Ball Grid Array: How It Works, Advantages & Disadvantages

Ball Grid Array or BGA is a type of packaging used when making surface-mount devices, such as Microprocessors. The array is used as a pre-design packaging method, whereby it is placed atop the circuit board before the components.

In this article, you will learn how the ball grid array works, its advantages and disadvantages.

How Does Ball Grid Array (BGA) Work?

It works by providing or using the underside of the chip for connection to the circuit board. The circuit board components would then be distributed in the form of a grid or matrix.

The outcome? There will be more spaces on the circuit board. Coming at a time that the conventional method of designing circuit boards has changed to create more spaces, this is impressive.

The Component Connection Method

Using the Ball Grid Array (BGA) creates space and enables real-time configuration of circuits boards. First, it creates a grid-pattern-like design model, which sees to the positioning under the surface of the chip carrier.

The circuit board components are placed by using pads with balls of solder. This serves as a viable connection method and can compete favorably with the likes of pin placement on the board.

Types of Ball Grid Array (BGA)

Ball Grid Array

The arrays have three (3) different variants, but there are so many of them out there. Here are some of the common variants of the Ball Grid Array (BGA).

1. Tape Ball Grid Array (TBGA)

TBGA is a type of Ball Gate Array (BGA) designed to provide “thin” packaging. That is the reason why it offers an excellent thermal compatibility with many Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs).

It also provides low dependability, cost-effective packaging and one of the best heat dissipation methods out there.

2. Plastic Ball Grid Array (PBGA)

It is a type of ball grid array that is sensitive to humidity, offers a superior electrical performance and excellent thermal compatibility with PCBs.

3. Fine Ball Grid Array (FBGA)

It offers thinner contacts and is mostly used for System-on-a-Chip (SoC) designs. The FBGA is also based on the Ball Grid Array (BGA) technology.

4. Ceramic Ball Grid Array (CBGA)

It denotes the ceramic material to which the ball grid array is attached on the circuit board. Although it has a bad thermal compatibility with Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs), it makes up for it with excellent heat dissipation and packaging density.

The other types or variants of the ball grid array are:

  • Die-Size Ball Grid Array (DBGA)
  • Thin Ball Gate Array (TBGA)
  • Very Fine Pitch Ball Grid Array (VFBGA)
  • Thin Chip Array Ball Grid Array (CTBGA)
  • Chip Array Ball Grid Array (CABGA)
  • Super Ball Grid Array (SBGA)
  • Micro Ball Grid Array (MBGA)
  • Thermally Enhanced Plastic Ball Grid Array (TEPBGA)
  • Very Thin Chip Array Ball Grid Array (CVBGA)

Benefits of Using Ball Grid Array (BGA)

Full pcb manufacturing

Now, let us talk about some of the advantages of using the Ball Grid Array (BGA) for circuit board designs. The primary benefit is that it helps save space on the board.

BGAs have a Higher Density

Ball Grid Arrays (BGAs) have a higher density, which helps resolve the challenge of not having mor miniature packaging options for circuit board designs. To that end, the provision of a higher density on the ball grid array helps to provide higher pin counts for these designs.

Excellent Heat Dissipation

Getting rid of heat on the circuit board can now be tackled with ease. For example, the Ceramic Ball Gate Array (CBGA) and the Tape Ball Gate Array (TBGA) offer a higher heat dissipation.

Generally, most of the ball grid array packages involve or have multiple thermal channels that help taking out (excessive) heat out of the Integrated Circuit (IC) boards.

Innovative Construction

The construction or method of placing the components on the circuit board is very important. In the case of the ball grid array packages, the construction is innovative. The connection of the solder pads to the solder balls helps to reduce the possibility of getting the pins damaged.

Overall Component Protection

The melting of the solder balls to the circuit board is an innovative idea to tackle the chances of damaging the components. For example, the pins used for the design are thin and fragile. They tend to be bend or damaged when soldering or heating is ongoing.

On the contrary, melting the solder balls to the BGA helps to prevent these damages from happening, since the soldering is done directly to the circuit board.

Superior Electrical Performance

This is also known as “Inductance.” It has to do with the unwanted distortion or interruption of signals, especially when working with high-speed electronic circuits.

Ball Grid Arrays (BGAs) offer an improved signal processing, thanks to the short distance between the array and the circuit board.

The superiority of this model favorable competes with the pinned devices that have a higher inductance power plane.

Disadvantages of Ball Grid Arrays

Xilinx XC2C512

Although some ball grid arrays can save costs, improve the speed of the circuit design and lower the inductance, the disadvantages are also higher.

Here are some of the common disadvantages of working with the ball grid arrays:

Fault Detection takes Time on BGAs

It takes time to detect configuration faults or defects on Ball Gate Arrays (BGAs). It is because of these two reasons:

  • The components or packages are soldered into place on the circuit board. therefore, it would be difficult to detect these faults or defects because these packages are not on the surface.
  • The tiny nature of the packages also makes it difficult to inspect the solder joints through visual observation.

BGA Equipment is Expensive

Although ranked as one of the cost-effective circuit board design models, Ball Gate Arrays (BGAs) don’t come so cheap.

The equipment required for the package soldering are highly expensive. Hand-soldering is also used for the smallest or the smallest packages. In addition to the unreliability or hand-soldering, the method also attracts more expenses, because of the manual labour involved.

Conclusion

Designing a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) with Ball Gate Arrays (BGAs) can take time, cost money and be difficult to inspect.

However, you may be able to get the right ball gate array package for your targeted applications when you contact a professional digital circuit designer.

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