Can cold weather damage electronics components and circuit boards?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by wylbur37, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. wylbur37

    wylbur37 Guest

    During the winter season, outside temperatures can go down to 10
    degrees Farenheit or lower.

    Since many people carry their laptop computers to and from work
    each day, I was wondering whether exposure to cold temperatures
    can damage computer components or circuit boards.

    My guess is that 10 degrees F is probably not cold enough to cause
    damage, and that any temperature-related damage is probably caused by
    too rapid a change in temperature (cracking as a result of expansion
    and contraction).

    Am I correct on this?

    If 10 degrees F is not cold enough, how cold would it have to be for
    damage to occur?
    wylbur37, Feb 5, 2007
    #1
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  2. wylbur37

    N Cook Guest

    wylbur37 <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > During the winter season, outside temperatures can go down to 10
    > degrees Farenheit or lower.
    >
    > Since many people carry their laptop computers to and from work
    > each day, I was wondering whether exposure to cold temperatures
    > can damage computer components or circuit boards.
    >
    > My guess is that 10 degrees F is probably not cold enough to cause
    > damage, and that any temperature-related damage is probably caused by
    > too rapid a change in temperature (cracking as a result of expansion
    > and contraction).
    >
    > Am I correct on this?
    >
    > If 10 degrees F is not cold enough, how cold would it have to be for
    > damage to occur?
    >


    It is more a question of water condensation on traces and components and
    even into components via capillary action when the kit is brought indoors to
    warm air, plus mechanical problems again more to do with condensation

    --
    Diverse Devices, Southampton, England
    electronic hints and repair briefs , schematics/manuals list on
    http://home.graffiti.net/diverse:graffiti.net/
    N Cook, Feb 5, 2007
    #2
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  3. wylbur37

    Meat Plow Guest

    On Mon, 05 Feb 2007 04:02:47 -0800, wylbur37 Has Frothed:

    > During the winter season, outside temperatures can go down to 10
    > degrees Farenheit or lower.
    >
    > Since many people carry their laptop computers to and from work
    > each day, I was wondering whether exposure to cold temperatures
    > can damage computer components or circuit boards.
    >
    > My guess is that 10 degrees F is probably not cold enough to cause
    > damage, and that any temperature-related damage is probably caused by
    > too rapid a change in temperature (cracking as a result of expansion
    > and contraction).
    >
    > Am I correct on this?
    >
    > If 10 degrees F is not cold enough, how cold would it have to be for
    > damage to occur?


    What about electronic components in aircraft that are exposed to temps of
    up tp -60F?


    --
    Pierre Salinger Memorial Hook, Line & Sinker, June 2004

    COOSN-266-06-25794
    Meat Plow, Feb 5, 2007
    #3
  4. wylbur37

    wylbur37 Guest

    On Feb 5, 7:51 am, Meat Plow <> wrote:
    > On Mon, 05 Feb 2007 04:02:47 -0800, wylbur37 Has Frothed:
    > > During the winter season, outside temperatures can go down to 10
    > > degrees Farenheit or lower.

    >
    > > Since many people carry their laptop computers to and from work
    > > each day, I was wondering whether exposure to cold temperatures
    > > can damage computer components or circuit boards.

    >
    > > My guess is that 10 degrees F is probably not cold enough to cause
    > > damage, and that any temperature-related damage is probably caused by
    > > too rapid a change in temperature (cracking as a result of expansion
    > > and contraction).

    >
    > > If 10 degrees F is not cold enough, how cold would it have to be for
    > > damage to occur?

    >
    > What about electronic components in aircraft that are exposed to temps of
    > up tp -60F?


    Aircraft components, because they're expected to be exposed to
    extreme
    temperatures (both hot and cold), are specifically designed to use
    materials that withstand such temperatures.

    Consumer electronics, on the other hand, I would not expect to be
    designed to such high standards.
    wylbur37, Feb 5, 2007
    #4
  5. "wylbur37" <> wrote in
    news::

    >> > If 10 degrees F is not cold enough, how cold would it have to be
    >> > for damage to occur?

    >>
    >> What about electronic components in aircraft that are exposed to
    >> temps of up tp -60F?

