In-Circuit Testing (ICT) vs Functional testing in PCB assembly – When to use?

By | Date posted: | Last updated: March 27, 2024
In-circuit Test vs Functional Test

In the world of printed circuit board (PCB) assembly, testing plays a crucial role in ensuring the quality and functionality of the final product. Two common testing methods used are In-Circuit Testing (ICT) and Functional Testing (FCT). While both aim to identify defects and faults in the PCB assembly, they differ in their approach and scope. In this article, we will explore the differences between ICT and functional testing and discuss when to use each method.

What is in-circuit testing (ICT)?

In-Circuit Testing is a method used to test electronic components and connections on a PCB to ensure their proper functioning. It is typically performed early in the manufacturing process to detect and rectify any issues before delivering defective products to customers. ICT involves connecting the PCB to specialized testing equipment that places test probes or pins at critical test points on the board. These probes measure various parameters such as resistance, capacitance, inductance, and shorts. Additionally, ICT checks that electronic components are correctly installed and connected.

This testing method involves measuring and testing the individual components on a PCB. It is performed by connecting the PCB to specialized testing equipment, which places test probes or pins at key test points on the board. These probes measure parameters such as resistance, capacitance, inductance, and shorts. The primary goal of ICT is to identify manufacturing defects, such as open connections, solder shorts, and incorrect or missing components.

ICT is designed to catch manufacturing defects, open connections, solder shorts, and incorrect or missing components on a PCB. It provides a comprehensive check of the circuit, detecting power and ground shorts in a relatively short period of time. The testing process is controlled by specialized software, which allows for accurate measurements and reduces the risk of misjudgment. With ICT, manufacturers can identify which part or circuit is connected, making it easier to troubleshoot and maintain the PCB assembly. This not only speeds up the production process but also improves product quality.

What are the advantages of ICT?

There are several advantages to using ICT in PCB assembly testing:

  • Detection of Manufacturing Defects: ICT can quickly identify defects in the PCB assembly, ensuring that the final product meets the required quality standards.
  • Fast and Accurate Testing: ICT is known for its speed and accuracy. The testing process can be completed in a matter of seconds, allowing for efficient testing of large volumes of PCB assemblies.
  • Computer-controlled Testing: ICT is controlled by a computer program, which ensures accurate measurements and reduces the risk of misjudgment or missed measurements.
  • Facilitates Maintenance and Troubleshooting: ICT provides valuable information about the connectivity of different parts or circuits on the PCB. This information can be used for maintenance purposes and to speed up the production process.

What are the disadvantages of ICT?

While ICT has its advantages, there are also some limitations to consider:

  • Limited Scope: ICT focuses on individual component testing and may not provide a comprehensive evaluation of the overall functionality of the PCB assembly.
  • High Upfront Costs: Setting up an ICT system requires specialized equipment and expertise, which can be expensive initially.
  • Inability to Test Certain Components: ICT may not be suitable for testing components that require power or specific environmental conditions to function properly.

What is functional testing (FCT)?

Functional testing (FCT) is a testing method that evaluates the overall functionality of the PCB assembly as a whole. Unlike ICT, which focuses on individual components, FCT tests the entire PCB assembly to ensure that it performs as intended. This testing method simulates the operating environment of the device under test (DUT) and checks for various functional parameters such as voltage, current, power, power factor, frequency, and duty cycle.

What are the advantages of FCT?

Functional testing offers several advantages in the PCB assembly process:

  • Comprehensive Evaluation: FCT provides a holistic evaluation of the PCB assembly’s functionality, ensuring that all components work together as intended.
  • Real-world Simulation: FCT simulates the operating conditions of the PCB assembly, allowing manufacturers to test its performance under realistic scenarios.
  • Cost-effective Testing: By testing the entire PCB assembly, FCT can identify potential issues that may arise from the interaction of different components, reducing the need for expensive system-level testing.
  • Improved Product Quality: FCT helps to identify any design or manufacturing flaws that may affect the performance or reliability of the PCB assembly, leading to improved product quality.

What are the disadvantages of FCT?

