Glossary of Terms
Detailed information about terms and definitions on our website:
Aurun is a gold-alloy plating that was specifically developed for test probes and has a very good chemical resistance hardness 300-350 HV. This plating is best used for aggressive tip styles for testing unwashed print circuit boards.
Barrel / Body
The barrel / body accommodates the plunger and spring. The measurement signal flows via the barrel to the receptacle.
Beryllium is a chemical element with symbol Be and atomic number 4. It is a relatively rare element in the universe, usually occurring as a product of the spallation of larger atomic nuclei that have collided with cosmic rays. Within the cores of stars beryllium is depleted as it is fused and creates larger elements. It is a divalent element which occurs naturally only in combination with other elements in minerals. Notable gemstones which contain beryllium include beryl (aquamarine, emerald) and chrysoberyl. As a free element it is a steel-gray, strong, lightweight and brittle alkaline earth metal.
Beryllium copper (BeCu), also known as copper beryllium (CuBe), beryllium bronze and spring copper, is a copper alloywith 0.5—3% beryllium and sometimes other elements. Beryllium copper combines high strength with non-magnetic and non-sparking qualities. It has excellent metalworking, forming and machining properties. It has many specialized applications in tools for hazardous environments, musical instruments, precision measurement devices, bullets, and aerospace.
Brass is a metal alloy made of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties. It is a substitutional alloy: atoms of the two constituents may replace each other within the same crystal structure.
Copper is a chemical element with symbol Cu (from Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a reddish-orange color. Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, and constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement.
Fine pitch is a classification of probes with a very small center-to-center spacing, typically less than 1.27 mm (0.50 in). When deciding to use a fine pitch probe in an application it must be deigned to be used with a receptacle or not. If the test probe is used with a receptacle, then the test probe is changed in the common way from above, without removing the electrical connection. When a test probe is used without the receptacle the pitch can be smaller. Using this method, the test probes are float mounted in a guide plate and are then centered and secured by means of a mounting plate.
Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit time. It is also referred to as temporal frequency, which emphasizes the contrast to spatial frequency and angular frequency. The period is the duration of time of one cycle in a repeating event, so the period is the reciprocal of the frequency. For example, if a newborn baby's heart beats at a frequency of 120 times a minute, its period—the time interval between beats—is half a second (that is, 60 seconds divided by 120 beats). Frequency is an important parameter used in science and engineering to specify the rate of oscillatory and vibratory phenomena, such as mechanical vibrations, audio (sound) signals, radio waves, and light.
The full compression of a test probe (also know as maximum stroke) is the maximum length used to fully compress the test probe. If you exceed this length of compression, there is a possibility of damaging the unit under test or print circuit board.
Gold is a chemical element with symbol Au (from Latin: aurum) and atomic number 79. In its purest form, it is a bright, slightly reddish yellow, dense, soft, malleable, and ductile metal. Chemically, gold is a transition metal and a group 11 element. It is one of the least reactive chemical elements and is solid under standard conditions. Gold often occurs in free elemental (native) form, as nuggets or grains, in rocks, in veins, and in alluvial deposits. It occurs in a solid solution series with the native element silver (as electrum) and also naturally alloyed with copper and palladium. Less commonly, it occurs in minerals as gold compounds, often with tellurium (gold tellurides).
High Current Probe
High current test probes are used when in need of a large direct signal through the probe. In a high current test probe, the plunger can be made two different ways. One way is the plunger is made of two sections that are deflected away from each other in the radial direction. This leads to the enlargement of the contact zones. Another way is to have a continuous plunger. This design provides a very constant and stable low resistance.
The IP Code, International Protection Marking, IEC standard 60529, sometimes interpreted as Ingress Protection Marking, classifies and rates the degree of protection provided against intrusion (body parts such as hands and fingers), dust, accidental contact, and water by mechanical casings and electrical enclosures. It is published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The equivalent European standard is EN 60529. The standard aims to provide users more detailed information than vague marketing terms such as waterproof. The digits (characteristic numerals) indicate conformity with the conditions summarized in the tables below. Where there is no data available to specify a protection rating with regard to one of the criteria, the digit is replaced with the letter X. The digit 0 is used where no protection is provided.
New Silver (NiAg)
New Silver and bronze are mainly used for receptacles and the barrels / bodies of test probes. This material has a high tensile strength, which is ideal for the long-term life of test probes. This material also acts as a good elasticity of the crimps on the receptacles.
