Wednesday, October 22, 2014

IR Image Logging: Analyzing design or equipment failure with a thermal imager.

Ever receive a customer returned device only to realize that it got so badly burnt that you have run out of ideas as to what caused the damage in the first place? Upon receiving the failed device, failure analysis engineers will be scrambling to simulate the situation to find out whether this is pure misuse by the end user, or a design failure. Did the startup process cause a spike in the current and rise in temperature, causing it to burn? Was it a software-generated issue or a hardware issue?

Figure 1: Sample of a burnt circuit board

Some networking equipment designers and manufacturers use thermal imagers to help them identify hotspots in the circuit board. Often, the failure analysis engineer will capture images over a period of several hours, to see temperature distribution on the switch and server systems. A data logger will also be used at the same time to monitor temperature over certain pre-determined spots. In this specific case, this customer mentioned that their current solution, which is a video recording using a thermal imager is not a very good solution, because they could not perform video logging for a long duration.

One of the key features that enabled this customer to improve their failure analysis is the image logging capability. The image logging capability in the U5855A TrueIR thermal imager enabled this customer to log IR images over several hours while monitoring heat distribution over the switch and server systems. The images can be taken and saved, with minimum of 7 seconds interval (up to 3600 seconds of interval). The TrueIR thermal imager is one of the first imagers in the world to have this image logging capability!

For more information about the U5855A TrueIR thermal imager and its key features, go to: