Electronic industry: Ways to redefining probe pin

Spring probe pins can now produce a high performance at the price of a stamped touch for high density, fine-pitch applications by redesigning and completely automating the development process.

High cost:

The spring-loaded probe, aka pogo-style pin, has provided excellent mechanical and electrical efficiency for decades in a highly compliant touch.

However, this also came at a high cost since three to four separate parts fabricated and installed in a laborious, less-than-fully-automated process are designed for each screw.

The cost could be so exorbitant that many preferred to use less compliant, lower-performing alternative contact solutions to minimize costs when large quantities of pins were needed.

However, with the growing miniaturization of integrated circuits, electronic modules, and products that cram more circuitry into smaller footprints, this strategy is becoming less feasible.

Example for the reason for high cost:

For example, in a fine pitch setup, a single test socket for durability and burn-in testing will need hundreds and even thousands of spring-loaded probe pins. The same refers to connectors for board-to-board compression. Pin volumes will run into the millions when factoring in multiple test sockets and production-level quantities of connectors.

Join, or maybe re-enter, the investigation of the spring. Miniaturized spring probes as small as .2mm are now possible with a new approach to pin design and a complete re-invention of the development process, offering a high temperature, current, and bandwidth output pin at the price of a stamped contact.

How were the traditional pins?

The pogo-style pin is usually made of a cork, two plungers, and a spring encapsulated in a metal shell, albeit built and developed in subtly distinct ways.

This pin style is highly compliant, which means it is designed to compress or ‘comply’ during insertion. In terms of potentially uneven surfaces, differing heights, errors in parallelism and flatness, or pivoting or spinning components, this is crucial when establishing a good relation.

The current trend:

Several markets are now influenced by the shift towards a more lightweight, high-density electronic architecture, defined as the number of pins in a small area or the distance between pin centers. Hence, Engineering socket to fit to the current trend is very important.

Probe pin uniting the industry:

One industry that uses fine-pitch spring probes daily is testing electronic durability, including burn-in, HTOL, HAST, THB, and other testing protocols. To perform this testing method, sockets are created to provide an intermediate (temporary) connection between the printed circuit boards (PCB) and the components or multi-chip modules being tested via an array of pins. The PCB is then attached for data capture and analysis to a computer or other system to decide whether it succeeds or fails.

Test Tooling Solutions Group manufactures a variety of semiconductor tools and testers with high quality precision. They have R&D experts who will be able to understand the customer needs and deliver accordingly.

Meeting strong expectations for results:

High-performance characteristics are characterized for spring-loaded probe pins by the ability to withstand high temperatures needed for burn-in and other tests, the ability to handle increasing quantities of current over ever smaller hooks, and the ability to handle high frequencies. Hence, Engineering socket and also manufacturing same is a really tricky and intricate work.