INTEGRATED CIRCUIT (IC) TESTING
Integrated circuits (ICs) constitute an area of microelectronics in which many conventional
electronic components are combined into high-density modules. Integrated circuits are made up of active
and passive components, such as transistors, diodes, resistors, and capacitors. Because of their reduced
size, use of integrated circuits can simplify otherwise complex systems by reducing the number of
separate components and interconnections. Their use can also reduce power consumption, reduce the
overall size of the equipment, and significantly lower the overall cost of the equipment concerned. Many
types of integrated circuits are ESDS devices and should be handled accordingly.
Name two advantages in using ICs.
Your IC testing approach needs to be somewhat different from that used in testing vacuum tubes and
transistors. The physical construction of ICs is the prime reason for this different approach. The most
frequently used ICs are manufactured with either 14 or 16 pins, all of which may be soldered directly into
the circuit. It can be quite a job for you to unsolder all of these pins, even with the special tools designed
for this purpose. After unsoldering all of the pins, you then have the tedious job of cleaning and
straightening all of them.
Although there are a few IC testers on the market, their applications are limited. Just as transistors
must be removed from the circuit to be tested, some ICs must also be removed to permit testing. When
ICs are used in conjunction with external components, the external components should first be checked
for proper operation. This is particularly important in linear applications where a change in the feedback
of a circuit can adversely affect operating characteristics of the component.
Any linear (analog) IC is sensitive to its supply voltage. This is especially the case among ICs that
use bias and control voltages in addition to a supply voltage. If you suspect a linear IC of being defective,
all voltages coming to the IC must be checked against the manufacturers circuit diagram of the
equipment for any special notes on voltages. The manufacturers handbook will also give you
recommended voltages for any particular IC.
When troubleshooting ICs (either digital or linear), you cannot be concerned with what is going on
inside the IC. You cannot take measurements or conduct repairs inside the IC. You should, therefore,
consider the IC as a black box that performs a certain function. You can check the IC, however, to see
that it can perform its design functions. After you check static voltages and external components
associated with the IC, you can check it for dynamic operation. If it is intended to function as an
amplifier, then you can measure and evaluate its input and output. If it is to function as a logic gate or
combination of gates, it is relatively easy for you to determine what inputs are required to achieve a
desired high or low output. Examples of different types of ICs are provided in figure 2-23.
Figure 2-23.Types of ICs.