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PCB making is an elaborate process involving several steps. Each steps play a crucial role in the success of the final assembly. Testing is of the steps that play a vital role in the success of any PCB manufacturing. The main objectives of testing are to determine if the design meets its specifications, find out how well it performs under different conditions, and verify that it is robust with respect to the environment. There are several testing methods available today that help ensure there are no malfunctions in the board before they are being delivered to customers. Amongst the several types used in the PCB manufacturing industry, the one which is the most popularly employed is Functional Circuit Test (FCT). Let us get to know more about the testing in this post.
Functional Circuit Test (FCT) is a type of testing that basically checks the functionality and the electrical performance of the entire circuit. The testing ensures that all the components in the board work together and that no errors occur during operation. During this test, the manufacturer also makes sure that that there aren’t any shorts or opens in the traces, and subsequently provides a go or no-go decision on finished PCBs. FCT is thus one of the important tests conducted that ensures that optimum functionality of the board as expected.
FCT is a powerful and efficient method to analyze the performance and gain important insights about the behavior of the board. The testing procedure also allows to identify problems before actually manufacturing prototypes, which reduces manufacturing costs. The other benefits associated with the Functional Circuit Testing include;
Some PCBs may fail to achieve their specified performance requirements due to physical defects on the PCB, such as cracks, pinholes, missing components, missing solder mask, etc. FCT helps to detect such errors.
The testing helps to verify that each component on the board can actually carry out its function and that there are no issues such as crosstalk, impedance problems or excessive power consumption.
The circuit test must also be able to check whether the components have been soldered correctly. The test thus ensures that the PCB functions as per the design and will not cause any problems later on. Overall, FCT prevents the development of defective products in production, which can be costly.
The testing provides the most comprehensive view of signal behavior like signal distortion, incorrect voltage/current, and power integrity, along with finding incorrect component values and spot parametric failures.
Through a combination of connected cables, test probes, and test software, the technique also triggers a detailed root cause analysis.
Needless to say, if you want your PCBs to perform effectively, then you should perform proper PCB testing. Functional circuit testing is useful for identifying both functional and safety related faults like stuck-at, open, short, etc. Hence it is always recommended to associate with manufacturer who implies special emphasis on testing the PCBs in every stage of design and production. Almost all the prominent PCB manufacturers like Creative Hi-Tech has robust testing tools, probes and software that check the overall functioning of the PCB. Check with such an expert and get to know more about the advantages of FCT.