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Testing Your Embedded System

Every time you are making some circuit or more complex system, you always do some testing to ensure that your electronic creation is working properly and exposing it to publicity. Let’s say you are constructing some robots. Then a typical list of the testing task may be as follows:

  • Stability tests using various working modes and critical supply voltages (like 4,75 and 5,25V);
  • Start-up testing purpose is to check system readiness to accept commands after power-up;
  • Checking correctness of executed commands;
  • Checking correctness of sensors;

Sometimes you will need to prepare good documentation where every node reliability is calculated. Also, testing methods of each node may be included in the documentation. Of course, many devices may work in a wider range of supply voltages, but there are always some electronic components that need more than 5% stability.

Suppose your system is bigger and may be dangerous to your health or to itself. For instance, if it is a robotic system, you should know that it can break itself into some obstacles. In this case, it should include some blockage of tires in case if you lose control of your robot.

When testing an electronic circuit, there is always good to have a logic probe and oscilloscope. You should test the signal levels on each device to ensure that all peripherals respond correctly. While it is an embedded system, always think of two mistake sources – hardware and software. If the signal level is suspicious, it doesn’t mean a hardware bug, but a software bug can cause it.

As I mentioned, an essential part of your project is documentation. Especially if your project is more complex, it may reduce your testing time, and it is much easier to repeat in the future by you or others. Documenting should be done in widely accepted formats like HTML or PDF.

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