IC Programming – The Hidden Hurdle in Your PCBA Schedule

Planning the method of IC programming prior to your Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA) release date will help save time and money. One potential hurdle is if the programming fixtures/devices have lead-times. Another hurdle is ensuring that the programming software supports the chip being used. Even minor differences in a part number suffix could imply different pin voltages or timing parameters in the programming algorithm. If you do not plan ahead and order fixtures and confirm programming software compatibility prior to the assembly start date, you will have to hold the assembly release date until the parts are programmed. This is especially costly if you expedite PCB fabrication and end up having to put the assembly on hold.

Options to expedite programming/PCBA schedule:

  1. Find an IC programming company or contract manufacturer that offers quick turn expedite fees.
  2. Waive the first article requirement – If you are confident in your programming files, you can save time by waiving the first article requirement and programming the batch in one lot.
  3. Use in-circuit programming after assembly.
  4. Hand place SOIC or other SMT parts after the bottom and top side SMT assembly process.
  5. If the parts are on the top side of the board, run the bottom side and keep the Pick and Place machine ready to run top side as soon as parts are programmed.
  6. Purchase the fixture from a reseller and program the parts in-house.

Lastly, many OEMs such as Microchip, offer offshore programming options that will help save you money if you plan ahead.

Contact NPI Services, Inc. the next time you need help with IC programming for your PCBAs. NPI supports programming of QFNs, SOICs, TSOPs, flash, microcontrollers, SSDs, and more. Send us your program files (.ROM, Device Programming Datasheet, etc.) with the labeling and color-coding requirements for a quote today. We support 1 day turns with 48 hour quote turn-around times. NPI Services, Inc. – When Quick Turn Matters!