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How to Check Circuit Board Components

Major components included in practically every electrical instrument as well as electronic devices are circuit boards. It has radically altered the globe for all time. Even when a circuit board also isn’t required for technical purposes, operating with a defective one is typical. Every engineer at one time has been in a dangerous situation, where they managed to survive.

It is crucial to learn how to inspect the circuit boards for errors in order to effectively use the instruments. Due to the diversity of the components that make up circuit boards, there may be some flaws in the board diameters.

Fluid leakage, burned circuit components, power-related concerns, soldering errors, including connection shorts on PCBs are among the prevalent failures on the circuit boards.

Despite the seemingly lengthy list, you may rapidly verify these issues using the multimeter. As a result, we will talk about how to inspect the Board for electrical faults using the digital multimeter. Let’s think about numerous approaches of testing and how to check circuit board components.

Checking Faults in the Circuit Board Components

These are some crucial actions you may do to test the circuit boards. Locating damaged components on the circuit board; detecting short circuits in the PCBs; testing for any short circuit present on the electronic boards;

Locating PCB short circuits or other circuit board flaws

The multimeter seems to be a trusted tool for identifying shorts as well as other technical defects in virtually any electrical device. A circuit board can be quickly checked for capacitance, current, input voltage, DC & AC voltage, resistance, fuse shorts, with a multimeter.

The tool is typically thought of as a mixture of the ammeter, voltmeter, and multimeter because of the way it performs numerous circuit board testing tasks simultaneously. It’s crucial to try various examination techniques first before turning to multimeter probes to locate electronic issues. Let’s think about them.

Vision examination

If, after the breadboard design stage, the circuit breaker isn’t really present, the first thing you should do to find any short circuits on a PCB is to thoroughly examine the entire PCB surface.

Also, if one is available, utilize a low magnification microscope or magnifying glass throughout the examination; this is how to check circuit board components.

Look for the tin whiskers between both the solder pads or joints starting with the supply of power. Solder lumps or cracks should draw your attention when you see them. If you requested unplated vias, make sure they are present throughout the vias, and the same is true of the circuit boards. Poorly plated vias can assist in the formation of short integrated circuit present in between these layers, now that everything is connected to ground, VCC, or both.

You will notice some charred patches on the component whenever the short gets too serious and causes components to achieve critical temperatures.

Comprehensive Physical Inspection


A thorough physical examination will also provide you with some important and applicable insights about a broken circuit board. It’s also helpful in locating the defective parts that you would not often be able to locate through just visual inspection. You can use an oscilloscope to achieve better results.

Infrared Imaging

You can find places where there’s significant heat generation by using an infrared camera. Also, even if the short is seen between internal layers of the circuit board, there’s a likelihood of having one when you’re not observing hot areas far from active components.

The resistance of the short is typically higher than that of the solder joints or an ordinary trace. This occurs because it fails to benefit from the design’s optimization. Because of this resistance and the high current which results from the ground and power lines’ direct electrical connections, the conductor found in the PCB short circuit will eventually become heated.

Start with the smallest current possible. Ideally, you’ll catch this short even before it causes additional harm.

Checking Electronic Circuit Boards Components for Any Short Circuit

Other than visual inspection, you can find various approaches to identify the main reasons for a circuit board short circuit.

Testing of circuit boards components Using the Digital Multimeter

You must examine the recognized resistance existing between the various circuit locations on the circuit board in order to test it for any short circuits. But, if the visual examination is unable to provide any information regarding the location or origin of the short circuit, obtain a multimeter, then try locating the Board.

Online, particularly in most of electronic forums, this multimeter method typically elicits a variety of conflicting reactions. Nonetheless, tracing the short circuit’s test locations might be quite helpful in identifying the issue.

The multimeter you use in this situation needs to be milliohm sensitive. It would also be fantastic if it could warn you the moment you begin investigating shorts.

For instance, when measuring resistance between adjacent traces or pads on the circuit boards, high resistance must be measured as well.

Finding Grounds on the Circuit Boards

The fact that this situation concerns the grounded plane as well as grounded via is a crucial one. Return pathways will be present on multilayer Boards with internal ground planes. The vias and pads on the surface layer of the board are best inspected and verified in this area. Place a probe upon that board’s ground connection then afterwards touch the remaining probes to the other conductors of the board.

Moreover, other locations of the board will also have the ground connection. This indicates that when each proof is applied to two different and grounded vias, you will only detect a very modest resistance. Take note of your layout when trying to do this; you won’t want to have errors.

Shorted Components

This indicates you are using the multimeter to measure the resistance while you’re looking for defective or shorted components. If a component’s visual inspection will not really show any additional metallic solder or flakes between the pins or pads, the short might well have formed in the interior layers between both of them.

Poor fabrication practices can also result in shorts, which is another reason circuit boards need to go through DFM and design rule checks. Pads and vias put close to one another may unintentionally short or bridge when being manufactured.

You will need to gauge the resistance between those pins of a connection or IC in this situation. Moreover, close-spaced pins usually experience shorts.

Additionally, shorts are frequently caused by pins that are close together. Shorts could still develop in other places, though. Verify that there’s a minimal resistance between the pads/pins and ground connection, as well as between them.

Limit Your Search Area

When you believe you have discovered shorts between two conductors as well as between earth and a particular conductor, you should focus on the neighboring conductors to pinpoint their location.

Locating Defective Parts on the Printed Circuit Board Components

The board may experience issues due to faulty or poorly placed components. It’s possible that these parts are defective or fake. This produces the look of shorts.

Faulty components

There is a chance that some parts could go bad overnight. The electrolytic capacitors forms a prime illustration of this. Check any component that you suspect first if one is present. Now, if you’re unsure, you can search for any component that you believe failed on Google. Moreover, see if the problem is a regular one.

You might have short circuits as a result of the burned-out component in situations where you detect an incredibly low resistance between the two pads/pins. This warning plainly shows that such a capacitor is defective. Moreover, capacitors swell whenever they are damaged or when the voltage applied exceeds the necessary level.

What to Do If a Circuit Board Component Is Faulty?

Shelf Life of Electronic Components

Utilizing a defective circuit board component or printed circuit board component could be dangerous for different devices.

As a result, you might need to either repair or replace the damaged or defective circuit board. As stated by the EPA, the main purpose of this is to prevent dangers from these broken pieces. Thus, hiring a qualified electrician to help you replace the circuit or copper traces with shorts is strongly advised. This guarantees that the device operates properly.


Learning how to check circuit board components is easy. This is why we have explained the process. Fluid leakage, burned circuit components, power-related concerns, soldering errors, including connection shorts on PCBs are among the prevalent failures on the circuit boards. Smaller copper trace is typically used to make printed circuit boards. Moreover, accuracy is employed during the connections. As a result, even a very small flaw can completely destroy the device. It’s one of the reasons why it’s important to learn how to inspect such integrated circuits and circuit board components for errors in order to ensure the user’s safety and that these electrical devices function properly. Once you identify the issue successfully, you might either find solutions to it by yourself or get an expert in the field to assist you.




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