IC boards tester and repair

  • Thread starter Vega M. Hernan M.
  • Start date

Thread Starter

Vega M. Hernan M.

Hi List:

I work in a mineral processing company and we have several IC boards in PLC´s, DCS, VF, CCV, controllers, instruments, etc. I am looking for an instrument or system capable of testing failed boards and on board devices in order to replace or repair those cards.

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

With thanks

Hernan Vega

Michael Klothe


It is genuinely hard to answer your question.

If you want to use simple instruments, contact Hewlett-Packard, Fluke, and Tektronics.
Together they make voltmeters, oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, signature analyzers, and logic probes, etc. all of which are the basic tools of manual board repair. The three companies have
offices or representatives in most major cities.

If you want a fully-automated board test system, contact Hewlett-Packard. They serve all segments of the circuit board manufacturing business. Figure on about $100-300 thousand,
USD. For that amount Hewlett-Packard can fix you up with a system into which you simply insert your defective board. The system conducts a large number of automated tests and measurements and furnishes a printed or on-screen report of what
is wrong and the likely components which should be replaced.
This equipment works very well. You'll be impressed.


Michael E. Klothe
Detroit, USA

PMSC Control System

Hernan & List -

I've been away from the automated test business for many years . I worked for several years as an Test Program Developer on both HP and GenRad
Automated Test Equipment [ATE] Systems and at Depot Level Repair, so here goes --

Automated Test Equipment Systems are best utilized by organizations that has thousands of modules to test. They are effective in finding what are 'true' fault in a circuit, however, they are marginal in finding intermittence. Why? Most ATE systems cannot test a card at full load or speed for that matter. Another drawback to using ATE is the wide spread use of Programmed Array Logic PAL Circuits and Microprocessors. Proprietary programming is often contained in these circuits -- how does one program a
truth table for any of these chips??? Today, it's not uncommon to see a simple card's design based on a PIC. They're everywhere!

If you want to take a stab at self repair -- get good manuals and schematics [including an IC Master or EEM Manuals] , good test equipment and get a 'super' bench Tech . Keep in mind that you
will not be able to stock most of the parts. Most of the IC's will be vintage and you may have a hard time finding a particular 'family' of
chip . Suppliers like Digi-Key and Newark cannot be counted on being a sure bet...

Along with the O'scope and Multimeter your tech should have several specialty test equipments including the Huntron Tracker, EDS http://www.eds-inc.com/products.html makes a couple must
have items. The CapAnalyzer and LeakSeeker are both on my bench . Speaking of benches Your's should be an ESD protected and have a mil2000 rated soldering station. Bring on them flat packs and SMD IC's!

Final advice . Keep ample spares . Fix what you can locally - send to the vendor what you can't fix and your 'dog' cards . Forget about ATE unless you got 'thousands' of cards to troubleshoot.

Just one Tech's opinion:

Dave Gunderson Hoover Dam Comm & Control Group
Website: http://www.futureone.com/~davegun
Hernan, take a look at this web site you will find the tester. I have been familar with the DIAGNOSYS SYSTEM for several years. Go to WWW.diagnosys.com Also if you need assistance in repairing your boards give me a email and probably save you some money.
Thanks David