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When you think printed circuit boards (PCBs) cannot get any smaller, they continue to do so, especially in this day and age when IoT devices are springing up everywhere. See Fig. 1 for examples of denser and smaller PCBs. The smaller the PCB, the more challenges associated with creating the correct thermal profiles. It’s especially […]

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Automated optical inspection (AOI) systems represent a prime example of the valuable and effective equipment demanded on today’s assembly floor. The foremost reason is the extraordinarily small component packaging and ever-shrinking PCB size that require the most sophisticated AOI solutions possible to detect flaws and defects during the assembly process. AOI is well suited for […]

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Conventional PCB design substantially differs from the design of a high-speed automatic test equipment (ATE) PCB. It’s better known to semiconductor companies as a “test board” that tests and verifies the functionality and operation of a newly developed chip like an advanced system-on-a-chip, FPGA, µP or other highly prized integrated circuit. The device-under-test or DUT […]

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Going from a PCB design house to a non-associated PCB assembly house often poses a problem for the OEM customer. Simply put, design-for-manufacturing or DFM is completely neglected. A number of PCB design mis-steps can occur at layout, especially when you have inexperienced designers who have good intentions, but fail to understand the nuances of […]

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The most important and difficult aspect of printed circuit board (PCB) designs using fine pitch BGAs is the layout of their lands and fan-outs. Pitch is defined as the space between the center of one BGA ball to the center of the next one. Micro BGAs with 0.3 mm pitch BGAs are found in virtually […]

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Micro BGAs are proving exceedingly popular these days. These small packages are not only populating conventional PCBs that continue to increase in complexity, but also the smaller circuit boards for IoT and wearable devices. The micro BGA package is more compact than other SMT devices and hence, has a shorter contact length from the device […]

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Signal escape routing associated with the highly advanced ball-grid array (BGA) package is definitely not an easy task. Rather it’s highly challenging and poses critical PCB designer decisions along the multitudes of routes involved in getting those signals out. One has to keep in mind that PCBs continue to become smaller, especially those rigid-flex and […]

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Design of experiments or DOEs represent a recent advancement in the continuing challenge for achieving highly reliable medical electronics PCBs. DOEs extend well beyond the extensive nature of a PCB cleaning process. That means DOE practices and procedures focus on investigating and resolving out of the ordinary problems. These are unforeseen and difficult to define […]

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The device-under-test or DUT site or sites is the most critical part of an ATE PCB. That’s where a component or chip is placed for testing. There can be one or more DUTs on a board, for instance, four DUTs as shown in Fig. 1. Others can be a dual-site board with two DUTs where […]

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The main reason ATE PCBs must be properly and comprehensively cleaned is largely due to the DUT. DUT stands for device under test, which is the circuit area on the ATE PCB where your new µP, SoC, FPGA, or any other valuable semiconductor product is to be tested. Special care must go toward eliminating any […]

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