Thermal Emission System for Circuit Board Troubleshooting
Many circuit board defects cannot be identified easily using conventional inspection and failure analysis methods such as in-circuit test, functional test, optical inspection, and X-ray inspection. Such defects include the following:
- Power-to-ground and low resistance shorts
- Stressed and marginal components
- Defective BGAs, VCOs, and decoupling capacitors
- Faulty heat sink attachment
Technicians and engineers can spend many hours debugging boards with such defects and these boards often end up in the scrap pile. The EL troubleshooting system provides an alternative method of fault detection that can isolate these defects, thus filling the gaps between conventional inspection and debugging techniques.
EL is an effective and economical tool that can reduce debugging costs and minimize scrap. When is used as the first screen of defective boards, EL can quickly provide useful troubleshooting information, dramatically reducing time to repair.
EL can also be used to inspect boards for basic functionality. Although EL cannot provide the same detailed level of functional verification as a functional test, it can provide verification of basic board operation. Advantages of EL over traditional functional testers include low cost and fast setup. No custom hardware is required and tests can usually be setup in less than an hour. EL is ideal when the high cost of a dedicated functional tester cannot be justified.
Troubleshooting Software Tools
- Model Board Comparison to troubleshoot more complex defects
- Lock-in Thermography to locate short circuits
- Transparent picture overlay to locate defects on the board