    >
    > Aircraft components, because they're expected to be exposed to
    > extreme
    > temperatures (both hot and cold), are specifically designed to use
    > materials that withstand such temperatures.
    >
    > Consumer electronics, on the other hand, I would not expect to be
    > designed to such high standards.
    >


    N Cook said it right, the main problem is water getting in. Most electronic
    parts are emuch happier with clod than with heat. A few things to watch for
    though: laser diodes, for example, they run more efficiently cold, and you
    have to scale their input currents down for safe maximum output power, so
    writing a DVD at full speed in a cold machine might make the drive die. I'm
    sure they compensate for this, but I doubt they're intended to be used for
    that at freezing temperatures or lower. LCD's also don't like freezing.
    They recover when warm. but while cold they are sluggish, and below
    freezing point of water, will probably display nothing. I'm sure there are
    plenty of specific parts with specific heat dependencies, but few will be
    permanently damaged. As for connector reliability, it is hard to know. It
    might increase the resistance, or it might help it overcome a molecular
    layer of corrosion and reduce the resistance, improving the contact. A
    well-made connector will probably be unaffected in any way you can easily
    detect.
    Lostgallifreyan, Feb 5, 2007
    #5
  6. wylbur37

    Meat Plow Guest

    On Mon, 05 Feb 2007 06:03:51 -0800, wylbur37 Has Frothed:

    > On Feb 5, 7:51 am, Meat Plow <> wrote:
    >> On Mon, 05 Feb 2007 04:02:47 -0800, wylbur37 Has Frothed:
    >> > During the winter season, outside temperatures can go down to 10
    >> > degrees Farenheit or lower.

    >>
    >> > Since many people carry their laptop computers to and from work
    >> > each day, I was wondering whether exposure to cold temperatures
    >> > can damage computer components or circuit boards.

    >>
    >> > My guess is that 10 degrees F is probably not cold enough to cause
    >> > damage, and that any temperature-related damage is probably caused by
    >> > too rapid a change in temperature (cracking as a result of expansion
    >> > and contraction).

    >>
    >> > If 10 degrees F is not cold enough, how cold would it have to be for
    >> > damage to occur?

    >>
    >> What about electronic components in aircraft that are exposed to temps of
    >> up tp -60F?

    >
    > Aircraft components, because they're expected to be exposed to
    > extreme
    > temperatures (both hot and cold), are specifically designed to use
    > materials that withstand such temperatures.
    >
    > Consumer electronics, on the other hand, I would not expect to be
    > designed to such high standards.


    Well I don't know about that. Electronic components and circuit boards
    regardless of design standards are very happy with cold temps as long as
    they are kept dry.

    --
    Pierre Salinger Memorial Hook, Line & Sinker, June 2004

    COOSN-266-06-25794
    Meat Plow, Feb 5, 2007
    #6
  7. wylbur37

    Impmon Guest

    On Mon, 05 Feb 2007 12:12:55 -0500, Meat Plow <>
    wrote:

    >> Consumer electronics, on the other hand, I would not expect to be
    >> designed to such high standards.

    >
    >Well I don't know about that. Electronic components and circuit boards
    >regardless of design standards are very happy with cold temps as long as
    >they are kept dry.


    But the battery aren't as forgiving as most compoments are to the cold
    temp. Battery tended to be weaker when cold and in some cases using
    cold battery can actually cause problems like shortened life.

    Check the manual that comes with the laptop or other portable
    electronic devices for operating temp, some may be permitted only as
    low as freezing and not below.
    Impmon, Feb 5, 2007
    #7
  8. wylbur37

    Al Guest

    In article <eq784m$4cc$>,
    "N Cook" <> wrote:

    > wylbur37 <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    > > During the winter season, outside temperatures can go down to 10
    > > degrees Farenheit or lower.
    > >
    > > Since many people carry their laptop computers to and from work
    > > each day, I was wondering whether exposure to cold temperatures
    > > can damage computer components or circuit boards.
    > >
    > > My guess is that 10 degrees F is probably not cold enough to cause
    > > damage, and that any temperature-related damage is probably caused by
    > > too rapid a change in temperature (cracking as a result of expansion
    > > and contraction).
    > >
    > > Am I correct on this?
    > >
    > > If 10 degrees F is not cold enough, how cold would it have to be for
    > > damage to occur?
    > >

