Zytronic’s Zytouch® touchscreen technology has enabled new 3G network test equipment from Aeroflex to deliver enhanced ease of use and durability, while eliminating hardware and low level drivers required by conventional switches or keypads.
The Aeroflex 6413A Base Station Test System, designed specifically for network operators and manufacturers, is a comprehensive 3G base station test tool for field use and is controlled via an embedded PC. By choosing a touchscreen to provide the human-machine interface, Aeroflex was also able to save significant development time and effort.
According to Bob Miller, senior project manager at Aeroflex, integration consisted of loading the drivers and then simply making the necessary connections. “Zytronic worked with us to determine the design aspects of the screen and produce the procurement specification, including screen size, anti-glare surface finish and choice of serial or USB interface,” says Miller. “The use of the touchscreen made for a fast and easy development, and has also enhanced the product.”
The touchscreen enables the 6413A controls to be dynamically reassigned to optimally support each operational mode. It also allows the tester to be reconfigured, to accommodate evolving 3G standards and also to support different product variants within the same form factor. Portability, ease of use and reliability are also boosted, as there is no requirement for an external keyboard or pushbutton controls.
Zytouch capacitive sensing technology allowed Zytronic to provide Aeroflex with a toughened glass screen, enabling the 6413A to exceed the BS EN61010-1 2001 safety specification in relation to screen breakage tests. This test specifies a 1-metre drop test using a 0.5kg ball bearing and allows the screen to break provided no sharp edges are protruding. However, Aeroflex testers found the Zytouch screen would not break at all under this test. Furthermore, there was no breakage even when the ball bearing was dropped from 2 metres. The active component of the Zytouch sensor is embedded 3mm from the surface of the screen, making the 6413A not only safe according to international standards but also extremely durable and robust under heavy-duty usage in the field. In addition, the Zytouch touchscreen also achieves good optical clarity and high readability, with light transmission up to 91%.
Use of the Zytouch projected capacitive technology results in a highly stable touchscreen solution as there is no drift. This eliminates the need to periodically recalibrate the screen, a key benefit to 3G network maintenance teams, who see stoppages for test gear calibration as wasteful downtime.