What Is Universal Synaptics definition of an Intermittent FAULT?

We define an intermittent the same way the Department of Defense (DoD) defines it in MIL-PRF 32516. An intermittent fault is a momentary discontinuity, a malfunction of a device or system that occurs at irregular intervals. The intermittent faults our technology is able to capture are notoriously difficult to identify and repair and are typically categorized as No Fault Found (NFF) due to conventional test equipment’s inability to detect them.

Electrical intermittent faults are a "temporary" deviation from the nominal operating condition of a circuit or device. Common root causes of intermittence are the component interconnecting devices, such as:

  • solder joints

  • connectors

  • cables/wires

  • crimps

  • splices

  • circuit traces

  • via's

  • wire wraps

  • relays

  • circuit breakers

  • pins


WHAT performance specifications does intermittent fault detection (ifd) technology meet?

USDoD MIL-PRF 32516 Electronic Test Equipment, Intermittent Fault Detection and Isolation for Chassis and Backplane Conductive Paths

ECIA EIA-364-46 Microsecond Discontinuity Test Procedures for Electrical Connectors, Contacts and Sockets

ECIA EIA-364-87 Nanosecond Event Detection Test Procedure for Electrical Connectors, Contacts and Sockets

  • Intermittent Fault Detection capabilities of the VIFD and IFDIS comply with all three specifications

  • 2016 Industry Week Competition to assess compliance with USDoD MIL-PRF-32516

    • Universal Synaptics ONLY company to pass all tests in compliance with MIL-PRF-32516

    • "Short duration intermittent faults that are under 100 nanoseconds across all LRU/WRA backplane circuits and associated wire harnesses"

  • VIFD and IFDIS test for discontinuity across all circuits, simultaneously and continuously, without the need for daisy-chaining circuits or complex ITAs

    • Unique capability to isolate a fault  to a specific circuit without further ‘splitting of the system’

    • Monitor all circuits at the same time without the need for loop resistance test

    • Provides 100% test coverage while detecting interruptions of circuit continuity of less than 50nsec for resistance of 1-10 Ohms (depending on the total resistance of each of the individual circuits under test)

  • Exceeds the requirements of EIA-364-46B

  • Meets the requirements of EIA-364-87 (Test Condition F, 50nsec)

    • Both test requirements can be carried out at the same time without any compromise to either requirement

    • VIFD capability: up to 512 individual circuits/test points can be simultaneously tested/monitored

    • IFDIS capability: unlimited individual circuits/test points can be simultaneously tested/monitored

Intermittent faults that drive NFF test results have plagued electronic systems for decadeS. are you facing any challenges getting the electronics repair industry to adopt the IFDIS and Voyager?

There are a few challenges.  Primarily there is so much misinformation industry-wide about what type of technology can and can’t detect and isolate an intermittent fault.  We find that suddenly everybody has an intermittent fault detector, which is a lack of understanding of the failure mode and test equipment capability limitations.  Another challenge is that technology is moving much faster than industry strategy, policy, technical or legal thinking.  Overcoming these challenges has the potential to produce materiel readiness and significant maintenance cost reductions.

What are the key technology differences between the Voyager Intermittent Fault Detector (VIFD) and my current wire test set?

The primary difference is that all wire test sets scan and sample one circuit or one wire at a time.  The VIFD monitors all circuits or wires under test for the duration of that test.  In other words, think of the distinct differences between a Digital Multi-meter (DMM) and a latching oscilloscope.  The VIFD is similar to having a latching oscilloscope on every wire under test.

Is the intermittent fault detection technology contained in the Voyager(VIFD) different from the IFDIS?

No, the core intermittent fault technology is exactly the same.  The product delivery is different, the Voyager is portable the IFDIS is not portable.


Prior to the development of the IFD, Intermittent Fault Detection technology, testing all lines, at the same time, simultaneously and continuously, was not really possible to any efficient degree using conventional test technology.  The only way to comprehensively detect the low-level intermittence causing No Fault Found (NFF) is to test all of the lines, at the same time, simultaneously and continuously.  The sensing technology also has to be super-sensitive on each of the individual lines to pick up the developing intermittent problems.  Having significant experience and interest in the science of Artificial Intelligence (AI), our company’s founders felt the most analogous solution to this testing dilemma would be to mimic the parallel distributed processing operation found in the operation of the human brain and sensors of the body’s nervous system. The resulting IFD and its current derivatives, the IFDIS & Voyager share a common intermittence testing architecture that comprises a hardware Neural Network.

How difficult is it to set up an IFDIS test stand?

The IFDIS is very simple to program and set up.  A training course is available from technician to board room executive tailored specifically to the client’s abilities and current knowledge / experience.  Training courses range from data acquisition & analysis to the design and development of the interface as well as the programming of the IFDIS, with a focus on troubleshooting, reading and understanding the IFDIS test results.