Choosing the Right ECT Spring Probe for ICT and FCT Testing

How do I select Base Material / Plating, Spring Force, and Tip Selection?

In the world of spring probes, choices abound when it comes to selecting materials and platings for plungers, barrels and springs. Choosing the right options can greatly impact yield, probe life and cleaning frequency.

Base Materials

BeCu is a popular choice for both plungers and barrels and has outstanding mechanical properties with high electrical conductivity. Steel is significantly harder and is typically used for plungers with aggressive tip styles. Nickel Silver is very resistant to corrosion and is well suited for barrels. Bronze has good wear resistance, cold formability and high electrical conductivity. Lastly, brass is a high quality material with high electrical conductivity and good wear resistance.

Plating Choices

Choosing the right plating depends on the application and customer preference.  Gold is widely used and provides excellent electrical performance and good corrosion resistance. To address lead free solder challenges, ECT has developed a proprietary plating material called LFRE which is approximately 5 times harder than gold.  LFRE plated tips are much more durable and wear resistive than gold and have proven to last more than twice as long as gold plated probes. LFRE probes are also less susceptible to solder and material transfer and require less cleaning than gold plated probes.

Spring Force

Spring force selection is mainly dependent upon the application. It provides the required compliant force at the plunger tip and the contact force between the barrel and the plunger. Higher spring forces provide more effective penetration through contamination contact points, but leave heavier witness marks on the test point. Lower spring forces should be used where no witness marks are welcome or to prevent board flexing on higher pin count applications.  Stainless steel must be used for springs when test temperatures exceed 100°C.

Tip Selection

Most tip styles can be used for a variety of different applications. However, some test targets are better suited for unique tip styles. Some applications require a non-aggressive tip to be used on pads, such as radius, crown, or flat.  These tips leave little to no witness marks on test pads. For through-hole vias ECT offers: blade, star, or pyramid tip styles. These are well suited for contact through the outer ring of the via surface. Over time solder builds up oxide layers, therefore medium to very aggressive tips like the serrated, crown, blade, pyramid and point are used. Posts, pins or screws are more unpredictable and therefore more challenging. For these applications, tip styles like the cup, serrated and crown are best suited. Other applications may require more unique tip styles depending on test target material, size, shape, access and cleanliness.   With over 50 years of making high quality spring probes, ECT has developed a vast library of probe options for all your testing needs.

Product Selection Made Easy on shop.ect-cpg.com

The new e-shop provides sophisticated filters to make your product selection as convenient as possible. To learn more about the ECT offerings for ICT / FCT test, click here.

To learn more, visit http://ect-cpg.com

 

 

Everett Charles Technologies to exhibit at BIOMEDevice Show 2016

Leading Contacting and Connector Solutions to Meet Challenging Requirements

Everett Charles Technologies (ECT) will exhibit its leading Contacting and Compliant Connector Solutions at the upcoming BIOMEDevice Show scheduled to take place December 7 – 8, 2016 at the San Jose Exhibition Center, California.

ECT offers a comprehensive portfolio of contacting and compliant connectors including customized solutions.

ECT’s offering of contacting products includes highly reliable battery probes for mission critical connections and proven RF probes to ensure accurate, consistent and repeatable contacts.

ECT’s “standard connectors” are based on a highly flexible architecture, which facilitates cost-efficient configurations for customer requirements. ECT compliant connectors meet the highest quality standards and have shown superior durability in high life cycle applications.

In addition to the off-the-shelf ‘catalog connectors’, which can be configured to customer requirements, ECT offers solutions fully designed to customer specifications. These custom solutions are needed, when standard products can’t meet the entire set of requirements. ECT’s in-house expertise in RF simulation is a unique and valuable asset for this capability. With the RF simulation and validation capabilities ECT is able to optimize the design prior to production. This process ensures the best performance of the connector and fastest project completion.

For more information, please visit http://ect-cpg.com/compliant-connectors or http://ect-cpg.com/accordion

 

Lifesaving Device Relying on Everett Charles Technology’s Probe Expertise

Chest Compression Device Deploys ECTs Pylon E-S series probe

Everett Charles Technologies (ECT) developed a custom version of the well-established Pylon E-S series spring probe, which is deployed in new generation chest compression devices for Emergency Medical Services and hospitals. The slightly modified Pylon E-S Series probe suits the harsh requirements for the lifesaving mission to assure the battery pack is continuously transferring power to the system.

