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. The goal was to determine the cause of the failing Vishay CRCW1210-HP-e3 SM resistors.

With speeds close to light and the precision of a freshly calibrated curve tracer, Gideon Analytical Laboratories went straight to work conducting failure analysis on the Vishay CRCW1210-HP-e3 SM resistors. First, they were electrically tested. This chart reveals the findings:

RG 4438-60 (ohms)RG 4231-12 (ohms)New on PCB
R11.298 Kilo (K)21 M1.295 K
R27.5 Mega (M)1.497 K1.5 K
R340 Mopen1.296 K
R412 M108 K1.5 K
R51.297 K10.5 M1.293 K
R629 M1.496 K1.497 K

Many of the resistors on the two PCBs were either fully open or in the process of going open. The resistors were inspected; flux was found. There was corrosion found at the transitioning point from the terminal to the resistive element. There has been degradation that interface as well. SEM-EDS analysis was conducted to determine what elements were there, and to differentiate between the ones that were supposed to be there, and the ones that were not. Micrographs were taken of the spots were the Vishay CRCW1210-HP-e3 SM resistors were opening up. Hark! Sulfur was detected! Sulfur is a known corrosive agent that will adversely impact electrical components.

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SEM-EDS Spectra

RG 4231 corrosion between terminal and resistive element

SEM-EDS Spectra, indicating Sulfur

RG-4231 Flux on the corner

RG 4231 brown coming from a flux

RG 4231 brown coming from a flux

RG 4231 Brown tincture indicates flux

RG 4231 Brown tincture indicates flux

RG 4438 corrosion at interface

RG 4438 corrosion at interface

Micrograph of point where resistor opens

Micrograph of point where resistor opens

SEM-EDS Spectra

SEM-EDS Spectra

SEM-EDS Spectra, indicating Sulfur

SEM-EDS Spectra, indicating Sulfur