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Ionograph Testing

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Ionograph Testing | 4 January, 2006

We have an Ionograph 500 M SMD II tester. A couple of months ago, it began failing bare boards at a very high rate. We use 10ug/in2 as our standard. Typically we would fail, maybe one board every 6 months. In the past two months, at least 15 boards from a half dozen differnt suppliers have failed ionic testing at incoming inspection. We are washing these just to be on the safe side. We have done about everything we can think of to try and "repair" our tester, but it still give false readings. Does anyone know of someone who can repair these ionograph testers? Has anyone had a similar experience with this device? Is it at end of life? We have replaced filters, pumps, fluid and recalibrated.

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Ionograph Testing | 5 January, 2006

If no replies, why don't you call the mfr. ? (800) 356-8260 or (317) 244-1200

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Ionograph Testing | 5 January, 2006

We agree. It sounds like your tester is possessed.

If it starts vomiting pea soup, throw it away. Otherwise: * Follow Pete's suggestion by calling Alphametals [or whatever they call themselves nowadays] * Contact analytical laboratories and ask them for advice. They have bunches of these machines and should be able to give you advice on reputable repair centers.

Kester recommends the following independent labs: * Foresite, Inc. (765) 457-8095 * American Competitiveness Institute (610) 362-1200 * Trace Labs * Schenectady Materials and Processes Laboratory (518) 382-0082 * Bodycote Taussig (847) 676-2100 * Robisan Laboratory, Inc (317) 353-6249 * Precision Analytical Laboratory (765) 455-1993

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Ionograph Testing | 6 January, 2006

I would suggest that it would be helpful to perform ion chromatography analysis on some of the boards that have failed your ionograph tests as well as some boards that have passed. This will tell you exactly what ionic species are present on the boards, and just how much is there, and some independant labs will let you know what the findings are indicative of, and what possible sources of the contamination might be. I work with an independent lab, and we have found time and again that results from ionograph-type testers are not correlatable to actual product performance, but serve as a process indicator. We've published a number of studies on this topic, and you can find some of them on our website at

If you have other questions about this topic, you can feel free to contact us at or you can call 765-457-8095

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