Lead Solder



It should be but isn't, unless there is regulation to enforce it such as in the aviation industry, other industries are governed by market forces which usually won't pay for anything like that. The generator industry is a case in point, even though they may be providing backup power for something as critical as a hospital no one will pay for true reliability.

components,
It's a while since I did MTBF calculations for the military and aerospace sectors but back then we could rarely get figures from manufacturers and I've no reason to believe they are any more forthcoming now. We had to use the figures from MIL Handbook 217 which is the bible of reliability prediction and is notoriously biased against anything new and unproven, I don't know what the latest issue has to say about lead free but the fact that the military and aerospace have an exemption probably says it all.
There simply isn't sufficient experience of lead free to be confident of anything and what evidence has emerged is all bad, there's a well documented but anonymous story about a very large phone company who tried to go lead free a couple of years to get some commercial advantage over their competition but had huge failure rates and was forced to go back to lead.
Information from component distributors is that most companies who are going lead free have left it very late in the hope of some sort of reprive and are now having huge problems, you can get to maybe 90% lead free components but the last 10% is very hard. There are also lots of fake lead free components on the market and if you have just one lead component on a board and put it through a wave soldering or selective soldering machine you contaminate the whole solder bath and have to throw away not only thousands of pounds worth of solder but also the bath itself as you can't clean it properly. It's going to be the last nail in the coffin of some UK firms, and for what?, WEEE is going to force the recycling of the products anyway!.
Greg
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Greg Wrote:

The paranoia isn't necessarily the major factor.
There was quite an issue over the use of asbestos in its various forms which seemed to hinge largely on a carefully misworded report issued t the EU authorities concerned. Given that the authorities who woul make the decisions were largely ignorant of the accuracy of what the read, it was pehaps unwise of them to use the firm who made 'the onl substitute' as the consultancy to write the report. As a result ther was a lot of remedial work of dubious necessity and a substantial cal on the provision of the substitute.
Thus at one nuclear installation all the fire doors had to be replaced despite the fact that all the relevant material was both inaccessibl and unlikely to be accessed and that the replacement material had higher risk factor than the asbestos product it replaced.
(While I agree that certain kinds of asbestos provided a significantl higher risk factor than others, it was interesting that the consultanc in question seemed to have got their figures at some odds to thos assessed by the AEA internal team.).
It was also interesting to discover that beech and other hardwoods hav a higher carcinogenic factor while being worked than some forms o asbestos.
Robi
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Yes I know that the asbestos risk has been exaggerated, from what I've read many believe that white asbestos didn't even need banning, but if you read the HSE's material you'd think it could kill on sight 8-). But I'm not aware of any alteria motives for banning lead from solder, the same companies are selling both types and the biggest beneficiaries are the production equipment manufacturers who can't keep up with orders for new reflow ovens and flow solder machines, but I doubt they have much clout with Europe as it's a relatively small industry. The component manufacturers have paid dearly for the change and are huge, powerful companies. No in this case I'm fairly sure it's just the environmental lobby gone completely over the top.
Greg
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On Wed, 31 May 2006 00:15:08 +0100, "Greg"

I would agree with that analysis.
RS produces a series of info leaflets on the progress of RoHS - I read with amusement in one of those that toxic fumes were never an issue with leaded solder, but because of the higher soldering temeratures, and consequently, the larger volumes of toxic stuff given off by decomposition of the *fluxes* used, they recommend the use of fume extraction hoods with lead free soldering processes.
Regards, Tony
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I've seen quite a few reports in the trade press from those who believe the overall effect is going to me more pollution not less, and that the focus should be on recycling at the end of the products life not on replacing one problem with another, but the EU is completely blinkered on this.
Greg
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On Sun, 28 May 2006 18:03:07 +0100, "Greg"

I think most would say it was failure of the design rather than any construction or assembly method. Of course those designers could have been distracted by a bunch of crappy euro legislation and forgotten the real reason why they are there :)
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Yes the design was unable to cope with a sensor failure, but it still remains an example of how the failure of a single electronic device can cause a major disaster.
Greg
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I've got enough to last me about 50 years!
Alan

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As a manufacturer of electronic assemblies, I have wondered if a clause in the guarantee to the effect
'This equipment is not guaranteed in the event of failure due to defective soldering. In that case, please apply for compensation to the EU (address given).'
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That's a good one 8-), but from recent experience it doesn't seem to matter what you put in your guarantee it won't stop companies going to law for the smallest thing.
Greg
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