[AMRadio] Tin whiskers?


Edward B Richards zuu6k at juno.com
Wed Feb 2 14:22:13 EST 2005


Hi Don et al;

It is real.  When I was a senior technician for Motorola 2-way radios,15
years ago, we got a bulletin to this effect. One particular radio had a
VCO shield cover very close to the pc board and tin whiskers would grow
from the circuit board to the shield. The cure was to blow out the
shielded compartment with compressed air.

73, Ed Richards K6UUZ

On Wed, 2 Feb 2005 13:43:43 -0500 "Merz Donald S" <merz.ds at mellon.com>
writes:
> So what's the deal with this "tin whiskers" crisis? Fortune magazine 
> on January 10 carried a report (p. 27) on "Tin Whiskers". It seems 
> that the tin in solder grows microscopic "whiskers" over time and as 
> component placement gets ever smaller, scientists are seeing 
> equipment failures from these whiskers causing shorts between 2 
> connections. The growth of these whiskers has something to do with 
> surface tension and has been observed for over 50 years. Lead 
> apparently inhibits whisker growth. But now the EU has mandated that 
> all lead be eliminated from electronic products by July 1, 2006. 
> Fortune seems to feel that the rest of the world will ultimately 
> follow this lead and so the problem of tin whiskers could get much 
> worse.
> 
> I never heard of this before. This is one of those articles that 
> makes me look at the date on the magazine to see if it is from 
> April. But apparently it's real. Fortune calls it the next "Y2K" 
> issue for modern technology.
> 
> 73, Don Merz, N3RHT
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