Relay Race for High Speed Test

Relays take another leap in miniaturisation to support the requirements of increasingly compact test systems.


arlier this year, component supplier, Pickering Electronics, was circulating the major industry

exhibitions demonstrating its latest miniature footprint devices which have been developed to meet the needs of high speed test systems.

A highlight of the roadshow was the Series 124 relay, one of the company’s ultra-high density 4mm2

TM reed relay range. Series

124 relays takes up just 4mm x 4mm PCB space, facilitating the highest packing density possible. These relays are also the lowest profile on the 4 x 4mm footprint, measuring just 9.5mm high. Devices are currently available in 1 Form A (energise to make) with options of 3 or 5 volt coils. Series 124 reed relays feature sputtered ruthenium switches rated at 5 watts and 0.5 amps. Pickering has used these switches in its long-established Series 111, 111P and 117 relays, so their established position gives them reliability and high performance. In the new devices, the switches are orientated vertically within the package, resulting in very high packing density which is essential for automated test systems. The relays boast very fast operating times, typically 80µs, making them ideal for high speed test systems, and due to the incredibly small size they are also suitable for very high-density applications such as Automatic Test Equipment (ATE) and semiconductor switching matrices or multiplexers. The device is similar to other single pole relays, which already exist in the

Pickering range such as the series 120 devices, which are rated up to 1.0 amp at 20 watts, but with a higher profile height of 15.5mm.

REED RELAY DESIGN The company was also in Würzburg, Germany during October this year at a relay technology user forum discussing the technical considerations that need to be taken into account when designing reed relays. The purpose of the session was to increase design engineers’ and users’

understanding of the functional details of the devices. Often presented with manufacturer’s or distributor’s raw data sheets for the devices, it’s sometimes difficult to make decisions based on these alone. By going “beyond the datasheet”, Pickering showed engineers the implications of component parameter selection on practical test system performance and limitations.

“Such knowledge provides engineers with a better understanding of how to get

the most out of all types of relays to maximise functionality and reliability,” says Keith Moore, CEO of Pickering Electronics.

28 /// Electronics Testing 2019

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❱ ❱ Reed relays get tiny in the race to

provide sub-miniature devices for the latest generation of automatic test equipment

Testing+ & Test Houses &

Electronics Testing 2019 Editorial

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