Image Credit: 1-Source Electronic Components
IC pin probes are used to test integrated circuits (ICs). They differ in terms of contact type or pin type. Low profile pins are standard, low-height, printed circuit board (PCB) pins. Solder tail pins are designed to allow for easy soldering, and for other specialized applications. Wire wrap pins use a solderless wrap to achieve electrical connections. Typically, a stripped or unstripped wire is connected onto a wrap post. Straight pins terminate on both sides of the socket or receptacle. Spring loaded pins are telescopic, electromechanical interconnects. They typically consist of one or more contact members (plungers) and a helical coil spring housed within a conductive tube (barrel). Other contact types for IC pin probes are also available.
How to Select
Center spacing, center pitch, plating materials, and approvals are important parameters to consider when selecting IC pin probes. Center spacing is measured in English units such as inches (in.) or fractions of an inch, or metric units such as millimeters (mm) or centimeters (cm). Center pitch is the center-to-center distance between two consecutive pins. Plating materials for IC pin probes include silver, copper, gold, and nickel. Gold-plated contacts are more expensive than silver-plated or copper contacts, and are offered generally as an upgraded connector. Non-plated products are also available. In terms of approvals, IC pin probes that are destined for sale in the Europe should comply with Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), a European Union (EU) directive.
Selecting IC pin probes requires an analysis of performance specifications such as current rating, contact resistance, voltage rating, and operating temperature. Current rating is the maximum, continuous flow of electrical current recommended for an IC pin probe in a given situation. Generally, current rating is measured in amperes. Contact resistance measures the electrical resistance of mated contacts when assembled in a connector under typical service use. Electrical resistance is determined by measuring from the rear of the contact area of one contact to the rear of the contact area of its mate (excluding both crimps) while carrying a specified test current. Voltage rating is the maximum operating voltage for IC pin probes in a given situation.
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