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Analyzation and Detection of Defects in Printed Circuit Boards

Technology has changed the way people live their daily lives. Modern day electronics such as computers, televisions, Smartphone’s and other similar devices have become a crucial part of a person’s daily routine. Society, especially the education and business sector, have become so reliant to technology that their function will greatly be affected if these electronic devices cease to exist. Therefore, it is important to know how to properly analyze the defects of an electronic device on a printed circuit board level.

Generally, a failure analysis lab is the one responsible detecting these defects. They make use of a wide variety of techniques to scrutinize these defects. It is important to note that printed circuit boards should be analyzed and followed by thorough examination in order to determine the defects of a PCB. This article will discuss the different types of defects in printed circuit boards and the different ways to detect them.

Different Types of PCB Defects

Just like any other modern technology, printed circuit boards are also vulnerable to defects. There are three types of PCB defects that you need to familiarize yourself with. Each of these defects will require different approaches in detection as each one of them shows varied symptoms. These symptoms can only be discovered through careful scrutiny. These are the following:

•Physical disruptions
•Flaws in the material makeup
•Problems in electrical construction

The very obvious defects among the three would be physical disruption. It is not because that they can easily be detected, but it is something that anyone can easily understand. Physical disruptions occur when the PCB’s chip breaks down. These breakdowns can easily be identified by corrosion or fatigue cracks. There are instances wherein in these physical defects are too tiny wherein assistance from other mechanical device will be needed for further testing. One of the most common techniques in detecting physical defects in a printed circuit board is penetration dye testing. It is a process wherein the chip is being stained by a colored liquid material that reveals the cracks, corrosion and faults in the circuit.

The next kind of printed circuit board defect is the flaw within the materials used. Semiconductor materials are generally manufactured using accurate specifications. Manufacturers need to make sure that they adhere to the standards by making sure that the appropriate amount of trace minerals are used for certain properties. Deviating from the standards will cause the chip to malfunction. Deviations are so tiny that various emission techniques are needed to be utilized to determine the extent of flaws in the material.

The last but not the least of the PCB flaws is the faults in electrical construction. This can occur on any of the millions of connections on a printed circuit board. Detecting this kind of flaw is remarkably challenging, both one of the best way of starting out is to determine the portion of the chip that is overheating. In order to do this, you need to make use of fluorescent and liquid crystal imaging. This can help you determine where the heat is being generated. However, it doesn’t automatically mean that the flaw is in that area as it could be somewhere near that specific location.


Here is a quick summary of the things discussed above about the defects of printed circuit boards. There are three major types of printed circuit board defects that you need to keep in mind. The first one and perhaps the most obvious are physical defects. A penetrating dye can be used to help determine this kind of defect. The second is imperfection or flaw in material. It is a little bit harder to detect and can only be detected using accurate measuring instruments. The last would be faults in electrical construction and these can only be corrected using liquid crystal or fluorescent imaging.

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