ECT’s ZIP™ Z0 RF Spring Probe for Semiconductor Test Exceeds Customer Expectations

ZIP probes built from HyperCore™ base material provides superior performance in high volume production

Everett Charles Technologies (ECT) successfully won a head-to-head evaluation of ZIP probes with the HyperCore™ material option in a high volume production environment at a large Chinese OSAT. The Z0 probes reached 450k insertions more than doubling the life of the competitor’s spring probe while exceeding first pass yield expectations.

ZIP is one of several semiconductor test probe families offered by ECT. For this evaluation the ZIP Z0-040RHJ probe was deployed in a multi-site test set-up for a 14L, 0.4mm pitch QFN package. The application was a RF transceiver. Testing was performed at ambient and hot (85°C) conditions. With its 1.5mm test height Z0 is an excellent choice for RF devices requiring low insertion loss (40GHz @ -1dB) and low inductance (0.55nH).

ECT’s patented ZIP probes feature a number of innovative design features that provide superior contact capability. ZIP probes have a large internal contact area resulting in low contact resistance, superior bandwidth and excellent conductance. ZIP probes are built from HyperCore™ and present a new level of accuracy, scalability and performance. The proprietary non-plated, homogenous probe material possesses properties that prevent oxidation, ensuring premium performance throughout high volume production cycles. With a hardness rating of 600 Knoop; ZIP has excellent wear characteristics, is effective for contacting hard DUT surfaces and withstands abrasive cleaning.

Tony DeRosa, Senior Product Manager explains: “Customers are continuously requiring lower cost per insertion. ECT’s ZIP™ probes meet this challenge by bringing value to customers through competitive pricing, high reliability and excellent electrical performance. Our RF simulation and validation capabilities further expands the cost-of-test advantage by providing a high level of confidence that Z0 will meet or exceed critical RF test requirements.”

To learn more about ZIP™ please visit ect-cpg.com/semiconductor-probes

Compliant Connectors Designed to the Project Specifications

Everett Charles Technologies leverage RF simulation expertise to optimize electrical performance of custom connector solutions

Everett Charles Technologies’ (ECT) Compliant Connectors Team successfully developed a custom solution for a demanding medical application in the area of video imaging and endoscopic data. Combining decades of experience in probes with ECT’s expert capability of RF simulation, the solution fully met the mechanical, electrical and environmental specifications while keeping to the customer’s project schedule.

This customer faced a major challenge related to a connector requirement. The connector had to fit into a tightly confined area. Therefore the connector design needed to be very compact. The application was in a very dirty environment. The connector needed to be field cleanable and withstand the environmental conditions. As an added complication, the connector had to maintain a 100 Ohm impedance for proper signal transmission. Finally a life of ten thousands of insertions was required.

ECT provided a custom solution designed to the parameters including high speed signal transmission and mechanical life meeting all electrical and mechanical challenges while keeping to the project’s development time window. ECT’s capabilities of RF signal integrity simulation and validation were key for project success. Accurately predicting electrical performance of the spring probe connector as well as complete circuit performance prior to fabrication was essential to avoid multiple iterations and delays. ECT accurately modeled electrical performance and adjusted design parameters on-the-fly to ensure the prototypes met performance specifications.

Tony DeRosa, Product Manager, commented: “In addition to our off-the-shelf ‘catalog connectors’, which can be configured to customer requirements, we offer solutions fully designed to customer specifications, where standard products can’t meet the entire set of requirements. Our in-house expertise in RF simulation is a unique and valuable asset for this. With our RF simulation and validation capabilities we optimize the design prior to production. This way we ensure both: best performance and fast project completion.”

To learn more about the ECT custom connectors, please visit: www.ect-cpg.com/custom-connectors

 

High Performance Spring Probes for In-circuit and Functional PCBA Test

ECT’s EDGE probe combines leading architecture and materials for lead free applications

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.”

