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  Probe Tube Construction

Probe tubes are deep drawn from a variety of alloys and clad materials. In the drawing process, precision flat stock is formed into tubes through a sequence of progressive dies. Standard nickel silver alloy and custom designed clad materials are used in tube manufacturing process. Deep drawing gold clad stock (with the gold on the inside diameter) hardens the precious metal layer, producing tubes with a uniform layer of gold on the inside surface. This is a critical surface, for it makes sliding contact with the probe plunger.

QA is an industry leader in the use of gold clad materials for probe construction. The various probe tube materials offered by QA give the needed options for testing in any environment.

How to Select the Proper Tube Material

Probe tubes may be clad, plated, or left unfinished, depending on the intended application. The following is a summary of the various options and their applications:

"N" Style Probe Tube: This nickel silver tube with no cladding or plating is suitable for most bare board test applications where probe resistance below one ohm is acceptable, or when cost is an issue. Oxides which form on the inside surface of the tube can impede current flow between the tube and plunger.

"G" Style Probe Tube: The same as the "N" tube, but with a layer of gold plating on the outside surface of the tube. On .100 [2.54] and .075 [1.91] center spacing probes, the plating also covers the inside of the probe tube and improves performance considerably compared to the "N" tube.

"P" Style Probe Tube: The "P" tube is deep-drawn from nickel silver alloy with precision metal clad on the inside surface, and is used for in-circuit testing where low and consistent electrical resistance is necessary. The deep-drawing process hardens the gold, improving wear characteristics and resulting in a gold layer of extremely uniform thickness along the entire inside surface of the tube.

"H" Style Probe Tube: The "H" tube is made from a proprietary, high conductivity alloy, gold plated. These tubes are used in high current applications, very humid environments or where extremely low electrical resistance is required.


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