02 April 2012

Tin Whiskers will get you if you don't watch out.

Rules and regulations create conditions for circuit boards used in electronic devices to fail early due to an effect of lead-free solder products, called "Tin Whiskers". Seriously! The new requirement for lead free solder uses alternatives that can develop shorts when metal migration causes a "Tin Whisker" to shoot out. 

And there is no fix for it, except to reintroduce lead based solders. A lot of laws will need to be changed, or a lot of folks will have some very expensive paperweights over the next few years. Here is the scoop: Failure modes in newer electronic devices (PDF)

Remarkable how often the best of intentions to address a problem, when not well thought out, will create even more problems which are usually worse than the original problem.

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