For more Information about the ECT In-circuit and Functional Test Probes, please visit: http://ect-cpg.com/ICT-FCT-probes

 

Everett Charles Technologies to exhibit at BIOMEDevice Show 2015

Leading Connector Solutions Meeting Challenging Requirements

Everett Charles Technologies (ECT) will exhibit its leading Compliant Connector Solutions at the upcoming BIOMEDevice Show scheduled to take place December 2 -3, 2015 at the San Jose Exhibition Center, California.

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 Compliant Connectors feature sealed connections and are also available for high current and high frequency applications.

ECT continuously strives to offer the best solutions for challenging applications. Recently, ECT launched the Accordion™ probe. Accordion™ is a patented contact technology from ECT that targets high reliability applications. It’s well suited for demanding environments found in medical markets. Accordion spring contacts incorporate a compliant, one-piece spring in an open architecture format to accommodate a wide range of physical circuit topologies. Utilizing a single contact eliminates the threat of liquid and debris build up between parts while also being tolerant of vibration and shock. Accordion offers several surface contact advantages over traditional compliant contacts. One of which is placing multiple contacts per position to allow for single target redundancy.

It can also be designed to provide a controlled scrub which removes oxides and debris from the contact position and its mate. The Accordion scrubbing action ensures surface contact, while the single beam prevents the momentary resistance spikes found in connection systems requiring a wide range of actuation. This versatile contact can be tailored to specific x-y-z envelops and compression force targets.

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

 

LFRE Plated Probes: Substantial Improvement of Test Cell Uptime on PCBA In-circuit Test Applications

ECTs proprietary LFRE plating has been proven to significantly extend probe life and time between cleaning cylces

Everett Charles Technologies (ECT) has proven the exceptional performance of LFRE spring probe products in a challenging evaluation at a major automotive electronics supplier with global manufacturing facilities. The ECT LFRE probes, which were used in an in-circuit test fixture, tripled insertion life and reduced cleaning frequency by a factor of 10 compared to the original set up.

ECT LFRE probes meet the challenges of lead free pads. 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. These are many of the issues found in OSP (Organic Solderability Preservatives) and no-clean applications.

ECT’s proprietary LFRE plated probes have two key attributes that make it an ideal choice for the most challenging PCB test applications. LFRE provides a smooth, slick plating surface that not only resists wear but also resists solder and debris transfer. ECT’s LFRE plating is also significantly harder than the industry’s standard gold plating and has a hardness range of 550 to 650 Knoop. This makes the probe tips much more durable and less susceptible to solder and material transfer. LFRE probes incorporate a double roll close, which offers the industry’s best pointing accuracy. Increased pointing accuracy is of benefit when using lead free solder and/or no-clean as the probe is less likely to touch the edge of the pad where the solder flux accumulates.

Tony DeRosa, Product Manager, highlights: “The customer was experiencing excessive cleaning, short probe life, and low first pass yield. Contamination due to excessive solder flux was limiting probe life to only 60k insertions. We were able to improve insertion life to more than 180k cycles and to reduce the cleaning frequency to 2-3 times per week.”

LFRE plated probes leverage ECT’s long-term expertise in materials and platings along with probe fabrication knowledge. The LFLT probe – the long travel version of the LFRE probe – incorporates ECT’s proven PogoPlus bias ball design and double roll close process. Both of which contribute to making sustainable and reliable contact to PCB targets.

LFRE Pogo® pins are available in a variety of spring force choices and pitches. All of ECT’s lead free (LFRE) probes have a spring fatigue life that surpasses 500,000 cycles.

