The electronics industry is driving manufacturers to produce faster, smaller, and more complex circuit board technology at a higher quality and decreased cost. As a result, the importance of testing methods that are accurate and effective has increased. This is where circuit trace testing comes in. It is an essential tool for every tech or engineer who is producing printed circuit boards (PCBs) in any capacity.
What is a trace on a circuit board?
Circuit traces are the copper or aluminum lines on a printed circuit board (PCB) that allow the electricity to flow between electronic components. They are the copper roads that electrons travel on as they power one component or another on the PCB.
What does a circuit tracer test do?
If you are designing circuit boards, your job is not complete until you have completed testing. But what, exactly, does a circuit tracer test do?
When boards fail, it is often due to shorted traces, which are time-consuming and frustrating to find. Finding shorted traces is especially tricky with multi-layer PCBs where a visual inspection is nearly impossible once an engineer puts the board together.
A circuit tracer test finds these shorts with either capacitance tests to measure induced capacity after a charge, and resistance tests to measure the resistance in ohms. Some types of testing are more advanced and thorough than others, usually depending on the end utilization of the PCB.
The ultimate goal of a circuit trace test is to find shorts and opens, but the tests also sometimes expose design errors. If you want to be confident in the quality of your boards, then testing is an essential step in the process.