Diagnosing faults in military electronics can be a time-consuming, imprecise, and difficult process. Reported electronics errors that occur in an operational working environment, often show No Fault Found (NFF) when tested later at a higher level of maintenance. There are many know causal factors for NFF including training, inadequate troubleshooting procedures and tools, OPTEMPO sortie requirements, and intermittence. This JTEG forum will take a deep dive into these common causal factors of NFF and explore emerging tools, technologies, and processes aimed at rapidly and precisely isolating traditional “solid-state” electronic faults such as opens and shorts. This session will also delve into intermittence as a significant cause of electronics NFF. Intermittence occurs randomly in time, place, amplitude, and duration. These intermittent faults are a significant problem for the US Department of Defense (DoD), contributing as a leading driver of weapon system non-availability and responsible for billions of dollars in sustainment costs annually. Traditional testing equipment and methods are not adequate to identify these intermittent faults. However, with the use of proper test equipment, it is now possible to perform diagnostics on these formally NFF electronics and reliably detect intermittent faults. This virtual technology forum will provide examples of diagnostic equipment, some currently in use within the military Services, and others currently being developed and demonstrated.
1300-1305: Welcome – Ray Langlais (OSD-MR) Presentation
1305-1309: Administrative Notes – Debbie Lilu (NCMS)
1309-1335: Intermittent Fault Detectors – Ron Swindle (Crane) & Ken Anderson (Universal Synaptics)
1355-1415: Distributed Acquisition Digital Twin Maintenance Architecture (DADTMA) – Damon Blanchette (FTL Labs)
1415-1435: Acoustic Ultrasound Detection – Robert Broche (Ctrl Systems) Presentation
1435-1455: AMUET 4.0 Applications – Alain Lussier & Patrick Cobb (WR-ALC)
1455-1500: Wrap-Up – Ray Langlais (OSD-MR) Presentation
Event: On 27 July 2021, the Joint Technology Exchange Group (JTEG), in coordination with the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS), hosted a virtual forum on “No Fault Found (NFF) and Intermittent Testing in Electronics”.
Purpose: The purpose of this forum was to take a deep dive into the common causal factors of NFF and explore emerging tools, technologies and processes aimed at rapidly and precisely isolating traditional “solid state” electronic faults such as opens and shorts. Additionally, this forum examined intermittence in electronics and provided examples of intermittence diagnostic equipment, some currently in use within the military Services, and others currently being developed and demonstrated.
Welcome: Ray Langlais (OSD-MR/LMI) welcomed everyone to the forum and thanked the presenters and all the listeners for their attendance. He also stated how important ergonomics and exoskeletons are in supporting continuous sustainment operations and readiness in the DoD maintenance community and how their development within DoD is progressing.
Administrative: This was an open forum. The presentations, along with questions and answers, were conducted through Adobe Connect. Two of the presentations were available online during the forum at the JTEG website: http://jteg.ncms.org/ . A separate audio line was used. We had over 60 participants from across DOD, industry, and academia join in the forum.
Intermittent Fault Detectors – Ken Anderson (Universal Synaptics) described the NFF problem and its’ impact on DoD readiness and sustainment costs, and also described intermittent faults and the physical effects which can cause them. He then explained how conventional automated test equipment works, followed by how intermittent fault detection (IFD) compares. He detailed the components and capabilities of the portable intermittent fault detector and the IFD and Isolation System (IFDIS), and described testing and use at Hill AFB, Fleet Readiness Center Southwest, NSWC Crane, and other sites.
Automatic Wire Test Set (AWTS) – Brian Cyrier (Eclypse) stated that the AWTS is an existing DoD Approved Test Set with a Certification Test Protocol (CTP) precision testing method develop by Eclypse and the 160th SOAR Troubleshooting Analysis Group (TAG) at Fort Campbell, KY on a CTMA cost share program. He explained that the AWTS identifies physical non-uniformities (degradation) in the EWIS, and described testing and implementation with AWTS and CTP. Phil Mathis (160th SOAR) described some Electrical Wiring Interface System (EWIS) considerations and the AWTS/CTP timeline and implementation. He mentioned that AWTS has identified a total of 469 wire failures (both continuity and isolation failures) during tests conducted on 17 aircraft (MH-47).
Distributed Acquisition Digital Twin Maintenance Architecture (DADTMA) – Damon Blanchette (FTL Labs) described the potential of digital twin technologies and how they can be used to create a memory and data input conduit for a predictive maintenance machine learning system that can be used for electronics failure mode evaluation. He explained the use of time sweep trending, and described several examples of scanning and automated inspection to include wire detection and tracing as well as artificial intelligence recognition and training.
