Flying Probe Test (FPT): Know About This PCB Testing Technique

Flying Probe Test (FPT): Know About This PCB Testing Technique

May 17,2021

Multiple components such as integrated circuits (ICs), resistors, capacitors, transformers, inductors, transmission lines, and so on are mounted on the PCB. Once all these components are mounted, the functionality of the board is essential to be tested. It is mandatory to check for the performance efficiency of these PCBs and functional compatibility between all the mounted components. To ensure this, the PCBs are subjected to various testing and inspection procedures. These testing methods include the PCB flying probe test, bed of nails test, and in-circuit test. Out of which, PCB flying probe test (FPT) is one of the important testing techniques performed on the PCB. The PCB flying probe test (FPT) being an automated highly efficient PCB assembly testing technique is highly popular in the contract PCB manufacturing and inspection services. However, before adopting this technique it is important to understand it properly. That is why this post offers detailed information about the PCB flying probe test, its significance, features, and applications.

An Overview of Flying Probe Test (FPT)

The flying probe test (FPT) is an automated testing technique. In this technique, one or more automated robotic probes fly over the cross-section of assembled PCBs. These robotic probes perform the inspection while flying from pin to pin. In this technique, the flying probe checks the performance of mounted components. The high-precision probes are programmed for testing and then during the flying-over action, the faults in PCB assembly are detected. This PCB assembly testing is suitable for testing defects like open traces, short-connections, component mounting location and orientation, the value of capacitance, value to resistance, value of inductance, etc.

This technique of PCB inspection is adopted for inspecting prototype PCBs and high-density PCBs. This technique is preferably chosen for small batches of PCB testing. However, this technique can also be used for high-volume PCBs batches of PCB testing, where the probe is moved across the length of the conveyor where assembled PCBs awaiting testing and inspection are placed.

Note: The FPT programming is done by using Test Program Generating Application. The programming requires access to PCB’s E-CAD files and bill of materials (BOM).

Beneficial Features of PCB Flying Probe Test (FPT)

Owing to the following beneficial features of the PCB flying probe test (FPT), this is one of the most popular PCB assembly testing techniques.

  • It is a rapid testing technique. As the precision probes are directed by a software program, the accuracy and precision of testing are achieved in FPT.

  • This technique can be used for small volume and large volume PCB testing batches.

  • The flying probe is equipped with a camera that can detect missing components, misalignments, and other mounting defects.

  • The programming and testing of the PCBs via flying probe test (FPT) consume lesser time than in-circuit tests (ICT).

  • It is a fixture-free inspection technique that allows testing every electronic component for orientation and polarity.

  • It enables on-board inspection and verification of field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).

  • There is no additional tooling needed once the automated probes are installed and integrated with the program.

  • It requires very less upfront capital investment.

Considering the importance and benefits of the flying probe test (FPT), it is essential to ensure that contract manufacturers you partner with conduct this type of testing. Creative Hi-Tech is one of the prominent PCB manufacturing and assembly services that has been serving across industries for several years. They implement a Flying probe test (FPT) to ensure the appropriateness and quality of their PCBs. Along with FPT, they also employ techniques like in-circuit test (ICT), x-ray inspection, optical inspection, etc.

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