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Electronic Component Testing Methods and Standards

Table of Contents

Electronic component testing requires the use of different techniques and testing equipment to accomplish. That’s because specifications vary widely, usually based on the product application ad manufacturing standard. Here, we take you through the component testing process. This is what you’ll learn:

  • What it means to test an electronic component or device.
  • Why component testing is necessary.
  • The testing process and equipment types.
  • Important component testing standards.

What is Testing Electronic Components?

Electronic component testing is used to refer to the process where electronic devices are checked for defects or flaws. This can involve various methods, such as visual inspection, or the use of different kinds of component testing tools and equipment.

Electronic components that can be tested include active devices like diodes or transistors and other semiconductor devices such as ICs. They can also be the inactive or passive types of electronic components like inductors and capacitors or resistors.

Testing of electronic components can also be done in a number of ways. These can from visual inspection to the use of testing equipment, either manual or automated, depending on the required level of convenience or effectiveness.

Why Do We Need to Test Electronic Components?

Electronic components are the heart of electronic devices and systems. Depending on the specific types, they help accomplish critical functions such as switching actions, signal amplification, and current or voltage variation. Testing them helps ensure their proper function and performance.

Electronic product manufacturers carry out tests to identify faulty components. More importantly, the results of these tests are used to verify that specifications have been met, or that a product is manufactured in accordance with specific standards.

In addition to its use during product R&D or manufacturing stages, electronic component testing may also be done for these reasons; by the customer past production to verify product features, or during repair to debug or troubleshoot electronic devices and systems.

Electronic component testing equipment
Electronic component testing equipment
Resource: https://www.researchgate.net

How to Test Electronic Components

Electronic component testing is done in a number of ways; using visual inspection, with the use of testing equipment, and either manually or automatically using specialized systems and instruments. These testing methods are explained below.

Visual Inspection of Electronic Components

This is one of the most basic electronic components testing procedures. Here, components are checked based on their physical appearance. This method is fast, inexpensive, and easy to carry out. Using visual inspection, technicians can catch these defects:

  • Components that have burned from exposure to excessive heat.
  • Cracked parts of brittle electronic devices such as ceramic resistors.
  • Signs of corroded terminals and other parts.
  • Leaking components like electrolytic capacitors.
  • Discolored components and other parts.
  • Missing components on circuit boards.

Manual Testing of Electronic Components

Manual testing of electronic components requires testers that are operated by hand. This can involve the use of digital or analog multimeters, LCR meters, component testers, IC testers, and other testing equipment.

  • Multimeter: this testing device comes with probes to connect it to the part being tested. It measures various electrical parameters such as current, voltage, resistance, and capacitance. It can also be analog or digital.
  • LCR Meter: the LCR meter measures electronic components to test then for electrical resistance, capacitance, and inductance.
  • Component Tester: this tool tests electrical components by sending signals and receiving them back. It uses either a digital screen or speaker to actualize responses.
  • IC Tester: just as its name indicates, this device is used to check ICs, or integrated circuits, for flaws. It does so by applying signals and measuring the outputs.
  • Oscilloscope: an oscilloscope, when used to test electronic components, measures the waveforms of electrical signals to check component functionality.

Automated Testing of Electronic Components

This method of testing electric components involves the use of autonomous machines. Basically, it includes the use of both mechanical equipment and computer software to measure and analyze components. Automated testing offers these benefits.

  • Enhanced accuracy since the possibility for human errors is greatly reduced.
  • Automation offers the benefits of consistence, seeing that it uses computerized inputs and other actions.
  • Automated testing of electronic components is faster than both visual and manual methods, given that it doesn’t require much human input.
  • Product lead times or time-to-market are shortened, saving both the manufacturer and customer on time and financial costs.
Electronic component testing lab
Electronic component testing lab
Resource: https://www.youtube.com/watch?ZuFlJ1IZyPs

Electronic Component Testing Standards

Different standards are applicable when it comes to testing electronic components. These may be regional or international, which each covering the testing requirements of different types of components, electronic products, and manufacturing environments. Important testing standards include:

ISO/IEC 17025

This standard is recognized the world over, and used by many manufacturers in the electronic industry. This standard specifies various requirements for any electronic component testing lab, whether large or small. It lays out the guidelines for technical competence and quality management requirements. This standard is recognized the world over, and used by many manufacturers in the electronic industry.

ANSI/ESD S20.20

This standard specifies the requirement for ESD components and products protection. Under this standard, manufacturers are accredited for implementing measures that ensure ESD protection during handling, storage, shipping, and more. In the PCB word, this involves calibrating and grounding various components and circuits.

IEC 60068

Under this standard, electronic component testing rules are laid out based on varied environmental conditions. These include different temperature and humidity levels, shock and vibration, pressure levels, in chemically-contaminated environments, etc. as a result, component functionality is ascertained in its worst operating environment.

Conclusion

Electronic component testing, whether done during product R&D and manufacturing phases or after, is a crucial part of ensuring the functionality and lifespan of electronic devices and systems. It helps identify faulty component, and can be used to suggest product improvements. We hope this guide has shed enough light on what the testing of electronic components means, its benefits, and the methods and standards used.

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