Circuit Board Faults – How to Find Them

circuit board

Modern technology is wonderful, but like everything else, it can break down and stop working. Knowing how to find faults in a circuit board and knowing some basic repair techniques anyone can do will save them from spending time and money on repair services when they don't really need them. Here are some helpful hints on how to find faults and suggestions about what to do.

Visual Inspection

– Just taking a look at a circuit board can give anyone some clues as to why it might not be working properly. Things to look for are disconnected plugs, extra objects laying around on the circuit board, broken parts, and parts that look melted or blackened. That last visual clue is a bit more serious and may need a professional's attention.

circuit board

A simple fix like plugging in the circuit board or replacing a part might be the only thing that’s needed in order to restore its function. In other situations, a short may have caused a piece to melt or smoke. These components will need to be replaced, and the integrity of the system will have to be checked before it is used again.

circuit boardReview the PCB Design

– Even the best-thought-out design can run into problems. Whether the issues are with the production process or in the design itself, the components must be there to ensure proper function. After reviewing the design, have someone else review it, too. Someone who has not worked on it might be more likely to spot a potential problem. Catching a possible flaw while the PCB is still in the design stage is ideal, but it isn't always that easy.

Run Tests on a PCB Before Installation

– Testing all the components of a circuit board is an important step in the quality process. Each part of the PCB has a specific function and must be working correctly to pull its own weight in the system. According to, the parts that should be tested for proper function include transistors, capacitors, diodes, fuses, and resistors. If even one of these components isn't working correctly, the whole board could fail.

circuit boardIt's Always Good to Do a Quality Inspection

The above techniques are utilized by novices and professionals alike. Someone in a factory setting is more likely to have access to certain testing equipment, but any resourceful techie can usually figure something out.

Performing tests on a circuit board is necessary to ensure a high-quality product. If PCBs are mass produced, wouldn't a business rather be able to catch a defect before they reach the customers? Solving a problem early on is much better than having to replace faulty boards later.