    >
    > It is more a question of water condensation on traces and components and
    > even into components via capillary action when the kit is brought indoors to
    > warm air, plus mechanical problems again more to do with condensation
    >
    > --
    > Diverse Devices, Southampton, England
    > electronic hints and repair briefs , schematics/manuals list on
    > http://home.graffiti.net/diverse:graffiti.net/
    >
    >


    The problem is with temperature cycling. The solder joints eventually
    fracture and lead to either intermittents or opens. You can really
    stress you electronics by letting it cold soak and then turning it on.
    It may not fail immediately, but you have shortened its life.

    Al
    Al, Feb 5, 2007
    #8
  9. wylbur37

    default Guest

    On 5 Feb 2007 04:02:47 -0800, "wylbur37" <>
    wrote:

    >During the winter season, outside temperatures can go down to 10
    >degrees Farenheit or lower.
    >
    >Since many people carry their laptop computers to and from work
    >each day, I was wondering whether exposure to cold temperatures
    >can damage computer components or circuit boards.
    >
    >My guess is that 10 degrees F is probably not cold enough to cause
    >damage, and that any temperature-related damage is probably caused by
    >too rapid a change in temperature (cracking as a result of expansion
    >and contraction).
    >
    >Am I correct on this?
    >
    >If 10 degrees F is not cold enough, how cold would it have to be for
    >damage to occur?


    Damage can and will occur if you power up a computer sitting at 10
    degrees (anything below about 50 is risky). The hard drive
    lubrication is thick and the speed of rotation can be low enough to
    let the heads contact the disk.

    And there's a risk of condensation or frost on the electronics boards.
    Fluorescent back lights may not work. LCD screens ditto

    But you are probably safe to store a computer at that temperature for
    a time then let it warm and sit for a time to allow any moisture to
    evaporate
    --

    ----== Posted via Newsfeeds.Com - Unlimited-Unrestricted-Secure Usenet News==----
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    default, Feb 5, 2007
    #9
  10. wylbur37

    Chris Jones Guest

    N Cook wrote:

    > wylbur37 <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> During the winter season, outside temperatures can go down to 10
    >> degrees Farenheit or lower.
    >>
    >> Since many people carry their laptop computers to and from work
    >> each day, I was wondering whether exposure to cold temperatures
    >> can damage computer components or circuit boards.
    >>
    >> My guess is that 10 degrees F is probably not cold enough to cause
    >> damage, and that any temperature-related damage is probably caused by
    >> too rapid a change in temperature (cracking as a result of expansion
    >> and contraction).
    >>
    >> Am I correct on this?
    >>
    >> If 10 degrees F is not cold enough, how cold would it have to be for
    >> damage to occur?
    >>

    >
    > It is more a question of water condensation on traces and components and
    > even into components via capillary action when the kit is brought indoors
    > to warm air, plus mechanical problems again more to do with condensation
    >
    > --
    > Diverse Devices, Southampton, England
    > electronic hints and repair briefs , schematics/manuals list on
    > http://home.graffiti.net/diverse:graffiti.net/


    I wonder whether "Tin Pest" will change this situation with lead free
    solders. As far as I understand it, under 13 degrees C, the tin can change
    to a different crystal structure, which happens to occupy a different
    physical volume, leading to obvious mechanical problems with solder joints.

    Chris
    Chris Jones, Feb 5, 2007
    #10
  11. wylbur37

    DaveM Guest

    "Meat Plow" <> wrote in message
    news:p-meatplow.local...
    > On Mon, 05 Feb 2007 04:02:47 -0800, wylbur37 Has Frothed:
    >
    >> During the winter season, outside temperatures can go down to 10
    >> degrees Farenheit or lower.
    >>
    >> Since many people carry their laptop computers to and from work
    >> each day, I was wondering whether exposure to cold temperatures
    >> can damage computer components or circuit boards.
    >>
    >> My guess is that 10 degrees F is probably not cold enough to cause
    >> damage, and that any temperature-related damage is probably caused by
    >> too rapid a change in temperature (cracking as a result of expansion
    >> and contraction).
    >>
    >> Am I correct on this?
    >>
    >> If 10 degrees F is not cold enough, how cold would it have to be for
    >> damage to occur?

