Design Con 2015

Application simplifies eMMC compliance testing

-January 23, 2013

In the summer of 2012, JEDEC published the JESD84-B451: Embedded MultiMediaCard (eMMC), Electrical Standard (Version 4.51). eMMC is an embedded non-volatile memory system that incorporates flash memory as well as a flash memory controller. Part of the idea behind it is to unload low-level flash memory management from the host processor, freeing up resources.

Although eMMC is poised to get some serious competition from the new universal flash storage (UFS) specification, IHS iSuppli  projects that eMMC will maintain market share in mobile memory applications, at least for the short term, with shipments expected to hit 520.3 million units in 2012 (a 37% increase) and forecast to reach 711.1 million units in 2013.

Those levels of volume could surely benefit from an automated compliance test solution. Last month, in response to the eMMC specification, Agilent introduced the N6465A test application  for embedded multimedia card (eMMC) compliance test. This new application from Agilent works with the company’s Infiniium 9000 , 9000A, 9000X and 9000Q series of oscilloscopes. With it, engineers can test, debug and characterize physical-layer properties of eMMC memory to ensure compliance with the JEDEC JESD84-B451 specification. The application automatically sets up the oscilloscope to trigger on the correct signal to run each test, and then it generates an HTML report at the conclusion of the test. The report compares the results with the specified test limit and indicates how closely the device passes or fails each test.

According to Ai-Lee Kuan, product manager for memory solutions with oscilloscopes at Agilent, before this application existed, designers had to test each parameter in the JEDEC spec manually with a scope. In addition, they needed to be able to control the read/write transactions to enable complete testing as per the standard.

This type of manual testing requires a significant amount of time and a deep understanding of the specification. Alternatively, the Agilent product “allows them to test each parameter automatically. The software automatically separates the read and write transaction and provides a detailed report of the test result,” says Kuan.

Of course, nothing ever stands still in this business, and JEDEC is in the process of drafting the next revision of its eMMC specification. So we will need to stay tuned to find out what happens next on the roadmap for eMMC test.

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