Computer based test equipment in a rugged PC
Dramatic increases in CPU and display performance mean laptop and lunchbox computer can easily become the host for portable test equipment. Computer based test equipment gives the end user increased flexibility in configuring project-specific tests. The newest laptops from Getac, Panasonic and Dell have the latest 4th generation mobile processor technology. Larger lunchbox portables from Acme Government Systems, Acme Portable Machines, BSI Computer, Stealth Computer and others employ up to the latest 10-core Xeon processors. Some ruggedized lunchbox computers have dual Xeon configurations.
Application specific expansion cards
Similar advances in the development of application-specific boards and modules make finding the right functionality and performance possible. Previously only low frequency instruments like DMMS, and low frequency Data Acquisition modules were available. Now a user can find wide bandwidth oscilloscopes, RF signal generators and frequency synthesizers, and even microwave switching. Computer based test equipment can sometimes be more powerful than stand-alone units as they have access to much greater compute horsepower and memory than is typical in embedded or stand-alone systems.
These new advances make it possible to define and build program-specific portable test equipment that meets the ruggedization requirements of field operations without the non-recurring engineering costs required to develop such capability from scratch.
Computer based test equipment can meet Mil Spec and Hazardous environments.
Many of the available rugged portable computers and laptops were designed or tested the military’s environmental standard MIL-STD-810G and electromagnetic compliance standard MIL-STD-461F. Further, AC input power ranges can be had from 100-240VAC 50-400Hz. DC inputs from 12-32VDC, 24VDC and 28VDC with some systems being compliant with the 28 volt military specification, MIL-STD-1275E. Testing military busses such as Mil Std 1553 is much more easily achieved using computer based test equipment.
For equipment used on the aircraft flight line or based on aircraft carriers, some rugged portable computers and laptops are available with explosive atmosphere compliance per MIL-STD-810G paragraph 511.5.
Computer based test equipment card sources
Card-Based & USB Oscillocsopes
http://www.pc-oscilloscopes.com/oscilloscope_selection_guide.htm (Pico PC Oscilloscope selection Guide)
Card-Based & USB Multimeters
Card-Based & USB Synthesizers
Computer based test equipment links
http://www.picotech.com/test-equipment-history.html (Nice history slider!)
https://www.frost.com/sublib/display-market-insight.do?id=8600642 (Frost and Sullivan review of the market)
Complete Spectrum Analyzer Units without computer:
PCI Mezzanine cards (PMC cards)
PCI and PCIe mezzanine cards are available for use in computer based test equipment. Please see PMC Cards
And that sums up computer based test equipment in a rugged portable.