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Firmware downloader

User interface fig.1

The process of manufacturing electronic devices can be divided into steps. Many steps. But regardless of its number there will always be things like downloading of device program (firmware) and functional tests of the complete device. These things are unavoidable and time consuming. It is not uncommon to use several different applications to complete these simple steps.

XInstruments automated the process of initial configuration and testing motion control boards. Before automation, three different applications were used to complete the task: (1) an application from microcontroller's manufacturer for downloading firmware into the device, (2) a custom-made application for downloading personalized information (like a serial number, owner's name, calibration curve, etc.), (3) and a general application (which was shipped with the device to end-users) for functionality testing. This means the operator has to learn three different applications, and switch from one window to another, trying to figure out which step should be next. This leads a loss of time and an increase in final cost of the device.

The proper solution to the problem is the creation of a single user interface with combined functionality of all three applications that is intuitive even for inexperienced users. XInstruments has created such an interface for motion control boards. This solution has helped to reduce time for firmware download and tests by 83%, from 120 to 20 seconds per device. It also proved to be helpful in situations when controller's firmware needs to be reloaded or additional tests are required.

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