Causes PCB Failure

What Causes PCB Failure

PCB failure occurs whenever there is a disturbance that affects your printed circuit board; it can be caused by many different variants. The usual suspects are moisture, heat, and dirt.  It may not always be easy to avoid, however keeping your board as clean as possible will go a very long way in keeping it up and running.  Factors such as prototype layout issues, assembly errors, and invalidated circuits can cause discrete or power component failure, and trace damage that will cause your printed circuit board to fail.

Prototype issues or first run issues can sometimes play a role in the malfunction of your PCB.  For example, if they are missing traces or vias your PCB will not be able to function properly.  The following have also been known to cause disruptions in PCBs, traces are too small, noise, incorrect pad sizes or footprints, mechanical fit and placement of mounting features all play a role in the malfunctioning PCB.

Assembly errors are also among the evils that cause failures.  Such as the wrong PCB manufacturer, change of materials and layers, will affect the PCB and place an entire project at risk.  Additional causes may also be placing the component in backwards, components installed in the wrong place, bent leads, cold solder joints, no solder, solder mask problems, defective, out of tolerance, mismarked components, and a marginal circuit design.  These can all lead to PCB failure right out of the gate as well as a lot of aggravation and frustration. Another issue can be circuits that were not validated such as sixteen volts in a twenty-four-volt power supply.

Discrete component failure can occur through the natural aging process, overheating, and electrical surges, risers in ESR values, and corrosion and drying.

Power component failure can occur through aging, electrical surges, and overheating.

Trace damage failure can occur through electrical surges, lightening, inappropriate assembly, and metallic dust.

You will not always be able to see these problems just by looking at your board, it may sometimes be necessary to check it with a meter to see what the problem is.

A burnt component is another common issue that will cause your PCB to fail.  This occurs when the device has overheated.  Any change in temperature can cause a malfunction; make sure you have enough space around your device to allow air to flow in and out freely.

Age also plays a role in the function of your PCB.  As with everything the natural process of aging affects the performance of your device.  Changing out the old parts is a generally easy task to perform as long as you really know what you are doing.

There a many factor’s that can play a part in your printed circuit boards failure. They can be simplified into two categories, environmental and manufacturing.  Making sure you chose a reputable PCB manufacturer will help ensure that you receive the PCB you require.  Contact Rush PCB engineers today to find out how they can help you.