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The Importance of Hipot Testing

Hipot testing has many benefits, and usually involves either high voltage testing or high potential testing. However, a more technical term for hipot testing would be a dielectric withstand test. As for the reason why hipot testing is conducted; it is primarily performed to determine if there is proper insulation.

That is, hipot testing is administered to ensure that the current does not flow from one point to another point. Conversely, continuity testing is performed to ensure that the current flows seamlessly from one point to another. Here, we will dive deeper into why hipot testing is important, and essentially a must in order to avoid serious pitfalls down the line.

Why it is Needed

As previously mentioned, the goal of hipot testing is to measure the quantity or level of electrical insulation in a device or component. It is also a test-type that is non-destructive in nature for peace of mind, and allows technicians to confirm if the insulation under assessment can withstand over-voltages that are transient in nature.

In order for hipot testing to be performed properly, the electrical insulation that is being tested will need to be exposed to very high voltages. More often than not, the aforementioned is performed on a wide array of devices over a predetermined amount of time. In addition, the end goal is to make sure that the insulation is not low or marginal, and that it is essentially up to industry standards.

Furthermore, hipot testing is also conducted to identify any common problems with the insulation. For instance, insulation can often end up with spacing issues that are terminal, as well as contaminants that are corrosive.

Other common issues include tolerance errors, cuts, stray wire strands, and braided shielding issues. Hipot testing can also identify a plethora of different manufacturing issues, including but not limited to, creepage and improper clearance proximities.

How is the Test Administered?

In most cases, hipot testing is carried out by affixing one end of the supply to either the earth or the ground. Then, the other end is affixed to the conductor that will undergo the testing at hand. It should also be noted that in such a connection, the conductor may either be connected to the ground itself or it may be connected to a very high source of voltage.

Moreover, if you need to test two contacts, you will need to connect one contact to the ground and the other contact to a very high voltage catalyst. By following this technique, the tested contact will be isolated from any other contacts in the area without fear of obstruction or contamination.

Furthermore, if the insulation level between the two contacts is noticeably high, then you should notice a flow of current that is marginal in nature after a large voltage source is administered. Hence, the minute amount of current that is generated should be small enough to prevent the degradation of the insulation.

Standards Adherence Protocols

The hipot test that is administered must adhere to issued safety standards and protocols in terms of its duration. For example, in the United States, the duration shouldn’t, ideally, exceed 60 seconds for items that are covered under IEC 60950.

However, the duration limit for the current limit can be set by the user if desired. Still, we would recommend that you set an average by going over the trip level of a multitude of different products, as this approach is considered to be a sound idea by most experts in the industry.

Afterwards, the current trip level’s final leakage should be tuned slightly higher than the average number that you’ve calculated during your testing.

As for the test voltage, it should be set according to either the DC or AC. For instance, insulation will be most stressed when the voltage is more than 1,400 times that of the test voltage of the AC. That is, the DC voltage level should be congruent to the peak voltage of the AC. In regards to the AC, the insulation will deal with the most stress when it is exposed to peak voltage levels, either at the positive peak or the negative peak of the sine wave.

General Safety Rules

When dealing with high voltage, there are certain hazards that you should be aware of in order to help foster a safe and welcoming environment. For instance, training is paramount, as all employees should be trained properly so that they know how to do their jobs. Operators should also be trained thoroughly by their supervisors so that they become experts in handling equipment.

Unfortunately, substandard training can lead to serious accidents, so operators should only be provided with access to equipment after they have successfully passed all safety modules. Production processes should also be designed in such a manner that they are safe.

In some cases, the original design will need to be modified or reconfigured in order to eliminate any and all safety hazards that present themselves during the evaluation process. Designs should also be able to revert to a safe state in the event that something breaks down or fails in the future.

Emergency response and safety equipment should also be housed in designated safety zones or areas so that they can be quickly and easily accessed in the event of an accident or injury. Finally, all personnel should be properly trained so that they know how to react in the event of an accident or medical emergency.

Circuits Central

If you would like to learn more about why hipot testing is so important, then please visit our website to contact us. We possess the knowledge and equipment to perform dielectric breakdown tests, insulation resistance tests, and dielectric withstanding tests at our facility.

We also specialize in manufacturing and integrations, a la carte solutions, and state-of-the-art design and engineering processes. To learn more, you can get in touch with us at 1-888-821-7746.

