The Test Point Helper improves on the Test Point tool built in to Xpedition. It looks at all the objects connected to each net and analyzes them for use as valid test points. For example, vias which have been filled and plated over, and do not have solder mask on them, can be used as test points. The solder pads of some components have enough exposed area on them to be used as test points. The use of such objects as test points is beneficial to the overall design because it means that fewer dedicated test points need to be added, which saves physical space on the surface of the PCB.
After the analysis is done the PCB database is updated to indicate no additional test points are needed for the nets that have an existing object which can be used as a test point.
In its current form, the parameters for what design objects can be used as test points are hard-coded into the tool. Future enhancements will allow the user to specify such objects parametrically, thus making the tool more adaptable to specific design practices.