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With today's high board densities, and fine-pitch surface-mount devices, in an era of ISO and other quality standards, the requirements for accurate contamination (cleanliness) testing are high.

Ionic contamination testers were designed and implemented for the purpose of determining and monitoring the cleanliness of assemblies. Resistivity of Solvent Extract (ROSE) testers are utilized to ensure that cleaning processes remain within tolerance of IPC and MIL specifications. The Zero-Ion G3 ionic contamination tester meets industrial cleanliness specifications including MIL-STD-2000A, MIL-P-28809 and IPC-001 TM-650 through the use of dynamic measurement technology.

Dynamic Measurement Technology:

Modern cleanliness monitoring frequently requires the testing of assemblies reflowed with no-clean solder paste. The Zero-Ion G3 tester utilizes a dynamic measurement technology, for detecting (weak) ion activators commonly found in no-clean fluxes. With dynamic measurement technology, the contaminated test solution is monitored and then filtered to supply de-ionized test solution back to the test chamber, resulting in greater solubility/sensitivity.

The Zero-Ion tester was selected as the "benchmark" unit for the 1993 study "An In-Depth Look at Ionic Contamination Testing" conducted by the Electronics Manufacturing Production Facility (EMPF), Navy National Center of Excellence for Electronics Manufacturing.

This system provides quick and precise cleanliness measurements of printed circuit assemblies, bare boards, and other electro-mechanical devices. Its ease of use and dynamic results in all three of the leading ionic tester equivalency formats, make the Zero-Ion tester the choice of electronics manufacturers all over the world.

The unit's Windows PC based control system

Control System:

The Control System features a 18.5" (46.99cm) LCD user interface provides real-time process information. Intuitive tabbed display screens conveniently organize both stored and real-time process data. Built-in SPC data recording captures all relevant testing data. An integrated SPC database lookup allows users to search for desired data sets, including SPC results by date range, recipe name, board serial number, etc. Cleanliness results may be stored for later viewing or may be printed onto any Windows compatible printer. Additionally, the Zero-Ion G3 may be networked for remote viewing of all SPC data. An optional barcode scanner provides one-touch entry of a board's serial number or other process data.
provides an operator friendly interface and captures all relevant testing data. The PC based control system automatically calculates NaCl/square equivalence (per military and IPC specifications), operates in automatic and manual modes, and is equipped with virtually limitless test recipe capabilities. The combination of test board submersion and immersion spraying

Submersion and Immersion Spraying:

The submerged sprays provide agitation of the test solution while eliminating possible test inaccuracies caused by carbon dioxide adsorption. The combination of test-board submersion and immersion spraying creates an environment whereby soluble contamination is extracted and measured.
creates an environment whereby all of the soluble contamination is extracted and measured.

Is the Zero-Ion G3 approved by military or IPC standards?

Yes. The Zero-Ion G3 performs a Resistivity of Solvent Extract (ROSE) test, specifically cited in WS6536, Mil-STD 2000A, ANSI/IPC-J-STD-001 TM650 (and other standards). In fact, the US Navy's EMPF determined the Zero-Ion to be the most sensitive ROSE tester available.

How long does cleanliness test take?

That depends on the volume of contamination on the assembly. While the minimum test time is 30 seconds, an average test takes about 3 – 4 minutes.

How much space does Zero-Ion G3 require?

Zero Ion G3's base footprint is 39"W x 25"L x 37"H (991mm W x 635mm L x 940mm H) A countertop measuring 53"W x 28"L (1346mm W x 711mm L) is mounted atop the base. 18.5" (46.99cm) LCD user interface is attached to the countertop. A keyboard holder measuring 21" x 10.5" (533.4mm x 266.7mm) extends from the countertop.

What's the largest board size that I can test?

Zero-Ion comes with a choice of three basic test cell sizes, 12" x 12" (304.8mm x 304.8mm), 18" x 18" (457.2mm x 457.2mm) and 24" x 24" (609.6mm x 609.6mm). An assembly up to 2" (50mm) high can be accommodated.

What are the utility requirements?

120 VAC 10 amps -or- 240 VAC 5 amps

How is the Zero-Ion controlled?

The Zero Ion G3 is equipped with a PC based computer, a 18.5" (46.99cm) LCD user interface, and a wireless keyboard with integrated trackball.

How are the cleanliness results viewed?

Cleanliness results may be viewed on the 18.5" (46.99cm) LCD user interface screen upon termination of the test. Additionally, the cleanliness results can be either manually or automatically printed on a user provided printer.

Can I view prior cleanliness results?

Yes. The Zero-Ion G3 stores all test results and makes them available in the Test Results tab. The historical SPC capabilities allow for individual record "Next / Prior" scanning as well as recipe name searches.

What type of test solution is required?

The test solution is a calibrated mixture of Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) and de-ionized water. This is available from Aqueous Technologies or may be mixed on site by the user.

How many test recipes can be stored in the Zero-Ion G3?

There is no limit (up to the capacity of the PC's hard drive).

Can the Zero-Ion G3 be used for bare board testing?

Yes. In addition to bare boards, the Zero-Ion G3 is an excellent cleanliness monitoring tool for determining the cleanliness of incoming bare boards.

What makes the Zero-Ion G3 better than other brands?

The Zero-Ion utilizes a dynamic filtering technology that filters and re-de-ionizes the test solution during the test, resulting in greater solventsy (sensitivity) of the test solution. In addition, test solution is pumped through dozens of jets, creating a sweeping current, allowing contamination to be stripped off of the assembly and measured.

I've read that ion chromatography is a better test. Is that true?

Yes and no. Ion chromatography is normally an outsourced service as the cost of the equipment exceeds $100,000 and normally requires operation by a chemical engineer. While ion chromatography has the ability to both measure the volume of contamination and identify the contamination, the average cost is $2,600 per test, disqualifying its daily use as a process monitoring tool. The Zero-Ion G3 may be operated by entry-level staff. Minimum training is required.

What about SIR testing? Is that better than the Zero-Ion?

Surface Insulation Resistance (SIR) testing requires a PC board with SIR test patterns embedded on the surface of the board. SIR is normally considered a bare board test. The Zero-Ion G3 provides cleanliness testing capabilities on any bare or populated assembly. No special test patters are required.

Is the Zero-Ion password protected?

Yes. Rather than enter a password, the G3 is equipped with a "Supervisor Dongle". A supervisor simply inserts the dongle into the PC's USB slot and access to supervisor functions will be granted. Upon removal of the dongle, supervisor functions will become restricted. Supervisor functions include the programming of global settings, the ability to delete test results, and more.


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