automation engineer to create a sequencing, control, and data acquisition program without the need to capture a software engineering resource, as this product is aimed at both the Programmer and Non-Programmer alike. 

The ease of use is accomplished by using VisualStudio C# and NI-VISA underpinnings to  abstract the underlying software routines for UUT stimulation, data acquisition, comparison, graphing, and data/cloud logging away from the test engineer by utilizing a simple to use ASCII script , which resides in a database (SQLite) table.

This allows the test engineer need only be concerned with, for example, High Level data such as test values, High and Low limits, test sequences, and binning. The test engineer does not have to be concerned wtih low level code to make the tests happen. They simply write a test sequence using ASCII script and simple software engineering constructs and commands from the SQLCommand table in the database, to produce a simple to complex production worthy and robust test engineer program.

Physical feedback of the test sequence can be viewed on the User Interface in a DataGridView, at near normal test throughput speeds, help the test engineer to ensure the sequence is correct, during the debug phase of program
development. The trace can be disabled during the actually test run.

A ScpiStudio test program, as noted before, is stored in an SQLite Database Table. ScpiStudio runs the test program, selected by the operator of the test computer, by querying the contents of the table (note: each table, with "AIS"
at the beginning of its name, is a test program). The ScpiStudio application simply sequences through the test program table and performs the actions, measurements, comparisons, data logging, and branching  accordingly, until the test is vompleted. Note that a given test program table can contain subroutines and, additionally, may call other tables (i.e.
another test program). This feature allows for more concise and smaller test programs, and affords the test engineer, to take advantage of existing test engineering intellectual property.

ScpiStudio, has all the essential abilities, to utilize the interface buses (GPIB, RS232C, USB, TPC/IP), to communicate with and control the associated test equipment, and hardware (relays, pneumatics, motion, vision, etc.).  ScpiStudio is an ATE test engine, which performs myriads of software methods, while processing the upper level SCPI script (i.e. test program). These methods are automatically invoked, as part of the ScpiStudio software engineering design.

ScpiStudio has many functionalities not found in some of the other test floor
managers or sequence generating software. For instance, ScpiStudio can spawn
multiple copies of itself. This allows the user to run other test or control
programs in parallel with your current test program. They can synchronize via
hardware triggers, database operatives, pipe communications, or TCP/IP
communication, among others.

ScpiStudio debugging capabilities are built in:

Simulation: Allows one to simulate the test without the need for active hardware. This ScpiStudio feature will go a long way in determining TestProgram Script issues you may have.

Single Step: ScpiStudio allows you to utilize a programmed single step feature (SNGLSTEP ON/OFF). This is extremely helpful during initial creation of your test program, to determine the correct sequence, display items, and data logging. There is also a SNGLSTEP button on the front panel you can use to activate SNGLSTEP when running the test program.

Other features of ScpiStudio include the following:

  • Ability to call subroutines  to cut down on the size of the sequence. or make the sequence more readable.
  • Ability to call tables from within a table. This allows for utilizing existing intellectual property (existing code).
  • Ability to launch multiple servers on the same or different PC’s to multitask locally or across networks.
  • Control behavior of the overall process through the local database or via TCP/IP communications.
  • Data reduction and post processing across the network.
  • Software capabilities (like python):

The server can provide simple to complex sequencing as determined by the user of the system.  The processing commands are contained in a table in the database.

Among the features of these commands are:

  • Ability to sequence and run Python Scripts, and data log the generated data into the ScpiStudio database.
  • Write, Read, and Compare IEEE-488, Serial, USB, and TCP/IP measurements utilizing National Instruments VISA drivers via Measurement Studio C# library for Microsoft Visual Studio 2017.
  • Branching (numerous types such as pass/fail, greater than, less than, and others)
  • Looping (ability to use up to five looping registers (a,b,x,y,z).)  The looping command (such as BRAALOOP, 2,3), decrements the ALOOP counter and if greater than zero branches to test two, or, if zero or less than zero, branches to test three.
  • Looping for a specific amount of time (msec, sec, min, hour, day).
  • Mathematic functions via accumulator registers.
  • Launch multiple servers which can communicate via TCP/IP or pipes.
  • Ability to control up to a number peripherals on a given PC.
  • Ability to control numerous peripherals when used across multiple PC’s

What about pricing?

ScpiStudio will be priced to be extremely cost effective (much less than our major competitors pricing). Volume discounts will be available.  For curent pricing check or Product Listings page.

ScpiStudio will contain a student edition for a reduced fee depending on volume.

The above explains ScpiStudio’s ability and the engineering audience at your facility might like to see a demonstration of this product or purchase either a student or full edition (depending on their student status).  Let us know how we can help bring ScpiStudio to your facility and show the capabilities and value of this product.