    >
    > What about electronic components in aircraft that are exposed to temps of
    > up tp -60F?
    >



    Ex-military electronics tech here... Almost all electronic assemblies that are
    routinely exposed to temperature extremes are conformally coated with a silicone
    or urethane "varnish" that keeps the condensate from getting to the PCB and
    components on the PCB. Although not impervious to damage from soaking in salt
    water or corrosive atmospheres, it does an admirable job in keeping the
    equipment running.
    The components are also rated to operate within specs at those temperature
    extremes. The mil temperature range is -55C to +125C, which is easily
    experienced by equipment in aircraft and land-based mobile equipment.
    That's one reason why military equipment and components cost more.

    In contrast, equipment and components that are rated for automotive service are
    rated for higher temperatures as well, but not to the extremes of military
    components. If memory serves, the industrial/automotive temperature range
    is -40C to +85C. Conformal coatings and potting are methods used to protect
    components and equipment used in those environments. The relative reliability
    of present-day automotive electronics over those of 20 years ago is a testament
    to the advances in component and assembly construction.

    The commercial temperature range (including consumer electronics) is 0C to 70C.
    Most PCs are constructed with commercial grade components. 0C is 32F, so you
    can draw your own conclusions as to the reliability of a PC at sub-zero temps.
    That's not to say that they won't work, but you shouldn't be surprised if they
    don't. If a PC (or laptop) has been exposed to sub-freezing temps long enough
    for all the components to acquiesce to the surrounding temperature, then it
    would be prudent to allow it to thoroughly warm up to room temperature before
    turning it on.
    Condensation is a problem in those instances, since the internal components and
    PCB are not protected by a conformal coating. True enough, most PCBs have a
    solder mask that does a pretty good job at protecting the traces, the protection
    does not extend to the components.

    Cheers!!!
    --
    Dave M
    MasonDG44 at comcast dot net (Just substitute the appropriate characters in the
    address)

    Some days you're the dog, some days the hydrant.
    DaveM, Feb 6, 2007
    #11
  12. In article <>,
    (known to some as wylbur37) scribed...
    > During the winter season, outside temperatures can go down to 10
    > degrees Farenheit or lower.
    >
    > Since many people carry their laptop computers to and from work
    > each day, I was wondering whether exposure to cold temperatures
    > can damage computer components or circuit boards.


    The item most susceptible to such damage in a laptop would be the
    display. LCD means 'Liquid Crystal Display,' and that liquid that holds
    the crystals suspended does indeed have a freezing point.

    Permanent and irreparable damage can be done to such displays if
    they freeze. There are industrial-grade displays which are explicitly
    designed and built for service at low temperatures, but they are
    considerably more expensive than the typical 'consumer' display. I doubt
    that you would find such in a laptop (or any other portable computer)
    outside of the high-end ruggedized models made by GETAC, Dolch, and
    Panasonic (the "Toughbook" series for the latter).

    As to the other electronics: The standard "Commercial" operating
    temperature range for most components is 0c (32f) to 50c (122f). You may
    want to check the specifications for your specific laptop, but I would
    say that 10f is way too cold to be operating such a device.

    > My guess is that 10 degrees F is probably not cold enough to cause
    > damage, and that any temperature-related damage is probably caused by
    > too rapid a change in temperature (cracking as a result of expansion
    > and contraction).
    >
    > Am I correct on this?


    No. Sustained exposure to 10 degrees F will freeze and permanently
    damage the display, unless the laptop is explicitly designed and built
    to withstand such (only your spec sheet will tell you).

    Keep the peace(es).


