Motorola offers built-in-test software for MVME5100 single-board computer

Engineers at Motorola Computer Group say they intend to make life easier for customers of their MVME5100 single-board computer by creating built-in test (BIT) software for the board that will save time and money in product development.

Jan 1st, 2002
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by John McHale

TEMPE, Ariz. — Engineers at Motorola Computer Group say they intend to make life easier for customers of their MVME5100 single-board computer by creating built-in test (BIT) software for the board that will save time and money in product development.

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The first military use of the BIT software, PPCBIT-5100, for the MVME5100 is by Raytheon's Command, Control, Communications, and Information Systems division in St. Petersburg. Fla., for the U.S. Navy's Cooperative Engagement Capability program, Motorola officials say. Motorola officials declined to comment further on this project due to contract obligations.

The BIT software monitors the proper operation of all devices on the MVME5100. PPCBIT-5100 provides fault detection and fault isolation programs that give 95 percent fault coverage, says Jeffrey Harris, director of research and system architecture at Motorola Computer Group.

PPCBIT-5100 is also extensible, allowing the user to configure new system-level tests through procedural calls. This saves time and money because a major portion of the diagnostics is already provided, he adds.

Before the BIT software Motorola's MVME5100 customers would have to spend time and money writing this software themselves; now Motorola does it for them, Harris says.

The PPCBIT-5100 programs are executed and controlled by means of the BIT application-programming interface (API), Motorola officials say. The interface enables users to control test execution and sequencing. The user's application has the capability to invoke tests at the test and subtest level.

Each subtest can execute independently, providing its own initialization and resource allocation and de-allocation. Any detected faults are stored in a fault database and reported back to the user as requested. Exception handling mechanisms prevent the BIT program from crashing due to hardware faults, company officials say.

PPCBIT-5100 consists of five major functions, an API, test list processing, subtest control, test execution, and device fault summary, Motorola officials say. The device fault summary is a database accessible from multiple threads of control that employs a mutual exclusion mechanism. The other four functions occupy separate threads of execution and communicate by means of a message queuing facility.

The user via the API submits the test list for execution, Motorola officials say. A timer is set to limit execution time to reasonable vales and the subtest control task waits for test completion. Upon receipt of the subtest completion message, subtest control stores completion data for the logical device being tested, invokes the subtests de-installation method and forwards the message to the test list processing.

There is a one-time purchase fee for the software, then the customer can download upgrades for free off the World Wide Web, Harris says. The MVME-5100 is the first board to use the BIT tool, and software will be developed for other Motorola boards in the future, he adds.

For more information on the PPCBIT-5100 contact Motorola Computer Group by phone at 800-759-1107, by mail at 2900 South Diablo Way, Tempe Ariz. 85282, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.motorola.com/mcg.

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