Problem: BGA Intermittent Connections
As you may already know, BGA intermittent connections are probably the most elusive, frustrating, and costly. They are difficult to uncover. You (OEM engineers) can spend two to three days debugging a subsystem trying to uncover this very hard to find problem. Lost engineering time and cost can drastically escalate from $2,000 to $4,000 and that is just for a single BGA intermittent connection. Consider what the engineering time and cost would be for complex PCBs populated with eight to 10 BGAs and some of those have intermittent connections.
Root causes for these intermittent connections can be multiple. They run the gamut. They include failure to properly mask or tint BGA vias or BGA peripheries; stencil apertures are poorly defined; sufficient heat isn’t applied to a BGA’s mid-section during reflow; a poorly devised thermal profile, and the list continues.
There are a number of PCB design, fabrication, and assembly steps that must be taken to minimize or eliminate this problem. Experience and design discipline play major roles to prevent you from having to waste time with BGA intermittent connections. That’s why it’s always a good idea to depend on EMS providers who have a proven track record in this area.
Obviously, you want to concentrate on performing your engineering in a productive way. But when you get your boards back from a contract manufacturing or EMS provider you go into an unproductive mode. You encounter mysterious glitches you’re unable to locate during debugging, and hour after hour is wasted trying to uncover the problem.
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