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Partial discharge testing of solder fillets on PCBs in a partial vacuum: new experimental results

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4 Author(s)
Capineri, L. ; Dipt. Elettronica e Telecomunicazioni, Univ. di Firenze, Italy ; Dainelli, G. ; Materassi, M. ; Dunn, B.D.

This work investigates the influence on the partial discharge (PD) onset due to the geometry of solder fillets of aerospace and spacecraft component assemblies operating in vacuum and at high voltages. An automatic measuring system has been developed and calibrated to detect PD signals in vacuum (proportional to the apparent charge) which are recorded and displayed in terms of amplitude and temporal distributions. The experimental part of the project is aimed at investigating the influence of the geometry of solder fillets (produced according to the European space industry standard, ECSS-Q-70-08), on the occurrence of PD activity. Stranded terminals of high voltage cables were soldered to circular copper pads on FR4 fiberglass epoxy printed circuit board (PCB). Various copper electrode configurations have been produced and, prior to the test program, they were characterized for dimensional, electrical and optical properties. Two types of solder fillet geometries have been realized for each electrode configuration: round joints with an abundance of solder and sharp pointed joints made with minimal solder. The minimum distance between electrodes for all samples is nominally 5 mm. Paschen-like curves were established from measurements performed where the product of pressure x distance lies in the range of 2 mbar mm-50 mbar mm. Corona inception voltage (CIV) and corona extinction voltage (CEV) values were recorded at different values of pressure x distance. Stable glow discharge triggering voltage and current were also measured. The experimental results indicated that the PD activity for the sharp pointed pads and sharp pointed joints is greater than the other cases, but no significant differences (less than 50 V) of the values of CIV and CEV have been found.

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Electronics Packaging Manufacturing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:26 ,  Issue: 4 )