Check out NexLogic's LED PCBs Workshop At PCB West 2011, Santa Clara, CA - Nexlogic
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Check out NexLogic’s LED PCBs Workshop
At PCB West 2011, Santa Clara, CA

Like they say, you ain’t heard nothing yet. That’s very appropriate for LEDs and the increasing numbers of new uses and applications for these tiny, yet powerful and low-cost lighting sources. Last year, the hot news was LEDs replacing old traditional headlights in automobiles. This year, white LEDs are making great inroads into the growing numbers of smartphones and tablet PCs as low-cost backlights for LCD displays.

LED technology is definitely on the minds of a lot of OEM designers. OEMs from all market sectors are taking advantage of the new lower cost, inherent reliability, and shrinking sizes of LEDs to either replace conventional lighting or create newer and innovative LED applications. Regardless, LED technology and its advances still pose certain issues at the PCB design, fabrication, and assembly stages.

NexLogic Technologies is on top of those issues and will address them along with practical solutions at this year’s PCB West in Santa Clara, CA scheduled for September 27-29 at the Santa Clara Convention Center. So, you and your team are cordially invited to attend and bring plenty of questions with you. If you’re not able to attend, we’re planning an October Webinar to provide you critical details to make your LED PCB projects easier and with greater clarity and understanding. So be checking our website to get more details on this October LED PCB workshop Webinar.

In the meantime, here are some helpful tips that’ll help you get a better handle on LED PCB design, fab, and assembly.

  • Get a basic understanding of advances chipmakers are making toward LED thermal management.
  • Look into the level of experience your contract manufacturer (CM) or EMS provider has dealing with driver circuitry EMI because here LED drive circuitry must meet rigid EMI/EMC requirements.
  • LED PCB design’s top issue is thermal management, so make sure all the right measures are factored in during the design phase to properly handle thermal management.
  • Keep up with all the different types of heat sinks and get a basic understanding of the right ones for your LED PCB applications.
  • Assure that your CM or EMS provider has clear communications between their PCB designers and the fabrication house they use. Mis-communications dealing with material or surface finishes among other factors can lead to extra costs and wasted time.
  • Find out from your CM or EMS provider the assembly steps they take to ensure highly reliable LED PCB manufacture. Keep in mind that thermal profiles are not created equal and you must be assured the thermal profile for your LED board must be unique to that job.

At the end of the assembly process, an LED check test as shown below should be applied to each board to ensure all necessary assembly steps have been correctly performed. Electrical tests designed to screen out DFT failures should be performed only at final inspection, not at the initial stage or in the middle of the process. Electrical testing is performed once the LED board has been soldered and cooled down at the regular temperature. If performed at earlier stages, the assembler won’t know how many more heart cycles the LED board undergoes. Hence, testing will not be meaningful or valid.