Top Five Most Common Causes of Printed Circuit Board Failures

Top Five Most Common Causes of Printed Circuit Board Failures

PCBs or printed circuit boards are crucial components of most electronics. PCB failure is quite costly, inconvenient, and can have a negative effect on your brand. PCBs are quite sensitive and failure may be caused by several things. Here are five reasons why printed circuit boards may fail. 

Burnt components

It is common for circuit board components to burn owing to the high temperatures that they are subjected to. This is especially true if there is inadequate space around the components. Every component has a specified amount of heat that it can absorb and temperature ranges that it can withstand based on the structure and size. During the designing and PCB fabrication process, ensure that the components have adequate space around them to allow air circulation around heat sinks. This will ensure that components work within their operational capability.

Poorly manufactured components

It is possible to get poorly manufactured PCBs. Such boards usually have connection issues, leftover flux, bad solder, or loose components. Leftover flux is used to help the soldering process and it can do harm to your PCB components by causing corrosion. A cold solder can cause bad connection that can potentially lead to burnt components or power problems. 

Human error

Human error is one of the main causes of all PCB assembly and manufacturing problems. There are many issues that can present themselves during both the design and manufacturing processes. Some of these issues include incorrect installation or placement of components, poor soldering resulting in cold solder joints, poor insulation of traces resulting in a voltage arc, and many more. 


When PCB components become old with time, they can cause failure of the system. Failures that result because of age are unavoidable. However, you can control the cost of replacing components by swapping the old parts for new ones. This is the most effective way of dealing with old components rather than new PCB fabrication. 

Environmental factors

Temperature changes can also cause your PCBs to malfunction. Temperature changes can cause contraction or expansion of the PCB and this may result in a warped board or damaged soldering joints. Moisture buildup can cause oxidation, rusting or corrosion of the PCB. The buildup of debris, dust, dirt, and insects is another environmental problem that can cause issues with PCBs. This debris can cause overheating or clogging of circuit boards, resulting in failure. 

A majority of PCB failure problems can be addressed after extensive inspection and analysis. The best solution for failed printed circuit boards is repairing them. It is more affordable to repair than to replace the PCB. To reduce the chances of subsequent problems, you should partner with an experienced and reliable PCB assembly company. 

ChinaPCBOne Technology LTD. is the author of this article on PCB assembly. Find more information, about Printed Circuit Board.