The application requires a 100% reliable, no fail contact under all operating conditions.  In case of a low battery level the emergency team needs to replace the battery pack within seconds and make reliable contact instantly. The probe is air and liquid tight for hygiene and cleaning reasons and is capable of withstanding shock and vibe that occur during helicopter missions. The application requires an uninterrupted, continuous current of 4.0 A.

ECT and the customer jointly developed a robust solution by leveraging a well-established probe and thorough knowhow of precision machining of metals and plastics. In-depth electrical and mechanical analysis prior to hardware build validated the design and reduced development time.

Thomas Frenzel, Sales Manager Northern Europe, explains: “Based on this high-end and lifesaving application, the requirements have been one of the harshest we ever had to meet. Our solution replaces a competitive one, which failed at vibe test.”

To learn more about the ECT spring probes, please visit http://ect-cpg.com/spring-probes

 

Fast and Reliable Prototyping for Best Time to Market

Everett Charles Technologies is streamlined to support new product launches

Everett Charles Technologies (ECT) offers dedicated support and advanced tooling for prototyping of customized probes and connectors. Partnering with ECT for new product development ensures smooth prototyping and contributes to fastest time to market.

Prototype projects at ECT start with understanding requirements and direct engineer to engineer dialog with the customer to ensure the solution aligns with their needs. Electrical and mechanical analysis prior to hardware build increases design integrity. High precision machining of plastics and metals utilize CNC and Swiss screw machining centres. 3D printers and spring winding machines are deployed to guarantee best quality and accuracy. All related internal processes are controlled for high quality and fast turn times. In the final phase the customer can rely on ECT’s experience in managing the project into high volume manufacturing.

ECT’s multisite, U.S. based manufacturing capabilities, which are ISO certified, ensure product development transitions smoothly from prototype phase to volume production within the customer’s launch schedule.

Tony DeRosa, Product Manager, comments: “ECT’s Contact Products Group understands that time-to-market is one of the key factors in a successful product launch. To this end we have honed our development processes and added equipment at key steps.”

To learn more about ECT, please visit http://ect-cpg.com or http://xcerra.com

 

Everett Charles Technologies to exhibit at AmCon Expo 2016

Leading Connector and Probe Solutions Meeting the Requirements of Challenging Applications

Everett Charles Technologies (ECT) will exhibit its leading Electronic Interconnect Solutions at the upcoming AmCon Expo taking place September 21 – 22 at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center, NY.

ECT offers a comprehensive portfolio of compliant connectors including customized solutions. ECT’s standard connectors are based on a highly flexible architecture, which facilitates cost-efficient configurations for customer requirements. ECT compliant connectors meet the highest quality standards and have proven superior durability in high life cycle applications. Leveraging decades of experience and a US-based manufacturing, ECT uses application specific materials and contact technology to ensure reliable signal integrity. ECT’s Compliant Connectors feature sealed connections and are also available for high current and high frequency applications.

ECT will also feature its line of battery probes at the AmCon Expo. ECT battery probes are used in a wide range of applications that include docking stations, data transmission, PCB interposers, and contacts for connector assemblies for medical, mil/aero, transportation and more. ECT battery probes maintain consistent electro-mechanical characteristics in excess of mission cycles. ECT’s versatile line of battery interconnect probes provides design flexibility to match performance, cost, and assembly requirements. In addition, these products can be modified or custom designed to meet specific project requirements.

For more information, please visit http://ect-cpg.com/compliant-connectors or http://ect-cpg.com/battery-probes

 

Everett Charles Technologies Non Magnetic

Probes for Reliable Sensor Testing with Full Temperature Range

Everett Charles Technologies (ECT) expands its product portfolio with non-magnetic spring probes for test applications, which are based on the measurement of the earth′s magnetic field in the full ambient/hot/cold temperature range. ECT non-magnetic probes ensure accurate, reliable and repeatable measurement of the earth′s magnetic field and the yaw rate movement in any of the three axes without interference from the test probes.

