ECT Launches High-performance Spring Probes for In-circuit, Functional PCBA Test


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Everett Charles Technologies' (ECT) EDGE probes are the answer to poor first pass yield, short probe life and excessive cleaning cycles, when caused by oxide layer build up or debris, particularly in lead free applications. In volume manufacturing, the impact worsens as cycle count increases and elevated levels of debris are transferred to the probe tips. In many applications effective electrical contact is compromised.

Lead-free solder is known to cause many problems during in-circuit testing. Lead-free solder has a higher reflow temperature, which can result in harder and stickier solder flux resin and a thicker, harder oxide layer. This thicker layer of resin and oxide is more difficult to penetrate and increases wear on the pogo pin. Lead-free solder resin and oxides can also increase debris transfer to spring probes.

ECT's EDGE probes meet these challenges as well as those found in OSP (organic solderability preservatives) and no-clean applications by combining innovative probe design with the ultra-hard plating material – ECT’s proprietary LFRE hard plating. LFRE plating is significantly harder than the industry’s standard gold plating. LFRE has a hardness range of 550 to 650 Knoop.  LFRE improves tip performance while helping maintain tip sharpness.

EDGE probes feature an ultra sharp tip geometry that is capable of penetrating debris, oxide and OSP layers. The tip radius is 0.0003” and is about 10 times sharper than typical machined probe tips. Additionally, EDGE probes apply ECT’s proven Micro-Wipe bias technique that provides low and consistent internal contact resistance.

Tony DeRosa, Product Manager, explains: "Recently ECT has enhanced key processes related to probe assembly. The results are a more consistent set of mechanical parameters and electrical performance. In addition, the spring design has changed to reduce stress and increase life. EDGE tip geometries have also been optimized to make sustainable, reliable contact to PCB targets such as vias. EDGE is ECT's answer to your most challenging test contact applications. It combines design, materials and platings expertise along with probe fabrication knowledge."

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