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E.T. Phone home...  by Matt Stevenson, Sunstone Engineer


The main objective of a PCB is to create a path of current flow in a defined and predictable way. A designer spends a considerable amount of time connecting and isolating the individual components of their circuit design so that they function as intended. There are a lot of considerations when it comes to PCB layout but the most fundamental is electrical continuity and isolation. That is where electrical test (E.T.) comes into play. 

Electrical test has come a long way over the years, but at the core it is still the same process; verify that a “net” has connection from node to node and that it is isolated from all other “nets”. Gone are the days where a costly fixture had to be created for each part number in order to test on a grid or bed of nails tester. Now it is possible to create a program on a fixtureless “flying probe” tester that is cost effective to test small quantity and prototype runs. 

At Sunstone, we utilize the Gerber files that you submit with an order to create the “Flying probe” program, insuring that we are testing to your original, unedited files. These Gerber files give us all the information necessary (net connections, x- y locations, pad geometry, hole size and location, as well as soldermask openings) to create these E.T. programs. This process insures that there were not any connections created or eliminated during the manufacturing process, giving you peace of mind that the PCBs matched the files submitted when they are shipped.  

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