Power-off testing

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Power-off testing is often necessary to test the printed circuit assembly (PCA) board due to uncertainty as to the nature of the failure. When the PCA can be further damaged by applying power it is necessary to use power off test techniques to safely examine it. Power off testing includes analog signature analysis, ohmmeter, LCR Meter and optical inspection. This type of testing also lends itself well to troubleshooting circuit boards without the aid of supporting documentation such as schematics.

Analog signature analysis is an electronic component and circuit board troubleshooting technique which applies a current-limited AC sinewave across two points of an electronic component or circuit.


An ohmmeter is an electrical instrument that measures electrical resistance, the opposition to an electric current. Micro-ohmmeters make low resistance measurements. Megohmmeters measure large values of resistance. The unit of measurement for resistance is ohms (Ω).

Typical equipment

Automated optical inspection (AOI) is an automated visual inspection of printed circuit board (PCB) manufacture where a camera autonomously scans the device under test for both catastrophic failure and quality defects. It is commonly used in the manufacturing process because it is a non-contact test method. It is implemented at many stages through the manufacturing process including bare board inspection, solder paste inspection (SPI), pre-reflow and post-reflow as well as other stages.

LCR meter

An LCR meter is a type of electronic test equipment used to measure the inductance (L), capacitance (C), and resistance (R) of an electronic component. In the simpler versions of this instrument the impedance was measured internally and converted for display to the corresponding capacitance or inductance value. Readings should be reasonably accurate if the capacitor or inductor device under test does not have a significant resistive component of impedance. More advanced designs measure true inductance or capacitance, as well as the equivalent series resistance of capacitors and the Q factor of inductive components.

Machine vision

Machine vision (MV) is the technology and methods used to provide imaging-based automatic inspection and analysis for such applications as automatic inspection, process control, and robot guidance, usually in industry. Machine vision is a term encompassing a large number of technologies, software and hardware products, integrated systems, actions, methods and expertise. Machine vision as a systems engineering discipline can be considered distinct from computer vision, a form of computer science. It attempts to integrate existing technologies in new ways and apply them to solve real world problems. The term is the prevalent one for these functions in industrial automation environments but is also used for these functions in other environments such as security and vehicle guidance.

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Voltmeter instrument used for measuring electrical potential difference

A voltmeter is an instrument used for measuring electrical potential difference between two points in an electric circuit. Analog voltmeters move a pointer across a scale in proportion to the voltage of the circuit; digital voltmeters give a numerical display of voltage by use of an analog to digital converter.

Digital electronics Electronic circuits that utilize digital signals

Digital electronics or digital (electronic) circuits are electronics that operate on digital signals. In contrast, analog circuits manipulate analog signals whose performance is more subject to manufacturing tolerance, signal attenuation and noise. Digital techniques are helpful because it is a lot easier to get an electronic device to switch into one of a number of known states than to accurately reproduce a continuous range of values.

Multimeter Electronic measuring instrument that combines several measurement functions in one unit

A multimeter or a multitester, also known as a VOM (volt-ohm-milliammeter), is an electronic measuring instrument that combines several measurement functions in one unit. A typical multimeter can measure voltage, current, and resistance. Analog multimeters uses a microammeter with a moving pointer to display readings. Digital multimeters have a numeric display, and may also show a graphical bar representing the measured value. Digital multimeters are now far more common due to their cost and precision, but analog multimeters are still preferable in some cases, for example when monitoring a rapidly varying value.

Electronic test equipment equipment used to create signals and capture responses from electronic devices under test

Electronic test equipment is used to create signals and capture responses from electronic devices under test (DUTs). In this way, the proper operation of the DUT can be proven or faults in the device can be traced. Use of electronic test equipment is essential to any serious work on electronics systems.

Stanford Research Systems is a maker of general test and measurement instruments. The company was founded in 1980, is privately held, and is not affiliated with Stanford University.

A solenoid voltmeter is a specific type of voltmeter electricians use to test electrical power circuits.

