Lead and lead-free solder: Question and answer, right here on sci.electronics.design

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Hello everyone,

I was just thinking it would be a good idea to have a sort of Q&A
about lead vs. lead-free solder, both in a home situation and in
industry.  I have been a regular at my local robotics club recently,
and it surprises me how many people are stubbornly sticking to lead
solder, in the perplexing belief that it is superior for our purposes.

Nevertheless, I used to work in a laptop repair shop, and I am fairly
well aware of the health problems associated with lead, for both
children and adults.   I'll be the first to admit I am a layman
though, not a health professional.

I'll be up front now, as one who does electronics as a hobby and one
who has read about lead's roll in health, whether it be in paint,
water or solder, and have come to the solid conclusion that using lead
solder outside of a controlled environment, especially in one's home,
is a bad idea.  Both for your own and family's good health, I'm not an
environmentalist zealot.

 Lead-free solder is really just as good.  Let me know why you think
it's not, and I shall enlighten you.

So post you're questions here, and I'll try to answer them!  And I'll
try to provide references whenever possible.

Re: Lead and lead-free solder: Question and answer, right here on sci.electronics.design

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Your mind is allready made up [*must* save the world from lead]
I hate single issue bigots of whatever persuasion.
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What credibility do you have?  You aren't willing to tell us your name
(not even your first name) or anything significant about you.  You
aren't a doctor and provide no evidence to support your claimed
technical skills.  Additionally who wants to argue with a six digit number?

If we wanted a pointless argument with someone who's made is made up, we
could reply to the islamic spam, at least most of them have a real
naame.  (not that I mind people using a handle for privacy, those of you
who do, have built your own credibility on the quality of their posting
history)

Put up or Shut UP - post a link to closeups of lead free boards *YOU*
have built - otherwise go and try to convince NASA to go 100% lead free
and dont come back till you have succeded.

I just ****ing hate Google Gropers.  Anyone else here want a UDP for
Goolgle?

--
Ian Malcolm.   London, ENGLAND.  (NEWSGROUP REPLY PREFERRED)
ianm[at]the[dash]malcolms[dot]freeserve[dot]co[dot]uk
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Re: Lead and lead-free solder: Question and answer, right here on sci.electronics.design
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I don't think there's a single true statement in the OP's post anyway.
Not a very promising beginning.

To the OP:  (a) Lead-free solder stinks.  It's unreliable, it forms
brittle intermetallic compounds with just about any pad metallization
under the sun, and under temperature cycling it produces tin whiskers
that cause shorts and voids.  If it weren't for European bureaucrats
looking to justify their existence, no one in the world would be using
lead-free for electronics.  I work in an advanced electronic packaging
group, and the amount of make-work that this silly decision involved is
horrendous.  My colleagues are very smart people, so they eventually
managed to find a combination of solder alloy and complicated pad metal
stacks that work almost as reliably as old fashioned lead-tin.  The
number of man-years and millions of dollars required for this useless
accomplishment would boggle your mind, and that kind of waste makes me
angry.

(b) Metallic lead has about zilch vapour pressure at soldering
temperature.  You're in much more danger from the flux smoke--and
lead-free flux isn't nice innocuous tree sap, like lead-tin flux.

(c) Lead goes absolutely nowhere in landfills.   It just sits there, and
even if it were to dissolve, heavy metals move (iirc) millions of times
slower than ground water.  The Oklo natural reactor in Gabon went
critical billions of years ago, and (apart from volatile stuff like Xe,
Rn, I, and alkali metals) the entire heavy-metal fission product plume
is still there to look at.  It hasn't even gone a mile in that entire
time, iirc, and that's in very wet conditions with a lot of flowing
groundwater.

(d) Do you or anyone know of a single case of lead poisoning, of any
degree of severity, traceable to electronic solder?  I've never heard of
one.


Cheers,

Phil Hobbs

Re: Lead and lead-free solder: Question and answer, right here on sci.electronics.design

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The Romans sometimnes used lead coffins:
http://tinyurl.com/2j8rpq
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/319833.stm
The lead has hung around for 1600-1800 years despite the fairly high
rainfall and ground water levels experienced in England.




Re: Lead and lead-free solder: Question and answer, right here on sci.electronics.design

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Why do you, a hobbyist who used to work in a repair shop, presume that
you can "enlighten" professionals?

I have aerospace customers who insist that we do not furnish them gear
that uses lead-free solder.

John


Re: Lead and lead-free solder: Question and answer, right here on sci.electronics.design
snipped-for-privacy@highNOTlandTHIStechnologyPART.com says...
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Indeed, at the maker events I've been too we all panned the lead free
solder. It requires a higher temperature and doesn't bond as well one
the PC boards.


Re: Lead and lead-free solder: Question and answer, right here on sci.electronics.design

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---
Why do you think it isn't?
---

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Re: Lead and lead-free solder: Question and answer, right here on sci.electronics.design

Some anecdotal evidence:

I have a friend who runs a small electronics assembly business, two
people involved.  Have been hand soldering PCBs using leaded solder for
at least 30 years.  Reasonably careful with handling, wash hands after
working etc, but no special precautions.  Both ested for biological lead
a year or so ago, when the question was raised, found lower than
background concentration for average Queenslander.

--
Regards,

Adrian Jansen           adrianjansen at internode dot on dot net
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Re: Lead and lead-free solder: Question and answer, right here on sci.electronics.design

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Must.. resist...


Best regards,
Spehro Pefhany
--
"it's the network..."                          "The Journey is the reward"
snipped-for-privacy@interlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
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Re: Lead and lead-free solder: Question and answer, right here on sci.electronics.design
In article <6171eac6-d108-4499-b65a-4951b2cede39
@u10g2000prn.googlegroups.com>, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...
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I use what I have on hand which at the moment is lead basid rosin core
solder.

Recently I've been going to maker type events with Providence Geeks and
I was astounded how paranoid they were about lead exposure. I pointed
out that if they drank the water in our fair city chances were they were
getting a little Pb with every drink.

Good practice says ventilate well, and wash your hands thoroughly after
handling leaded solder.


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