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[CAVEAT: Very basic question from someone who not yet even at the "newbie" stage. Please forgive is the question is too basic and/or poorly formed. --thank you!]

I work for a small start-up firm with very little by way of capital resources (translation: cheap and stingy!). We are about to start production of our new product and the idea came to me to try and automate the test procedure by building a computer driven test fixture. I'm looking for some basic advice on 1) if the project is even feasible and 2) if so which platform would be better suited for it: Arduino? Raspberry Pi? Something else I've not considered?

The test procedure basically involves hooking the unit to a power supply. Driving the unit at standard power to check functionality. Lowering the voltage to check "low voltage" functionality. Raising the voltage to check for "over voltage" conditions. Then reversing polarity to check reverse polarity protection.

Since the fixture is computer-driven, seems using a raspberry pi is the choice (running something akin to LabView maybe? Is there a open-source freeware version of that available?) But then I have also read that for interfacing with and driving hardware the Arduino board is the better choice.

  • Arudino is more than Enought. Getting a Raspberry Pi will jsut be an excuse to get a Raspberry Pi. Besides the Arduino IDE is much easier to compile and debug code and there are a ton of librarires, addons (harddware and software) out there already. Raspberry Pi still has teething problems and might delay your project -- or you might land up buying an Alamode (Arduino) to put ONTOP of the Raspberry-This gives you best of both worls, real time and real computing. Simple and Easy = Arduino - Complex but enhanced - Raspberry Pi – Piotr Kula Jun 19 '13 at 11:57
  • kproapps.com/arduino-vs-raspberry-pi Hope this helps, for students and for professionals with many years of coding looking to get into robotics – Kingsley Mitchell Jun 19 '17 at 5:23
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you can combine the two together. i found a PCB called the Alamode! it brings the arduino uno board to the raspberry pi. you can control the alamode directly from the Pi. check it out!

http://www.makershed.com/AlaMode_for_Raspberry_Pi_p/mkwy1.htm

enter image description here

  • Congratulations :) That is my preferred solution too and this is definitely the answer i would choose.. :) +1 – Piotr Kula Jun 19 '13 at 14:12
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The RPi has no Analog2Digital, but you can add them easily via I2C or SPI.

The Arduino has no video output etc. So if you want something you can plug a mouse/monitor/network into you should probably go for the RPi with external A2D rather than Arduino with external video etc.

Seems you don't really know the specs of what you need yet.

I doubt you'll find opensource software that does exactly what you need. Are you hoping to avoid any programming?

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  1. use Raspberry Pi (version B), it has the usb/network connections you may use to plug anything you want for easy development and reading the results back when testing. also, it has the monitor connector and can be used standalone (what's the point of using Raspberry Pi, if you need another computer standing by next to it?).

  2. get an GPIB-enabled power supply and some kind of USB GPIB controller to be able to drive your power supply into the mode you need for testing.

  3. depending on details of the check functionality part, you might also need a few I2C connected ADCs or sensors of some kind, cannot tell unless you explain your testing routine.

  4. regarding the software part, i'm not sure there's ready-to-use solution available, but RPi can be easily scripted using python, and there are plenty of libraries to interface your software with the hardware.

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