It is a fact of life that component failure and mistakes happen. Not all circuit boards are created equal, so it some failures are expected. You will see components soldered badly, the circuit running poorly, etc. For many, PCB troubleshooting can be a daunting task that can be tiresome for both your body and mind. The good news is, there are troubleshooting strategies you can try to avoid all these. Here they are: The PCB Troubleshooting Method.
Inspection Conducted Physically
Simply touching the PCB surface and the components, you will know if there are hot spots. When a very hot component is found, it may be cooled down with the aid of compressed can air to dry run the operation of the circuit at lower level temperature condition. This however must be done with utmost precaution. You have to remember that touching physically the many parts of the circuit will change the circuit impedance which changes the system behavior overall.
When you are physically touching a live circuit, you must observe proper care and precaution. First, make sure that only one hand comes into contact with the circuit. This prevents the hazardous electric shock from traveling fast to the heart and causes you a fatal shock. You do not want this to happen. One good idea is to place your hand on your pocket. Make it a point to have all current lines properly grounded, like your feet or with the aid of a non-resistant ground line, can all help to do away with the danger of shocks.
A good visual inspection of PCBs can help a lot. Check for overlap traces, burnt components, overheating signs, and any missing components which can be easily found through a careful visual check. You have to know by now that burned components cannot be easily perceived by the human eye, however through proper magnification or smell can easily indicate if there is a damaged component or not. Any bulging components are also a good sign that there might be a problem, particularly for the capacitors that are electrolytic.
Proper Testing of ICs
One of the most touch components to check are your ICs. ICs are best identified by their many outside markings and they are usually tested with the aid of logic analyzers, and oscilloscopes, however the number of specialized ICs in several configurations as well as PCB designs which make all the IC testing a bit of a challenge. Oftentimes, the most useful strategy is to check and contrast the behavior of one circuit with the other one, this can help you zero in on the problem.
To avoid any PCB problems from recurring, perform all aforementioned strategies and checks and you are on your way to designing a successful PCB platform in no time at all.