January 4, 2024

Maximizing Test Coverage with Boundary Scan: A How-To Guide

Flynn Systems Corporation

In the complex landscape of electronics manufacturing, achieving maximal test coverage is essential for ensuring product quality and reliability. Boundary scan technology, rooted in the IEEE 1149.1 standard, has emerged as a vital tool in this endeavor. This guide delves into how to maximize test coverage using boundary scan, drawing upon the expertise and innovative solutions provided by Flynn Systems.

Understanding Boundary Scan Technology

Boundary scan, also known as JTAG (Joint Test Action Group), is a method for testing interconnects on printed circuit boards (PCBs) or integrated circuits. It was developed to overcome challenges posed by increasingly complex PCB designs and shrinking physical access to test points. The technology utilizes a standard set of instructions and a shift-register path around the boundary of a chip, allowing for the testing of individual pins without physical probe access.

Setting Up for Boundary Scan Testing

The foundation of effective boundary scan testing is a well-planned setup. Key steps include:
Selecting the Right Tools: Choosing robust testing software and hardware is crucial. Flynn Systems’ onTAP Series 4000 offers a comprehensive solution for boundary scan testing, providing high fault coverage and ease of use.
Preparing Your PCB Design: Ensure your PCB design is optimized for boundary scan testing. This includes incorporating test access ports (TAPs) and designing your board layout to maximize accessibility to boundary-scan-enabled components.

Developing a Comprehensive Test Strategy

A strategic approach to boundary scan testing is essential for maximizing coverage. Key considerations include:
Identifying Test Points: Determine which components and connections need to be tested. This involves analyzing your PCB layout and identifying critical test points that will ensure comprehensive coverage.
Creating Test Vectors: Develop test vectors that will be used to test the identified points. Flynn Systems’ solutions can assist in automating this process, ensuring thorough and efficient testing.

Utilizing Advanced Features and Techniques

To fully exploit the capabilities of boundary scan technology, it’s important to utilize its advanced features:
Cluster Testing: This technique allows for testing groups of non-boundary scan devices that are connected to boundary-scan cells, expanding test coverage beyond just boundary-scan-enabled components.
Memory Testing: Boundary scan can be used to test memory interfaces and connections, ensuring the integrity of these critical components.
Leveraging Flynn Systems’ Solutions: Flynn Systems provides advanced features in their onTAP Series 4000, such as intuitive diagnostics and scripting capabilities, which enhance the testing process and increase fault coverage.


Maximizing test coverage with boundary scan is a multifaceted process that requires a deep understanding of the technology, strategic planning, and the right tools. Flynn Systems stands at the forefront of this field, offering solutions that not only simplify the testing process but also ensure comprehensive coverage and accuracy. By following these guidelines and leveraging Flynn Systems’ expertise, electronics manufacturers can achieve unparalleled reliability and quality in their products.

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Flynn Systems Corporation

January 4, 2024


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