Whose Problem Is This?

Posted on May 6, 2015

JTAG boundary scan from FlynnWho cares. The owner of the problem is not necessarily always the issue. Blame most often gets thrown around the work place when things don’t work, and a resolution is needed. From time to time, we encounter situations where a field applications specialist is on-site with a customer, working through a support issue because their company’s device just “stopped working.” Well, the most important thing in that moment is not to go into damage control mode. But rather, accept and identify the problem, then develop a solution. Sounds simple, and it can be by utilizing JTAG boundary scan.

Trying to diagnose a problem without the right tools is complicated. And, not having complete visibility into the various and potential causes of the problem is highly frustrating. Just like you wouldn’t try to fix a jet engine with jeweler’s tools, you wouldn’t and couldn’t be expected to diagnose and repair a device in the field without tools that increase your visibility into the problem, and provide you with the guidance you need to make a determination as to why it failed, how to fix it, and how to prevent the problem in the future.

Boundary scan/JTAG test software do just that. Even if there isn’t a set of known-good tests that were used during prototyping and manufacturing, boundary scan testing/JTAG testing can still be used in the field to diagnose problems. Simply connecting the JTAG cable to the board, then developing and running tests from a laptop, the FAE/technical specialist can quickly begin to locate problems on the board and develop a plan of attack for repairing the device. This forensic process will help everyone involved understand how the problem occurred in the first place, and how to avoid it from happening again.

For the FAE/technical specialist, that kind of information is invaluable.