DIBAS Pulsar Mode Testing

Notes on how to test pulsar observing modes for the DIBAS (SHAO) backend system.

Hardware testing

Tests of the data coming from the FPGA systems that do not depend on the "real" software.

  • Use udp_recv or similar low-level software to inspect data packets directly:
    • Check basic packet format (number of bytes, counter values, etc) look as expected.
    • Check that packet counter increments as expected, and resets on arm.
    • Check that data packets are being received at the correct rate at all expected destinations.
  • Use FPGA data-capture blocks(?)
    • Check ADC histograms
    • Check spectrum for expected shape (no spurs, tone shows up in correct channel, etc).
  • For coherent modes, can use guppi2_stream library to generate/inspect spectrum.

Software testing

Tests of the software components that do not depend on having the "real" hardware.

  • Can use udp_send or similar to generate data packets for testing.
  • Check that everything runs as expected (ie, no errors/segfaults/etc).
  • Check that software components create readable output files
    • Verify with standard data-processing packages (PSRCHIVE, presto, fold_psrfits)
  • Check that software can keep up with expected data rates.

Integrating SW and HW

  • Test M&C framework for loading FPGA designs
  • Test code for loading parameters, read back correct values.

Testing with locally generated signals

Tests of the full system using lab-generated input signals.

  • Sine-wave input
    • Input sine wave(s), check that they appear at the correct freq in output files
  • Artificial pulsar
    • Check that correct pulse period is recovered
    • Run long (multiple-hour) test, check for time jumps
    • Run multiple-restart test, check for consistent pulse phase
  • Polarization response (needs correlated signal; AP can be used for this)
    • Check cross-term phase stability during long test
    • Check cross-term phase stability on multiple restarts

Testing with astronomical signals

Tests of the full system using real telescope signals.

  • Observe a test pulsar (preferably an MSP; B1937+21 is ideal).
    • Make sure pulsar is detected in all modes
    • Make sure timing aligns correctly between different modes, restarts, etc
  • Long (multi-hour) test in certain modes?

Other notes

-- PaulDemorest - 21 May 2013
Topic revision: r1 - 2015-01-12, RichardPrestage
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