Once instruments and switching products have been chosen for a test set-up, the interconnect products need to be selected. This can be a complex process resulting in a significant investment in time, money, and in some cases, even exceeding the initial purchase cost of the devices.

The cable design for a test system is probably the last part that happens when developing a test. And because proper cabling is critical for repeatability and accuracy, this part needs care and expertise. Depending on the application, the test engineer needs to consider test specifications, such as voltage, current, temperature, insertion losses, and more. From there, the engineer needs to determine the connections between the instrument and the Device Under Test (DUT) and then select connector types, backshells, wire length, and wire types. Unless the test engineer is an expert on cabling, researching wires and connectors can be daunting.

As a leader in test and measurement switching and simulation for more than 30 years, we fully understand the importance of high-performance and reliable interconnection between the parts of a test system and DUT. That is why we established an in-house connectivity division that manufactures a comprehensive range of 1200+ high-quality cable and connector solutions. However, there are times when a standard cable assembly is not suitable, and there is a need for custom connectors and wire types or specific harness wiring. Pickering's free online Cable Design Tool (CDT) is a simple and efficient way of creating these custom cabling solutions.

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There are about 500 connectors and 400 types of wires and cables in the library (and growing daily). Many attributes can be selected, including pin count, connector type, rated voltage, conductor count, insulation type, conductor size, and more. Many sophisticated functions, such as screening, sleeving and labels, and bundling, can also be added. 

When the design is completed, the tool creates the full datasheet with all part numbers, lengths, labeling and pinout map for each path, which can then be downloaded in PDF format. If the designer decides to work with Pickering, the PDF can be used as build-instructions for their production department. Otherwise, the designer is free to take the design and solicit other cable vendors.

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The tool is collaborative, enabling several people to work on a design and once finished, the design is then sent to us to review. Our cable technicians can assist by suggesting cost-saving design changes and optimize the design for ease of manufacture by using stocked parts. Lead time is typically four to five weeks after receiving the order.

The main advantage offered by our connectivity division is the ability to provide precisely what you need. Our flexibility starts with the first point of inquiry. Our technicians receive cable drawings in many formats—AutoCAD, Visio documents, Excel pinouts, text descriptions, etc. Our designers are here to help, whether modifying existing designs or designing new ones. Our in-house production is flexible to cope with such demands and can manufacture in single quantities or high volume.

 

Ready to get started?

Take a look at our on-demand webinar "Simplifying Test Interconnect with Cable Design Tool"

To learn more about cabling for your automated test system, download our SwitchMate book.

 

Please contact us if you have questions or would like more information.