Despite its advantages, FCT also has some limitations:

  • Time-consuming Testing: FCT typically requires more time compared to ICT due to the comprehensive nature of the testing process.
  • Higher Complexity: FCT requires specialized equipment and expertise to set up and execute properly, which can increase the complexity of the PCB assembly process.
  • Limited Fault Detection: While FCT can identify functional issues, it may not detect certain manufacturing defects or component-level faults that ICT is capable of catching.

When to use ICT and functional testing?

Both ICT and functional testing have their strengths and weaknesses, making them suitable for different stages of the PCB assembly process. Here are some scenarios where each testing method can be beneficial:

When to use ICT?

  • Use ICT when you need to identify manufacturing defects, such as open connections, solder shorts, or missing components.
  • ICT is valuable for testing large volumes of PCB assemblies quickly and accurately.
  • When you need to ensure the connectivity of different parts or circuits on the PCB for maintenance and troubleshooting purposes, ICT can provide valuable insights.

When to use functional testing?

    • Use FCT when you need to evaluate the overall functionality and performance of the PCB assembly as a whole.
    • FCT is ideal for simulating real-world operating conditions and testing the interaction of different components.
    • When you want to ensure that the PCB assembly meets the required functional parameters and performs as intended, FCT is an essential testing method.


In-Circuit Testing (ICT) and Functional Testing (FCT) are two commonly used methods in PCB assembly testing. While ICT focuses on individual component testing and detecting manufacturing defects, FCT evaluates the overall functionality and performance of the PCB assembly. Understanding the differences between these testing methods is crucial for selecting the appropriate approach based on the specific requirements of your PCB assembly. By leveraging the strengths of ICT and FCT, manufacturers can ensure the quality and reliability of their PCB assemblies in various applications and industries.

Technotronix offers professional PCB assembly and testing services with 44+ years of expertise. Ensure flawless PCB assembly with our comprehensive suite of in-circuit testing (ICT) and functional testing (FCT) services. Let us optimize your electronics manufacturing process for peak performance and reliability that meets the quality standards, including ISO-9001:2015, RoHS, and more. If you have any questions or any requirements related to PCB assembly service, please feel free to contact us via email at [email protected] or request a quote for PCB assembly services!

Unlock the Potential of Embedded PCB Assemblies for Improving the Performance of Electronics Devices

By | Date posted: | Last updated: June 7, 2024
Embedded PCB Assembly


Advancements in technology have revolutionized the landscape of electronic devices, ushering in a new era of compactness, efficiency, and seamless functionality. At the heart of this technological revolution lies the embedded PCB (Printed Circuit Board) assembly, a powerhouse that drives the performance and functionality of modern electronics.

Embedded PCBs are more than just circuit boards; they represent the pinnacle of precision engineering, strategically embedded components to optimize performance and reliability. These intricate systems act as the cornerstone for countless electronic devices, orchestrating seamless connectivity among various internal components, thus unlocking the true potential of electronic systems.

Embedded PCB assemblies play a crucial role in the performance and functionality of modern electronic devices. These assemblies involve the integration of components within the substrate of a printed circuit board (PCB). By embedding components directly into the board, designers can achieve various advantages such as miniaturization, improved electrical performance, enhanced mechanical reliability, and cost savings.

What Are the Benefits of Embedded PCB Assemblies?

One of the primary benefits of using embedded PCB assemblies is the ability to miniaturize circuit boards. By reducing the number of components installed on surface layers, embedded parts can significantly decrease the overall size of the board. This is particularly valuable in applications where space is limited, such as mobile devices. In addition to miniaturization, embedded PCB assemblies offer improved electrical performance. By placing components in line with the signal path directly beneath their connecting parts, the length of connection paths can be reduced, leading to enhanced signal integrity. This reduction in connection length also reduces parasitic effects in high-frequency circuits, minimizing capacitance and inductance within the power delivery network and reducing noise.

Another advantage of embedded PCB assembly is the enhanced mechanical reliability they offer. By embedding components that were previously soldered onto the surface layers, there are fewer solder connections that can fail, resulting in a more robust board.

Furthermore, thermal management of embedded parts is easier to achieve as they can be placed in direct contact with thermal microvias, facilitating efficient heat dissipation. Furthermore, embedded PCB assemblies can lead to cost savings. By using embedded components instead of surface mount or thru-hole parts, the amount of assembly required for the board is reduced. This is particularly beneficial for complex high-density boards that require intricate manual assembly.

