How can hardware start-ups test their PCB Prototypes?

28 May, 2022

By ren

A guide to hardware PCB Prototyping testing

How can hardware start-ups test their PCB Prototypes? As an entrepreneur or a hardware startup aiming to bring an electronics product to market, you'll need to know about the hardware prototype development process, the numerous sorts of prototypes you'll need to make, and the various electronics prototyping tools available to you.Aspects of your prototype that should be tested areas discussed here. Once aboard has been depaneled and assembled again, your manufacturer will most likely test the basic electrical connections to ensure that all essential electrical connections have been established and that components are in the correct positions.

How can hardware start-ups test their PCB Prototypes?

They will not, however, test the functionality for two reasons. First, the functionality might not be visible or known, and second, it's simply not their job. After passing the basic manufacturing process and assembly inspections, your board will be dispatched to you for PCB testing.

Prototyping importance:

1.       In reducing risk

It is an iterative approach to producing a product. The more prototypes you make, the more you'll understand the obstacles you'll face in your next iteration and how to better your initial concept. When producing a new product, the earlier you find areas for improvement, the less money it costs to make such adjustments and enhancements.

2.       In securing funding

Nothing inspires greater confidence in potential investors than solid proof of your idea's fundamental principle. You can't afford to have a good prototype of your idea now that quick prototyping is so available.

Prototypes are a terrific method to gain a feel for the form and finish of your product, test it under different conditions, and gather input from people in addition to validating the concept.

1.       Engineering Validation Testing (EVT)

The Printed circuit boards are tested under thermal, power, and EMI pressures to ensure that the device meets all of the functional criteria given in the specifications or PRD (Product Requirements Document). It passes the EVT stage if it still meets all of the functional requirements.

2.       Design Validation Testing (DVT)

The prototypes are placed through a series of rigorous tests. The prototypes are tested for submersion in water, dropping from a specific height, burning, and abrasion, among other things, depending on the circumstances in which the product will be used. After undergoing these tests, the prototypes should still function correctly and should not be damaged or worn out beyond acceptable limits.

3.       Production Validation Testing (PVT)

How can hardware setups tests their PCB prototypes? This form of testing is carried out on the first pilot run off the manufacturing line, using the same tooling as the final product. If the PVT stage is passed, these are the units that can be sold. The purpose is to ensure that there are no issues on the assembly line, that the workers understand the process, and that any inefficiencies in the process are eliminated.

Inspection of Your Prototype, How can hardware setups tests their PCB prototypes?

Before turning on your board and performing some simple electrical testing, keep in mind that it may go wild as soon as you switch it on. A multimeter should be connected between any exposed power and ground connections. If your multimeter reads 0 V between these locations while your board is turned on, turn it off right away. A short circuit could exist, or your power connection could be incorrectly soldered which you can check in the solder float test. Before continuing, use a multimeter to check any necessary connections.

Functional Testing of PCB Assembly

Before integrating these boards into entire systems, PCB function testing is critical. How can hardware start-ups test their PCB Prototypes? According to Printed circuit board testing methods and executing functional tests, they do 3 steps of circuit testing as part of their ISO9001:2008 management system. Every component of the board must pass stringent testing before leaving our plant.

Flying probe testing

A test in which numerous probes travel from one node/pad to another to verify the PCB or PCBA is known as flying probe testing. Because the probes move about and appear to be floating from one location to another, this testing is also called the flying probe test. You've probably heard a lot regarding ICT (In-circuit Testing).

Automated optical inspection

Automated optical inspection, or AOI, is a sort of automated visual technology used by PCB assembly companies to identify quality-related flaws. It is done with the assistance of a camera that examines the PCB for the likelihood of catastrophic failure.

How can hardware start-ups test their PCB Prototypes? There are several additional basic aspects of your board you should verify that your manufacturer may have neglected. It's also possible that you made a design mistake and your manufacturer was simply following your orders. In either scenario, you’ll need to discover any faults with your prototype by powering up your board and testing the following:

The temperature of the Board and Component

If this is your first model, make careful to check the temperature of crucial components to ensure they are working at the correct temperature. While running, some active components (such as op-amp ICs) should only be somewhat warm to the touch. If a component in a DIP package that is not a PLD burn-in testing your finger while it is operating, you may have wired it up incorrectly, and you should double-check your connections.

These test points will determine the effectiveness of any thermal management elements you included in your board, such as thermal lands and vias. You may wish to add passive cooling to your components based on the results. In some circumstances, active cooling may be required. It's also conceivable that you didn't properly wire specific components or that the board has a short circuit.

Fit to Enclosure

You'll need to double-check that your board fits within the enclosure as you intended. You'll want to double-check that any electrical inputs through the enclosure have the proper clearances, that power plugs or other connectors can readily connect to your device, and that the board fits snuggly within its container.

You should always double-check that the board does not move or shift when using your prototype. Your board's enclosure should be mechanically fastened.

Verify the enclosure temperature

Once the gadget is in its container and started up, check the enclosure temperature. Placing the board on the rear is a great method to transport heat away from active components, but there should be no hotspots in your enclosure.

You don't need to measure the temperature unless it's necessary for your board to achieve a specified temperature during use. Handle the board while it's on to make sure it's not too hot.

Open Circuits and Short Circuits

Inspect for any open circuits or short circuits all through the board once it has been placed inside its enclosure. If the backside of the board encounters metal in a metal enclosure, there is always the potential of bridging power and ground. This brings up another design point: if the board will come into touch with a metal enclosure, don't put any solder points on the rear of the board.

Typically, open circuits occur when a designer forgets to remove an excess connection from their board. It's understandable, especially if you're an entrepreneur who's been up till 2 a.m. every night working on a new design. When bridged, any open circuits provide a risk of shock. This is another example where you should use your multimeter to locate any open circuits on your board.

Observance of Design guidelines

This is your time to double-check compliance with any design criteria that your board must meet for your specific application. Although your list of criteria may be extensive, the PCB testing methods will almost always be specified.

Components that are missing

Your manufacturer or assembler may have missed a component, left it off your bill of materials, or designed without it. Check the components on your board against your BOM and your actual design in any scenario.

Functional test in a Real Environment

If all the basic tests pass, you may test your prototype in the real world. To establish the reliability of your prototype, you should push it to its limits. Mechanical testing , extreme cold or heat testing, and any other aspect you can think of are all possible.

How can hardware start-ups test their PCB Prototypes? As an entrepreneur or hardware company planning to sell an electronics product, you'll need to know the hardware prototype development process, the kinds of prototypes you'll need to produce, and the electronics prototyping tools accessible to you. The results will inevitably inform any necessary redesigns and determine whether another prototyping run is required.

Read more: What is the process and definition of SMT Printed circuit boards


How can hardware setups tests their PCB prototypes? Determine the function of the PCB before choosing the best test for your project. Consider the benefits and drawbacks of the many tests offered, as well as their prices. You might wish to run more than one test at times. Often, the electronics contract manufacturer will assist you in determining the best course of action.


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