What is the minimum set of items I need to purchase for a complete fixture?
One fixture kit, one or more packs of test probes, one pack of locating probes, and drills as required, or our custom drilling service.
You may also wish to purchase a pre-cut rear insert to save yourself the effort of drilling and filing holes for connectors.
What tools do I need?
You will need simple hand tools such as screwdrivers.
If you are planning to drill the fixture yourself you will need a way to accurately drill holes in the probe and pressure plates. A hand-held drill will not be satisfactory. A small drill press is ideal. A small hobby drill (e.g. a Dremel tool) with a drill press accessory is also capable of giving good results if used with care. Please see the Assembly Guide for further information about drilling. We also wrote a blog post about types of drill machine.
Alternatively you can take advantage of our drilling service, in which case you will not need to drill any precision holes.
I already have test probes. Can I use them?
The probes we supply are the industry standard S-075 type. Any probes and receptacles from this series or equivalent will work. They are widely available through distribution.
The larger S-100 series (minimum pitch 0.100") are the same overall height and will thus also work. Again, these are widely available. Note that these receptacles require a #51 drill which we do not supply.
Other probes may or may not be compatible, depending on their size. The important figures are the distance from the receptacle's shoulder to the tip of the probe (the mounted height), and the maximum probe travel. For the S-075 probes the mounted height is 0.630" and the maximum travel is 0.250". Your probes will need to be the same (or very similar) for the mechanics of the fixture to work without requiring adjustment.
What about locating probes?
The probes we supply for locating the board have a collar fitted to the receptacle to raise the height such that the board sits on the locating probes, then is pressed down on to the test probes as the fixture closes. Other probes without this collar are unlikely to be the correct height for this mechanical action to work properly.
How many test probes can the fixture accommodate?
Each test probe exerts a force of about 3oz (about 100g) between the pressure and probe plates. The limit to the number of probes is set by the maximum force the plates can tolerate without unacceptable bending, and the effort needed to close the fixture. Our recommended limit is about 25 probes. We have successfully built fixtures with this many probes which work satisfactorily with very little flexing of the plates. In practice boards of the size that the fixtures are intended for are unlikely to need many more probes than this.
We wrote a blog post about the number of probes that customers are using.
Can you custom drill probe plates for my board?
Yes we can! Please see our drilling service.
If you do not wish to take advantage of the drilling service, the probe plates and pressure plates in your fixture kit will have a plain, un-drilled probing area. You must drill them to accommodate the test probes and hold-down post locations needed for your particular board. For instructions and tips on drilling see the downloadable Assembly Guide. For good quality suitable drills see the Tools section of the store.
Ordering and Shipping Questions
Where can you ship?
We are based in western Canada. We can ship to Canada, the USA, most of Europe, and parts of Australasia. We currently cannot ship to other international destinations.
How do you ship?
We ship using Canada Post.
For destinations in Canada we offer Regular Parcel service or Xpresspost. Regular Parcel service will take a few days to major urban centers in western Canada, and a week or more to eastern Canada or more rural locations. Xpresspost will take 2-3 days to most urban regions across Canada, longer to remote areas.
For destinations in the USA we offer Expedited Parcel or Xpresspost. Expedited Parcel is a ground service and will usually take one to two weeks but can take longer, especially to less urban areas. Xpresspost will take 2-3 days to most urban regions, a few days longer to remote areas. In both cases we ship using Canada Post and the parcel will be delivered by the United States Postal Service (USPS).
For destinations in Europe we offer Small Packet International Air for packages below 2kg or Xpresspost for packages up to 5kg. Small Packet International Air will usually take 6-10 business days to major urban regions, a few days longer to remote areas. The Small Packet service is reasonably priced but does not allow for large or heavy parcels. For heavier packages Xpresspost will usually take 4-7 business days to major urban regions, a few days longer to remote areas. We ship using Canada Post and the parcel will be delivered by the local postal service. If you need to order more than the 5kg limit allows, please contact us.
These times are in addition to the time it takes to process and ship your order (see When will my order ship? below).
How much is shipping?
Shipping charges are shown at checkout and are based on destination country, the total weight of your order, and the service that you select. For any given combination we have a fixed shipping fee that includes shipping and packaging.
Are there any other fees?
For destinations in the USA the parcel will be assessed any applicable taxes or duties as it crosses the border. These taxes or duties are charged by US authorities, not us. We cannot predict what they will be and we cannot pre-pay them for you. If any payment is due USPS will collect it on delivery.
USPS may also collect a small fee for providing this brokerage service. The good news is that the fee charged by USPS is MUCH LESS than the equivalent fee charged by carriers like UPS or FedEx.
You may find that no tax or duty is assessed, especially if your order is less than the de minimis threshold of $800. If no duty or taxes are payable then USPS will not charge any brokerage fee either.
For European destinations the parcel will be assessed any applicable taxes (e.g. VAT) or duties when it enters the destination country. These taxes or duties are charged by local authorities, not us. We cannot predict what they will be and we cannot pre-pay them for you. If any payment is due the local postal service will typically collect it on delivery.
Can you ship using other carriers?
No, sorry, at this time we are only set up to ship via Canada Post. If you need timely delivery choose the Xpresspost option; it is broadly equivalent to UPS Expedited service (but much cheaper).
When will my order ship?
Orders received in the morning typically ship the same day. Orders received after lunch typically ship the next business day. Orders received on non-business days (weekends, holidays) typically ship the next business day. If there is a problem with your order that delays shipment we will contact you.
Do you offer local pickup?
No, we do not have a physical storefront.
How can I place an order?
Orders can be placed via our online store, which is open 24 x 7. All orders must be placed via the online store. Our systems cannot accept orders placed via telephone, fax, email or post.
How can I pay?
The online store accepts payment by VISA and MasterCard, or by PayPal. We cannot accept payment via any other means, including money orders, checks or cash. We cannot accept purchase orders and do not offer Net 30 accounts.