PCBA testing: In-circuit vs functional23rd February 2018
The maxim: “If something is worth doing, it's worth doing well,” has been around for years, but it is as true today as it ever was. Here at Offshore Electronics, this ethos runs through the company’s entire operation, from the design of an initial printed circuit board (PCB), to its creation, testing and installation.
Reliability of printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) is key to a product’s success and depends on a range of factors. These include the board’s design, component specification and quality, the efficiency with which each board is manufactured and the production conditions and skills of machine operators. A key tool in measuring PCBA reliability is testing, both during and after the manufacturing process.
The main methods of ensuring a PCBA’s integrity are functional and in-circuit testing. As the name indicates, a functional test checks that an assembley functions as it should. By comparison, during in-circuit testing components are tested independently against a program model containing parameters specific to the component and its functionality. This is performed in a structured manner, unpowered initially, to test for short or open circuits, followed by test of passive components and simple semiconductors.
Both functional and in-circuit tests have their place. Ideally, both should be used to confirm the integrity and functionality of every PCBA. However, this may not always be practical due to cost and a decision then has to be made as to which method is most appropriate. Although Offshore Electronics advises in-circuit testing whenever possible, as it offers a far greater depth of information, in practice both testing methods are available to customers.
To decide the best testing procedure, Offshore-Electronics’ design, production and test engineers work closely with customers to determine the most efficient and cost effective methods to ensure that every PCBA is subject both to full validation and testing, backed by a detailed traceability system.
Find our more by downloading our information sheet.
To find out more about our testing procedures please contact [email protected].