Ball Grid Arrays

BGAs, or Ball Grid Arrays, require special mounting practices. Is your assembly house familiar with BGAs?

A BGA is a Surface Mounted Device (SMD) with a pattern, or array, of solder pads across its bottom. It gets its name from the balls of solder of predetermined size that have been melted, or flowed, onto the array.

These balls provide the exact amount of solder needed to connect the pads of the BGA to the pads of the PCB, without the solder bridging between adjacent pads. The heat to melt the solder is transferred through the BGA package, and the PCB, without damaging them, or the other components on the board.

The BGA provides a greater number of interconnections to the PCB than is available on a conventional quad-flat pack IC. It is precisely placed on the printed circuit board so the pads on the BGA match with the pads of the PCB.

The BGA and the PCB are then heated with just enough heat to reflow the solder, joining the BGA and the PCB together.

The BGA uses surface mount technology: it connects to top layer of the PCB only, allowing circuit traces to be routed underneath, and it provides for High Density Interconnections (HDI) with its efficient use of board space.

The leads, between the chip inside and the pads across the bottom of the chip, are shorter, allowing for greater speed with less inductance. Heat, too, is less of a problem because the BGA is soldered directly to the board, and the heat doesn’t have to go all the way to the edges of the IC, and down its leads, just to be dissipated.

Among the uses for Ball Grid Arrays are audio, video, data storage and processing, communication equipment, medical equipment, radar/sonar, 3D graphics, and imaging.

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