Tips & Tricks

Testing your PCBA

Testing your PCBA

Our area of expertise is online circuit assembly. Using myProto’s own unique tools, you are able to easily generate your online circuit in just a few simple steps.

During the manufacturing process, myProto tests your projects thoroughly to detect any deficiencies. One such check-up takes place after the so-called ‘reflow’, which is the process where individual electronic components are mounted upon the circuit board.

To that end, myProto performs a thorough examination of the circuit boards. Depending on the volume and characteristics of the boards, one of the following methods is selected to perform the check.

Manual checks

For smaller batches, an in-house electronic designer checks the mounted PCBs, ensuring the quality after the soldering process. However, as the amount of inspected boards grows, this method becomes increasingly inaccurate. This is due to the small size of the components: inspection for more than an hour leads to optical fatigue, which in turn results in decreased accuracy.

Automatic optical inspection

This inspection practice is more appropriate for larger batches. An automatic optical inspection machine (AOI machine) employs a series of high-powered cameras to check for errors. The cameras are placed at different angles to cover all solder connections. Because of the difference in quality of the solder connections, light is reflected in various ways. This allows the machine to recognize lower-quality solders faster than the human eye ever could. Of course, AOI also removes optical fatigue from the equation.

JTAG Testing

JTAG is an industry standard for verifying designs and testing printed circuit boards after manufacture. myProto is capable of performing JTAG in production, under prior request. The main benefits of using JTAG test and ISP in production are summarized below:

  • No need for test fixtures.
  • Integrates product development, production test, and device programming in one tool/system.
  • Engineering test and programming data is reused in Production.
  • Fast test procedure development.
  • Preproduction testing can start the next day when prototype is released to production.
  • Dramatically reduces inventory management – no pre-programmed parts eliminates device handling and ESD damage.
  • liminates or reduces ICT usage time – programming and screening.

X-ray inspection

A third method of inspection at myProto involves x-rays. While less common, it is mostly used (and most effective) when dealing with more complex or multi-layered circuits. X-rays allow an agent to see through layers or to visualize lower layers, which reveals and identifies otherwise hidden deficiencies. As this requires very specific machinery, myProto subcontracts x-ray inspections in order to achieve optimal quality and reliability of the analysis.

Final quality control

The final step of the examination phase is to perform a functional test of the electronic circuit. In doing so, potential errors are found and fixed extremely quickly, and thus functional tests occur regularly after the reflow process.

The normal scenarios in which the circuit will operate are simulated, running power and simulated signals through the board, while testers monitor the electrical characteristics. Performing such a test does, of course, require access to the schematics and information from the user. This saves time, resources and materials for both the manufacturer and the designer.

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Tel: +32 2 333 27 00

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