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Analysis of the causes of damage to printed circuit boards

Time:2021-08-03 15:44

With extended use, printed circuit boards can encounter a variety of problems. From damaged alignments that affect the conductivity of the board and circuit to component failures where capacitors or diodes are about to disappear, there are many points of contention on the board.
 
It helps us to identify and understand some of the most common faults so that problems can be dealt with in a relevant manner. The main points are the following.

 
1. Physical damage
 
In fact, the most common causes of PCB damage are from physical damage to the device or its interior. This may be related to physical pressure or vibration. It may be hit by another object or forceful impact; it is also possible that for any reason disassembled the device and directly caused damage to the board.
 
How to diagnose and repair
 
Physical damage can be remedied through a remanufacturing process, as long as it is not a complete failure (the board falls to the ground and is completely broken or cracked). Usually, this involves melting down the damaged part of the board or repairing it by disassembly and reassembly. Due to the nature of most physical damage, it is extremely unlikely that someone without experience in printed circuit board repair will be able to complete this as a DIY project. Personal damage can only be repaired by trained and experienced professionals. In most cases, it requires board reshaping, component resoldering and conductive trace regrouping.
 
2. Component failure
 
In addition to damage to printed parts, faulty components are also the most common cause of printed circuit board failure. In fact, if there is no physical damage, but the device does not operate or fails to power up, it is almost guaranteed to be related to one of the components connected to the motherboard.
 
The component itself can be anything from a capacitor to a diode or microprocessor. If the component is the problem and is dead or not working, it may need to be replaced entirely. However, the problem is not always the actual component. Sometimes due to aging, overheating and voltage dips, a tracking circuit may deteriorate to the point where it no longer conducts. One or more of the components may also have been completely removed from the board and need to be repositioned.
 
How to Diagnose and Repair
 
You may ask how to secure a printed circuit board when a component fails. Again, the process of repairing and remanufacturing a faulty component is best left to professionals. Voltage tools and various devices are available to test the electrical conductivity of a circuit board. They can also be used to identify if current is flowing to a component, or if a component on the board has failed completely. Many times, you can see components that have failed simply by opening the device. Their housing may look burned, cracked or broken, or the component may have been completely removed from the board and come loose.
 
To repair a faulty component, you may need to heat (usually with a heat gun) to solder and perform rigorous testing.
 
3. Damaged Alignments
 
Alignments on a circuit board are conductive paths made of silver or copper. Often, you can see problems with traces with the naked eye, but not always. If an alignment suffers damage, either through regular use or physical damage, it can have a significant impact on the conductivity of the printed circuit board, the components and associated equipment.
 
Some of the more common causes of trace damage include lightning strikes, severe surges or shorts, metal dust contamination, overheating, and normal wear and tear.
 
How to diagnose and repair
 
If the alignment is not very thin and difficult to see, damage can usually be identified by scanning the path. Copper and silver are inherently bright and shiny, which makes them easier to identify in the event of a break or damage. Keep in mind that this is not always the case, but it is a definite option.
 
To repair a faulty or damaged alignment path, you simply need to resolder or re-crimp the board using the necessary materials. This reconnects the disconnected circuit and allows current to flow freely throughout the board.
 
4. Poor design
 
As much as we would like to praise every existing engineer or product developer, it just doesn't work. Sometimes, for whatever reason, teams may cut corners when designing a circuit board or manufacturing the necessary components. This can lead to poorly designed and constructed boards, which can create problems later.
 
Unfortunately, poor design of printed circuit boards can lead to many things, and many of the failures that occur have been discussed here.
 
How to diagnose and repair
 
You will know as soon as a circuit board fails or is not working properly, because even after a repair or service session, the device will still fail time and time again. The best solution for poorly designed boards is to completely replace the board by visiting an official or authorized repair center.
 
The easiest way to identify a poorly designed board is the number of failures or problems that occur after extended use. Unless there is significant physical or electrical damage to the device, if you have repaired or analyzed the board to a certain place and there are many problems, there may be a problem with the construction of the board. In some cases, this simply means that the original manufacturer used cheap or unreliable components, but the motherboard itself is fine.
 
5. Power Supply Failure
 
In most cases, a power supply failure is very similar to a component failure, and may even be the same failure. The ultimate problem stems from a major power failure on the entire or part of the board. One of the components may be exposed to a higher than normal voltage, which causes it to overheat and explode. Perhaps a trace failure caused a short somewhere? In either case, a power meter can be used to test the overall conductivity of each individual component and the board.
 
How to diagnose and repair
 
All professional repair teams have a wattmeter or voltmeter that can be used to identify electrical problems with the board and its components. In fact, this is the only way to diagnose problems beyond the visible damage to the component. As for repairs, the process is best left to professionals, but usually requires relocating or replacing components.
 

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