This application note provides guidelines for handling J-Lead, Quad Flat Pack (QFP), and Ball-Grid Array (BGA, including FineLine BGA [FBGA] and lidless FBGA packaging) devices to preserve the quality of these devices during storage, shipment, and transfer and to ensure easier soldering.
Devices that use surface-mount J-Lead, QFP, BGA, FBGA, and lidless BGA are now common on boards because they provide density, size, and cost benefits. However, a few precautions are necessary to protect these devices from mechanical damage during transportation and storage.
To protect device leads and ensure proper operation, you must handle J-Lead and QFP devices carefully when they are stored, shipped, and transferred. You must store and ship J-Lead devices in tubes sealed with stoppers. Add foam inside the tubes for cushioning if necessary.
You must ship QFP devices in carriers only inside tubes sealed with stoppers and with foam (if necessary). Carriers are static-dissipative, molded plastic shells that hold QFP devices in a secure frame to prevent mechanical damage to device leads. You can program and erase these QFP devices inside carriers and they can tolerate the 125°C baking required for dry packing. When handling QFP devices in carriers, do not touch the QFP device; only use fingers cots to touch the carrier.
If you are required to insert a QFP device into a carrier, contact Altera® Customer Marketing. For more information, refer to the QFP Carrier and Development Socket Datasheet as listed in the Related Information section.
You must store and ship QFP devices without carriers, QFP devices that have been extracted from carriers, and BGA devices only in trays sealed with straps. When extracting QFP devices from a carrier, use only Altera QFP extraction tools and inspect the orientation and lead integrity of the devices. You must extract the device and place them directly into trays.
Altera-approved tubes protect J-Lead and QFP devices in carriers from electrostatic discharge (ESD) and during transportation and storage. Use clear tubes to inspect the top-side marking of the contents easily. The tube material must be antistatic (with “antistatic” printed on the tube), and stiff enough to prevent the tubes from warping, cracking, or developing burrs during normal handling.
When transporting or storing devices in tubes, follow these guidelines:
- Keep tubes horizontal
- Keep devices in “dead bug” orientation (refer to the Dead Bug Versus Live Bug Orientation figure)
- Ensure that the devices do not overlap inside the tube
The following figure shows the difference between a "dead bug" and "live bug" orientation.
The following figure shows the tube dimensions required for each J-Lead device. The tubes must match the dimensions of the device. For the tube dimension, refer to the Tube Dimension for J-Lead Device Antistatic Shipping Tube table.
The following table lists the tube dimension as shown in the Tube Dimensions for J-Lead Device Antistatic Shipping Tube figure.
|Pin Count||A||B||C||Shipping Length|
The following table lists the part numbers for Altera-approved tubes for J-Lead devices.
|Pin Count||Altera Reference Part Number||Tube Capacity (Devices)|
The following table lists the part numbers for Altera-approved tubes for QFP devices in carriers.
|Pin Count||Package Dimensions (mm)||Tube Capacity (QFP Devices in Carriers)||Altera Reference Part Number|
|100||14 x 20||23||E20-02080-00|
|160||28 x 28||14||E20-04743-00|
|208||28 x 28||14||E20-04743-00|
|240||32 x 32||12||E20-04800-00|
|304||40 x 40||10||E20-04783-00|
Stoppers seal tubes and protect J-Lead and QFP devices in carriers against mechanical damage and ESD. Altera uses black stoppers that match the tube dimensions. When inserting stoppers, follow these guidelines:
- Before transporting or storing devices, seat stoppers firmly into both ends of the tube.
- For easy removal, push stopper teeth fully inside the tube, with the grip extending outside. Do not insert the stopper completely inside the tube (refer to the Stopper Properly Inserted into a Tube figure).
- To prevent devices from moving inside an incompletely filled tube, insert foam between the parts and stopper.
The following figure shows how you can properly insert a stopper in a tube.
To reduce the risk of damaging leads, some special stoppers are designed to fit into a tube in only one way. It is important to insert these special stoppers correctly with the grip in the same direction as the leads, as shown in the following figure.