Learn more about the ECT In-circuit and Functional Test Probes: http://ect-cpg.com/ICT-FCT-probes

 

New ECT Accordion™ Technology Provides Reliable Contact in Harsh Environments

Patented interconnect solution offers unprecedented cost and reliability advantages for high insertion count applications

Everett Charles Technologies (ECT) has been supplying spring probes for over 50 years. ECT leverages this industry leading experience for unique, customer focused solutions to the most challenging connector requirements. Accordion™ is a patented contact technology from ECT that targets high reliability applications. It’s well suited for demanding environments found in the military, aerospace and medical markets. Recently the ECT Accordion contact has been selected as interconnect platform solution for a critical signal and power transmission application by a tier one military contractor.

Accordion spring contacts incorporate a compliant, one-piece spring in an open architecture format to accommodate a wide range of physical circuit topologies. The Accordion is ideal for harsh environments. Utilizing a single contact eliminates the threat of liquid and debris build up between parts while also being tolerant of vibration and shock. Accordion offers several surface contact advantages over traditional compliant contacts. One of which is placing multiple contacts per position to allow for single target redundancy.

It can also be designed to provide a controlled scrub which removes oxides and debris from the contact position and its mate. The Accordion scrubbing action ensures surface contact, while the single beam prevents the momentary resistance spikes found in connection systems requiring a wide range of actuation.

This versatile contact can be tailored to specific x-y-z envelops and compression force targets.

Tony DeRosa, Product Manager, explains: “ECT was given the challenge to create an interconnect for harsh environments, where the electrical properties would remain unaffected. Competition was limited to conventional spring probe options and required the development of a costly and unproven sealed design. We at ECT were able to use our patented Accordion technology to produce a single beam contact that is unaffected by liquid, and has the ability to wipe away surface contaminants. The contact form factor was also designed to enable a redundant contact in each position. All of this was accomplished at a cost below that of a custom pogo.”

Learn more about the ECT Accordion: http://ect-cpg.com/accordion

 

Meeting the Challenges of Cost-Efficient Testing High-End Digital Devices

Everett Charles Technologies introduces new member of the ZIP probes family: Z-080YHJ

Everett Charles Technologies (ECT) launched a new member of the versatile ZIP™ semiconductor test probe family. The Z-080YHJ is designed to meet the many challenges associated with testing High End Digital (HED) devices. ZIP probes are a cost effective solution that provide excellent mechanical reliability and electrical performance.

Tony DeRosa, Senior Product Manager points out: “High lead count packages require a large compression window to compensate for package co-planarity stack-up errors. In addition, these devices often require a high level of signal integrity which is typically in the 12GHz+ range. These requirements result in conflicting physical parameters. A large compression window increases the length of the probe while high bandwidth drives probe length to as short as possible.”

The Z-080YHJ’s 5.0mm test height provides a generous total compression window of 0.8mm. The probe also provides an insertion loss of 18GHz @ -1dB (GSG). These factors combined make Z-080YHJ a perfect solution for HED applications. The Z-080YHJ is scaled for 0.8mm and greater device pitches and targets high lead count BGA’s and LGA’s. The DUT side plunger is made from ECT’s durable HyperCore™ homogenous alloy. This along with its sharp dual tip geometry allows penetration of solder ball oxides with less force than standard 4-point crown tips.

ZIP probes are based on ECT’s patented, innovative flat probe technology. The manufacturing process used to fabricate ZIP probes is extremely repeatable and results in a high level of consistency from probe lot to lot. Other ZIP probes target RF, mixed signal and general purpose semiconductor test applications. Markets served include burn-in, lab testing and high volume production. Low cost and high performance are hallmarks of ZIP probes.”

Read more about semiconductor test

 

Reliable Probes for Most Challenging High Current Testing

Everett Charles Technologies Introduces HC500F High Current Probe

Everett Charles Technologies (ECT) introduces the latest addition to our versatile family of high current probes; the HC500F. The HC500F is rated at 150 Amps DC and is designed for the most challenging applications in a broad range of industrial test applications including transportation, automotive, power grid, military and PCB test.

