Pcb Testing

Written by Adam Blau
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Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are incredibly intricate and surprisingly complex. If you have ever opened up your computer and examined the motherboard, you know that the power pathways resemble microscopic versions of megalopolises. In some circuits, there are thousands upon thousands of individual pathways upon which current travels.

Now understand that if a single one of those pathways is either incomplete or oversized, the entire circuit can fail. Incomplete pathways will render a circuit open, meaning that current cannot complete the circle back to its source. If the pathway is oversized, it can inadvertently cause a bridge with another pathway, thereby creating a short circuit.

Testing Your Printed Circuit Board

With such great possibilities for errors, the need for PCB testing becomes clear. By checking your board for such errors at the manufacturing stage, you can save yourself a tremendous amount of grief searching for faulty connections later. Because of the raw physicality and complex chemical etching involved in the PCB creation process, it is inevitable that there will be some faulty boards. Better to catch these at an early stage than suffer later on, once the components are all in place.

Some PCB manufacturers offer testing services with their board fabrication services. These are often an excellent way to get the board checked out at an early stage. Because of their role in designing the board, the PCB manufacturers can usually easily set up a testing situation for the board, oftentimes with high-end equipment. This service may, depending on the PCB supplier, cost a bit extra, but it is almost always worth it in the end.

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