Failure Analysis of PCBAs

Printed Circuit Board Assemblies (PCBAs)

Failure analysis of PCBAs can be made more timely and cost effective through awareness of some “dos and don’ts”:


  • Provide all available background information including previous test failures, touch-up operations, replaced components, failure symptoms, environmental variables, and failure history of other related PCBAs.
  • Provide documentation including assembly drawing, electrical schematic, PCB drawing, and parts list.
  • Carefully handle the PCBA to avoid introducing damage or contamination that might obscure the failure cause.


  • Don’t reflow solder joints on suspect components. This will mask solder joint failures and potentially damage the PCB.
  • Don’t use mechanical or electrical probe pressure to attempt to heal electrically open solder joints or PCB vias, as this will obscure the root cause of the open circuit condition.

The following paper discusses these concepts as well as failure mechanisms found in PCBAs:

Download pdf file

To see SEM images of failed PCBAs visit our Failure Analysis of PCBAs page.

A complete listing of all of our papers on this site can be found here:



Corroded PMIC
Corroded PMIC