If you deal with electronics, you know what it’s like to have technology flounder and fizzle. Perhaps your digital alarm clock malfunctions, causing you to oversleep and miss an important meeting. Maybe your computer crashes, taking with it valuable files that are difficult to retrieve. The impact of dropping your cellphone could hasten its death. Your microwave oven may go on the fritz, causing you to have to cook “old school” until you can get it repaired or replaced.
All electronic devices fail eventually. Manufacturers are working to make the printed circuit boards that fuel electronics even more durable, but nothing is fool-proof. Here’s a look at some of the most common causes of electronics failures.
Contamination. Moisture is the great enemy of electronic devices. It causes components to oxidize, corrode, and, ultimately, fail. Moisture can come from multiple sources, including lubricants and humidity in the air.
Temperature extremes. PCBs work hard, and components can overheat, especially if there is not sufficient space around them. Each component can withstand a certain amount of heat, depending on its size and composition materials. If it is subjected to too much heat, it will burn out. Another temperature-related problem is extreme change. If a PCB heats up or cools down too rapidly, it will expand and contract, weakening the soldering joints and causing the board to warp.
Shoddy manufacturing. Sometimes, printed circuit boards are destined for failure from the beginning because they were not assembled properly. Their components may be loose or poorly connected. They may not have been soldered well, or flux from the soldering process may have been left on the board, leading to corrosion.
Attrition. Electronic parts are not immortal. A capacitor may begin to sputter out with time or excessive use, causing a device to work sporadically. One dying component can take down a whole printed circuit board. Sometimes, components can be repaired or replaced. In other cases, multiple parts may be waning, signaling the need for a total replacement.
At EMS Solutions, we offer test solutions to identify potential problems in design and manufacturing, ensuring printed circuit boards that will last longer. This saves you big bucks down the line and leads to happy customers and a sterling reputation for your company.