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BenchSystem™ Test Controller

Tools for Scientists and Engineers


The BenchSystem is a programmable test & measure controller with optional I/O modules. It is a simple alternative to PC-based GPIB and data acquisition systems. Quickly automate prototyping and testing at the bench. Some applications include:

  • circuit prototyping
  • embedded control
  • test fixtures
  • binning / sorting
  • Typical app

    Application Example

    The photograph above shows a typical BenchSystem configuration. The subject of this test is a prototype circuit or a device within that circuit (bottom of photo). The BenchSystem is shown in the center of the photo, consisting of a controller module and, in this case, one I/O module. The controller module connects directly to the meter, the PC terminal, and the I/O module.

    The test program, using simple text commands, runs on the controller module, where it:


    A minimum BenchSystem requires one controller module. A computer is needed for program development, and may be useful at run-time for data acquisition and operator interface. The computer can be any PC or workstation with a serial port, text file editor, and terminal emulation program. Those programs come standard on most machines, i.e. Notepad and HyperTerminal on Windows.


    A system may use up to 31 I/O modules, up to 4000 feet from the controller. Modules can be stack-mounted.

    Btc1 Controller Module

    • Standard GPIB and SERIAL control interfaces to most test equipment.
    • Standard SERIAL device interface to a console terminal.
    • BenchSystem Operating Language interpreter and memory.
    • A program can run automatically at power up.



    Bsi1 Signal I/O Module

    • Digital I/O from 2.7 to 5.5V:
      • byte-wide data with rd/wr strobes or latched.
      • serial shift register.
      • PWM, frequency or count.
      • bit-wide: 8 output, 5 input.
    • Analog Inputs, 10 bit resolution, 0-5V:
      • 3 single ended or 2 differential
      • PGA and selectable reference.


    Brr1 Reed Relay I/O Module

    • 16 Channels, SPST normally open.
    • 16 indicator lamp display.
    • low leakage, long life.
    • 200V isolation, >1 G ohm open.
    • 0.5A, <0.2 ohm closed.


    Setup and Program Development

    See the Getting Started Manual to assemble the system hardware and configure the computer's terminal emulator.

    1. Use interactive commands at the console terminal to familiarize yourself with the system equipment.
    2. Write your program on a PC or workstation using a standard text editor, i.e. Notepad.
    3. Upload and debug the program via a standard terminal emulator, i.e. HyperTerminal.
    4. Debug your program on-board by single stepping statement-by-statement. Errors return descriptive messages to the console terminal.

    Programming Language

    The BenchSystem Operating Language™ is a text language interpreter resident on the BTC-1 controller. The language and equipment interfaces operate at a high level so the programmer can concentrate on the task at hand.

    Sample code


    Manuals, Datasheets, and Application Programs

    1. Getting Started installation manual for hardware setup and terminal configuration, including an example programming and debug session (120Kb, pdf).
    2. BenchSystem Operating Language tutorial and data sheet (158Kb, pdf).
    3. Btc1 controller module data sheet (207Kb, pdf).
    4. Bsi1 signal I/O module data sheet (190Kb, pdf).
    5. Brr1 reed relay module data sheet (140Kb, pdf).
    6. BenchSystem XL Tool is a windows program, with run-control buttons, to pipe BenchSystem data to an Excel spreadsheet (1.6Mb, zip).

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