ECT′s non-magnetic probes support typical navigation applications in smart phones or dedicated navigation devices for cars in the fast growing MEMS/sensor market. For the development of these probes ECT not only drew upon its long-term experience in spring probes and materials, but also the comprehensive expertise within Xcerra in MEMS/sensor testing. By combining these elements ECT is able to provide non-magnetic spring probes that meet the challenging requirements of tri-temp MEMS/sensor testing. Sensors that measure the earth′s magnetic field and the yaw rate movement must be tested in a benign environment. To test sensors reliably without interference from the test stimulus, any possible materials that might disturb the earth′s magnetic field are not allowed in the area around the device under test. In addition, since many applications are bound for the automotive market, the test probes need to withstand temperature of -55°C up to +85°C and in some cases up to 150°C.

Tony DeRosa, Product Manager, explains: “By leveraging off of the vast sensor test experience within Xcerra, we are able to develop non-magnetic spring probe solutions with extraordinary performance in an unmatched temperature range. Our non-magnetic probes have been already deployed in volume production, where the outstanding performance has been confirmed.”

To learn more about the ECT non-magnetic spring probes, visit http://ect-cpg.com/non-magnetic-probes

 

New Battery Probe from Everett Charles Technologies:

Performance Off-the-Shelf with the New ECT CP-4 Probe

Everett Charles Technologies (ECT) recently expanded its portfolio of Battery Interconnect Probes by adding the CP-4 probe. CP-4 is a standard off-the-shelf solution, which has been designed specifically for rigorous high reliability applications. CP-4 combines the low technical risk, fast delivery and high economies of scale of a typical standard product with the extraordinary electrical performance and reliability resulting from ECT’s extensive spring probe knowledge of materials and platings.

The CP-4 meets the requirements of high reliability applications by ensuring sustainable, consistent, and reliable contact. It is also tolerant to shock and vibration. The relatively high compliance helps to overcome planarity issues.  The CP-4 probe is capable of carrying 10 Amp DC and provides a low resistance contact (25 mOhm average). It has a proven life of over 100,000 cycles.

The outstanding performance is based on ECT’s proven Biasing-Ball™ and double roll close construction. The design using a deep draw plunger for a low mass head increases reliability in shock/vibe.

The CP-4 probe can easily be pressed into plastics or attached to a PCB. The CP-4 tail configurations include surface mount, through hole (straight or 90 degree angle) and solder cup. It is available as a lose probe or integrated into a custom Compliant Connector Solutions, CCS™. (To read more about the CP-4 or CCS see our website http://ect-cpg.com/compliant-connectors)

Tony DeRosa, Product Manager, highlights: “CP-4 provides reliable high performance at lower cost than other similar in-class products. Leveraging ECT’s design expertise and complete manufacturing capabilities, the CP-4 is a cost-efficient solution that will help to bring products to market faster and easier.”

To learn more about the ECT spring probes, visit http://ect-cpg.com/battery-probes

 

High Performance Probe for Lead-Free Fine Pitch PCBA Test Applications

Everett Charles Technologies launches LFRE-39 probe

Everett Charles Technologies (ECT) introduces the LFRE-39 spring probe to complete its comprehensive portfolio of products for lead-free test applications.  LFRE-39 features ECT’s LFRE™ plating and is designed to meet fine pitch requirements down to 39 mil (1.0 mm). The LFRE-39 fully meets the demanding requirements of high volume production in-circuit and functional test.

LFRE plated probes are field proven to provide enhanced performance in high volume production test environments. LFRE probes are less prone to solder transfer and tip wear due to their exceptional hardness. Lead free solder and OSP (Organic Solderability Preservatives) treated copper pads typically present a harder or more abrasive contact surface causing excessive plating and probe tip wear. Customers report that LFRE plating has demonstrated longer life and MTBM (mean time between maintenance) on their most challenging applications. LFRE plating is significantly harder than typical gold plating. LFRE has a hardness range of 550 to 650 Knoop which is about 3 to 4 times harder than standard gold. This makes the probe tips more durable and less susceptible to solder and material transfer. LFRE plated probes are the best solution to contact RoHS compliant boards and OSP boards.

Lead free plating is featured on ECT’s industry standard PogoPlus® LFRE series, Metrix™, and on LFLT Long Travel probes.  With the addition of LFRE-39, ECT’s proprietary plating is now available on a wide range of pitch options.

