Common Causes Of PCB Failure, Explained

Printed circuit boards can be found in virtually every tool we use on a daily basis. From computers and cell phones to our television sets and portable speakers, we rely on PCBs to make our world work. But sometimes, PCBs don’t work the way they should. Whether due to material defects or environmental factors, here are just a few of the most common reasons for PCB failure.

1.Material Defects. A lot of things can potentially go wrong during printed circuit board assembly. Material defect is chief among the most popular causes for board failure. If a material used in the board has a fracture or delamination, for example, or the materials are simply impure, the PCB won’t work the way it needs to. These defects can be an issue from the very start or can present themselves during the PCB fabrication and assembly process. When PCB layers are misaligned, short circuits and crossed signals can occur. Printing technique problems actually account for 70% of all surface assembly quality issues with boards.

2.Environmental Factors.

The environment in which a PCB is manufactured or kept can also impact its ability to function as intended. Excessive heat and/or humidity can cause boards to fail, as some materials are prone to expansion under thermal stress. Even the cleanliness of a given environment can lead to PCB failure. Dust, hair, fibers, and even insects have been known to make their way into PCBs during manufacturing. During circuit board assembly, it’s vital to maintain a clean environment that’s conducive to proper production.

3.Chemical Leakage.

Chemical fluids can be found in certain PCB components. While most are removed during manufacturing, it’s possible for traces of these fluids to be left behind or for leaks to occur. This leakage can eventually lead to short circuiting or even corrosion, rendering a PCB unusable. During PCB inspection, it’s important to check for leakage and fluids left behind.

4.Soldering Issues.

A PCB’s solder is what maintains the contact between the component and its circuit, making it a vital part of circuit board assembly. But sometimes, solder can become contaminated with too much moisture. This can cause the solder to become conductive and cause short circuiting. While this is often related to some of the environmental factors outlined above, it’s important to watch out for soldering issues in particular during assembly.

Ultimately, many of the most common causes of PCB failure can be avoided by maintaining proper environmental conditions, checking for defects, and ensuring production is executed as planned. PCB inspection should also ensure that errors are identified quickly. But to ensure your circuit boards would they way you should, it’s always best to work with a reputable PCB manufacturing company.