Using TcL Scripts to Drive Repetitive Power Cycle Test Applications in the Lab

Although repetitive power cycle testing provide an effective means to detect hardware flaws and software bugs, setting up this type of test can sometimes be somewhat complicated. One way to simplify repetitive on/off power cycle testing, is to use a switched PDU that is driven by TcL scripts (also known as “Tickle” scripts.)

using TcL scripts to drive repetitive power on-off cycle testing

During a typical repetitive power on/off test, the test device is continually powered on and off, while a data collection device captures any error messages and status reports generated by the device. The error messages and status reports generated by this type of regression testing provides developers with a powerful tool that allows detection of problems that might occur after repeated reboot cycles, and can also help to verify the reliability and lifespan of product power components.

The principle challenge in setting up this type of testing is the task of devising a method for continually switching power on and off. Although many switched PDU products offer the ability to perform scheduled reboots and reboots on demand, they seldom support the ability to continually invoke reboot cycles for several months (which is often the case in an effective power on/off cycle test.) For this reason, many test engineers have come to rely on the practice of using TcL scripts to drive the power cycling operation.

WTI’s VMR-16HD20 Outlet Metered PDU products provide full support for TcL scripting to provide the perfect fit for this type of repetitive reboot regression testing. As shown in the illustration above, a VMR Outlet Metered PDU can be connected to up to 16 test devices, and then used to continually reboot the attached devices in response to TcL scripts. This allows convenient, reliable regression testing of both hardware and software products, and eliminates most human involvement, allowing the test to run essentially unsupervised until completion.

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