Proceedings PaperIdentification of age degradation in EPROM chips using infrared thermography
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In a recent upgrade of the digital flight control computer for the F-16, there was serious consternation expressed about the quality of the soldering repair process. Dozens of circuit cards failed to function after the upgrade, even though all of these cards operated correctly before the modifications. The shop called for the use of the IR camera to assist in diagnosing and repairing these cards. What the Neural Radiant Energy Detection found was faulty and marginal chips.Of particular interest was the presence of degraded EPROM chips on the Program Memory cards. While it is known that EPROMs have a limited life cycle, the failure has been further characterized. Thermography provides a quantification of the degradation in thermal performance as the EPROMs are reused. Pristine EPROM chips have a rise rate of about 0.008 degrees C/sec. When the heat rates exceed 0.021 degrees C/sec, the EPROM chips will not accept a program. Some of the chips exhibited heat rates exceeding 0.1 degrees C/sec. Some chips with degradation of 0.018 degrees C/sec would accept a program, but fail other functional tests. What is clear from these results is that IR thermography can be used to identify degrading EPROM chips for replacement before failures become immanent.