A capacitance meter is a piece of electronic test equipment used to measure capacitance, mainly of discrete capacitors. Depending on the sophistication of the meter, it may display the capacitance only, or it may also measure a number of other parameters such as leakage, equivalent series resistance (ESR), and inductance. For most purposes and in most cases the capacitor must be disconnected from circuit; ESR can usually be measured in circuit.

Four-terminal sensing

Four-terminal sensing, 4-wire sensing, or 4-point probes method is an electrical impedance measuring technique that uses separate pairs of current-carrying and voltage-sensing electrodes to make more accurate measurements than the simpler and more usual two-terminal (2T) sensing. Four-terminal sensing is used in some ohmmeters and impedance analyzers, and in wiring for strain gauges and resistance thermometers. Four-point probes are also used to measure sheet resistance of thin films.

In-circuit test (ICT) is an example of white box testing where an electrical probe tests a populated printed circuit board (PCB), checking for shorts, opens, resistance, capacitance, and other basic quantities which will show whether the assembly was correctly fabricated. It may be performed with a bed of nails type test fixture and specialist test equipment, or with a fixtureless in-circuit test setup.

Weld quality assurance is the use of technological methods and actions to test or assure the quality of welds, and secondarily to confirm the presence, location and coverage of welds. In manufacturing, welds are used to join two or more metal surfaces. Because these connections may encounter loads and fatigue during product lifetime, there is a chance they may fail if not created to proper specification.

Automated X-ray inspection (AXI) is a technology based on the same principles as automated optical inspection (AOI). It uses X-rays as its source, instead of visible light, to automatically inspect features, which are typically hidden from view.

Optical power meter Optical fibre

An optical power meter (OPM) is a device used measure the power in an optical signal. The term usually refers to a device for testing average power in fiber optic systems. Other general purpose light power measuring devices are usually called radiometers, photometers, laser power meters, light meters or lux meters.

In the testing of printed circuit boards, a flying probe test or fixtureless in-circuit test (FICT) system may be used for testing low to mid volume production, prototypes, and boards that present accessibility problems. A traditional "bed of nails" tester for testing a PCB requires a custom fixture to hold the PCBA and the Pogo pins which make contact with the PCBA. In contrast, FICT uses two or more flying probes, which may be moved based on software instruction. The flying probes are electro-mechanically controlled to access components on printed circuit assemblies (PCAs). The probes are moved around the board under test using an automatically operated two-axis system, and one or more test probes contact components of the board or test points on the printed circuit board.

An ESR meter is a two-terminal electronic measuring instrument designed and used primarily to measure the equivalent series resistance (ESR) of real capacitors; usually without the need to disconnect the capacitor from the circuit it is connected to. Other types of meters used for routine servicing, including normal capacitance meters, cannot be used to measure a capacitor's ESR, although combined meters are available which measure both ESR and out-of-circuit capacitance. A standard (DC) milliohmmeter or multimeter cannot be used to measure ESR, because a steady direct current cannot be passed through the capacitor. Most ESR meters can also be used to measure non-inductive low-value resistances, whether or not associated with a capacitor; this leads to a number of additional applications described below.

Measuring instrument device for measuring a physical quantity

A measuring instrument is a device for measuring a physical quantity. In the physical sciences, quality assurance, and engineering, measurement is the activity of obtaining and comparing physical quantities of real-world objects and events. Established standard objects and events are used as units, and the process of measurement gives a number relating the item under study and the referenced unit of measurement. Measuring instruments, and formal test methods which define the instrument's use, are the means by which these relations of numbers are obtained. All measuring instruments are subject to varying degrees of instrument error and measurement uncertainty.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to electronics:

An impedance analyzer is a type of electronic test equipment used to measure complex electrical impedance as a function of test frequency. Impedance is an important parameter used to characterize electronic components, electronic circuits, and the materials used to make components. Impedance analysis can also be used to characterize materials exhibiting dielectric behavior such as biological tissue, foodstuffs or geological samples.