We will be more than happy to provide you with a free, no obligation quote and consultation so that you can discuss your pre-manufacturing, manufacturing, and post-manufacturing needs in confidence.

Why Conformal Coating Is Necessary

Conformal coating has many benefits and is considered a necessity for many processes. Many sensors and electronic controls in the gas and oil industry are subjected to a wide array of chemicals, as well as large amounts of moisture that are produced in the atmosphere.

They are also often subjected to a plethora of other substances that can, in due time, corrode the circuit board as well as its myriad components. As such, conformal coating is a must to avoid any pitfalls and lost funds in the long run. Here, we will dive into the benefits of conformal coating for various B2B applications.

Why Conformal Coating is Necessary

In time, many different components can fail if they are not tended to in the proper manner. More often than not, negligence or ineptitude can lead to something in the product chain failing, and certain products may need to be scrapped altogether, or may be salvaged with some prudent repair work.

However, there is a relatively easy technique or method that can help augment the longevity of a bevy of different electronic devices, and that process is known in the industry as conformal coating. Conformal coating serves as a polymer or a chemical that is applied to circuit boards after they have been tested and populated.

How Conformal Coating is Applied

The easiest method to apply the conformal coating substance is via a state-of-the-art silicone spray. In most cases, the product can be purchased in a spray can and is usually applied to all sides of the circuit board so that all of its components are thoroughly coated.

However, there is one potential downside to this application, as it may not be entirely uniform, and, with a little effort, the substance can be removed from the board and its components.

However, this seemingly deleterious downside can also be seen as a benefit in certain scenarios, as circuit boards that have been damaged can be repaired fairly easily because the substance can be removed easily. In fact, it can be argued that repairs become more cost effective when conformal coating is applied, as it is easy to remove.

A More Reliable Method

If reliability is a top priority, then a more dependable method would involve using a conformal coat that is UV cured. In fact, most top companies in the industry will use the aforementioned process due to its added reliability, as saving money and reducing downtime are top priorities for most top-tier companies.

Many such companies will also employ an automated process to get the work done, with the board being coated or sprayed uniformly, followed by a baking process that takes place in a top-of-the-line UV oven.

Hence, UV cured conformal coating is seen by many experts as being a more durable process. As such, the devices that are manufactured using this technique will have a much longer lifespan, which will reduce the amount of e-waste, and reduce repair costs and other productivity pitfalls.

However, the process is not necessarily perfect, as the fact that it is more durable may cause issues if damages were to arise. For example, if you had to rework your electronics at some point, then you would need to exert a large amount of effort, and spend quite a bit of time to rework your electronics because UV cured conformal coating is hard to remove.

In fact, sand blasting is often the method that is implemented to remove UV cured conformal coating, with ground walnut shells being the most commonly used substance to remove the components from the circuit boards.

Conformal Coating Thickness Matters

Achieving the proper conformal coating thickness is of the utmost importance. In fact, it is considered one of the most essential variables or factors within the conformal coating process. As such, you will need to ensure that the conformal coating thickness will fit within the range that is outlined in the technical datasheets.

This is because coating manufacturers will perform a wide array of standardized testing within the parameters, so if you were to accidentally deviate from the range, then you may increase the risk of serious defects during subsequent manufacturing phases. For instance, exceeding the upper limits may lead to a CTE mismatch, bubble formation in the dry conformal coating film, cracking, and wrinkling.

A Summary

Some industries underestimate the benefits of conformal coating, especially the oilfield industry. In reality, however, electronic design components in the oilfield and other associated industries can benefit greatly from conformal coating, as it is a very cost effective and durable process.

Hence, if your main goal is to manufacture products that will be able to endure a wide array of climatic conditions and harsh environments, then you should be well aware of what you are obtaining. And, if you do decide to have your electronics and its components conformally coated, then you need to be aware of the various types that are available as well as the process that will be used, as doing so will save you time and money in the long run.

The Circuits Central Difference

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of conformal coating and why it is necessary, then please visit our website to contact us. Circuits Central uses on-site air cured as well as UV cured conformal coating, and both are applied with robotic, automatic coatings that ensures unrivalled precision and repeatable results.

We apply our conformal coating to various electronic equipment in order to ensure industry leading long-term performance and superlative reliability, providing comprehensive protection against mechanical vibrations and stress, chemicals, dirt, moisture, dust, and other contaminants and particulates.

