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What Is a Ball Grid Array for PCB Packaging?

ball grid array in PCBBall grid arrays are a form of high-density, low-cost packaging in the PCB industry.

BGAs, as they’re called, use the underside of the chip for connection to the board. This is in contrast to conventional chips, which utilize perimeter connections. This change results in more space for connection, increasing the performance of the PCB.

Other benefits of a ball grid array include:

  1. Less Thermal Resistance
  2. Better Performance at High Speeds
  3. Higher Reliability\

Let’s take part each benefit piece by piece, plus look at the features of each type of BGA:

More on Ball Grid Array Advantages

ball grid arrays are a newer technology, using tiny spheres of solder to form a connection instead of conventional wire pins. As a result, there are several advantages to using BGAs, making them one of the more popular options in today’s marketplace.

Some of the advantages include:

1. Less Thermal Resistance

The silicon chip of a BGA has less thermal resistance than its quad flat package brethren. This results in faster heat dissipation from the integrated circuit to the PCB.

2. Better Performance at High Speeds

Thanks to the connections on the bottom of the chip, they are shorter. This means faster speeds and higher performance.

3. Higher Reliability

Pins in a quad flat package are typically very thin and more fragile. Thus, damaged and bent pins are commonplace. When this damage occurs, repair is nearly impossible.

The solder pad connections of a BGA don’t run the same risk, giving you a more reliable connection.

Types of Ball Grid Arrays

There are three types of BGAs:

  1. Plastic ball grid array (PBGA)
  2. Ceramic Ball grid array (CBGA)
  3. Tape Ball grid array (TBGA)

Each type has its benefits and detriments. Knowing the strengths of each is critical to maximizing the performance of a PCB.

PBGAs

  • Low cost
  • Superior electrical performance
  • Excellent thermal compatibility with PCBs
  • Sensitive to humidity

CBGAs

  • Excellent heat dissipation, packaging density
  • Higher cost
  • Bad thermal compatibility with PCBs

TBGAs

  • Excellent thermal compatibility with PCBs
  • Lowest cost
  • Best heat dissipation
  • Sensitive to humidity
  • Low dependability

With the connections hidden beneath the chip, ball grid arrays typically enlist X-ray inspection to examine the board quality. It’s the only way to detect defects such as:

  • Voids
  • Shorts circuits
  • Missing solder balls

As for rework, once a BGA is removed from a board, it can never be reused.

Is Your Contract Manufacturer Experienced With BGAs?

If you outsource your engineering or manufacturing to another company, be sure they have experience in BGA work. It’s worth the switch if you’re not already using BGA packaging.

Contract electronic manufacturers with years of experience in BGA design can help use them to optimize your circuit board in a cost-effective manner.

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Author: Tyler Vasbinder