Also checkout: The top mistakes to avoid when ordering PCB assembly!

What Is the Process of Embedded PCB Assembly?

The process of embedded PCB assembly involves integrating electronic components directly onto the printed circuit board (PCB), departing from traditional surface-mounted methods. This innovative assembly process begins with the design phase, where engineers strategically plan the placement of components to optimize space, enhance electrical performance, and ensure efficient thermal management.

Once the design is finalized, the PCB is fabricated, and components are embedded directly onto it using advanced assembly techniques such as through-hole mounting or in some cases, by embedding components within the PCB layers themselves. Precision and accuracy are paramount during the assembly phase to ensure proper connectivity and functionality. Following assembly, the embedded PCB undergoes rigorous testing to verify electrical performance, signal integrity, and overall functionality. The integration of components directly onto the PCB in embedded assemblies not only streamlines the manufacturing process but also results in compact, high-performance electronic devices across various industries.

What Are the Design Considerations for Embedded PCB Assemblies?

Designing embedded PCB assemblies requires careful consideration of various factors to ensure optimal performance and functionality. First and foremost, the compact nature of embedded assemblies demands meticulous planning to accommodate components efficiently while minimizing space utilization. Signal integrity and electromagnetic interference must be prioritized, necessitating strategic placement of components to mitigate signal loss and enhance overall electrical performance. Thermal management is a critical consideration, with integrated components requiring efficient heat dissipation strategies to maintain reliability and prevent overheating. Designers must also focus on flexibility, optimizing the layout to allow for future modifications or upgrades.

The selection of materials, adherence to industry standards, and attention to durability are equally crucial, particularly in applications with stringent environmental conditions. Overall, successful design of embedded PCB assemblies requires a holistic approach that balances space constraints, electrical performance, thermal considerations, and long-term reliability.

How Do CAD Tools Facilitate Work with Embedded Components?

CAD tools, such as Cadence’s Allegro, provide designers with the necessary features and functionality for working with embedded components. The Cross-Section Editor allows designers to control the layers that can be used for embedded components and set up spacing constraints for the size and proximity of the cavities. The Constraint Manager tool enables designers to configure individual components or classes of components with embedded rules and constraints, including placement on external or internal layers.

Also checkout: Advantages of ordering bulk PCB assemblies

What Are the Challenges and Limitations of Embedded PCB Assemblies?

While embedded PCB assemblies offer numerous benefits, there are challenges and limitations to consider. The normal soldering processes during PCB assembly can affect

embedded components, potentially impacting their reliability. Additionally, testing embedded components after manufacturing is challenging, and their replacement in case of retrofitting or repair is not easily feasible.

What Are the Future Trends in Embedded PCB Assemblies?

The field of embedded PCB assemblies is continuously advancing, with ongoing developments in manufacturing processes and increasing market demand. Advancements in laser drilling, milling, and other fabrication techniques are improving the reliability and production yield of embedded components. The growing need for high-density, low-profile electronic devices is driving the adoption of embedded PCB assemblies in various industries.


Embedded PCB assemblies offer significant advantages in terms of miniaturization, improved electrical performance, enhanced mechanical reliability, and cost savings. Design considerations, such as choosing compatible materials and creating cavities, play a crucial role in the successful implementation of embedded components. CAD tools like Cadence’s Allegro provide designers with the necessary features and functionality to work with embedded components. As the demand for high-density, low-profile electronic devices continues to grow, the future of embedded PCB assemblies looks promising.

Technotronix is a leading ISO 9001:2015 certified PCB Assembly company, offer full turnkey and consigned PCB assemblies, board types with metal cores, electromechanical assemblies, box build assemblies, and more as per custom requirements. Do you have any PCB assembly requirements? Request a free PCB assembly quote or email us on [email protected].

EV Charger PCB Assemblies enhance safety, efficiency, and reliability!

