PCB test and diagnostic tools


Joined Mar 11, 2019
My work is pretty basic but main tools are: Variable DC Supply, Digital multi-meter, LCR Meter, Oscilloscope, I-V Tracer and good ol' test light. Most used is dmm in ohms, continuity and diode modes.

The device you posted looks mostly like a gimmick to me where many low cost test equipment is all rolled into one package.. Seems like its main sales pitch is the I-V Tracer (aka octopus curve tracer) which can be pretty cheaply made to attach to most oscilloscopes with X Y mode. I-V tracers are always pitched in gimmicky tools as excellent effortless "in-circuit" fault finders, but in reality its not all that magical. I find it more useful for verifying a faulty component I already suspected and have removed.


Joined Mar 30, 2015
I have an HP 10529A Logic Comparator that will check IC's in-circuit. It works by comparing the IC in the circuit against a known good IC.

Other times, I've used combinations of HP545A (logic probe), HP546A (logic pulser), HP547A (current tracer), and HP548A (logic clip). Often in combination with scopes, DVMs, logic analyzers and the like.

Manufacturers have sophisticated testers, but they don't have one that works for every board. They're not 100% either because my first job was troubleshooting refrigerator sized computers that consisted of a few dozen boards (TTL and analog). Their automatic testers didn't find 100% of the faults. That's why they needed dozens of electronic technicians to assemble and test the computers. Most had defects that required manual troubleshooting.