Printed Circuit Board Failures at Plated Through Holes
An open electrical circuit was found between plated through-holes in a six-layer printed circuit board after thermal cycling. The copper plating was very thin in the failure area but did make an electrical contact during initial testing. During thermal cycling, differential z-expansion between the epoxy board and copper caused the thin plating to crack. During electrical testing of a four-layer circuit board, an open electrical circuit was found between the plated through-holes. Plating discontinuity was caused by poor drilling using a dull drill with improper speed (rpm) and/or feed rate as was observed by nonuniform plating and nodule formation in the plated layer. In a third example, an open electrical circuit was found in a six-layer board between two adjacent plated through-holes. A plating void was on one side of the conductor joining the two holes. Continuity was found when tested from one side of the board but lost when tested from the other. In a fourth case, an open circuit found between a plated through-hole and contact pad on a six-layer printed circuit board was caused by an etching defect.