Through component failure analysis and failure analysis performed on other levels, we can identify the problem area. Was the failure caused by an application problem? A design problem? A process problem? A mechanical problem? Materials incompatibility? A quality issue associated with component manufacturing? Or is the failure an end of life wear out mechanism? These are questions we answer through failure analysis and component failure analysis.
Gideon Labs performs failure analysis on discrete electrical components: capacitors (film, tantalum, electrolytic, ceramic, disc, polarized, ac, dc, etc.), relays (solid state, mechanical, electromechanical, mercury, current, blind, track) PWB (contamination, ions, IPC 650, cross sections, tin migration, PTH opens), transformers (power, isolation, current, voltage, signal, flyback, oil, pulse, step up and down, high and low voltage, high frequency), resistors, fans, cable, connectors, and semiconductors (diodes, FETs, PWMs, oscillators, thyristers, SCRs, rectifiers, interconnect and packaging problems, etc). The component list is unduly long to mention all the components we have analyzed.
Gideon Analytical Laboratories received 20 failed Cortina WJLXT971ALCA4e3 Ethernet ICs to analyze. Integrated Circuits (ICs) are a set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece (or “chip”) of semiconductor material that is normally silicon. The integration of large numbers of tiny transistors into a small chip results in circuits that are orders of magnitude smaller, faster, and less expensive than those constructed of discrete electronic components. These Cortina WJLXT971ALCA4e3 ICs were suspected to be possibly mislabeled or have some kind of manufacturing defects.
Gideon received two failed NEC 104PW161 inverter boards with Micro Fuse chip circuit protectors failing. Rather than performing a failure analysis of the fuse, the circuit was analyzed to assess the possible overuse of the fuse. This was done because the failure rate is beyond the infant mortality and before the manufacturers’ end of life prediction leading to a reliability concern over the fuse. Whether this is a true fuse issue or a design issue, this is the first step in resolving the matter.
Gideon Analytical Laboratories received several plated steel parts, including coupons, hinges, and shoulder nuts. The goal was to determine if these parts were RoHS compliant. RoHS is short for Directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment; it was initially created by the European Union in February of 2003. To be RoHS compliant, devices have to be free from the following hazardous substances: Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, Hexavalent chromium, Polybrominated biphenyls, and Polybrominated diphenyl ether.
Gideon Analytical Laboratories received several liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) that had fading issues; there were five failing LCDs and a good LCD for comparison. An LCD is a flat panel display, electronic visual display, or video display that uses the light modulating properties of liquid crystals. LCDs are extremely common in electronic devices such as laptops, digital clocks, and watches, pocket calculators, microwave ovens, or CD players. LCDs are also used in televisions and produce a sharp and vivid image.
Gideon Analytical Laboratories received several contaminated lead screw assemblies. Also received were three insulin samples, one grease sample, and several new parts making up the lead screw assembly. Lead screws are designed to translate turning/rotary motion into linear motion. The contamination on the shaft of the assembly was primarily concentrated between the bearing and the ball seal. The goal was to identify and determine the cause of the contamination.
Gideon Analytical Laboratories primarily used FTIR and SEM-EDS analysis for diagnostics.
Gideon Analytical Laboratories received one static transfer switch (STS) Main Logic printed circuit board (PCB) assembly with two chips onboard digital signal processor (DSP)’s that were non-functional. The thought was the DSPs may have ball grid array (BGA) solder joint integrity issues causing the failures.
Analysis ensued. The three DSPs were removed from the PCB and immersed into the green dye and the DSP was pried from the main circuit board to reveal any cracked solder BGAs.
Gideon Analytical Labs received the main PCB that had a fire in one section of the board. The objective was to find the cause in an already established product line.
This PCB had some copper deposition problems at level two copper. The deposition was seen under the diode mounted to the PCB. The deposited copper also was responsible for an internal short within the PCB. The internal short caused the electrolytic capacitor to heat up and vent toward the PCB surface onto a hot trace line.
Gideon Analytical Labs examined the extrusion marks on the tungsten IC probes wires versus a Monel K500 IC probes via SEM. MONEL K500 is a nickel-copper alloy, precipitation hardenable through additions of aluminum and titanium. MONEL K500 retains the excellent corrosion resistant characteristics of 400 and has enhanced strength and hardness after precipitation hardening when compared with 400. Alloy K500 has approximately three (3) times the yield strength and double the tensile strength when compared with 400.
Gideon Analytical Labs received several PCB that opened up on several of the I/O metal dome pads.
The three black circles are the time, status, and menu pads. The metal domes came out when the two switches were separated. These buttons are connected to an output. The insulator cavity (the black spots) provides space for the metal dome. The metal dome makes contact when pushed from the top switch circuitry to the bottom switch shown later.
Gideon Analytical Laboratories performed failure analysis on one Ansul IQ-396X, which was submitted for possible failure due to an electrical surge. These control units have two intelligent signaling line circuits (SLC), 396 intelligent device capacity (198 intelligent detectors and 198 monitors/control modules), four built-in output circuits, up to 64 internal output circuits/relays on optional modules in the unit, 99 programmable zone output relays, and manual sensitivity adjustment.
The CPU 400 unit was dissembled and the entire board and components were inspected under 40x to look for and evidence of EOS (electrical overstress) that may have affected the operation of the unit.