BiTS presentation demystifies burn-in and test sockets

Test sockets might seem relatively simple compared with the test equipment with which they are used, but in fact they are quite complex and specialized, said Paul F. Ruo, VP of sales and marketing at Aries Electronics, in a presentation at the March 3-8 Burn-in and Test Strategies Workshop. Titled “Anatomy of a Test Socket,” the presentation won the BiTS “Best Presentation—Tutorial in Nature” award.

The presentation focused burn-in sockets, test sockets, and production sockets, describing socket components and construction from concept through assembly. It also described the types of contact systems, including turned spring probes, stamped spring probes, and conductive elastomer contacts.

It also covered injection moldings and choice of resins and contact materials. It also described CNC machining based on CAD designs as well as stamping and electroplating, including barrel plating and vibratory plating. And it described automated as well as hand assembly.

The presentation concluded with advice on quoting and buying sockets and the cost and time tradeoffs between molded vs. machined housings, turned/elastomer vs. stamped manufacturing, gold vs. other platings, and hand vs. automated assembly.

“There is no ideal socket,” concluded Ruo, and “nothing food is ever easy or cheap.”

The presentation was developed with cooperation from Weis-Aug Co., which provides custom insert injection molding, precision metal stamping and automated assembly; Vibroplating, which provides plating services for test probes, pin connectors, and sockets as well as battery contacts; and Plastronics, a maker of sockets, inserts, and connectors.

The slides from the presentation can be viewed at the Aries Electronics website.

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