By | Date posted: | Last updated: December 2, 2023
PCB Assembly for EV Chargers

With the rising popularity of electric vehicles (EVs), there’s a growing need for better charging solutions. This surge in demand has put a spotlight on the production of Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers, specifically focusing on the essential role of Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Assembly. This process involves creating the necessary components crucial for efficient EV charging systems. This article will explore the importance of EV Charger PCB Assembly, explaining how these specially designed circuit boards are vital for making electric vehicle chargers work effectively.

What is an EV Charger PCB Assembly?

EV Charger PCB Assembly refers to the process of designing, manufacturing, and assembling printed circuit boards (PCBs) specifically tailored for electric vehicle (EV) chargers. These PCBs are integral components in the construction of EV chargers and play a crucial role in their functionality, performance, and safety. EV Charger PCB Assembly involves meticulous design, manufacturing, assembly, and testing processes to ensure the production of safe, functional, and compliant PCBs integral to the performance of electric vehicle chargers. All the information about the EV charger PCB is discussed below.

Designing the EV Charger PCB:

The design phase of an EV charger PCB is pivotal as it determines the PCB’s ability to handle high power and voltage levels, accommodate numerous components, and ensure safety compliance. Key considerations in the design phase include:

  • Circuit Complexity: EV chargers comprise complex systems necessitating PCBs capable of managing the safety of the charger.
  • Safety Features: Meeting stringent safety standards requires incorporating safety features such as fuses, surge protectors, and ground-fault protection into the PCB design to ensure user safety.
  • Heat Dissipation: Thermal management is crucial due to the generation of heat from high-power levels. Effective design strategies prevent overheating and ensure optimal performance.
  • Signal Integrity: Maintaining high-speed data transmission integrity is essential for effective communication between the charger and the vehicle. Designing the PCB to minimize noise interference is critical.

Manufacturing and Assembly Process:

The production of EV charger PCBs involves

  • PCB Layout: This stage involves designing the physical layout of the PCB, including component placement, trace routing, and incorporating markers for easier manufacturing and assembly.
  • Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing: After the layout is finalized, the PCB fabrication process begins. This process, conducted by specialized manufacturing facilities, involves etching a pattern onto a copper-clad substrate to create the desired circuitry.
  • PCB Assembly: The assembly process involves attaching electronic components to the PCB. Two primary techniques are used:
    1. Through Hole Technology (THT): Components are inserted into drilled holes on the PCB and soldered on the other side, suitable for larger components requiring additional mechanical support.
    2. Surface Mount Technology (SMT): Components are directly mounted onto the PCB surface, reducing size and accelerating assembly.

Quality control during assembly ensures proper alignment and soldering, crucial for the safety and functionality of the final product.

Testing Procedures:

After assembly, rigorous testing is conducted to verify safety and functionality. Key testing procedures include:

  • Electrical Testing: Checking circuit continuity to ensure proper power flow throughout the PCB.
  • Functional Test: Verifying proper functionality and meeting performance requirements of the EV charger.
  • Safety and Compliance Testing: Includes Hipot (High Potential) testing, environmental testing for varying conditions, EMC testing, and compliance with safety standards (such as IEC 61851, ISO 15118, SAE J1772, IEC 62196).

Outsourcing and Reliability:

Outsourcing PCB assembly for EV chargers is common. Working with experienced assembly providers, adhering to industry standards, selecting high-quality components, and conducting thorough testing ensure reliability and quality.

What Are the Safety Considerations for EV Charging?

Safety considerations for EV charging are crucial to prevent fire hazards and electric shock injuries. Here are key safety measures to adhere to while charging your electric vehicle:

