Innovative fault location system for the repair of PCBs

The new GRS200 fault locator system from Polar Instruments is based on proven Analog-Signature-Analysis, comparing the nodal impedance between an unpowered known good board and a faulty PCB.
It allows to find typical production faults in electronics manufacturing as well as defective components in Service & Repair without detailed circuit knowledge.

The new GRS200 fault locator presented at productronica 2023 consists of the analog-signature-hardware and powerful software with LIVE signature analysis, program mode, CAD data viewer, schematic diagrams and the optional digital multimeter interface. This makes it easy to locate missing, reversed or even counterfeit components. Furthermore, wrong component values or component types are diagnosed, as well as possible shorts or interruptions. The central information element here is the CAD data of the PCB.

Using the CAD viewer, 20 different formats can be imported into the GRS200. This makes it possible to graphically present the net information and display the associated components. In the test programs all nets contained in the CAD data will be allocated a test point and analog signatures will be stored for later comparison. The nodal impedance test is performed on unpowered PCBs, by applying a current limited sinewave voltage, producing a graph of voltage against current for the node. The GRS200 will compare the nodal response of a defective PCB with that of a known good PCB previously learned and stored. It will automatically identify signatures that exceed a defined tolerance and identify components that are suspect. If no CAD data is available, the test program can also be created manually.

In addition to power-off nodal impedance test, the GRS200 offers the option of integrating an external multimeter into the test sequence, adding measurement capabilities for voltage values, resistances, frequencies, temperatures, etc., which can be assigned to defined test points in the CAD layout. This allows the operator to check for critical nets on the circuit board and compare with live measurements during the fault finding process. In addition, the optional external multimeter to the GRS200 allows locating shorts caused by solder bridges and defective components. Since short-circuits are very difficult to locate in widely branched nets such as power supply or bus systems, the GRS200 aides this task by using an integrated short-circuit locator. It uses a highly sensitive 4-wire resistance- measurement and audio guidance to trace the shorted nets based on the CAD data in order to narrow down possible short-circuit locations to just a few millimeters. All faults found are recorded in a repair report and the cause of the fault is documented. In this way, relevant information and empirical values from the past may be documented.

Polar Instruments will exhibit the GRS200 fault locator system and other trade show innovations at productronica 2023 in Munich, Germany, November 14-17, Hall A1, Booth 555.