Intermittent problems are the most troubling issues that affect the performance of cable assemblies. Most of the cable assembly users simply buy cable harnesses and use in applications without even ensuring that they are electrically tested. Cable assemblies, like any other components are prone to manufacturing defects, which in turn lead to intermittent shorts and opens.
Cable Assembly Testing
Fortunately, there are several cable assembly testers available to pinpoint even minor intermittent problems. Prior to use in applications, you must ensure that the assemblies are free from intermittents.
Cable assembly testing equipment span a wide range. These test equipment can be broadly classified as the following:
- PC-Based Equipment – As the name implies, PC based cable assembly testing equipment function with the help of personal computers. These instruments collect data pertaining to intermittent issues and are then uploaded into PCs for analysis and report generation.
- Microprocessor Controlled Equipment – On the other hand, these systems function with the help of an embedded microprocessor. These self-contained test equipment quickly acquires data from a cable assembly that needs to be tested and compare it with the connection map of a model cable which is already stored in on-board memory. A matching connection map indicates a cable assembly free from intermittent issues.
Compared to microprocessor controlled testing equipment, PC based cable assembly testing offers more functionality. These include automation scripting and file management. In addition to just testing cables for opens and shorts, PC based systems provides an integrated software package for:
- Cable design
- On-line assembly checking
An example to PC based cable and harness system is CableEye.
Diagnosing cable health and performance is essential before using custom cable assemblies in applications. Intermittent problems like bad crimps, broken wires, and cold solder joints must be detected at the earliest and rectified promptly. By putting cable assemblies under test, you can prevent cable failure when they are used in applications.