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What is In-Circuit Testing? – The possible advantages and snags of the ICT processing

Feb 18th 2020 at 3:52 PM

If cost were the only authenticity to contemplate in selecting a card (PCB) testing method, many OEMs would stand back from ICT. But while in-circuit testing’s up-front costs could even be significant, it can cost you less over the future. There are other considerations still, such as:

  • How the test will cover the circuit board completely?
  • What is that the lead time?
  • Can the testing method adapt to the spread of PCB designs?
  • Will the test require programming?
  • Will the test require custom tooling?
  • Will the test cover connectors or non-electrical components?
  • Will the test cover components that employment together?
  • Will the test power up and simulate the employment of your product?

Here’s how a Key sight in-circuit testing can help your PCB design reach the standards it must meet to make it plug.

What is ICT Testing?

A bed-of-nails ICT uses fixed probes in an exceedingly very design that matches a specific card. Needles that come up from the underside to make relevancy the circuit. Boards are designed to allow access by those pins. The tester uses those pins to measure values.

Advantages of In-Circuit Testing

Although a bed-of-nails ICT offers less flexibility than a flying probe tester, it also has some significant advantages.

The biggest draw for users of in-circuit testing is consistency. You get the identical test the identical way, every time.

During ICT testing, each of the components is tested specifically by the automated equipment to make sure that they are alright. The tester checks for logic functionality, which helps to powers up the components.

This thorough coverage saves maintenance and repair costs by making other tests unnecessary. An in-circuit tester is extremely low-maintenance. The lack of moving parts contracts the downtime and thus keeps chain of supply steady and mobile. So does the speedy nature of ICT. All in all, it’s fast and cost-effective. 

Other capabilities that make in-circuit testing well worth the investment:

  • Little room for operator error or poor higher process
  • It can perform on-board verification of FPGAs.
  • It can activate and test LEDs.
  • It can check a bottom terminated component (BTC)’s solder integrity.

Disadvantages of ICT Testing

With in-circuit testing, your board possesses to be designed to suit with the in-circuit test fixture. You’ll come upon situations where the electronics contract manufacturer won’t accept an existing design and reconstruct it for the test. So if you'd wish to in-circuit test an existing PCB design, you should vary the said design or you could consider the Agilent designs.

Because the “nails” come up from the underside of the PCB, you'd wish to possess as many access points as possible on your board so those nail can reach their destination.

In-circuit testing isn’t recommended for every project or OEM, rather you’ll want to expire it if you get too many of these signs:

  • High initial cost
  • Longer development time
  • Need for custom tooling and programming
  • Inability to test connectors and non-electrical components
  • Inability to test components that employment together
  • Insufficiency in-tuned high voltage (limited to 0-5 volts)

Who Should Be Using ICT?

In-circuit testing provides better results best if it’s conducted on the surface mount technology design. You're also best off sticking to one-layer, one-side designs if you'd similar to the utilization of ICT.

ICT is for companies facing these situations:

  • Planning to follow a continuing design of the merchandise for 3-4 years
  • High-volume run
  • Long product lifetime.


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