4 Best PCB Testing Methods all Beginners Should Know – 2024 Guide

Testing is a huge part of printed circuit board production, and every board needs to be checked before it finds its place on the market. By examining the board, defects and issues can be identified and they can be removed. In this article, we are going to talk about some of the best PCB testing methods all beginners should know.

1. Visual inspection


This is a preferred method if you are looking to fully inspect the board and not rely on automated processes. The technician uses a magnifying glass to check every component and to visually check if the board is looking the way it is supposed to be. It is the cheapest option available and a lot of defects can be found with it.

Note that with this process, you will need to rely only on the technician’s skills, and human error is expected. It is time-consuming, and the hidden parts of the PCB cannot be inspected.

2. In-circuit


This is the most popular type of examination, and it covers more than 98 percent of the board. It can detect pretty much every defect and fault that can be found on the PCB and it is faster and better than most of the other methods.

On websites like, you can see that this method is extremely efficient and if you utilize it in your production, you will easily detect the most common defects.

Note that it is not the best option when it comes to smaller batches of products, and you will need to add examination points on the board.

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3. Flying Probe


FPT is part of the in-circuit testing process, and it is said to be even more advanced in some areas. It is a cheaper option than most of the others on this list, and it is easy to set up and install in your production process. It can cover almost all of the components on the board and you don’t have to waste any space by adding examination points.

However, it is not a good method if you want to do a mass examination, since the process is relatively slow. Note that even though you can check most of the components, it is not going to cover every single thing on the PCB.

4. AOI


The last thing we are going to talk about is automated optical inspection. Whit this process you will be able to accurately access the components and it is used to identify most major defects. It is more accurate than most of the other processes and it can easily be added to the production process.

The negative side of it is that it can rarely cover one hundred percent of the boards, and the setting up process is time-consuming.

Other methods that you can utilize in your production process include functional testing, x-ray inspection, and burn-in testing. Make sure you choose the right method that will help you identify any errors or mistakes that can be done during the manufacturing process. Choose something that is reliable, and know that with any of these, you can cover pretty much the whole board. Deep inspection is as important as the visual one, and you need to cover all the ground to make sure there are no hidden issues that could appear later during the use.

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Marija Jovanovic

Written by Marija Jovanovic