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In-Circuit Testing & Functional Testing- 2 Major Types of PCB Testing

In-Circuit Testing & Functional Testing- 2 Major Types of PCB Testing

Apr 03,2017

When it comes to designing a Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA) with minimal or no errors, implementing different testing procedures becomes a necessity. By carrying out testing procedures, one can get rid of all the minor errors, thus improving the PCBA, as well as the overall product quality. Thus, PCBA testing helps you reduce the manufacturing costs. There are several different testing procedures that can be used for the purpose. Some of them include manufacturing defects analyzers, in-circuit, boundary-scan, and functional testing. In-circuit and functional testing procedures are most widely used among these methods. Which of these methods is better than the other? To know, read on the following post.

What is In-Circuit Testing? What are its Benefits?

In-circuit Testing (ICT) involves measuring and testing all the components present on the PCB. This process helps identify defective components, which can be replaced accordingly. Here are some of the key benefits of ICT:

  1. This testing procedure helps identify manufacturing defects of a PCB such as open connections, solder shorts, and wrong or missing components.
  2. It is very easy to program an in-circuit tester. It can be done by taking files from the PCB layout.
  3. It takes very less time for the ICT process to do a comprehensive check of the circuit, and in this less time it helps detect all power and ground shorts.
  4. Power up testing is a type of ICT, which almost eliminates the need of customer debugging.
  5. In-circuit testing has the capability to carry out several tests without applying power to the Device Under Test (DUT). This helps perform safe testing, and protects the assembly from any potential damage.
  6. The testing platform for ICT is available in both Windows, as well as UNIX operating systems, thus making it universal.

What is Functional Testing? What are its Benefits?

Function testing (FCT) is the process in which the functioning and the electrical performance of the PCB is checked. It is typically the last step testing done before the PCB assembly is shipped to the customer. In this type of testing, the functioning of the entire PCB assembly is tested rather than individual components. Some of the key benefits of functional testing are as follows:

  1. In functional testing method, the operating environment of the DUT is simulated. This helps a customer save a considerable cost by eliminating the need to buy actual testing equipment.
  2. In some cases, functional testing eliminates the need of performing system tests that can be expensive. This helps save on financial resources, as well as time.
  3. Functional testing helps improve the quality of the final product by making it error-free and robust.
  4. With this method of testing, one can test 50% to 100% of the product being shipped. This cuts down the efforts and time required for an OEM to test and debug it.

Each type of testing has its own pros and cons. Therefore, it is hard to say which type is superior to the other. It entirely depends on the application. You can ask an expert to suggest you the best testing procedure for your requirements. One such expert whom you can consult is Creative Hi-Tech, which has a wide experience in custom PCB design and assembly.

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