Common PCB Failure Modes and How We Avoid Them

Green Circuits’ process for designing and fabricating high-level printed circuit boards avoids common PCB failure modes that often occur in the electronics industry.

Shortcomings during the initial manufacturing process lead to many printed circuit board failures. The electronic product may also fail in later stages of development.

The Green Circuits team believes good design minimizes the chances of common PCB failure modes occurring either before or after the printed circuit board leaves our facility. Our trained engineers identify potential design problems and correct them before production.

Quality materials make a significant difference in PCB performance. Poorly made components, for example, may ooze corrosive fluids and cause short circuits. We produce a comprehensive bill of materials to assure our partners that we use only high-grade, readily identifiable materials when fabricating their printed circuit board prototype.

Finally, stringent testing eliminates any PCB failure modes that surface once production begins. Green Circuits’ loyal clients know that every printed circuit board leaving our facility will perform reliably and according to specifications.

Why Some Printed Circuit Boards Fail

Even a well-designed PCB can have problems. Here are some reasons fail modes happen:

  • Misaligned layers. Today’s sophisticated electronic products require PCBs of multiple layers. Layers must be precisely aligned to work in tandem and avoid short circuits, crossed signal lines, or incomplete open circuits.
  • A broken component package. Failure is inevitable when a component’s protective packaging is damaged. A component exposed to oxygen and humidity can quickly age. Excessive heat, UV rays, chemicals, or manufacturing flaws can cause packaging to break.
  • Poor etching procedures. A laminate substrate is submerged in chemicals to remove unwanted copper. The substrate must be thoroughly cleaned afterward to avoid deterioration of the traces.
  • Incorrect copper weight. Correctly weighted copper foil facilitates good electrical flow. Foil that is too thick or thin inhibits PCB performance.
  • Solder flux corrosion. The use of solder flux is necessary to ensure a secure bond of metal parts. However, flux can also corrode metals with which it comes in contact.
  • Broken solder joints. Thermal cycle stress, use of an incorrect type of solder, and growth of the tiny, crystalline structures known as tin whiskers on lead-free joints can break joints and lead to failure between a component and circuit.

Contact a Green Circuits Engineer to Avoid These Common PCB Failure Modes

Every PCB manufacturer encounters challenges. Green Circuits technicians are trained to identify issues before they become a problem.

If your business seeks to avoid common PCB failure modes, contact Green Circuits. We’re Silicon Valley-based designers, assemblers, and manufacturers of printed circuit board prototypes. Call 408-526-1700 today to speak to one of our engineers. You may request a quote online, too.