Printed Circuit Board Analysis

PCB also known as PWB (printed wiring boards). These boards are inspected and classified to IPC standards. A class 3 is the highest standard and most have limitations on the acceptable quality of manufacturing defects.

Success Stories

Possible Bromine on Electrolytic Capacitors

Possible Bromine on Electrolytic Capacitors

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received two power supply boards with components. The supplies were thought to have contamination, possibly bromine, causing corrosion or failing the electrolytic capacitor. The term electrolytic capacitor in a generic term for three different capacitors, which include aluminum electrolytic capacitors, tantalum electrolytic capacitors, and niobium electrolytic capacitors. All electrolytic capacitors are polarized capacitors whose anode is made of a particular metal on which an insulating oxide layer forms by anodization, acting as the dielectric of the electrolytic capacitor.
IXYSRF DE375-601N21A MOSFET

IXYSRF DE375-601N21A MOSFET

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received one IXYSRF DE375-501N21A MOSFET for electronic failure analysis. A MOSFET is a type of field-effect transistor (FET). It has an insulated gate, whose voltage determines the conductivity of the device. This ability to change conductivity with the amount of applied voltage can be used for amplifying or switching electronic signals. The IXYSRF DE375-601N21A MOSFET has high dv/dt, nanosecond switching, and 50 MHz maximum frequency. The IXYSRF DE375-601N21A MOSFET sent to Gideon Analytical Laboratories had a g-s short.
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 (-).
Vishay SS26 Surface Mount Schottky Barrier Rectifiers

Vishay SS26 Surface Mount Schottky Barrier Rectifiers

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received four Vishay SS26 Surface Mount Schottky Barrier Rectifiers for possible premature conditions to failure. A Schottky barrier is a potential energy barrier for electrons formed at a metal-semiconductor junction. Schottky barriers have rectifying characteristics, suitable for use as a diode. These Vishay SS26 Surface Mount Schottky Barrier Rectifiers feature a low profile package, high surge capability, and are RoHS compliant. The diodes came from PCB P/N 170310142001 Rev A03 S/N 051208-231.
NEC 104PW161 Inverter Board

NEC 104PW161 Inverter Board

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.
Vishay CRCW1210-HP-e3 SM Resistor Failures

Vishay CRCW1210-HP-e3 SM Resistor Failures

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received two PCB assemblies upon which were several failing Vishay CRCW1210-HP-e3 surface mount (SM) resistors. Surface mount technology (SMT) is a method for producing electronic circuits in which the components are mounted or placed directly onto the surface of printed circuit boards (PCBs). An electronic device so made is called a surface-mount device (SMD). In the industry, it has largely replaced the through-hole technology construction method of fitting components with wire leads into holes in the circuit board.
MH Ballast Black Box PCB

MH Ballast Black Box PCB

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received several electronic metal-halide (MH) ballast black semiconductor diode, but it also permits current to flow in the reverse direction when its “Zener voltage” is reached. The goal was to expose the circuitry and reverse engineer the cause of failure of the three components that were failing at a high rate. Failure analysis ensued. First, the zener diodes and fuses were exposed and potting material removed so that the circuitry was revealed.
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.
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.
PTE43-31-C-RA Power Supplies

PTE43-31-C-RA Power Supplies

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received three PTE43-31-C-RA power supplies, two were failed and the other was a working device for comparison. Power supplies are devices that supply electrical power to an electrical load. Some power supplies convert alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) for use in a variety of electronics. Typically, a computer needs a power supply that will convert 120 Volt AC power oscillating at 60 Hertz (Hz). Power supplies are vital to most electronic endeavors, like electrical components in machines, process automation, or for power generation.
Flex Circuit Failure

Flex Circuit Failure

Gideon Analytical Labs received three failed Kapton based flex circuits with opens in the trace lines. The origin of the open was not known. The opens in the trace lines were traced down on the Kapton to several eyelets where contact was supposed to be made. No areas were distinguished and no anomalies were found suggesting a trace copper foil problem on any of the circuits received. A cross-section of the above trace line and eyelet demonstrates the trace line (the line in the middle) either has been dislodged from the barrel or was never connected.
BGA Failure

BGA Failure

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.
Capacitor Terminal Crack

Capacitor Terminal Crack

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received 19 multilayered ceramic capacitors (MLCCs). MLCCs have a ceramic dielectric, a ceramic or lacquered coating, a metalized electrode, and connecting terminals. Ceramic capacitors, in particular, MLCCs, are ubiquitous in all kinds of electrical equipment. Some of the MLCCs Gideon received were to test quality control, some were to test process evaluation immediately after wave solder, and some were failures in the field. The objective was to determine where these failures were entering the product and the cause of the failures.
PCB Failure Analysis

PCB Failure Analysis

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.
BGA Voiding

BGA Voiding

X-Ray Radiography Inspection This report contains images taken of the BGAs on the two boards provided. There are no significant defects present, however, significant voiding is present throughout the two parts. The last image shows a BGA analysis performed on one of the worst areas of voiding. The analysis shows voiding greater than 15%, but less than 20%. When run, this feature shows voiding in the solder joints as well as background features such as traces and vias, all within the same image.
PCB Overheating Due to Design Flaw

PCB Overheating Due to Design Flaw

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received several SVAA-3V25 relays for failure analysis. These solid state relays have a control voltage range between 100 VAC and 280 VAC, a load voltage rating of 330 V, and a load current rating of 25 A. Solid state relays are ideal for industrial and commercial ovens, injection molding machines, and induction furnaces, and many other applications. The goal was to find the cause of the failures.
Fire on Multilayer PCB

Fire on Multilayer PCB

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received a PCB that had a fire in one section of the board. These PCBs can provide high-performance 10G visibility for network monitoring tools in all parts of a fiber network. They feature to 24 SFP+ ports supporting 10G and 1G Ethernet (10GbE and 1GbE) and up to four RJ-45 copper Ethernet ports. The objective was to find the cause of the fire on the board, in an already established product line.
Environmental Contamination of PCBs

Environmental Contamination of PCBs

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received three central air conditioner hubs. These air conditioners can are built for commercial or residential use. Depending on their SEER ratings, they run between 66dB and 72dB and use Puron refrigerant. The hubs had corrosion on the PCB and had the appearance that some liquid flowing between the insulation and wire leading into the cavity. The goal was to discover the identity and cause of the corrosion.
Manufacturing Failure

Manufacturing Failure

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.
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.
Printed Circuit Board Flexing During Depanelization

Printed Circuit Board Flexing During Depanelization

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received two printed circuit boards (PCB) with the questionable failure of multilayer ceramic capacitors in the C4 position. Both these capacitors were removed from the PCB and the PCB was inspected for contamination for possible leakage current or electromigration that would account for conduction across the pad lands. The picture at the top left is the C4. During analysis, no contamination was found on either of the PCBs or on any of the four sides of each capacitor.
Solder Joint Strain Failures

Solder Joint Strain Failures

Gideon Analytical Laboratories performed failure analysis on two printed circuit board assemblies (PCB) with fractured solder joints on the Hall Sensor interconnect. The assemblies were taken apart and the conformal coating was removed to reveal the solder joints of the Hall Sensor. Five out of six of the Hall Sensors were mounted flush against the Valox 457 mounting block. A Hall Effect Device detects magnetic flux density and is used in both movement and position sensing.
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.