Honeywell SS466A Hall Effect Sensor Failure

Gideon Analytical Laboratories received one Honeywell SS466A Hall effect sensor encapsulated in epoxy for failure analysis. A Hall effect sensor is a transducer that varies its output voltage in response to a magnetic field. Hall effect sensors are used for proximity switching, positioning, speed detection, and current sensing applications. In a Hall effect sensor, a thin strip of metal has a current applied along it, in the presence of a magnetic field the electrons are deflected towards one edge of the metal strip, producing a voltage gradient across the short side of the strip (perpendicular to the feed current). Inductive sensors are just a coil of wire, in the presence of a changing magnetic field a current will be induced in the coil, producing a voltage at its output. Hall effect sensors have the advantage that they can detect static (non-changing) magnetic fields. The Honeywell SS400 Series and SS500 Series are small and versatile digital Hall-effect devices that are operated by the magnetic field from a permanent magnet or an electromagnet and are designed to respond to alternating North and South poles, or to a South pole only. The goal was to determine the reason why the Honeywell SS466A Hall effect sensor was failing.

First, theHoneywell SS466A Hall effect sensor was decapsulated and inspected. All the interconnects wedge and ball bonds were normal. The Vcc, output, and ground were identified and visually inspected. In analyzing the die, the failure site was hard to ignore. Good and bad transistors were identified. There was a current issue with the bipolar transistors.

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Red circle indicates bad transistor

Red circle indicates bad transistor

Honeywell SS466A Hall effect sensor

Honeywell SS466A Hall effect sensor

Die encapsulated in the package

Die encapsulated in the package

Die layout

Die layout

Identifying the transistors

Identifying the transistors

Failed transistor shows electron tunneling

Failed transistor shows electron tunneling