Guidelines for Handling J-Lead, QFP, BGA, FBGA, and Lidless FBGA Devices
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.
Note: All lidless flip chip and wire bond packages are non-vented packages. All other flip chip
packages are vented packages.
Handling J-Lead and QFP Devices
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
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.
Tubes for J-Lead Devices and QFP Devices in Carriers
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
Figure 1. Dead Bug Versus Live Bug Orientation
The following table lists the tube dimension as shown in the Tube Dimensions for J-Lead Device Antistatic Shipping Tube figure.
Figure 2. Tube Dimensions for J-Lead Device Antistatic Shipping Tube
Table 1. Tube Dimension for J-Lead Device Antistatic Shipping Tube
The following table lists the part numbers for Altera-approved tubes for J-Lead devices.
Table 2. Antistatic Tube Part Numbers for J-Lead Devices. For more information about how to order tubes, refer to the Altera-Approved Packing Media and Suppliers table as listed in
the Related Information section.
Altera Reference Part Number
Tube Capacity (Devices)
The following table lists the part numbers for Altera-approved tubes for QFP devices in carriers.
Table 3. Altera-Approved Tubes for QFP Devices in Carriers. For more information about how to order tubes, refer to the Altera-Approved Packing Media and Suppliers table as listed in
the Related Information section.
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
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.
Figure 3. Stopper Properly Inserted into 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.
Figure 4. Proper Orientation of Special Stoppers
The following table lists the part numbers for Altera-approved black stoppers for J-Lead devices.
Table 4. Black Stopper Part Numbers for J-Lead Devices. For more information about how to order stoppers, refer to the Altera-Approved Packing Media and Suppliers table as listed
in the Related Information section.
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.
Figure 5. Notched Stoppers for Tubes of RQFPs in Carriers
The following table lists the part numbers for Altera-approved black stoppers for QFP devices in carriers.
Table 5. Black Stopper Part Numbers for QFP Devices in Carriers. For more information about how to order stoppers, refer to the Altera-Approved Packing Media and Suppliers table as listed
in the Related Information section.
Foam for J-Lead Devices and QFP Devices in Carriers
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.
Trays for QFP, BGA, FBGA, and Lidless FBGA Devices without Carriers
Straps for QFP, BGA, FBGA, and Lidless FBGA Devices without Carriers
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
Use only heat-sealed polypropylene straps. Although velcro straps can hold trays
together during storage, they lack the strength required to hold trays during
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.
Note: Do not use rubber bands, masking tape, string, or other similar material in place of
velcro or polypropylene straps.
The following figure shows the proper way to secure polypropylene straps on a stack of trays.
Figure 8. Properly Secured Polypropylene Straps on a Stack of Trays
Transferring Devices Between Tubes
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.
Figure 9. Sleeve for Tube-to-Tube Transfer
Transferring QFP, BGA, FBGA, and Lidless FBGA Devices Without Carriers Between Trays
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.
Figure 10. Transferring a QFP Device with a Vacuum Pen
Dry Packing J-Lead, QFP, BGA, FBGA, and Lidless BGA Devices
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.
Table 7. Dry Pack Contents
MIL-B-81705C, Type I or equivalent
MIL-D-3464, Type II or equivalent
Compliant with MIL-I-8835A
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
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
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.
Dry Pack Sizes
Shipping J-Lead, QFP, BGA, FBGA, and Lidless FBGA Devices in Boxes
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.