The following table lists the part numbers for Altera-approved black stoppers for J-Lead devices.
|Pin Count||Manufacturer Part Number|
To prevent damage to leads during shipping, tubes containing 208-, 240-, and 304-lead Power Quad Flat Pack (RQFP) packages in carriers must have modified stoppers. These modified stoppers are used just like other stopper although they have a notch cut out of them, refer to the following figure.
The following table lists the part numbers for Altera-approved black stoppers for QFP devices in carriers.
|Pin Count||Altera Part Number|
Foam provides extra cushioning and restricts movement inside the tube to prevent device pins from bending. To support the devices evenly, the foam must be nearly as wide as the tubes. You must not use foam in any full tube containing special stoppers, as shown in the Proper Orientation of Special Stoppers figure. When you use the foam, place the foam at each end of the tube between the stoppers and devices, as shown in the following figure.
Foam must be antistatic, non-corrosive, and free of contaminants. Place foam in tubes containing the following:
- A gap inside the tube measuring 1/4 inch or greater (for both J-Lead and QFP devices in carriers)
- Plastic J-Lead Chip Carrier (PLCC) devices with 44 or more pins (full tubes containing PLCC devices with 28 or fewer pins generally do not require foam)
- Ceramic J-Lead Chip Carrier (JLCC) devices
The following figure shows the position of the stopper, foam, and devices in a tube.
Straps secure trays and prevent devices from jostling during transportation and storage. To hold trays together during transportation, Altera recommends using at least 1/2-inch wide polypropylene straps that can withstand temperatures up to 130°C in case you are required to bake the devices before mounting. When storing devices, Altera recommends using either velcro or polypropylene straps.
Velcro straps that are 20 inches in length are sufficiently long to bind stacks of two to seven trays for storage. When you strap trays together for shipping, follow these guidelines:
- Use only heat-sealed polypropylene straps. Although velcro straps can hold trays together during storage, they lack the strength required to hold trays during transportation.
- Set the tension on the strapping machine high enough to prevent straps from sliding off a stack of trays.
- Secure one polypropylene strap across the length of the tray.
- Remove straps with a knife to prevent jostling devices in the trays.
The following figure shows the proper way to secure polypropylene straps on a stack of trays.
To prevent leads from bending on tube edges, follow these steps when transferring J-Lead devices and QFP devices in carriers from one tube to another:
- Use a metal or plastic sleeve to line up tube ends. If you do not have a sleeve, carefully line up the tube ends.
- Tilt the tubes so that the devices slide from one tube to the other. Do not shake or vibrate the tubes.
The following figure shows the sleeve for tube-to-tube transfer.
Altera recommends using automated pick-and-place machines in an ESD-protected environment to transfer QFP or BGA devices between trays. If you are required to transfer these devices manually, follow these guidelines:
- Work in an ESD-protected environment.
- Use ground straps and finger cots.
- Use only vacuum pens to transfer QFP or BGA devices manually. Vacuum pens must be able to maintain their vacuum for at least four seconds.
- Transfer devices right-side-up over a table, then release the vacuum only after the device is oriented and seated in the tray properly.
- Do not allow QFP device leads to contact the tray.
For transferring lidless FBGA devices, follow these guidelines:
- Ensure that you use vacuum pens with soft rubber tips.
- Ensure that the vacuum pen does not touch the edge of the exposed die.
- Ensure that the vacuum tip covers the die area without losing any suction.
- Altera recommends that you use Altera-specified trays for lidless flip chip. For more information, refer to the Altera-Approved Low-Profile Trays Part Number table as listed in the Related Information section.
The following figure shows how you can transfer a QFP device with a vacuum pen.
Dry packing is a method of packing moisture-sensitive devices for shipment. Risk to moisture-sensitive devices can occur when the high-soldering temperatures of the reflow process suddenly heat any moisture absorbed by a plastic package. Although many of Altera devices are not sensitive to moisture, Altera adopted dry packing as a standard practice for moisture-sensitive devices to eliminate all risk of moisture. Additionally, Altera can dry-pack other devices upon request. During dry packing, devices are first baked to remove any existing moisture and then packed and vacuum-sealed in moisture-barrier bags.
