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Reverse Engineering of a Current Output Station Module

An Effective Practical Solution to Obsolescence

Project Objective

To reverse engineer a replacement current output module with the same fit, form, and function as the original module.

Scope of Work

The scope of work involved the design and qualification of prototypes, including a custom sample and hold circuit with analog output and analog indication meter. The final product design was qualified to meet new EMC and electrical safety requirements in addition to meeting legacy performance and environmental requirements.
Following fabrication and electrical safety approval of the final product, the new units were installed directly into the existing motherboard to replace the originally supplied equipment. 


The Kinectrics Solution

  • Kinectrics developed a comprehensive design plan that clearly addressed all the technical requirements of the Current Output Station Module (COS). During the design process the operating experience provided by the client was reviewed and incorporated as applicable.     
  • An alpha prototype was developed by bread-boarding the original circuit and verifying its performance against the design criteria. Validation of the alpha prototype included functionality, performance, and operability criteria, and tests were used to check for accuracy of displays and outputs.  Operability of the design was also validated. 
  • Incorporating the changes from the alpha prototype, the beta prototype was built using printed circuit boards. All mechanical components, such as the front plate and latching mechanism, were also manufactured. The beta unit was again tested to ensure compliance with the design. It was then further tested to ensure it would meet all environmental operating conditions and EMC requirements.  
  • Upon successful completion of the beta prototype validation, all drawings and procedures were finalized, and qualification samples were fabricated and qualified under Kinectrics registered quality assurance program. All test results were fully documented in reports traceable back to the approved drawings and procedures used to build the samples.
  • Production units were fabricated from the approved drawings and procedures, and tested as per the accepted test plan.

Results and Benefits

Utilizing a reverse engineering solution for replacement of the obsolete modules allowed the existing chassis and motherboards to be reused along with all station wiring.
Kinectrics fabricated the replacements with the same front panel layout and user interface as the original units, which minimized impact on station documentation and training.
Partial replacement of the installed base was further facilitated as the new replacements could be installed next to the legacy units.