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Varistor Production Test Using the
Agilent B2900A Series of SMUs
Technical Overview

Agilent B2901/02/11/12A Precision Source/Measure Unit
Agilent B2901A Precision SMU, 1ch, 100 fA resolution, 210 V, 3A DC/10.5 A pulse
Agilent B2902A Precision SMU, 2ch, 100 fA resolution, 210 V, 3A DC/10.5 A pulse
Agilent B2911A Precision SMU, 1ch, 10 fA resolution, 210 V, 3A DC/10.5 A pulse
Agilent B2912A Precision SMU, 2ch, 10 fA resolution, 210 V, 3A DC/10.5 A pulse
Varistors, which exhibit significant High force DUT interface
non-linear current vs. voltage (IV)
characteristics, are commonly used Test
as spark gaps to protect circuits leads Varistor
against excessive voltage. To ensure GPIB
compliance with manufacturing LAN
specifications, single-point pass/ Low force
USB GPIO Mechanical
fail DC testing must be performed on connection
packaged varistor devices. Because
these tests are also used to identify
and remove defective devices before Component handler
shipment, their reliability is important
to guarantee product quality. In addi-
tion, it is also essential to perform the Figure 1. Example test system configuration using the B2900A Series of SMUs
tests quickly to keep the production
throughput high.
the measurement results. In addition Easy production test
to these comprehensive measure-
The Agilent B2901/02/11/12A
ment capabilities, the B2900A Series
system configuration
Precision Source/Measure Unit
meets all of these requirements, of SMUs possesses high throughput Figure 1 shows a conceptual diagram
making it the best solution for varistor that reduces test times. The B2900A of a system based on the B2900A
production test. It is a compact and Series of SMUs also has many features Series of SMUs for production varistor
cost-effective bench-top Source/ that make it well-adapted for produc- test. The widely available banana
Measure Unit (SMU) with the capabil- tion test, such as pass/fail binning, style terminals of the B2900A Series
ity to source and measure both volt- a digital I/O interface for handler of SMUs greatly simplify the test
age and current. They cover currents control, and code compatibility with system configuration. As will be
from 10 fA to 3 A (DC)/10.5 A (pulse) standard single channel SMU products. discussed later, in most production
and voltages from 100 nV to 210 V. testing measurement results are
The B2900A Series of SMUs has This technical overview shows how compared with pre-defined limits and
the ability to perform not only DC to use the B2900A Series of SMUs for pass/fail judgments are made. Output
measurements but also pulsed production test. A simple varistor test signals from the GPIO port of the
measurements in order to prevent example will be shown for a nominal B2900A Series of SMUs can be used
device self-heating from distorting varistor voltage test (VN). to communicate with the component
handler to sort devices based on the
pass/fail criteria.
The B2900A Series of SMUs supports Program memory For tests that utilize lots of repeated
both 2-wire connection and 4-wire code (such as subroutines), program
connections. A basic 2-wire connec- improves throughput memory can dramatically reduce test
tion is commonly used for standard Fast test times are essential to times. Of course, programs can be
resistance measurements, while a maximize throughput and maintain saved to or loaded from any attached
4-wire connection is required for high levels of factory productivity. USB flash memory device.
low resistance measurements to Besides possessing fast intrinsic
eliminate the residual lead resistance measurement speed, the B2900A The B2900A Series of SMUs also has
(please see Figure 2). Series of SMUs has a program a data buffer on each SMU channel
memory function that can be used to that can hold up to 100,000 data
The B2900A Series of SMUs supports improve production test throughput. points. This enables you to transfer
several communication protocols, Program memory allows you to store all the data in the buffer at once after
GPIB, USB and LAN, and these can long strings of SCPI command lines a series of measurements have com-
be used with both SCPI and IVI-COM once into the volatile memory of the pleted instead of having to transfer
drivers. SCPI is an industry-standard B2900A Series of SMUs and then data after every measurement. One
command set for basic instruments recall those strings multiple times way to use this to improve throughput
with a uniform structure that supports while the program is executing using would be to have the B2900A Series
a common set of commands. The a single SCPI command. By storing of SMUs send measurement data to a
SCPI command set of the B2900A the command strings in memory, the PC while a component handler places
Series of SMUs not only supports its time that would have been spent a new device on a DUT interface.
advanced features but also general- sending those same commands over
purpose SMU commands (such as a communication bus is eliminated.
those used by the Keithley 2400) to
simplify test program migration. In
addition, the IVI-COM drivers for the B2901/02/11/12A B2901/02/11/12A
B2900A Series of SMUs work in a RLead
variety of programming environments High force IMeas High force IMeas
and languages, so you can develop RLead
programs without having to use High sense High sense
low-level commands. VMeas VSet RV VMeas VSet RV
Low sense Low sense
Low force Low force

a) 2-wire connection (RV