Most electronic devices require circuit boards to function. Sometimes, these incredibly thin and small boards may become damaged or faulty. When this happens, the device is unlikely to work.
Performing repairs on these devices is important to ensure they function properly. However, some of these repairs can be complex and require special equipment.
When you’re performing a circuit repair, the first thing you need to do is visually inspect the board. This is important because even a tiny particle of dust or dirt can cause an entire machine to malfunction. Visual inspection helps you find these potential problems before they go out the door so you can send out a product free of defects and malfunctions.
The best way to conduct a visual inspection is with the help of a high-powered microscope or a magnifying glass, but you can also use an iPhone and the IBM Maximo application. This tool allows you to compare the image of a defective PCB with the same image of an identical, working one. This way, you can see the differences and find the root cause of the problem.
Another advantage of visual inspection is that it’s much cheaper than other types of non-destructive testing. You don’t need expensive equipment to perform this type of inspection; you can do it whenever you want without shutting down a machine.
Moreover, it’s not as complex as other types of non-destructive testing, so it’s easier to train technicians to conduct visual inspections. This makes it ideal for large factories with many products needing regular inspections.
Before performing a visual inspection, unplugging and discharging any electronics being examined, including the power supply and any supplemental batteries, is important. This prevents you from accidentally shorting the circuit or electrocuting yourself. Also, remove any conductive tape from the circuit board before inspecting it.
While visual inspection is useful for many industries, it’s particularly important in manufacturing. The process is fast and accurate, and it can catch a wide range of defects, from cosmetic blemishes to assembly errors. In addition, it ensures that the products produced meet quality standards and comply with regulatory requirements. This reduces costs and improves performance.
Performing physical inspection when performing circuit repair involves taking the time to carefully examine a damaged board and checking it for misplaced or defective components. This step is necessary to ensure a new solder joint creates a strong and lasting bond. This step requires careful visual observation and a good understanding of a PCB. It is also a good idea to have access to identical boards to compare them for flaws or problems.
A common cause of physical damage to a PCB is the presence of corrosion on components and traces. This damage can result from poor assembly or faulty environmental conditions. If the corrosion is severe, replacing the component with a new one may be necessary.
Another possible cause of physical damage to a circuit board is overheating or contamination from dust. When this happens, the traces on the board may become damaged and stop working. The traces are made of silver and copper and are responsible for carrying electrical current to and from the components on the board. These tracks are essential to the operation of the circuit board, and if they are damaged, the circuit will fail.
If you will perform a physical inspection on a circuit board, it is important to take precautions to protect yourself and avoid electrocuting yourself. Ensure the electronics you are repairing are unplugged and fully discharged, especially capacitors and power supplies. It is also a good idea to wear an anti-static wrist strap and avoid touching any components still charged with static electricity.
The last thing you want to do is introduce contaminants to the PCB that could cause further damage. This could include dirt from your hands, silicone from lotion or hair spray, and other foreign substances that can interfere with a successful soldering process. In addition to this, it is important to clean the board thoroughly after handling it.
Whether you are a student or a hobbyist, learning how to repair circuit boards can be very beneficial. It is a skill that will save you money, reduce e-waste, and help keep your technology operating optimally.
Various methods and technology can resolve the problem if the circuit board fails. These can help save money, reduce e-waste, and improve technological performance. Before performing a power inject test, it’s important to unplug the electronics and discharge the capacitor or battery, if applicable. This will prevent shorting out the electronics and potentially electrocuting yourself.
Using a power injection power supply will allow you to inject voltage and current at the point of the short to find out where it is located. A heavy-duty industrial-built power supply with a short killer feature is ideal. It can supply 0-05V up to 30A with overvoltage and current protection.
When testing, wearing safety glasses and following all necessary precautions is advisable. A good practice is to start with a lower current limit, such as 1A. This will help you to identify hot spots. After finding the source of the short, you can increase the current limit. Ideally, the power injection probe should be separated from the voltage measurement probe by a few inches.
Using a multimeter, test the circuit to see if it is functioning properly. The test should detect shorts between traces and component leads and verify that the IC’s diode protection circuit works. It should also be able to see the presence of passive and analog components and check that jumpers or switches are set correctly.
When testing a circuit, pay close attention to any hot areas. These areas can be signs of defective or incorrect connections or a problem with an overheating component. If a component overheats, it can cause the underlying copper layers to melt and burn, which is dangerous for the rest of the board. , it is important to use thick copper and high TG PCBs for proper heat dissipation.
Another good way to evaluate the function of a circuit is to compare it with a known-good board. This method can help you spot defective components and reveal faulty solder joints. In addition, you can evaluate the current flow in a circuit using an ohmmeter and interpret the readings to determine needed repairs.
Aside from visual inspection, other ways to assess a circuit board include injecting power and performing flying probe tests. Faulty connections often leave a hot spot that can be felt with the hand or detected by a thermal camera. These hot spots can be caused by overheating or improper heat dissipation and are usually the result of a bad connection between a power pin and its associated pad.
Using these methods when performing circuit repair is crucial for cost savings, reducing e-waste, and ensuring optimal technology performance. All employees must be familiar with these PCB troubleshooting and repair techniques to save time and money by extending the life of electronic equipment. If you want to improve your PCB repair skills, check out our TPC training system today. Our hands-on, virtual environment will teach you the best methods for thoroughly inspecting an electrical circuit board.