A signal switching subsystem is a key component used in the automation of many test and measurement applications. The primary purpose of a switch is to route signals between test instrumentation and I/O points on a unit under test. A switching system can reduce the investment required for expensive test equipment while also minimizing the overall footprint of the test system. Using a switching system decreases the dependency on manual operator intervention that is often a cause of false failures.
Designing an efficient signal switching system is dependent on the application for which it is being targeted, and if key considerations are overlooked, undesirable consequences can result. Of utmost importance is understanding that a switch becomes an extension of your test instrument. In other words, the wrong choice of switch can cause the electrical specifications of a test instrument to be derated, and the extent of that derating is determined by the switch to which the instrument is connected.
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