Engineers have to test the PCB thoroughly to see if it’s functional and fulfills its purpose of design. But, some manufacturers don’t do it which leads to intermittent issues or PCB failure, and such issues are hard to deal with while debugging. Whereas it becomes a disaster if a PCB fails in the field. You can avoid PCB issues by testing it thoroughly, besides it should be built by a good manufacturer. First, you should know the basic troubleshooting methods, so let’s begin.
Basic PCB Troubleshooting and Debugging
PCB of a printed circuit board has copper traces and insulators to connect heavy components to develop an advanced circuit. It is a great challenge to troubleshoot a circuit board in terms of thickness, size, signals, layers, and the types of different components as they are all very important.
Some circuit boards are simple and don’t need a deep inspection, but there are also complex PCB designs that need special tools for troubleshooting. Generally, the basic test is easy to do through ordinary equipment to assess the currents, traces, and signals on the PCB.
Choosing the Right Tools
Simple troubleshooting of a Printed Circuit Board involves a few tools, such as a multimeter which is quite common. But, deep troubleshooting of complex boards depends on high-end tools, especially if the problem is big. Like, you will have to use the oscilloscope, an LCR meter, a logic analyzer, and the power supply to assess a circuit board’s response in terms of function.
A Visual Inspection
Initially, you have to test your circuit board visually to see some obvious issues, such as overheating, overlapping of traces, burnt or damaged components, as well as the missing parts of a PCB. You can detect the burnt components through smell as they are not easy to detect otherwise. PCB components often get burnt due to overheating or excessive current. Sometimes the components bulge due to high temperature or heat which helps you identify the damage, like in the case of electrolytic capacitors.