Contamination Analysis on PCB

Success Stories

PCB with Contamination on Capacitor Sleeves, Connector Pins, Oscillator

PCB with Contamination on Capacitor Sleeves, Connector Pins, Oscillator

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) with contamination on several capacitor sleeves, connector pins, and an oscillator. An electrolytic capacitor is a capacitor whose anode (+) consists of pure aluminum foil with an etched surface, covered with a uniformly very thin barrier layer of insulating aluminum oxide, which operates as a dielectric. The electrolyte, which covers the rough surface of the oxide layer, operates as the second electrode, the cathode (-).
Contamination and Moisture on MLCCs

Contamination and Moisture on MLCCs

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received a printed circuit board (PCB) with suspected failing multi-layered ceramic capacitors (MLCC). Multilayer ceramic capacitors are fixed value capacitors in which ceramic the material acting as the dielectric. It is made up of two or more alternating layers of ceramic and a metal layer acting as the electrodes. There are various types of materials that could function as the dielectric in a capacitor, for example, glass, porcelain, paper, or mica.
Corrosion on Pcb Inside Valve

Corrosion on Pcb Inside Valve

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received two valves with failed printed circuit boards (PCBs) and corrosion inside the housing. The goal was to determine what the corrosion was and why the PCB failed. A printed circuit board mechanically supports and electrically connects electronic components using conductive trace lines, pads and other features etched from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. The boards are made from glass reinforced plastic with copper tracks in the place of wires.
Corrosion on Polyimide and Silicone PSA

Corrosion on Polyimide and Silicone PSA

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received a flex circuit with a mystery corrosion on the polyimide and silicone pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA). There was corrosion by-product, and the silicone adhesive appeared more like a gelatinous material than a tactic PSA. Contrary to popular belief, flex circuits are not training for a future bodybuilding competition, they are a technology for assembling electronic circuits by mounting electronic devices on flexible plastic substrates, such as polyimide, PEEK or transparent conductive polyester film.
Problems with Track Lighting

Problems with Track Lighting

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received several lighting tracks for failure analysis. They all had what appeared to be arcing which caused severe copper pitting, melting of the Noryl, and distortion of the power bus bar. The neutral bus was also pitted but not nearly as bad as the power rail. Electrical arcing is an electrical breakdown of a gas that produces an ongoing electrical discharge. The current through a normally non-conductive medium such as air produces a plasma; the plasma may produce visible light.
PCB with Open in PTH

PCB with Open in PTH

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received one printed circuit board (PCB) with an open in the plated through hole (PTH). A printed circuit board mechanically supports and electrically connects electronic components using conductive tracks, pads and other features etched from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. Advanced PCBs may contain components - capacitors, resistors or active devices - embedded in the substrate. PCBs are used in all but the simplest electronic products.
Pulse Transformer 144A9111

Pulse Transformer 144A9111

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received two 144A9111 pulse transformers with the secondary wiring shorting. Transformers are devices that transfer electric energy from one circuit to another, usually with a change in voltage. Pulse transformers are transformers optimized for transmitting rectangular electrical pulses. Ideally, pulse transformer designers try to minimize voltage droop, rise time, and pulse distortion. Small versions called signal types are used in digital logic and telecommunications circuits, often for matching logic drivers to transmission lines.
153D8496G1 Circuit Card Assembly

153D8496G1 Circuit Card Assembly

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received two 153D8496G1 printed circuit boards (PCBs)for failure analysis. A PCB mechanically supports and electrically connects electronic components using conductive tracks, pads, and other features etched from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. Some of the electronic components that might appear on a PCB include semiconductors like diodes or transistors, discharge devices, power sources, resistors, and capacitors. The153D8496G1 circuit card assembly has 6 capacitors, 20 resistors, and 18 semiconductors all mounted to a printed wiring board.
Ion Chromatograph Analysis

Ion Chromatograph Analysis

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received three samples in polyethylene bottles to develop an analytical procedure for determining chloride using an ion chromatograph. Ion chromatography is a process that allows the separation of ions and polar molecules based on their charge. Using ion chromatography, one can identify concentrations of major anions, including elements like sodium, lithium, calcium, and many others. Aqueous samples are quantitatively measured in the parts-per-million range. The two solutions were diluted 1:25 with DI water (18.
MOC101 Photocoupler

MOC101 Photocoupler

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received three failed Vishay MOC8101 isolating photocouplers for failure analysis. These photocouplers are components that transfer electrical signals between two isolated circuits by using light. Like the MOC8102, MOC8103, MOC8104, and MOC8105, the MOC8101 consists of a consisting of gallium arsenide infrared emitting diode optically coupled to a silicon planar phototransistor detector in a plastic plug-in DIP-6 package (http://www.vishay.com/docs/83660/moc8101.pdf) The MOC8101 were reported to have intermittent function, it was the goal of Gideon Analytical Laboratories to diagnose the cause of these failures.
Polyimide Silicone Adhesive Contamination

Polyimide Silicone Adhesive Contamination

Gideon Analytical Labs received a contaminated white translucent adhesive at the edge of a polyimide strip under a rubber keypad. Since most of the materials were organic, FTIR was the method of analysis first used to determine the foreign material. The polyimide is a double-sided adhesive based flexible laminate (Kapton) film coated with adhesive on one or both and laminated to copper. There are two kinds of adhesive used in flex, epoxy, and acrylic.
Tin Whiskers

Tin Whiskers

Gideon Analytical Labs performed analysis on several Melexis US2881 Sensors when the designer found shorts on the returned product from the field. Melexis US2881 sensors are bipolar Hall-effect switches designed in mixed signal CMOS technology. They have a wide voltage operating range from 3.5V to 24V, have high magnetic sensitivity, and a chopper-stabilized amplifier stage, and are suitable for automotive or consumer applications. Analysis revealed tin crystals (whiskers) spread throughout the top and bottom of the PCB, shorting out the MOSFET as well as the Hall sensor.
Process Contamination

Process Contamination

Gideon Analytical Laboratories performed failure analysis on one opened splitter module LPF-200 PCB encapsulated in the black urethane potting material and housed in plastic. The PCB was burnt in one spot, and in that spot, a cavity existed under the carbonized epoxy of the PCB adjacent to the PTH. The trace line had a number of craters strongly suggesting an “electromigration” of copper. In order for electromigration to occur with copper a voltage, an acid and medium (moisture) must be present.
IPC-A-610 Inspection for Qualification

IPC-A-610 Inspection for Qualification

This vendor from China was in the process of qualification. There are solder dross and conductive flux underneath the conformal coating. Solder dross is highly conductive and flux will activate as an ionic conductor across leads, pads, terminals, etc. Conformal coatings inhibit the crosstalk and ionic migration across the PCB surface. If, however, these contaminants reside on the board surface, the conformal coating cannot make contact with the solder mask and does not bond properly.
Premature Discharge of Ansul IQ-396X Fire Control Circuitry

Premature Discharge of Ansul IQ-396X Fire Control Circuitry

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.
Tin Whisker Growth in Solder Mask

Tin Whisker Growth in Solder Mask

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received a PCB for failure analysis. The board was identified as having a short from the NET trace to the ground. The short measured about 10 ohms. One area of the board was abraded to reduce the thickness of the black solder mask. The board was received like this and we tried to change the refractive index to optically see through the solder mask. This was unsuccessful. The abraded area produces different optical characteristics, which prevent clear optical vision.