In-Circuit Test or Flying Probe

Dated:2017-04-01      Popularity:1357

It is known to all that the two most popular test types used in electronic PCB assembly are in-circuit test (ICT) and flying probe. But how to choose the most effective solution for your assemblies and guarantee a test strategy that works best for you? Here we analyze advantages of each type from different aspect.

Product Design
Product design is really matters during the PCB fabrication process, so where are the differences between each solution when looking specifically at product design?
Flying Probe machines can probe the ends of component pads and uncovered vias to get access to the electrical networks. 
ICT, on the other hand, will require at least a 50thou wide test pad per net, designed into the PCB up front, which is used as a target for the fixed test probe. Ideally, these should be on one side of the PCB as double-sided fixtures are expensive.

Two solutions cost similarly, so when it comes to other charges associated with test, these are the main differences you should be aware of:
Advantages of Flying Probe: a. The fixture costs are usually 0, whereas an ICT fixture is mostly in excess of $5000, maybe much more. b. Development lead time is typically less than a week, whereas ICT takes up to 6 weeks for fixture manufacture and programming.
Advantages of ICT: a. The actual machine test time is usually less than a minute, so great for larger order, while flying probe needs several minutes. b. ICT is fast so relatively inexpensive, often less than $1.25 per unit. Flying probe is much slower, so can cost £60 or more per assembly.

In fact, the complexity of PCB, your demand all will play an important part in your decision-making process with regard to testing. Hope this post can help you when choosing test type in the near future.

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