The HC500 enhances the ECT high current spring probe line. The extensive ECT high current probe offering now comprises 8 different continuous current ratings – starting at 10 Amps and peaking at 150 Amps. All ECT high current probes are optimized to meet the dedicated needs of high current applications. Tip styles have been developed to maximize surface contact and reduce arcing. Body geometries and materials have been defined to minimize resistance. ECT high current probes ensure reliable and repeatable testing up to 150 Amps and support extended test times.

Tony DeRosa, Product Manager confirms:”Our probes are designed to address the critical parameters of high current testing: low resistance plungers, optimized base materials and plating, high temperature spring design, and high current tip geometry. Building on ECT’s experience in probe design and fabrication, we’re able to offer these rugged and reliable solutions for high volume production and engineering characterization testing.”

Read more about High Current Probes

 

ECT’s Launches New Probe Family for RF Signal Testing of PCBAs and Industrial Applications

CSP-40 significantly reduces cost per insertion with best best electrical performance at competitive pricing

Everett Charles Technologies (ECT) recently launched a new line of high frequency test probes for the PCBA and industrial test markets. The
CSP-40 high frequency probe family offers high reliability and excellent electrical performance at competitive pricing and significantly reduces the cost per test insertion.

Designed in ECT’s proven coaxial architecture the CSP-40 probe provides an instrumentation-quality 50 ohm impedance interface for broadband RF measurements up to 6 GHz. The physical and electrical characteristics are precisely controlled to ensure accurate and repeatable results. The RF center conductor system is captivated for maximum reliability.

The open architecture probe format accommodates a wide range of physical circuit topologies and alleviates the need for special geometry contact pads on the circuit under test. The CSP-40 line is offered in standard plunge-to-board configurations, which are off-the-shelf. It can also be customized to meet specific contact pattern requirements. The CSP-40 probe can also be configured to mate with industry standard connectors such as SMP, SMA, SMB and others. These RF probes can also serve as an ideal port-extending accessory for network analyzers and time domain reflectometers.

Tony DeRosa, Senior Product Manager confirms: “ECT probes are an ideal choice for high volume as well as engineering characterization applications. The new CSP-40 probe family leverages Xcerra’s extensive experience in providing solutions for signal integrity sensitive applications. We have over 10 years of simulating complex test structures including probes, PBCA’s and launches. We build and test many structures to validate our products and corresponding models.”

Read more about High Frequency Probes

ECT’s ZIP™ Probe for Semiconductor Test Exceeds Customer Expectations

ZIP probes built from HyperCore™ base material proved superior performance in high volume production

Everett Charles Technologies (ECT) successfully passed a two month evaluation of ZIP probes using the HyperCore material option in a high volume production environment at a large OSAT in Singapore. The ZIP probe exceeded the critical first pass yield expectations and beat the target for a 500 k insertions life time by over 20%.

ZIP is one of several semiconductor test probe families offered by ECT. For this evaluation the ZIP probe was deployed in a quad-site test set-up for a 250 BGA package with 0.8 mm pitch for an Ethernet/MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) end application. The test was done at ambient and hot (85°C) conditions.

ECT’s patented ZIP probes feature a number of innovative design attributes that provide superior contact capability. ZIP probes have a large internal contact area resulting in low contact resistance, superior bandwidth and excellent conductance. ZIP probes built from HyperCore present a new level of accuracy, scalability and performance. The proprietary non-plated, homogenous probe material possesses properties that prevent oxidation, ensuring premium performance throughout high volume production cycles. With 600 Knoop hardness, it is inert to common wear related to contacting tough surfaces and abrasive cleaning.

Tony DeRosa, Senior Product Manager explains: “Customers are continuously requiring lower cost per insertion. ECT’s ZIP™ probes meet this challenge by bringing value to customers through competitive pricing, high reliability and excellent electrical performance. Last summer ECT released the HyperCore material option to the entire ZIP product line. HyperCore adds an advanced material option to expand the cost of test advantage.”

Read more about Semiconductor Probes