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Consumer Electronics

Plated Probe Tailored for Fine Pitch PCB Assembly Test

29 July 2016

Printed circuit board (PCB) assembly test services provider Everett Charles Technologies (ECT), an Xcerra company, has added a new lead-free-plated probe to its portfolio of test probes. Designated LFRE-39, the plated spring probe is tailored for the demanding requirements of high- volume production in-circuit and functional tests. As a result, it can meet the fine pitch requirements of PCB assembly test applications down to 39 mils (1.0 mm). According to the maker, proprietary lead-free (LFRE)-plated probes are field proven to provide enhanced performance in high-volume production test environments. Additionally, due to their excellent hardness, the LFRE-plated probes are less prone to solder transfer and tip wear. Typically lead-free solder and organic solderability preservatives-treated copper pads on boards present a harder or more coarse contact surface, causing unwanted plating and probe tip wear. Consequently LFRE-plated probes have demonstrated longer life and mean time between maintenance on many challenging test applications, claims the supplier.

Lead-free-plated probes are designed to meet fine pitch requirements of printed circuit board assembly test applications. (Image Credit: Everett Charles Technologies)   Lead-free-plated probes are designed to meet fine pitch requirements of printed circuit board assembly test applications. (Image Credit: Everett Charles Technologies)

According to ECT, LFRE plating offers a hardness range of 550 to 650 Knoop, which is about three to four times harder than standard gold. Consequently it makes the probe tips more durable and less susceptible to solder and material transfer. In comparison to gold-plated probes, the LFRE-plated probes offer lower and more consistent resistance. Internal test data shows that LFRE-plated probes have outperformed gold-plated probes in high-volume production test applications. In reality, the LFRE-39 probes have demonstrated 3 to 5% yield improvement in production test environments, claims the manufacturer.



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