Tony DeRosa, Product Manager, explains: “In head to head testing with traditional gold plated probes, LFRE plated probes offer lower and more consistent resistance. LFRE probes have also outperformed gold plated probes in high volume production test applications by 3 to 5% first pass yield improvement. With LFRE-39 we can provide a reliable test probe solution for fine pitch lead-free PCBA test fixture applications.

To learn more about the ECT In-circuit nd Functional Test Probes, visit http://ect-cpg.com/ICT-FCT-probes

Everett Charles Technologies to Exhibit at Space Tech Expo 2016

Leading Probe and Connector Solutions for Challenging Applications

Everett Charles Technologies (ECT) will exhibit its leading probe and connector solutions for the military and aerospace market at the upcoming Space Tech Expo scheduled to take place May 24-26, 2016 at the Pasadena Convention Center, California.

At Space Tech Expo, ECT will showcase its leading portfolio of probes for RF and high current applications, a comprehensive offering of battery probes that feature highly consistent electro-mechanical characteristics and the most flexible and reliable compliant connector solutions. (http://ect-cpg.com/compliant-connectors)

ECT supports a wide range of industrial test applications with high performance RF and high current probes. Leveraging advanced probe designs and materials, ECT’s RF and high current probes are known for excellent electrical performance combined with reliable mechanical characteristics. (http://ect-cpg.com/rf-probes  http://ect-cpg.com/hc-probes)

ECT battery probes are used in a wide range of applications that include docking stations, data transmission, PCB interposers, and contacts for connector assemblies for medical, mil/aero, transportation and more. ECT battery probes ensure consistent, long-life, low-resistance, compliant electrical and mechanical connections. ECT’s versatile line of battery interconnect probes provide design flexibility to match performance, cost, and assembly requirements. In addition, these products can be modified or custom designed to meet specific project requirements. (http://ect-cpg.com/battery-probes)

ECT’s Compliant Connector solutions offer superior durability in for a wide range of high cycle life applications. The spring probe based solutions can maintain consistent electro-mechanical characteristics in excess of million cycles. When mating planer tolerances pose a challenge or longer reach is required, spring probe based connectors ensure best performance. ECT Compliant Connectors are available in configurable off-the-shelf versions or as fully customized designs based on their flexible architecture.

To learn more about the ECT Contact Solutions, visit http://ect-cpg.com

 

 

ECT Accordion™ Technology Used for Innovative High Current Connector Solution

Innovative interconnect design exceeds the limitations of standard spring probes

Everett Charles Technologies (ECT) has developed a customized high current connector for testing electrical power components based on an unprecedented design using ECT’s Accordion™ compliant contacts. In addition to the demanding high power performance this challenging application called for a cutting-edge connector design to comply with the extremely small space limitations and contact surfaces.

The challenge of this project was to transfer continuous current exceeding 50 Amps through small contact surface area, not well suited for standard spring probes. ECT developed a technical solution that gives the customer high cycle life and compressed foot print based on the Accordion™ compliant contact. Compared to standard spring probe solutions, the Accordion™ based design supports higher current and leverages more reliable surface contact.

The Accordion™ compliant contact is a proven solution for high density / high current applications. Accordion™ contacts can be integrated into a connector to provide multiple, independent current paths. The Accordion™ ensures low resistance and reduces power loss and therefore heat loss. Accordion™ contacts placed in parallel overcome contact challenges including irregular surface topography, dirt and debris, and non-parallel connection. In addition, the probe is modular. This allows varying the current capacity as required for each test point, but uses a consistent reliable design.

Tony DeRosa, Product Manager, explains: “For this customer project we designed a compliant connector with a direct current path using multiple independent current paths. We developed this innovative solution leveraging the unique advantages of our Accordion™ contact: flat , single piece compliant spring design for best reliability in high current applications. This customer specific solution packed several Accordion™ contacts together, ensuring side to side contact and specific overlapping, redundant contact points through-out the assembly. No comparable solution had been available to the customer before. It proves once more, how the team at Everett Charles Technologies combines leading-edge technology with innovation and experience to create the best solutions for our customers.”

To learn more about the ECT Accordion, please visit http://ect-cpg.com/accordion