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96 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2019 Testing Todd by Todd Kolmodin, GARDIEN SERVICES USA Electrical test today has changed dramati- cally since the "pin-in-hole" technology of yesteryear. Although you may still find these designs today, predominantly you will run across the mind-altering designs of our current generation. It boggles the brain to think that computers once inhabited entire rooms to pro- cess just "bits" and "bytes" of data. Now, your smartwatch processes more data than many of those computers combined! The smartphone that you use every day has more computing power than the computers used in the Apollo 13 spacecraft! It's no wonder that today's requirements have become immensely important in guar- anteeing success in the products produced. Shorts, opens, impedance, capacitance, dielec- tric breakdown, and resistance are all major factors in the success or failure of today's PCBs. With that said, the evolution of the PCB has come a long way in the last 30 years. The sci- ence of electrical test has had to travel that road as well. It's not just a question of screening for opens and shorts. Today, the library extends to interrogating passive components, efficiently and cost-effectively evaluating dielectrics with multiple planes and pairs involved, and adher- ing to strict requirements from the military, ex- port regulations, and OEMs alike. So, it is easy to understand that ET has become much more of a science than history remembers. Probers Versus Fixture Testers Probers Today's probers (flying probes) are much more advanced than their distant relatives of days gone by. Probers not only provide the The Evolution of Probers and Fixture Testers: Blinded by Science

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