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RoHS and Lead-Free Soldering Information 

There is much discussion worldwide regarding RoHS and WEEE and the impacts on the reliability and cost to manufacturing electronics circuits.

"Take some more tea," the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.

 "I've had nothing yet," Alice replied in an offended tone: "so I can't take more."

 "You mean you can't take less," said the Hatter: "it's very easy to take more than nothing."


Here are some useful links regarding the issues (and insanity) with lead free finishes and soldering process issues. (Check back often for more additions to the list.)



bullet Rollback the Lead-Free Initiative - Dr. Howard Johnson, HIGH-SPEED DIGITAL DESIGN - online newsletter -Vol. 10 Issue 1
bullet Lead laws threaten electronics - Jordan Robertson Associated Press - Tin whiskers can form short-circuits if not mixed with toxic metal


bulletPost Reflow Open/Intermittent BGA Solder Connections (‘Head in Pillow’ Effect) - Technical Services Laboratory, Alpha-Fry  Technologies, Cookson Electronics        http://alphametals.com/products/solder_solutions/pdf/pillowhead.pdf



bulletEvaluation of Conformal Coatings as a Tin Whisker Mitigation Strategy - Thomas Woodrow, Eugene Ledbury - Boeing - http://www.calce.umd.edu/lead-free/tin-whiskers/WoodrowConfCoatPres.pdf   (23.5mb)


bullet Failure Mechanism - Metal Whisker Formation from Die Attach Solder - Dr. Henning Leidecker/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Chris Greenwell/QSS Group, Inc. December 2003


bullet Commentary: Note to European Union—Repeal RoHS! - By Joseph Fjelstad, CEO and founder, SiliconPipe,-- Electronic Business, 7/25/2006


bullet RoHS, WEEE Leave Casualties - John Mason, Electronics News, 6-22-2006


bullet Is this the craziest EU law of all? - By Christopher Booker, Telegraph.co.uk, Telegraph Group Limited 2006. - June 6, 2006.
bullet Tech firms face EU toxics test - Limits on the use of hazardous materials pushes US electronic makers to innovate - By Hiawatha Bray, Globe Staff  |  June 1, 2006


bullet EU Invites Comments on Possible RoHS Exemtions - By John F. Mason - Electronics News 5-15-2006


bullet  Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds First published: 1841 Author: Mackay, Charles (1814-1889)


bullet FRAGILITY OF Pb-FREE SOLDER JOINTS - Peter Borgesen of Universal Instruments and Donald W. Henderson of IBM Corporation - (White paper)


bullet Get the Lead Out - Mindless environmentalism threatens to undermine electronics industry - Mark Bergin -  World Magazine, May 06, 2006, Vol. 21, No. 18


bullet John Burke's PUSH BACK - The Truth about RoHS and lead free soldering... - John Burke's web BLOG regarding Lead free and the head long rush to react to the EU RoHS requirements for no lead in solder.


bullet American Competitiveness Institute - Lead-Free Manufacturing - Lead Free Soldering Summit


bullet Tin and Zinc Whisker Photo Gallery - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
bullet Matte-finish Solder Joints after Lead-free Wave Soldering - By Gerjan Diepstraten of Vitronics SoltecSurface Mount Technology (SMT) March, 2006
bullet Tin Whiskers - John Baliga, Contributing Editor -- Semiconductor International, 4/1/2006 -


bullet GEIA Tin Whisker Industry Standard - Empfasis - A publication of the National Electronics Manufacturing Center of Excellence - Fred Verdi, ACI


bullet What to look for in a PCB connector - Bill Carson of Weidmuller, Richmond, VA - Connector Specifier Magazine - November, 2005


bullet  Lead-free solder: A train wreck in the making- John McHale, John Keller - Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine, October, 2005
bullet Tin Whisker Management Guidelines - By Joe Smetana and Ron Gedney  - Circuits Assembly Magazine 12/01/05


bullet Surface Oxidation as a Tin Whisker Growth Mechanism - By W. John Wolfgong, Ph.D., Bob Ogden, Robert Champaign and Barbara Waller - Circuits Assembly 12/ 01/2005


bullet RoHS and WEEE: Determining the Risk By Jessica Davis -- Electronic News, 11/10/2005
bullet European Space Agency Frets Over Pure Tin By John Mason -- Electronic News, 11/10/2005


bullet Focused on Tin Whiskers: Potential for Catastrophe?  -  Circuitnet, Mike Martel, MMC Marketing
bullet Tin Whiskers: What’s the Risk? - Advanced packaging article on the lead free issues
bullet Opinion: What's Wrong With Tin-Lead Anyway?- Chip Scale Review Article



bulletA white paper by Dave Hillman of Rockwell Collins was first presented at the CMAP Conference Wednesday May 25th, 2005 in Toronto regarding the soldering of Pb free solder balls on BGA packages with tin/lead solder. His findings and research show this is not a viable solution... the article is well worth reading and explains the issues with lead-free solder balls and conventional soldering.

Photo by permission, courtesy of Dave Hillman, CMAP, and Rockwell Collins

"The Impact of Reflowing A Pbfree Solder Alloy Using A Tin/Lead Solder Alloy Reflow Profile On Solder Joint Integrity", Dave Hillman, CMAP/Rockwell Collins


 To download a zipped copy of this white paper click here ---->  DOWNLOAD




Issues and questions with changing to the lead-free process for electronics:


The banning of lead in solder has necessitated the need for businesses to invest in new, hot-air soldering ovens to heat the lead-free solder to a much higher temperature... This results in greater energy use, generating more carbon emissions rather than less... i.e. fossil fuels are burned to make the electrical energy that runs these processes...


What are the effects of  mining the raw materials - with what environmental results?


What happens to the reliability of electronics circuits when the Tin/lead solder is replaced with SAC and other alloys?


Regarding the use of silver and gold in solder... What effects will the increased amounts of these materials being supplied to the mass market for electronics have?


The refining of these materials uses poisonous chemicals... such as Hydrogen Cyanide, Sulfur anhydride, Carbon monoxide and Nitrogen oxide, Carbon dust, Ore dust, Non organic Dust and Chlorine vapors (fumes) are released into the atmosphere... with the recent increase in unregulated manufacturing in Africa, Latin America, China, India, and other less regulated countries without proper waste treatment, what will the level of pollutants from industrial waste rise to?


 What affect does the lead free movement have on this?


 What about the levels of these chemicals in our oceans and rivers getting into our imported sea foods?


 Who will the world hold responsible for the results of this legislation?


Ref: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06110/683738-113.stm


Ref: http://armenianow.com/?action=viewArticle&AID=1494&CID=1621&IID=&lng=eng


Ref: http://www.goldandsilvermines.com/abtsilver.htm


Ref: http://www.jbr.co.uk/pages/process/schematic.htm


Ref: http://www.ldaint.org/technotes2.htm




From an Engineer's Point of View...


A pastor, a doctor and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers.


The engineer fumed, "What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!"


The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such ineptitude!"


The pastor said, "Hey, here comes the greens keeper. Let's have a word with him."


"Hi George! Say, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?"


The greens keeper replied, "Oh, yes, that's a group of blind firefighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime." The group was silent for a moment.


The pastor said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."


The doctor said, "Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist colleague and see if there's anything he can do for them."


The engineer thought for a moment and said, "Why can't these guys play at night?"

















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