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What is a Burn in Board? A Complete Guide

Burn-in-board

The burn in board tests electronic components for early failure and reliability, which makes it an important product in the electrics industry. However, despite its crucial function, the burn in PCB is a little known device. So we wrote this guide to shed light on its meaning and use in the burn in test. Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Burn in board and burn in test meaning
  • Importance of the burn in board
  • Burn in board design rules
  • How to use a burn in board
  • The burn in test process
  • And more

What is Burn in Board?

A burn in board (BIB) is simply a type of circuit board that is used to conduct the burn in test. In terms of function, it serves as a jig, holding the components under test and their respective circuits during the entire process. But what is “burn in test” to start with?

Burn in Test Meaning

In the electronics industry, the term “burn in test” is used to mean a process that uses higher heat and voltage/current to stress-test electronic components. This is where the burn in board comes in.

During the test, the components are held on the board and subjected to elevated voltage and temperatures above 125 degrees Celsius. This simulates conditions that are slightly beyond those of real world situations.

The aim of any burn in test is to trigger—and induce—the failure of defective semiconductor devices. The testing engineer then uses this data to plot what’s known as a bathtub curve. This curve shows the early failure rate of a component, or what’s known as “infant mortality rate” in electronics.

Importance of Burn in Testing for PCBs

The burn in test for PCB components is an important process in the electronics industry. It helps manufacturers identify (and even eliminate) electronic or semiconductor devices that are likely to fail too early than the expected time.

Component defects can result from wrong material selection or design and manufacturing problems. The can affect product quality and company reputation. Using a burn in board and the burn in test, manufacturers can do the following.

  • Uncover defects that could lead to early component or electronic device failure
  • Make timely improvements before a product can be introduced into the market
  • Ensure customer satisfaction and reduced warranty claims
  • Avoid costly product recalls or repairs.
burn in boards
Burn in boards
Resource: https://www.powerelectronicsnews.com

Burn in Board Design

Because the burn in process involves extreme conditions, the burn in board must be carefully designed, or it won’t stand up to the specific testing environments. To help you understand what that means, here’s a look at the burn in board design process and materials.

Burn in Board Material

Selecting the right material for a burn in board ensures it can stand up to the testing conditions. In light of that, the following options are available when making the board’s substrate.

  • For burn in tests requiring only up to 125° Celsius, different types of FR4 with high glass transition values (about 180° C) may be used.
  • For temperatures above 125° Celsius, polyimide is preferred, since in can withstand higher heat levels
  • In addition to the substrate, high temperature solder and robust traces or surface coatings are required when making burn in test PCB boards.

Burn in Board Design Guidelines

Burn in board design is slightly different from that of the normal printed circuit board, and a few rules apply to ensure the board’s integrity when it comes to testing electronic components. First, a special type of software is used to create them board.

During the design process, engineers must ensure that the components to be tested (or test circuits and sockets) are properly spaced, account for thermal stress issues, and more.

The overall layout of the burn in PCB board must comply with the burn in test guidelines. These include component monitoring and other requirements.

Using a burn in board
Using a burn in board
Resource: https://www.researchgate.net

Burn in Process

The burn in test, as earlier discussed, involves the use of voltage and extreme heat conditions to check semiconductor devices for early failure. This happens in the burn in oven. Below, we take a look at the actual process of burn in testing of electronics, the steps, and how the board is used.

Using a Burn in Board

When using a burn in board, it acts as a pedestal or jig, holding the test components and facilitating their testing. To use the board, the components are mounted on their respective circuits or sockets, and the board placed in the burn in oven.

Before using a burn in board, it’s usually necessary to test it for function and reliability. This involves the use of what’s known as a burn in board tester. This piece of equipment contains the necessary testing parameters and connection points for the testing the board for faults.

Burn in Test Procedure

The burn in board test is conducted in a testing facility with the necessary equipment in place. The steps that are involved in the burn in board testing process are given below:

  • The electronic components to be tested are mounted on the board
  • The board is then taken to the testing chamber
  • The burn in board tester is an oven that will produce the necessary heat level to thermally stress the mounted parts
  • During the test, voltage will also be applied to the components as required
  • After the burn in test process, and which can range from a few hours to several days, the board is taken out
  • The electronic components or devices are then inspected for damage
PCB component failure and damage
Resource: https://youtu.be/cTKEZX-anog

FAQs

The burn in board jig an important part of the bur in test process, but one that is less understood. Also, how the lack of it can lead to early PCB failure or damage and untold losses when it comes to new electronic components or devices. In this FAQs section, we address these and other concerns.

How Burn in Testing Can Save You a Lot of Money

Besides product quality and reliability, the burn in test identifies component defects so you can correct them early enough. This can help you avoid expensive post-market issues such as recalls and increased warranty claims.

Your PCBs and electronic devices will also require fewer repairs. In the long run, that results in increased customer trust and satisfaction, in addition to reducing warranty costs.

What Causes Circuit Boards to Burn?

Several reasons can explain a burned circuit board; the use of low quality materials, manufacturing defects, or exposure of the board to extreme conditions. It can also be normal wear and tear that can happen to any product out there.

Most often, a PCB will fail or burn when exposed to voltage or current that levels are too high, or when subjected to excessive heat during its operation. This is where the burn in board testing process comes in. It tests PCB components in the extremes of heat, helping to ensure they can operate in the worst of situations without experiencing early failure.

How do I Know if A Circuit Board is Damaged?

A damaged circuit board will show functional symptoms or visual signs. Functional signs of damage include reduced performance, sporadic operation, or even complete failure of parts of the circuit or entire device.

Visual signs include burns or scorch marks, discoloration or burned and bulged components. The damaged board may also emit a strange odor. In addition to physical inspection, you can test PCB failure using specialized testing equipment.

Conclusion

In the world of electronics—and semiconductor devices in particular—the burn in board is a common testing device during the product development process. It helps manufacturers test PCB components by subjecting them to extreme conditions, ensuring their reliability in real world applications. We hope this guide has helped you understand the burn in boards, from what they are to how they are designed and their use in the burn in test.

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