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Testing BGA Failure

To test for ball grid array (BGA) failure, you will need to use the dye and pry test method. This is a destructive test, but it is the most cost-effective way to examine the solder connections of the BGA and display cracks and leaks on the sealed parts.

What is the dye and pry test?

Dye and pry testing, also known as the dye penetrant test, is done to reveal discontinuities that may be hidden beneath surface mount technology (SMT) components.

How to test for BGA failure

  1. First you will need to remove the area of the board that contains the target component by using a diamond saw blade. Be careful to tamper vibrations and shear forces because they could put the integrity of the sample in jeopardy and create defects that weren’t there before.
  2. Following the above, you will need to immerse the sample into a red dye of low viscosity. This must be done inside a vacuum chamber so that the capillary action can pull the dye into each crevice. The pressure of the vacuum helps with this aspect.
  3. Once the dye immersion is complete, take your sample and bake it until dry in a moisture removal oven. The oven in your kitchen will not suffice.
  4. After baking, you will need to separate the component from the board with a puller assembly. Be careful when doing this to avoid breakage.
  5. The last step involves examining the component under a microscope to check for defects. If the dye does not penetrate and stain the component, then that signals that it is intact. However, if the dye does penetrate and stain the component, it will reveal any fractures on the solder joints.

Why do we use the dye and pry test?

Dye and pry testing provides a lower cost per joint and little sample preparation time. Furthermore, it allows you to look at all the solder connections at once and discover any anomalies. It’s important to keep in mind that the right equipment is necessary for the dye and pry testing process. Most people rely on professional testing companies and other electronics firms to provide the testing. If you try to test for BGA failures on your own, make sure you are using the right equipment and carefully handle the target component.

Please contact Circuits Central for more information about the dye and pry test process.

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Troubleshooting A Circuit Board

Circuit board design is a science, and the same can be said for troubleshooting. During the creation of a circuit board, things can go wrong without you even realizing it, which is why you need to troubleshoot.

How to troubleshoot a printed circuit board (PCB):

The tools you’ll need

The complexity of your circuit board design will determine the type of tools you need. However, a multimeter, LCR meter, oscilloscope, power supply and logic analyzer are usually the right tools for the job.

The techniques involved

There are four key techniques used to troubleshoot a circuit board: visual, physical, discrete and IC testing.

  1. Visual:
  2. When visually inspecting your circuit board, look for overlapped traces, components that have burnt out, missing components, bulging components and signs of overheating. If some components have been burnt by excessive current, they may be harder to identity upon visual inspection, so you may have to actually perform a smell test.

  3. Physical:
  4. For this part of the troubleshooting process, you’ll need to power your circuit board. Once powered, you can touch the surface of the board and feel for hot spots. Any hot components can be cooled via compressed canned air. This is very dangerous and should only be performed on low voltage circuits. Be cautious when touching a powered circuit. To prevent shocks, ensure that only one hand makes contact with the board at a time and that the other is in your pocket when you are working with live circuits. To further reduce the potential damage of touching a live circuit, make sure any possible current paths to the ground (your feet, non-resistance grounding/antistatic strap) are secured. When you touch parts of the circuit, it will change the impedance of it, and this could lead to a change in the behaviour of the system. But you can use this to your advantage to determine if there are parts of the circuit that require additional capacitance to function properly.

  5. Discrete:
  6. Discrete testing involves testing each individual component (resistor, capacitor, diode, transistor, inductor etc.). Using a multi or LCR meter, check the components to see their functionality.

  7. IC testing:
  8. IC (integrated circuit) testing is the hardest technique, but it is needed to compare the behaviours of a circuit to a known good circuit. To check the operational ability of the ICs, you’ll need the oscilloscope and logic analyzer. To find the ICs, look for their distinct markings.

Circuit board design is only the first step in creating your PCB. Once you’ve finished troubleshooting, you can go back and refine your board.

Prototyping

When creating any electronics product, prototype productions play an important role in the design process. Skipping the creation of a prototype can lead to a sub-par product that may not even make it to market. If you do not make a prototype for your electronics, no matter the type, you could see yourself having to shut down production in the future and waste valuable time and money.

Here’s why prototyping is an integral part of the design process:

  1. Find flaws:
  2. If you do not create a prototype of your product, you will have a harder time finding flaws. No product is going to be perfect upon its creation, which is why a prototype is needed. It allows you to see what’s wrong with your product so you can correct it before moving on to the next step. Without a prototype you may be looking at a product that doesn’t perform well after its first production run. This will cost you in the long run because you may have to scrap the entire run and start anew. However, if you make a prototype, you can see your product in action and avoid costly production runs that won’t yield anything.

  3. Reduce waste:
  4. There is much waste involved in the production of electronics, but if you create a prototype for your product, you can help reduce waste. With a prototype you can see which parts of your product are necessary and which can be scaled back or removed altogether. Moreover, nowadays some investors are looking for greener electronics to fill a hole in the market, so prototyping can put you at an advantage over your competition.

  5. Test usability:
  6. The great thing about creating a prototype is you can actually test it out. By testing usability early, you can see where users are struggling to use your product. It’s important to give the product to others who were not involved in the design process for testing. That way they’re removed from the process and won’t be blinded by their connection to the product during the usability testing phase. Furthermore, prototype productions encourage a collaborative atmosphere where ideas can flow freely.

  7. A tool for investors:
  8. Not all investors are tech savvy and will understand your product based on a paper presentation. With a prototype you get a tool to use during investor presentations that isn’t an abstract concept. Investors can touch, see and use the prototype to gauge how interested they are in funding its full production.

Prototyping is important to the design and manufacturing process as a whole. Please contact us for more information about our prototype productions.


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