Flying Probe MachineCapital Equipment Exchange provides used equipment for testing printed circuit boards (PCBs), including in-circuit and flying probe testers. Both types of automated test equipment are widely used to evaluate the assembly of the printed circuit board and find potential defects. There are definite pros and cons for each type of test. Learn more about which one might be right for your business.

Testing Printed Circuit Boards

PCBs are becoming increasingly advanced to meet the technological demands of our digital age. In-circuit testing (ICT) is one option for testing the quality of circuit board construction. The other popular choice is the Flying Probe test. These tests find potential problems before the board goes into mass production and assembly. There are common issues to look for in the testing process.

  • Soldering Problems
  • Copper Quality
  • Lamination
  • Electrical Conductivity
  • Hole Wall Durability
  • Resistance To Environmental Factors

What Is In-Circuit Testing?

ICT equipment reportedly finds 98% of PCB manufacturing problems and is one of the most popular testing options. It works by placing the circuit board on a test fixture with a series of probes to test the different features of the board. It can check not only manufacturing defects but performance functionality.

ICT Pros & Cons

In-circuit test equipment works best for high-volume production of an established PCB. Building the test fixture to match precisely to the board is time-consuming and costly. The price would be prohibitive for PCBs with low-volume or for anything still in development. However, once the test fixture is in place for a PCB, test times are incredibly fast, making the cost per test extremely affordable for high-volume board production and assembly.


  • Tests For Proper Function & Assembly Defects
  • Faster & More Complex Testing Available
  • Meets The Joint Testing Action Group (JTAG) Standard
  • Verification On FPGA


  • Longer Development Lead Time
  • High Initial Investment
  • Custom Tooling & Programming Per PCB
  • Not As Useful For Digita Circuits

What Is Flying Probe Testing?

Flying Probe tests are sometimes called “fixtureless in-circuit tests.” They still use probes to test features on the PCB, but instead of a fixture, the probes move to the test points via programmed software. Thus the probe “flies” where it’s needed. This option is best for low-volume and PCBs still in development because of its versatility.

Flying Probe Tester Pros & Cons

As with ICT equipment, there are strengths and weaknesses with flying probe testers. Because the probe needles must move to each test point, the testing does take longer overall, which may cause lost production time for PCB assembly. What you lose in test time you make up for in development lead time because there is no need to tool a test fixture to exact specifications.


  • No Custom Tooling Of Test Fixtures
  • Shorter Programming Time
  • Ideal For Development Projects
  • Low Initial Cost
  • LED Testing


  • Prohibitive For High Volume Production
  • Cannot Test Components Together
  • Not As Sophisticated As ICT

Used PCB Testing Equipment

Capital Equipment Exchange is a leading provider of used PCB equipment from brands like SPEA and Teradyne. We are conveniently located in the Chicago area. If you are in the market for an in-circuit or flying probe tester, we invite you to shop our inventory today.

We take pride in offering equipment that is fully functional and ready for production. Our technicians will demonstrate every unit to be fully operational in person or by video. Contact us today to see what equipment is available to meet your needs.