PCB Test incircuit PCB troubleshooting systems and clip testers

Please note: this product is discontinued, this page is for reference only. (Limited stocks may still be available from some Polar distributors and offices – please contact your local Polar sales office.)

PFL760/780 nodal impedance testers

Typical production and manufacturing departments have a small percentage of PCBs that require fault location to component level after assembly. Whether your volume is high or low, Polar’s PFL Fault Locators can help you locate these faults rapidly and cost effectively

PFL780 Digital in-circuit test  plus power off nodal impedance test (ASA)*

Polar's PFL780 provides engineers and technicians with In-Circuit Functional Test for many types of digital ICs supported by the PFL library as well as a nodal impedance signature test to any type of component. The functional test can identify a defective IC and the nodal impedance test will show a difference compared to a "gold PCB" that can indicate the cause of failure.


PFL760 Power off nodal impedance test (ASA)*

* Nodal impedance test is a proven method of troubleshooting electronic circuit cards, and is independent of the technology under test. Nodal impedance test is also called V/I trace test or ASA - analog signature analysis.  The technique is equally effective in locating faults on both analog and digital PCBs.


Successful Board Repair to Component level


Would you like to reduce repair and maintenance costs of electronic printed circuit boards? Using components costing just a few dollars, boards that may currently be costing you hundreds – even thousands – of dollars can now be successfully repaired.

The PFL780 and 760 use IC clips as a test interface. This makes them ideal for the service and maintenance of legacy systems. If you need to work on high density surface mount PCBs you should consider the GRS500 as a more suitable alternative.

Plant and process maintenance
Plant and process maintenance

With no need for schematics or expert circuit knowledge Polar Fault Locators allow end-users reliant on electronics-based capital equipment to adopt far more cost-effective maintenance strategies. Most PCBs can be repaired by replacing a low-cost component!

Electronic & computer manufacturers
Electronic and computer manufacturers

PCBs returned from the field for repair can be checked rapidly and safely: between 6090% of failure modes can be diagnosed automatically via PC-based learn-and-compare tests.

Professional service providers

Integrating digital In Circuit Test (ICT) with nodal impedance analysis in the PFL780 creates the ideal high-throughput tool for repair; the vast bulk of failures may be pin-pointed in a single test.

Telecoms & defence organizations

Long life-cycle equipment is maintained easily using Polar Fault Locators. PCBs can be auto-compared against stored signatures or a working example or probed interactively. All component technologies, from resistors to ASICs, can be tested. If you need to work on high density surface mount PCBs you should consider the GRS500 as a more suitable alternative.

Manufacturing support

You can use Polar Fault Locators standalone or after pass/fail testing on an ATE system to perform component-level fault diagnosis on PCBs immediately after assembly. This minimizes repair and rework on faulty boards.

Familiar graphical interface

The PFL software is a true 32-bit application running under Windows 95/98/NT/2000, and provides many enhanced features over other fault-finding products.

By repairing electronic printed circuit boards you will:

Significantly reduce maintenance costs
Minimize equipment down-time
Reduce stockholding of spare PCBs

By using a highly successful fault location technique, already proven by thousands of users in every sector of industry, you can overcome many of the obstacles that prevented you from undertaking repair in the past:

Missing documentation?

You can fault-find without circuit diagrams or schematics. Though if you do have them available it will make life simpler.

Different types of PCBs and components

You can diagnose faults to almost any type of component – whether it is an analog or digital IC or a simple triac or transistor.

Specialist engineering skills

Polar Fault Locators are extremely easy to use, however PCB troubleshooting is a skilled process which does require practice and training your repair yields will maximise with increasing exprerience.


You can find most of the faults without power applied to the PCB – this is ideal for power supplies.

How is this achieved?

A Polar Fault Locator is connected to a PC running PFL software. For any type of component, the system learns good "signatures" which can be compared automatically with those of a faulty PCB. Analog signatures are learned for all components and, where applicable, digital signatures will test the functionality of the device. A comprehensive datalogging system allows you to focus on the faults which occur most frequently.

Even if you do not have a good PCB for comparison, the PFL780 lets you verify the in-circuit operation of digital ICs by comparing their signatures against those held in an internal library supplied with the instrument. The PFL780 automatically compensates for how the ICs are wired in circuit.

Live mode lets you compare signatures from a faulty board with those of a known-good board to quickly locate the fault. You can easily change ranges and frequencies and set up the Pulser to functionally test transistors, SCRs, triacs and opto-isolators.

You can store all the signatures of a known-good board on the PC. If you are using a PFL780 all appropriate functional digital results will also be included. When there is a faulty board you can test each of the components by comparing their signatures with the stored versions. The instrument can do this automatically and confirm whether the component has PASSED or FAILED.

Tests are made by connecting a probe or an IC test clip to the components on the PCB. By pressing a footswitch or clicking the mouse the component's signatures are acquired and displayed on the PC screen and automatically compared to those previously learned. This method is successful for all types of component, ranging from SMD (surface-mount devices) to passive components such as transformers.

Both the PFL760 and PFL780 are equipped with a 128-channel scanner which facilitates one-pass testing of edge connectors to provide fast indication of the general area of PCB failure. The scanner also significantly accelerates the acquisition and comparison of signatures on large pin-count devices.

Polar Fault Locators can be used by those who have limited experience of fault-finding. However, if you have an electronics background you can obtain detailed information of both analog and digital functional signatures to assist in complex fault location.

When you have to fault-find on a single board and do not have a good board for comparison you can use the PFL780's Autotest feature which verifies the correct operation of many digital ICs and automatically compensates for how they are wired in circuit. The PFL780 will automatically learn how the IC is connected and then check the truth table of the IC against its internal library.

Accessories / Consumables and Spare Parts