Test & Measurement

Saelig’s ABI PCB test solutions solve maintenance issues for military equipment

27th October 2022
Kiera Sowery

Saelig Company has introduced the ABI BoardMaster Universal PCB Test Solution and RevEng, two products that can simplify electronics repair for military equipment, vehicle, and aircraft, avoiding obsolescence.

The BoardMaster is a versatile, and easy-to-use PCB test system featuring a comprehensive set of test instruments and special software for testing and fault-finding on almost any kind of PCB or assembly. Self-contained, it is housed in a convenient 19” rack case complete with a built-in Windows PC. RevEng is a learning instrument that can be used to recreate schematics of an obsolete PCB, and subsequently recreate the PCB for refurbishing equipment. These devices can speed up PCB repair and return equipment back to operational use quickly. 

Long life spans of military electronics, combined with the inevitable obsolescence issues, are an ongoing problem in the armed services. The military sector uses electronics on an extremely large scale, ranging from radars, navigation, and control electronics on board ships to portable, telecommunication equipment for ground personnel.  Ensuring the reliable and safe operation of a wide variety of military systems including wheeled and tracked equipment, tanks, and ground and air transportation often means that electronic assemblies and boards that malfunction or need routine testing are returned to their respective OEMs for evaluation.

For over 30 years, ABI has developed solutions to suit the specific needs of a wide range of defense customers, and BoardMaster is being adopted as a service tool by military units worldwide. It uses a customized mix-and-match selection of CD-drive-sized modules to create a self-contained, prompt-driven PCB test station for repairing all kinds of equipment.  Many products often lack documentation, making it hard to repair the electronics in them. Choosing to use local maintenance tools such as ABI BoardMaster and RevEng not only speeds up the repair process but also broadens the range of equipment that can be fixed.  In situations where there is a working board but no documentation, the RevEng Schematic Learning System can achieve a point-to-point PCB schematic capture on undocumented or obsolete PCBs to create the documentation needed and can even feed the netlist into a PCB layout package to reproduce more of these boards – even obsolete ones.

ABI Electronics test equipment is used on the air force and naval bases of more than 20 countries, and by defense contractors such as Thales, Rolls Royce, Collins Aerospace, Honeywell Aerospace, and Lockheed Martin for diagnosing onboard electronics malfunctions. Many service sites are also using ABI’s RevEng schematic learning systems to generate missing schematics to support repair processes on obsolete equipment. ABI products are employed in aviation repair by commercial airlines in the UK, Turkey, Indonesia, New Zealand, and the USA for all aspects of avionics, including communications, navigation, monitoring, flight control and simulators, and management systems. The RevEng Schematic Learning Systems is frequently used at many of these sites to generate missing schematics.

Several days of hands-on on-site training are provided for ABI solutions to reduce the learning curve for the successful use of a new system. Testing and problem diagnosis is simplified by following a customized fault-finding automated sequence script and comparing results with a known good board. The preinstalled software can be configured to guide users step-by-step through a test procedure, with custom-annotated images, PDFs, instructions, videos, and attached datasheets to give quick Pass/Fail and component fault results. A built-in library contains tens of thousands of common components. Using test clips and device adapters, the system can run multiple tests in a few seconds. This is much faster, more thorough and consistent, and more economical than using traditional oscilloscopes, meters, and other bench test methods. A significant benefit is that it allows procedures to be performed by less qualified technicians.  

The ABI BoardMaster and RevEng PCB test solutions provide cost-effective diagnosis tools for all kinds of military equipment failures.

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