Nickel is a chemical element with symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile. Pure nickel, powdered to maximize the reactive surface area, shows a significant chemical activity, but larger pieces are slow to react with air under standard conditions because an oxide layer forms on the surface and prevents further corrosion (passivation). Even so, pure native nickel is found in Earth's crust only in tiny amounts, usually in ultramafic rocks, and in the interiors of larger nickel–iron meteorites that were not exposed to oxygen when outside Earth's atmosphere.
Nickel silver is a copper alloy with nickel and often zinc. The usual formulation is 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc. Nickel silver is named for its silvery appearance, but it contains no elemental silver unless plated. The name "German silver" refers to its development by 19th-century German metalworkers in imitation of the Chinese alloy known as paktong (cupronickel). All modern, commercially important nickel silvers (such as those standardized under ASTM B122) contain significant amounts of zinc, and are sometimes considered a subset of brass.
Phosphor bronze is an alloy of copper with 0.5–11% of tin and 0.01–0.35% phosphorus. The tin increases the corrosion resistance and strength of the alloy. The phosphorus increases the wear resistance and stiffness of the alloy.
The plunger must provide the smallest amount of contact resistance between the test probe and test point, to ensure that measurement results are not distorted. The most common plunger materials are beryllium copper and steel. There are two places for the plunger on the test probe. The top of the plunger which is referred to as the contact and the bottom of the plunger which is referred to as the terminal.
Pneumatic test probes are operated with compressed air. Before activation, the plunger is at rest. When compressed air is applied, the plunger shoots out contacting the test point. The spring inside the barrel retrieves the plunger after releasing the compressed air.
Radio Frequency Probes
Radio frequency test probes are mainly used for measuring high-frequency signals. These probes are used to contact RF-Plugs and Rf-Jacks.
The receptacle provides easy interchange of the test probe during maintenance and service of the test fixture. The exchange can be carried out fast and without any wiring work due to the crimp points that are on the side of a receptacle.
The recommended compression on a test probe is the recommended length of travel used when under compression. Using the recommended compression on a test probe will ensure a longer lasting cycle life.
Rhodium is a chemical element with symbol Rh and atomic number 45. It is a rare, silvery-white, hard, and chemically inert transition metal. It is a member of the platinum group. It has only one naturally occurring isotope, 103Rh. Naturally occurring rhodium is usually found as the free metal, alloyed with similar metals, and rarely as a chemical compound in minerals such as bowieite and rhodplumsite. It is one of the rarest and most valuable precious metals.
RoHS is designed to encourage manufacturers to consider the impact of discarded electronics on the environment, and has arguably been the first and main driver for change in the industry. Member States of the EU have raised their own legislation to meet, if not exceed, these directives, and other countries around the world are also passing laws which reflect the intent of the RoHS Directive.
A rotating probe is used to ensure reliable contacting of surfaces. Rotating probes have a rotating plunger, which digs itself into the surface that it touches. The rotating movement of the plunger provides a reliable breaking of the surface but will lead to more maintenance of the probe due to higher levels of contamination.
Short Stroke Probes
Test probes can not only be used for test purposes in a ICT/FCT application but can also be soldered directly into or onto print circuit boards and electronic units. Using this method the test probe is used without a receptacle.
The spring provides the necessary contact pressure to the part being tested. Even after several hundred thousand strokes it will keep the same pressure. The spring resides inside the barrel/body of the test probe. The most common materials that the spring is made of are beryllium copper, music wire, and stainless steel.
Steel is an alloy of iron and other elements, primarily carbon. Because of its high tensile strength and low cost, it is a major component in buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, automobiles, machines, appliances, and weapons.
The term hardened steel is often used for a medium or high carbon steel that has been given heat treatment and then quenching followed by tempering. The quenching results in the formation of metastable martensite, the fraction of which is reduced to the desired amount during tempering. This is the most common state for finished articles such as tools and machine parts. In contrast, the same steel composition in annealed state is softer, as required for forming and machining.
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) is the European Community Directive 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) which, together with the RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC, became European Law in February 2003. The WEEE Directive set collection, recycling and recovery targets for all types of electrical goods, with a minimum rate of 4 kilograms per head of population per annum recovered for recycling by 2009. The RoHS Directive set restrictions upon European manufacturers as to the material content of new electronic equipment placed on the market.