Why should you care about JTAG / boundary scan ?

If you are responsible for designing and / or testing printed circuit board (PCB) assemblies and / or systems and are currently not utilizing JTAG / boundary scan for test and in-system programming, you may be missing out on some cost-saving opportunities. Here are some of the reasons why you may want to seriously consider including JTAG / boundary scan in your company's test strategy:

  • Regain test access: consider test access problems related to BGA packages, multi-layer PCBs, internal-layer signal traces which are not accessible through vias or test points.
  • Reduce cost of test: reuse tests throughout the product life cycle, utilize less expensive test equipment, potentially with no or simple test fixtures.
  • Reduce time to market: debug prototypes, detect faults and diagnose defects down to the pin level.
  • Improve yield and productivity: benefit from precise diagnostics and fast test execution in manufacturing / production test.
  • No / reduced physical probing: less probing means less physical stress and less risk for damage of the unit under test.
  • Just-in-time programming on board / in system: utilize in-system configuration / programming for CPLD, Flash, serial EEPROM, and on-chip memory (e.g. MCU, MPU) to avoid inventory management issues and costs related to pre-programmed devices.
  • Simplify your test strategy and reduce cost by combining test methodologies.
  • Reduce cost of repair / warranty returns: reduce or eliminate NTF (no trouble found) / NDF (no defect found) issues with in-field, in-system test and error logging.