Conformal Coating Qualification and Conformance Testing

Conformal coating is applied to electronic circuits to provide a protective barrier to moisture and contamination and to provide electrical insulation. The most common specifications used for conformal coating testing are IPC-CC-830 and MIL-I-46058.

IPC-CC-830 or MIL-I-46058

IPC-CC-830 is currently broken down into three categories: Column A testing for qualification, Column B testing for retention of qualification and Column C testing for quality conformance. MIL-I-46058 is broken down into four categories: Qualification, Group A, Group B and Group C. The testing frequencies for each specification are outlined below.

Testing Frequency IPC-CC-830 MIL-I-46058
Required Initially Column A, Qualification Testing Qualification Testing
Required Every 2 Years Column B, Retention of Qualification Testing Group C Testing
Required Every Year Not Applicable Group B Testing
Required on Each Batch Column C, Conformance Testing Group A Testing

Although the MIL-I-46058 document has been canceled for new design since November of 1998, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) still maintains a Qualified Products List (QPL) for this document because the material is still being purchased for the manufacture of products that are being built to old military contracts. NTS is a DLA-approved testing laboratory for this specification and can supply full conformal coating qualification and conformance testing including assistance interacting with DLA to complete the necessary application form.

There is currently no QPL maintained for IPC-CC-830 qualified products although one is being developed by IPC. If you, the user, are responsible for supplier surveillance, we recommend reviewing your supplier’s actual dated test reports to confirm necessary testing is being completed.

NTS supplies consultation and testing services to conformal coating manufacturers and users including root cause failure analysis for adhesion, electrical, contamination and other issues.

IPC-CC-830 Conformal Coating Guidelines for Substrate Type and Quantity


Test Test Vehicle Number of Specimens
1) Appearance Glass 4 coated; 1 uncoated
2) Fluorescence Glass 4 coated; 1 uncoated
3) Thickness Glass 4 coated; 1 uncoated
4) Fungus Resistance Glass 4 coated
5) Flexibility Tin Panel 4 coated
6) Flammability UL 94 test strips (1/2” X 5” bare laminate strips with the sides sanded) 20 coated
7) Dielectric Withstanding Voltage (DWV) IPC-B-25A test boards (with the D-pattern wired) 5 coated
8) Moisture and Insulation Resistance (MIR) IPC-B-25A test boards (with the D-pattern wired) 4 coated; 1 uncoated
9) Thermal Shock IPC-B-25A test boards (with the D-pattern wired) 5 coated
10) Temperature and Humidity Aging (Hydrolytic Stability) “Y” shape test assembly (with the resistors, one color coded and one with numbers/alphabets, soldered) 5 coated

IPC-CC-830 Cleaning and Coating Substrates

  1. Pre-Coating Suggested Cleaning Process
    • Clean test lead terminals with isopropyl alcohol, and scrub with a soft bristle brush for a minimum of 30 seconds.
    • During the remainder of the test specimen preparation, handle test specimens by the edges only.
    • Spray rinse thoroughly with fresh isopropyl alcohol. Hold test specimen at an approximate 30° angle, and spray from top to bottom.
    • Rinse cleaned area thoroughly with fresh deionized or distilled water. Hold test specimen at an approximate 30° angle, and spray from top to bottom.
    • Dry test specimens in a drying oven for a minimum of three hours at an oven temperature of 50 °C ± 5 °C [122 °F ± 9 °F].
  2. Coating
    • Completely coat all sides of the test vehicles.
    • Apply and cure the coating per the coating manufacturer's instructions.