Today's test fixtures can be expected to provide reasonable life expectancy and minimum downtime at little cost, if properly maintained. The following items are offered as suggestions which may enhance the performance of your test fixture.
• Store and move all fixtures using a protective dust cover, supplied by the fixture manufacturer. This will provide some protection from environmental contaminants.
• Periodically, at minimum weekly, vacuum all surfaces inside and out using a soft brush to loosen debris.
• As an alternative to vacuuming, regulated air pressure blown across and inside the fixture will remove some contamination.
• Repair all loose gaskets, seals, dams, etc., when loosening first appears. Areas that are allowed to leak will grow in size and provide additional channels for debris to enter the fixture.
• Vacuum fixtures suck all airborne particulates inside the fixture as the PCB begins to seal. ATE equipment and vacuum fixture operations would be best served if they were remote from other manufacturing processes such as wave soldering, board washing, smoking section of the building, etc.
• Clean the inlet filter and cartridge of the vacuum pumping system weekly. This will improve vacuum flow to the test fixture.
• When installing test probe replacements, do not use the tips of your fingers to insert. Use available insertion tools. Skin oils may cause higher contact resistance.
• Install cycle counters in test heads for maintenance and calibration records.
• Clean daily, and weekly, the ATE interface contacts (receiver) and the fixture interface points. Vacuum and air pressure may be used.