Basic Knowledge About In-Circuit Testing That You Should Know

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Printed Circuit Board is composed of multiple components soldered together on a single circuit board that makes it a complex assembly. Being complex, every component must be in working condition to ensure the proper functioning of PCB. A minor defect can cause big trouble in your PCB, making it complicated to find the fault.

So, before assembling the components, it’s essential to test every single component with a circuit board tester. In-circuit testing is the most favored and cost-effective method to find component level fault and make required corrections simultaneously.

In-circuit testing is basically testing every component individually before assembly. It is the most convenient option to ensure your PCB will work well after assembly. ICT is an entirely automated system that doesn’t require manual efforts. Using ICT, you can find the faulty piece and replace it before making the final PCB assembly. Using ICT, you can find multiple loopholes in the entire PCB package and take appropriate action to get the correct part instantly.

Common defects diagnosed by In-Circuit Testing are:
• Component spacing, lead spacing, land sizes, and component sizes
• Soldering and process issues
• Component markings
• Shorts between traces and/or component leads
• Values of resistors in the circuit
• Open circuits (“opens”) where electrical continuity should exist
• Jumpers/switches incorrect location/setting or not
• Presence/absence of passive components
• Misoriented analog components
• Misoriented digital components
• Presence/absence of active analog components
• Capacitance and inductance values
• Wrong or missing components
• Short circuits
• Solder bridges

However, In-Circuit Testing fails in some aspects, including:
• Multipower connections missing
• Redundant power connections decoupling capacitors missing
• Mechanical fixings and a few more

In the market, you will find different ICT systems that are filtered based on performance, testing procedures, and capability. For testing your entire PCB, you should ensure buying an ICT with maximum capability, delivering high performance. While selecting an ICT system, there are some components that you will find common in all testing systems.
• Controller
• Interface
• Software
• Analog Scanner
• Fixture
• Powered Analog Tests
• Analog Digital Opens

Why testers prefer using ICT for Printed Circuit Boards?

Multiple reasons contribute to the excessive use of the In-Circuit Board. Most common advantages of ICT are:
• ICT is easy to program and detect defects in components.
• It usually requires 1-2 minutes per assembly for testing.
• ICT is a highly reliable and comprehensive testing method.
• For manufacturing defects, ICT provides high fault coverage.
• The test results are easy to interpret.
• In-Circuit testing requires minimal maintenance costs.

So, these are the prominent pros why it is in huge demand to analyze any PCB and ensure its proper functioning before assembly. These pros are also a strong reason why ICT is employed in numerous engineering niches.

Undoubtedly, every testing comes with some limitations and flaws; ICT is still considered as a valid and authentic option to test PCB assembly. It is beneficial for the manufactures not only to ensure correct PCB assembly but also to test the PCB in minimal time.

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