Low-level PCB testing, Tulip or LabVIEW


We want to automate our PCB level checking which involves operations like:
a) Checking voltages on test points, using a bed of nails tester (0 to 5V)
b) setting voltages on test points and measuring current used (driving up to 500mA, 0 to 5V)
c) checking 3V logic level signals
d) sending and receiving 3V level RS232 messages
e) Interacting with 3V 100kHz I2C devices, both as a master and other times as a slave

The wider company is using starting to use Tulip for production processes. Colud Tulip also be used for this as well, or would I be better off using LabVIEW?

If Tulip could be used, what USB I/O modules could be used to interface to these signals. The other signals are only a few hertz.

Are there any resources/examples to help me do this?

Thank you in advace,

IMO, Tulip and Labview are very different systems excelling in different areas. Labview is renowned for being used for test systems. Tulip is great for work instructions, batch records, logs but I think it will fall very short of Labview’s automated test system capabilities. And the only hardware from Tulip is the EdgeIO with NodeRed. Unless it is a very simple testing system I will not use Tulip to develop a test system. But if that test system needs work instructions, pick lists, forms, serial number entry. I will use Tulip for that. Then use the Tulip API to exchange data between the 2 systems.

Something I haven’t done but maybe worth exploring is using a Opto22 grove Rio and the Tulip OPC UA connector. It will be lot cheaper than Labview.

Thank you Rakitha for the answer I was kind of expecting, and adds weight to going to the cost of LabVIEW for this. To add to the complication the PCB assembler will do this testing, and they have their own complicated serial number control system - which tracks every component on the PCB.

For others with the same question web searches for PCB assembly testing turn up lots of results for LabVIEW but few few for Tulip.

Hi Ian @idk2069

Rather than considering Tulip vs LabView we should really talk about Tulip AND LabView. As @Rakitha said each of these solution are good at different things. LabVIEW, as the name implies “Laboratory Virtual Instrument Engineering Workbench”, is a solution that is primarily used for controlling and automating laboratory equipment, data acquisition, and analysis. You can create programs by visually connecting functional blocks for hardware components, algorithms, user interfaces, or data processing functions. Tulip is a Frontline Operations Platform that can enable operators to perform and digitize their workflows and activities. It can guide the operator on how to and when to use LabView capture operational result and help optimize material and work activities in the lab or whatever your operations is.

My recommendation would to consider how you can use these two solution to digitize your complete operation and with that elevate the level of performance and quality.


  • Gilad

Thank you @giladl and @Rakitha for the answers. Tulip is being introduced into our factory, but it would have been nice to nice to be able to use it for the low-level automated PCB testing as well, I would only have to learn one new package!

Given that I/we know how to program in C we will look at LabWindows/CVI over LabVIEW, possibly combined with TestStand, being used at the PCB manufacturer who will do our low-level PCB testing. In the future I see reports from these being stored in Tulip at our factory.

There is still a hope for me to do everything on Tulip from management

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