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What is your position in hitech?

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Mikebits

Well-Known Member
I wonder, what were these chips meant to do?

Were you just burning firmware into the chips (in case they didn't arrive pre-programmed), powered them up and checked their functionality (like LEDs blinking, data being transmitted, buttons functioning, etc).

Was any kind of test software involved, which you needed to read its logs to look for any errors?

Thank you for sharing :)

It is a bit more than that. Chip validation requires verification of all published specifications for that particular chip.
 

EngIntoHW

Member
It is a bit more than that. Chip validation requires verification of all published specifications for that particular chip.

Hi.

Could you give an example?

Say that the chip is a microcontroller.
The datasheet of that particular chip for example states the
- Operating voltage's range 2V to 3.6V
- Ambient temperautre's range -40C to 85C
- Current consumption in each power mode
- Adjacnet channel rejection

Would you perform an through test to test each specification?

For example, would you connect the chip's VDD to a power supply, and change the PSU's output from 2V to 3.6V?
 

3v0

Coop Build Coordinator
Forum Supporter
In addition to verifying the electrical specs one would have to verify the operation of the chip. That means you have to verify every opcode. The interrupts must work. All the peripherals must be tested.

In short if the chip can do it it must be tested. If it is listed in the datasheet it must be tested.

With something as complex as a micro controller one would automate as much of the testing as possible. Some of the testing might be leveraged to use in manufacturing.
 

BrownOut

Banned
I wonder, what were these chips meant to do?

Were you just burning firmware into the chips (in case they didn't arrive pre-programmed), powered them up and checked their functionality (like LEDs blinking, data being transmitted, buttons functioning, etc).

Was any kind of test software involved, which you needed to read its logs to look for any errors?

Thank you for sharing :)

First of all, the chips we made were not sold on the open market, but were targeted for my company's own product ( internal consumption ) They were full custom System On A Chip (SOC) Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC) The gate count was up to 20 million gates by the time I left the company. For this kind of integration, we typically had 15-20 engineers involved. Each engineer would be responsible for one or more "modules" that made up the chip. Typical modules were things like Quadrature Amplitude Modulaiton (QAM) Phase Shift Keying (PSK) Buffer Memory Management, Graphics overlay, and so on... Each engineer was responsible for every part of the development of his particular module. He was responsible for verification ( simulation ) formal verification ( synthesis ) timing analysis, design rules checking, and final validation. Now, since the chips weren't on the open market, there were no real specifications to test against, but we tested against standards for each of the decoders and comm products. So, each engineer would receive a complete box containing the chip, and he would test it in a system for correct operation. If there was any embeded code required, then he would have to create it, but generally, he could simply port it from the simulation environment to the processor. Once we had the code and chip working, we would provide the code to software engineering as a starting point for their development. Also, our tests were mostly concerned with operational validation, as we assumed the modules, which we mostly purchased as Intellectual Property, already worked as specified ( this was not always a good assumption, but the IP providers generally provided us with a bug list so we knew how well the IP functioned) The world of Telecom is a very rapidly evolving one, and the design cycles are short, and so we often released product with bugs into the market. Kinda like Microsoft has done for decades. But our customers were generally happy to get things that mostly worked, and we would try to fix nonfunctional blocks on subsequent product releases. I guess that's why it's called the "Bleeding Edge" :)
 
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jrz126

Active Member
I'm an electrical engineer. I work on the controls for the Variable Frequency Drives that power the aux motors on these:
10351-3063.1062033180.jpg

Fun stuff. Lots of power (4400 horsepower)
 

BrownOut

Banned
With something as complex as a micro controller one would automate as much of the testing as possible. Some of the testing might be leveraged to use in manufacturing.

That's exactly correct. In fact, when I was in the SRAM busniess, validation and production test programs were one in the same.
 

HiTech

Well-Known Member
NOW THAT ONE MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD!...who would have thought Torben has a sense of humour!
Yeah, who would've thought someone who looks like this could be funny?
 

kjennejohn

New Member
That's what I love about this place. Most people are funny, informed and interesting.
I'm your basic electronic bench technician. Have been for 30 years. In all that time I worked on proprietary boards with embedded processors. 6502, 68000, Z80 and 80C51 derivatives. The 68000 was the master, the Z80s were slaves. The others were standalones. When I started, wirewrap was the protoyping method of choice. Now one just buys a development board/system with the processor of choice and starts writing code for it. JTAG was undreamed of. C was a gleam in K&R's eyes. Now it largely rules the embedded world. Companies design processors to support its use. I wrote a few small test routines in assembly for Z80s and 8051s. I spent most test design time talking to software types who developed the final code. Not as satisfying, but time was of the essence.

Nowadays I play with PICs (16F and 18F, nothing fancier), Atmegas (Arduino), and modules using the Renesas (formerly Hitachi) H8 parts as my hobby. I write in BASIC. Works for me.
kenjj
 

Gary B

New Member
Me, I’m just an old telephone technician from way back and getting ready to retire. OK, so I work for the Department of State keeping the communications systems operating at our embassy in Sofia Bulgaria. I did start out as a bench tech in the late ‘60s and tend to hang around sites like this to keep up with other technologies.
 

jrz126

Active Member
One of the things I liked about being an engineer is running into people who did interesting things. jrz126 is one of these people.

It is pretty interesting, and there is a bunch of electronics in there. From huge power electronics down CPU/embedded systems stuff. The final wiring schematic for is over 100 pages.

Found some pics of the inside: GE Evolution Locomotive - a set on Flickr
 

cr0sh

Member
It is pretty interesting, and there is a bunch of electronics in there. From huge power electronics down CPU/embedded systems stuff. The final wiring schematic for is over 100 pages.

Found some pics of the inside: GE Evolution Locomotive - a set on Flickr

That was an interesting photo set! It does show that their designers for the console seem "stuck" in the past on design, though - to me it looked like an old 1950's computer console repurposed with flat-screens...

Maybe that was the prototype?

:)
 

3v0

Coop Build Coordinator
Forum Supporter
That was an interesting photo set! It does show that their designers for the console seem "stuck" in the past on design, though - to me it looked like an old 1950's computer console repurposed with flat-screens...

Maybe that was the prototype?

:)
To me it looks like this is an upgraded system. I would guess this is a working locomotive.


A project like this is not about style. You can clearly see that the major components are held in by a few screws and can be pulled and replaced in seconds. The phone has a sturdy connector that will still be working 50 years from now.
 

Reloadron

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
It is pretty interesting, and there is a bunch of electronics in there. From huge power electronics down CPU/embedded systems stuff. The final wiring schematic for is over 100 pages.

Found some pics of the inside: GE Evolution Locomotive - a set on Flickr

Thanks for sharing all this cool stuff. I always had a thing for large locomotives and wondered what the guts look like. The things are awesome!

Ron
 
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jrz126

Active Member
Those were just the photos I found that someone else posted.

They don't show the cool stuff, like the 6x three-phase traction inverters, with bus bars the size of 2x4's. Or the 12x 18,000uF 1800V smoothing caps (good for pulse discharge)
 

lilimike

Member
In my young time I went from car mechanics to accounting to electrician to home appliance repair but for the next 17 years I was into computer hardware, PC, servers, R&D, programming and Web development and I quit all that to start my own business designing electronic products. Electronics was my hobby when I was young although I still am, when digital became popular that's when I got interested in computers but had enough of it. Its been one year already, I am poor as hell but I love what I do and would never go back. self learning is a passion for me. I read through this forum and get freaked out by the knowledge some people have on here and I wish I would have had that 25 years ago.

Lili is my wife, Mike is my name and my avatar is my cat.

Mike
 
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