Furthermore, we also specialize in design and engineering, manufacturing and integration, and various a la carte solutions upon request. Having worked with clients in the consumer, medical, commercial, industrial, aerospace, and defense sectors, we can be reached at 1-888-821-7746 for any business inquiries or if you would like to obtain a free, no obligation quote and consultation.

December 18, 2019

What Is BGA Reballing?

What Is BGA Reballing?

BGA reballing involves changing every soldered ball on a grid array circuit. There are many reasons why a chip will need to be reballed, which we will explore in this article. We will also focus on what BGA reballing is, as well as the effects of poor solder joints. We will also explore the four main reasons why engineers will often resort to BGA chip reballing to rectify multiple issues, as well as delve into the actual BGA reballing process itself.

What is Reballing?

A ball grid array circuit is manufactured by an engineer so that they can make an accurate connection between the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) and the chip itself. In some cases, an older ball joint will necessitate the recreation of the ball solder joints by the engineer, so that work can be extracted from that particular BGA chip.

Generally speaking, this process will involve extracting all of the obsolete solder balls and replacing them with new ones. It should also be noted that reballing will usually be performed on a gaming console, laptop, and PC motherboards, with the culprit generally being the video graphic chip or VGC.

It should also be mentioned that VGCs are often considered unlucky in the industry because they are prone to solder joint breakage and often require multiple repairs throughout their lifespan. Even the latest BGA circuit chips in the industry will eventually need to be reballed either due to faultiness or a breakage.

How Bad Solder Joints Impede Performance

You may notice when watching a video or playing a game on your computer system or console that the screen suddenly goes black. In many cases, the “blank screen of death” is the result of bad solder joints. You may also notice horizontal or vertical dots or lines on the screen, which may also be the result of a poor solder joint. Thus, in order to get the system to boot as intended, BGA reballing may be required.

Why a BGA Chip May Need Reballing

The first reason is overuse. That is, the overuse of a graphics chip, which may involve running it for a prolonged time or extended use into several days, may require BGA reballing. More often than not, the solder joints between the PCB and the chip will become loose over time. The result is the user may notice display issues, which will get worse over time.

BGA chips may also become faulty, which will require that the user replace them with a new one. A PCB motherboard may also need a BGA chip upgrade to augment performance or handle the new software.

Finally, overheating may require that a BGA chip be reballed. That is, chip overheating may result in the solder ball becoming hot, which may cause it to loosen and change its location in time. In fact, in a worst-case scenario, the solder may form a solder bridge, which will effectively kill your PC if left untreated.

The BGA Reballing Procedure and Supplies

Several tools will be required for reballing to succeed, as well as sufficient knowhow and technical prowess, which is why professionals usually perform BGA reballing. However, there are BGA rework machines and kits that are available for purchase on the market.

In order to reball a BGA, you will need a soldering iron. A soldering iron is a hand-based apparatus that is designed for soldering projects. It will send heat to the solder metal so that it can be melted to optimize flow into the broken joints between the electronic component and the PCB itself. A soldering iron is crafted so that each unit includes a handle that is well insulated as well as a sufficiently heated metal tip.

Soldering paste or wire will also be needed and is used to affix circuit board pads to surface-mounted components. It is frequently used by manufacturers in order to manufacture various printed circuit boards and is very useful for attaching solder balls or electronic components onto the mounting area.

Desoldering wire is also required, and may also be used to solder wick or to desolder it. It can be purchased in a roll form on the market and is usually braided with 18 to 42 AWG copper wire that is insulated with leading-edge rosin flux. The desoldering wire is designed to remove the solder from the joint by soaking the metal solder in it.

The chips that are reballed will also require a holding stand, and you can purchase a BGA chip case at a low cost on the market. You will also require a chip stencil, which is basically a metal sheet that has many holes in it so that solder balls can be fitted. Made with very high-quality steel, it can be heated either with the BGA machine itself or a hot air gun if desired. Regardless of which option you go with, the end result is that the ball soldering process will be both quick and easy.

Solder balls will also be needed, and consist of small balls of solder that are strewn about the SMT board surface in an arbitrary manner. The purpose of solder balls is to provide a point of contact between the multichip modules and the stacked packages, as well as between the PCB and the chip package.

Finally, a top of the line BGA reworking machine will be needed to finalize the BGA reballing process and is designed to generate large amounts of heat. It can also be used to either remove BGA chips or attach them.

If you would like to learn more about BGA reballing or require BGA reballing for your projects, call Circuits Central at 1-888-821-7746 or contact us here.


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