The following table lists the contents of a typical package.
|Moisture-barrier bag||MIL-B-81705C, Type I or equivalent|
|Desiccant||MIL-D-3464, Type II or equivalent|
|Humidity-indicator card||Compliant with MIL-I-8835A|
|Labels||ID label and caution label|
To maintain a moisture-free environment, follow these guidelines after receiving dry-packed devices from Altera:
- Open bags as close to the seal as possible to leave enough of the bag for resealing.
- Reseal bags after opening to minimize exposure to moisture.
- Inspect all dry packs for potential leaks in the seals or bags. If a leak exists and the humidity-indicator card shows an unacceptable humidity level (for example, the 20% dot has started to turn pink), rebake the devices. If a leak exists but the humidity-indicator shows an acceptable humidity level (for example, the 20% dot is blue with no pink), reseal the devices in an undamaged bag.
- Check that the humidity-indicator card shows acceptable humidity after opening dry packs. If the card shows an unacceptable humidity level, rebake the devices.
- Store dry packs in condition less than 40°C and less than 90% relative humidity.
In addition, Altera lists the floor life on every dry-pack label. The floor life is the length of time you can expose a device to a factory environment (less than 30°C and less than 60% relative humidity) after you removed the device from the bag and before it is mounted. Parts that are not dry packed have an unlimited floor life but you must store at a proper environment (less than 30°C and less than 85% relative humidity). If the interval between opening a dry pack and mounting the devices onto a board exceeds the floor life of the device, rebake devices prior to mounting.
Distributors have an additional allotment of time beyond the labelled floor life. Six hours are available for products with a 24-hour floor life, and 24 hours are available for products with a 168-hour or one-year floor life. These time allotments allow for programming and repacking as required.
When dry-packing devices, follow these guidelines:
- When transferring parts to new dry pack bags, operators must remember to copy the floor life and expiration date accurately to the new dry-pack labels.
- Bake QFP or BGA devices in strapped heat-resistant trays at 125°C for at least 12 hours.
- Bake J-Lead devices in heat-resistant tubes at 125°C for at least 12 hours. If you lack heat-resistant tubes, bake J-Lead devices on a cookie sheet in a dead-bug orientation.
- Use heat-sealed bags that are resistant to punctures and abrasion.
- Use foam covers or bubble wrap around a stack of trays inside the moisture-barrier bag to avoid punctures.
- Seal bags with a vacuum-operated bag-sealing machine. Relax the vacuum enough to prevent the tube or tray from puncturing the bag.
- If the dry pack is open for longer than one hour, replace the desiccant and humidity indicator card.
- Use at least one unit of desiccant per dry pack.
- You must not use zip-lock and dry-pack bags for longer than one week.
When shipping trays or tubes of devices, only use boxes that have passed the ASTM D776 test for shipping containers. To protect against ESD, Altera recommends using boxes with an internal, conductive finish. You must add filler material to boxes to cushion the contents and prevent trays or tubes from shifting position during shipping. Boxes must contain enough filler material to prevent stoppers from falling out of tubes when jostled. Filler material must meet the following standards:
- Must be antistatic and non-corrosive
- Must not crumble, flake, powder, outgas, or shed
- Must not scratch or puncture the trays, tubes, or dry-pack bags
The following table lists Altera-approved packing media and suppliers.
|Tubes and stoppers||
|Trays (QFPs and BGAs)||
|ESD velcro straps||
|0.5”-wide, polypropylene, heat-sealed straps (E30-04766)||
South Bay Packaging
|Tray-strapping machines (using polypropylene, heat-sealed straps) or other dry-packing equipment||
StraPack (Sivaron Model S-699, D-52, and AQ-7)
|Foam packaging (foam filler)||
Pacific Southwest Container
|Bubble wraps, trays, or dry-packing supplies||
The following table lists the revision history for this document.
|June 2017||2017.06.28||Added a note to clarify that all lidless flip chip and wire bond packages are non-vented packages and all other flip chip packages are vented packages.|