  • Qualified Installation: Before purchasing an EV, have a qualified electrician install a new, dedicated circuit suitable for EV charging devices. Ensure older home wiring is assessed for compatibility.
  • Charging Device Certification: Use charging devices certified by nationally recognized testing laboratories. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for charging, especially for Level I, Level II, or DC fast charging.
  • Proper Outlet Usage: Plug Level I EV chargers directly into outlets designed to handle their amperage. Avoid using multiplug adapters or extension cords. If an extension cord is necessary, ensure its heavy duty and rated for outdoor use.
  • Residual Current Device (RCD): Install an RCD with the charging unit to detect faults and cut off power, reducing fire risks.
  • Child Safety Measures: Keep all charging components out of children’s reach when not in use to prevent accidents.
  • Regular Maintenance: Follow manufacturer maintenance guidelines and regularly inspect charging components for wear or damage. Never use damaged EV chargers as they pose a potential shock hazard.
  • Protection from Elements: Protect the EV charging station outlet from water ingress and follow manufacturer guidelines for safe charging in wet conditions.
  • Certified Charging Stations: Opt for certified charging stations that meet safety standards to prevent overcharging and overheating, ensuring safer charging practices.
  • Temperature Consideration: Avoid charging in extreme temperatures (below freezing or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit) as it can damage the battery and reduce its lifespan.
  • Cable Inspection: Before charging, inspect the charging cable for any signs of damage. Refrain from using a damaged cable to prevent electrical hazards.
  • Prevent Overcharging: Avoid overcharging, as it can negatively impact battery life. Monitor the charging process and aim to maintain the battery status between 20% to 80% for optimal longevity.
  • Regular Usage: Use the EV regularly to maintain its health. Prolonged periods of inactivity can impact various components, including the battery pack.

Adhering to these safety considerations is crucial to ensure the safe and efficient charging of electric vehicles while minimizing potential risks of fire, electrical hazards, or damage to the vehicle’s components. If there are any uncertainties or concerns regarding EV charging safety, consulting a certified electrician or the vehicle manufacturer for guidance is advisable.


In conclusion, the significance of the Electric Vehicle (EV) Charger Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Assembly in the realm of electric vehicles cannot be overstated. This process stands as a crucial foundation in the development of components necessary for the efficient operation of EV charging systems.

At Technotronix, we are fully equipped to handle PCB Assembly requirements. We follow industry best practices to ensure we deliver cutting-edge products. Our team of experts and state-of-the-art manufacturing facility ensures that all our PCBs meet the industry standards of quality and testing.

If you have any questions or any requirements related to PCB assembly, please feel free to contact us via email at [email protected] or call 714/630-9200.

Top keys to consider while evaluating a complete printed circuit board box build assembly quote!

By | Date posted: | Last updated: November 4, 2023
PCB Box build assembly quote

In today’s fast-paced manufacturing landscape, where precision and reliability hold paramount importance, the evaluation of a complete printed circuit board (PCB) box build assembly quote can be the determining factor for the success of your project. This is particularly true in industries where uncompromising quality and durability are prerequisites.

Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) providers are indispensable allies for both original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and end-users, offering a comprehensive array of electronic product and service solutions. Their expertise encompasses PCB and electronics design, manufacturing, rigorous testing, efficient supply chain management, and even repair and maintenance services.

Within the realm of electronics manufacturing, Box build assembly manufacturer play a pivotal role in providing end-to-end services, ranging from initial design concepts to the meticulous assembly of electronic products. EMS PCB assembly, an integral part of this process, involves a series of meticulously executed steps to ensure that electronic products adhere to the highest standards of quality and functionality, catering to diverse industries.

To guide you through this intricate process, we have assembled a comprehensive list of essential factors to consider when evaluating an Electronics Manufacturing Service (EMS) pricing breakdown. These factors delve beyond the basics, shedding light on the critical components that can exert a significant impact on the overall success of your project.

What are the top keys to consider while evaluating a complete printed circuit board box build assembly quote?

You can consider the following factors while evaluating a complete PCB box build assembly quote.

1. SMT Programming

Surface Mount Technology (SMT) programming plays a crucial role in PCB assembly. Ensure that the EMS provider can program SMT components accurately and efficiently. Verify their expertise in handling a variety of components, including fine-pitch devices and Ball Grid Arrays (BGAs). Proper programming is essential for the flawless functioning of your PCB assembly.

2. Stencils (Top and Bottom)

Stencil quality is paramount in achieving consistent solder paste deposition during the box build assembly process. Evaluate the EMS provider’s stencils for precision, material quality, and durability. Top and bottom stencils should match your PCB design precisely to avoid soldering defects and ensure robust connections.

3. Set-Up Costs (Profiles):

Set-up costs encompass the process of preparing the assembly line for your specific PCB project. This includes configuring machine profiles, feeders, and ensuring that all equipment is calibrated to your requirements. Understanding and negotiating these set-up costs can significantly impact your project’s cost-effectiveness.

