If you’re a first time product designer and you're spending all your time on the product itself, you might forget just how much time and effort it can take to set up a good test jig. A test jig is essentially a contraption that allows you to test many components of a board all at once. 

There are a lot of things to consider when creating a test jig, ranging from test coverage to operator fatigue, and of course throughput and reliability. In some cases, a product designer may spend even more time designing a test jig than they spend designing the product itself!

This guide will take you through the basics of soldering a generic type of electronics testing fixture and serves as an update to this original How to Make a Pogo Pin Test Jig guide. 

We've previously posted some time lapse videos showing how we create testers for the Perma Proto Pi HAT, and ADXL326 accelerometer.

This guide provides a more in depth description of the process and how to get things right the first time.

The impact that a well-designed test jig can have on manufacturing efficiency is huge. These are extremely important for large scale manufacturing, as reputable factories will test 100% of every product shipped. It is easy to lose sight of the potential pitfalls of hardware manufacturing and the magnification of those issues at scale; if you can cut a product's testing time from 4 minutes to 1 minute the time savings will pay off exponentially as thousands of units are tested. 

Materials

For this project you will need:

  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • PCB
  • Pogo pins
  • Metro
  • Rubber feet for metro
  • Headers
  • Through-hole LED
  • Piezo buzzer
  • Tweezers or needle nose pliers
  • Kapton tape
  • Tactile button
  • Panavise or PCB holder
  • Flush diagonal cutters
  • Standoffs and screws
  • 9V power and power switch
Pogo pins are little spring-loaded contacts, very handy for making jigs, or making momentary (but electrically solid) contacts. We use them by the dozen for making programming and...
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We sure love the ATmega328 here at Adafruit, and we use them a lot for our own projects. The processor has plenty of GPIO, Analog inputs, hardware UART SPI and I2C,...
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Piezo buzzers are used for making beeps, tones and alerts. This one is petite but loud! Drive it with 3-30V peak-to-peak square wave. To use, connect one pin to ground (either one) and...
$1.50
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When soldering small surface-mount (SMD/SMT) components, one thing you'll need is a good pair of tweezers. These tweezers are a great pair of every-day tweezers. They're...
$3.95
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Little clicky switches are standard input "buttons" on electronic projects. These work best in a PCB but
$2.50
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Need some indicators? We are big fans of these diffused green LEDs, as featured in the LoL shield. They are fairly bright so they can be seen in daytime, and from any angle. They go...
$4.95
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Breakaway header is like the duct tape of electronics. It's great for connecting things together, soldering to perf-boards, fits into any breakout or breadboard, etc. We go through...
$4.95
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This prototyping shield is the best out there (well, we think so, at least), and now is even better with Version R3 - updated for the most compatibility with just...
$9.95
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Are you still looking for that perfect PCB holder? The hefty yet portable Heavy Stainless Steel PCB Holder will rock out when you rework out. These were initially...
$16.95
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The best mini-vise for working on smaller PCBs (2.875" or less in one dimension)! The jaws are strong plastic that wont damage the PCB and doesn't mind if you hit it with the...
$30.00
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These are the best diagonal cutters, large super-comfortable grip to use and have strong nippers for perfect trimming of wires and leads. I've used my pair every day for years.
$7.25
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Polyimide Tape (sometimes referred to by the brand name Kapton Tape) is an interesting addition to your toolbox! Polyimide Tape remains stable across...
$4.95
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A real stand with sponge and solidly-built sheet metal holder prevents your iron from 'rolling away' or burning a hole in the table. If you're starting out and have a...
$8.95
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This 'pen-style' soldering iron is just about the best entry-level tool I've seen. It's not as powerful as a Weller WES51 but it is self-contained and easy to...
$22.00
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If you want to make a kit you'll need some solder. This 100g (about 1/4 lb) spool is just the right amount, not too much (like 1 lb spools) and not too little (like those little...
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Keep your electronics from going barefoot, give them little rubber feet! These small sticky bumpers are our favorite accessory for any electronic kit or device. They are sticky, but...
$0.95
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Totaling 380 pieces, this M2.5 Screw Set is a must-have for your workstation. You'll have enough screws, nuts, and hex standoffs to fuel your maker...
$16.95
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This is a really nice power supply. It's a switching DC supply so it's small and light and efficient. It is thin so it fits in power strips without blocking other outlets. The...
$8.95
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Add a power switch to any project simply by plugging this between the power supply. This is the most useful thing you never knew you needed! You'll want to pick up a bunch...
$2.50
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This stuff is called "wire-wrap wire" because it used to be used for wire-wrapping high-speed digital circuits on a special kind of contact board. It's pretty rare to see wire-wrapping in...
$7.50
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This guide was first published on Feb 07, 2020. It was last updated on Feb 07, 2020.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Nov 20, 2021.

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