Acoustic Ultrasound Detection – Robert Broche (Ctrl Systems) discussed the use of innovative ultrasound solutions for non-destructive testing and condition-based monitoring. He explained how acoustic ultrasound enables users to monitor asset conditions and take proactive steps to maintain efficient, on-time operation, and stated that acoustic ultrasound condition-based monitoring (CBM) offers the earliest indicator of change in an asset’s operating conditions. He stated that the CTRL UL101 Ultrasound Listening Device (ULD) has a high signal-to-noise ratio and is ideal for applications ranging from compressed air/vacuum leak detection to electrical fault detection.
Advanced Mobile Universal Electrical Tooling (AMUET) – Alain Lussier (Solavitek) and Patrick Cobb (WR-ALC) described the AMUET as a mobile handheld automated test set designed to be used on the flight-line. They stated that it is easy to use, no TPS programming is required, and it has a low footprint. The DoD/USAF have been undergoing an 8-year collaboration to evaluate AMUET capability for EWIS/intermittence testing on the flight-line. The AMUET 4.0 Digital ATE platform supports the manufacturing and maintenance of electrical sub-systems IN-SITU weapon systems.
Q&A – A Q&A occurred after each briefer finished their presentation. Questions and answers will be posted on the JTEG website with these minutes.
Closing Comments: Ray Langlais thanked the presenters for their contributions and all the work being done to support NFF and intermittent testing in electronics across the DoD, academia, and industry. He suggested continuing the information exchange beyond the forum and the importance of collaboration within the DoD maintenance community.
- Obtain copies of the presentations once they are approved to post to a public website, and post to the JTEG website at http://jteg.ncms.org/ .
- Send unasked questions to the presenters for answers and forward to requesters.
Next JTEG Meeting: The next scheduled JTEG virtual forum is 31 August 2021, 1:00 – 3:00 pm EST. The topic is “Repair Parts Anti-Counterfeit Measures”.
POC this action is Ray Langlais, email@example.com, (571) 633-8019
IFDs – Ken Anderson (Universal Synaptics)
Q1. With all the successful tests and demonstrations combined with DoD recognizing intermittence as a failure mode, why the slow acceptance and what are the challenges you have experienced with getting the systems more widely fielded across DoD? Is it “no requirement, funding, fear of change…?
A1. Not invented here is the big one….there are wire testers fielded (but they don’t have the same capability to detect intermittence). Not being a requirement is sometimes cited as a reason, but most of that is a result of misinformation.
Q2. How much are the fielded units being used and what are the factors that influence the utilization rates?
A2. At Coronado, the procedures require the use of the equipment so it is in use 20 hrs. a day plus 10 hours on Saturday. Hill AFB also has a high use rate. If Ron Swindle were on the line he could answer for Crane. Much of it depends on the organizations testing procedures and the local maintenance supervisor’s decision to use.
AWTS – Brian Cyrier (Eclypse) & Phil Mathis (160th SOAR)
Q1. You briefly mentioned some self-learn technology…does this mean you do not require a TPS to be developed?
A1. The shop level creates the TPS.
Q2. Is this the same thing that is commonly called a Megger Test?
A2. Yes. A high leakage test.
DADTMA – Damon Blanchette (FTL Labs)
Q1. How difficult are the cyber and physical security accreditations going for the AR devices – both phone and glasses?
A1. In our experience so far, the security considerations vary between different organizations and locations, and they are fairly difficult. For example, bringing a normal cell phone with Internet access onto certain factory floors is just not possible. However, OEMs such as Northrop Grumman do allow certain approved devices such as tablets (personnel are already using them inside factories), but they have to be taken apart and the Wi-Fi chips physically removed first, among other changes. Our application does not require Internet access so these should not be an issue – only a camera is required – but security is certainly part of the conversation. AR devices like the HoloLens are already being tested at all the prime contractors we’ve spoken to, so they would be handling security concerns themselves and our software would be installed on their own pre-approved devices, just like the tablets.
Q2. Also – any consideration to using XAPI as the data model for the failure and maintenance history of the work item, so that the data analytics between object and user/maintainer are easier?
A2. We have not looked into XAPI specifically as of yet, but we will soon be investigating options for data models. For DADTMA, the Navy has essentially said that they are still using paper and clipboards for much of their maintenance tracking at this point and they have asked us to find a solution or write one ourselves, so the data model could be whatever we choose. For the FODHAT project, we will be working with Northrop Grumman to figure out how we can get the data both into and out of their MES. They have said previous contractors have worked with simple import and export of XML files with their specific data model, and I do not know if that is XAPI.
Acoustic Ultrasound Detection – Robert Broche (Ctrl Systems)
AMUET 4.0 Applications – Alain Lussier & Patrick Cobb (WR-ALC)