4. Back-Up Plate (2x Side Only)

The back-up plate is essential for providing support during the soldering process, preventing PCB warping, and ensuring consistent solder joints. Verify that the EMS provider utilizes a suitable backup plate, especially for complex or large PCBs. The use of side-only backup plates can save costs without compromising quality.

5. Wave Fixtures

If your assembly process involves wave soldering, the number of wave fixtures required is critical. Ensure that the EMS provider has the necessary fixtures to accommodate your production volume and PCB specifications. Insufficient wave fixtures can lead to production delays and quality issues.

6. ICT Maintenance (+ Development Fee)

In-circuit testing (ICT) is a critical step in ensuring the functionality of PCB assembly services. Evaluate the EMS provider’s ICT maintenance procedures and inquire about any additional development fees. A well-maintained and efficient ICT process can save time and resources in the long run.

7. First Article Inspection (BOM)

The First Article Inspection (FAI) is a comprehensive review of the initial PCB assembly to verify that it meets all specifications. Pay close attention to the BOM (Bill of Materials) used during the FAI. Ensure that the EMS provider follows strict FAI protocols to identify and rectify any issues early in the production process.

8. MPI Development

Manufacturing Process Instructions (MPI) are crucial in ensuring consistency and quality in the assembly process. Evaluate the EMS provider’s capabilities in developing and maintaining accurate MPIs tailored to your project’s requirements. Clear and detailed MPIs are vital for minimizing errors and streamlining production.

9. LED Pipe Fixtures

For projects involving LED assemblies, LED pipe fixtures are essential for accurate alignment and secure placement of LEDs. Confirm that the EMS provider has the necessary fixtures and expertise to handle LED assemblies effectively. Misaligned LEDs can lead to performance issues and customer dissatisfaction.

10. Inspection Template

An inspection template serves as a guideline for quality control throughout the assembly process. Review the EMS provider’s inspection template and procedures to ensure that they align with your quality standards. A robust inspection template is vital for maintaining consistency and reducing defects.

11. ESD PCB Totes (Shared or Dedicated)

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) protection is crucial when handling sensitive electronic components. Discuss whether the EMS provider uses shared or dedicated ESD PCB totes. Shared totes may save costs, but dedicated totes provide an extra layer of protection against ESD damage.

Additional Considerations

While the factors mentioned above are crucial when evaluating a complete PCB box build assembly quote, it is essential to consider other elements that can impact the success of your project. Here are some additional factors to keep in mind:

  • Quality Certifications: Verify that the EMS provider holds relevant quality certifications, such as ISO 9001 and IPC standards. These certifications indicate a commitment to quality and compliance with industry standards.
  • Lead Time: Evaluate the EMS provider’s lead time for PCB assembly. Quick turnaround times can be critical in meeting project deadlines and responding to market demands.
  • Cost Transparency: Ensure that the quote provides a transparent breakdown of costs, including materials, labor, and any additional fees. Understanding the cost structure helps in making informed decisions.
  • Supply Chain Management: Assess the EMS provider’s supply chain management capabilities. A reliable supply chain is essential for sourcing components and materials efficiently.
  • Prototyping Services: If your project involves prototyping, inquire about the EMS provider’s prototyping services and their flexibility in accommodating design changes.


Evaluating a complete PCB box build assembly quotation for medium to large-sized projects in industries like military, armored vehicles, computer systems, and machine manufacturing requires meticulous attention to detail. The factors discussed in this article, from SMT programming to ESD protection, are critical in ensuring the success and reliability of your PCB assembly. Moreover, it is essential to consider the EMS provider’s certifications, lead times, cost transparency, supply chain management, and prototyping services to make an informed decision. By thoroughly evaluating these factors and maintaining open communication, you can partner with an EMS provider that aligns with your project’s requirements and quality standards, leading to successful and cost-effective PCB assembly.

TechnoTronix excels in providing tailor made PCB box build and system assembly services with its fully integrated advanced technologies. We provide a high mix for the low volume box build or low mix for a high-volume PCB box build services. Request a box build PCB assembly quote or reach out at email [email protected] or call 714/630-9200.