    --
    Dr. Anton T. Squeegee, Director, Dutch Surrealist Plumbing Institute
    (Known to some as Bruce Lane, KC7GR)
    http://www.bluefeathertech.com -- kyrrin a/t bluefeathertech d-o=t calm
    "Salvadore Dali's computer has surreal ports..."
    Dr. Anton T. Squeegee, Feb 6, 2007
    #12
  13. wylbur37

    JW Guest

    On Mon, 05 Feb 2007 16:14:11 -0500 default <> wrote
    in Message id: <>:

    >The hard drive
    >lubrication is thick and the speed of rotation can be low enough to
    >let the heads contact the disk.


    Doubtful. A hard drive does not load the heads until the platters are up
    to speed.
    JW, Feb 6, 2007
    #13
  14. "DaveM" <> writes:

    > In contrast, equipment and components that are rated for automotive
    > service are rated for higher temperatures as well, but not to the
    > extremes of military components. If memory serves, the
    > industrial/automotive temperature range is -40C to +85C.


    Stuff that goes in the engine bay tends to be speced to +125 degC.
    In-cab stuff usually gets away with 85 degC, but some of it not even
    that. [We have a forward looking camera system that gets *really* hot
    when it sits in the sun, so we have to use >85 deg rated parts, even
    though it is mounted on the windscreen, in cab.]

    > Conformal coatings and potting are methods used to protect
    > components and equipment used in those environments. The relative
    > reliability of present-day automotive electronics over those of 20
    > years ago is a testament to the advances in component and assembly
    > construction.
    >


    Agreed!

    Cheers,
    Martin

    --

    TRW Conekt - Consultancy in Engineering, Knowledge and Technology
    http://www.conekt.net/electronics.html
    Martin Thompson, Feb 6, 2007
    #14
  15. wylbur37

    default Guest

    On Tue, 06 Feb 2007 05:59:32 -0500, JW <> wrote:

    >On Mon, 05 Feb 2007 16:14:11 -0500 default <> wrote
    >in Message id: <>:
    >
    >>The hard drive
    >>lubrication is thick and the speed of rotation can be low enough to
    >>let the heads contact the disk.

    >
    >Doubtful. A hard drive does not load the heads until the platters are up
    >to speed.


    That's what I thought. I use slide in hds on my desktop for backups,
    then they go into a different area for storage. Lost the D drive on a
    cold start (~50 deg.) and didn't think much about it but dragged out
    the backup drive that was stored at 40 deg. Instant audible
    destruction. I'm guessing the mechanism was a thick lubricant - but
    don't know that for a fact. I looked up the specification on the
    drive and it was 0 deg - 160 degrees for storage and 45 -110 for
    operating temperature.

    There was no doubt what the sound was, the old Winchesters would fail
    that way - come into work on a Monday and you could hear it as soon as
    the elevator doors opened. The drives were under warranty so I didn't
    open them.

    Both drives were relatively new Hitachi/IBM.

    I rigged a little heater I can put in under the drives and let them
    warm for a few hours before powering if the room temp is below 60.
    Maybe there is no correlation between the temperature and failure -
    but with the work involved in switching a drive, I'm not prepared to
    take the chance.
    --

    ----== Posted via Newsfeeds.Com - Unlimited-Unrestricted-Secure Usenet News==----
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    default, Feb 6, 2007
    #15
  16. wylbur37

    Guest Guest

    this is the kind of topic where useful info is shared and learned by
    nebisches as i
    ..



    "wylbur37" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > During the winter season, outside temperatures can go down to 10
    > degrees Farenheit or lower.
    >
    > Since many people carry their laptop computers to and from work
    > each day, I was wondering whether exposure to cold temperatures
    > can damage computer components or circuit boards.
    >
    > My guess is that 10 degrees F is probably not cold enough to cause
    > damage, and that any temperature-related damage is probably caused by
    > too rapid a change in temperature (cracking as a result of expansion
    > and contraction).
    >
    > Am I correct on this?
    >
    > If 10 degrees F is not cold enough, how cold would it have to be for
    > damage to occur?
    >
    >
    Guest, Feb 9, 2007
    #16
  17. wylbur37

    Michael Guest

    Al wrote:
    (snip)
    > The problem is with temperature cycling. The solder joints eventually
    > fracture and lead to either intermittents or opens. You can really
    > stress you electronics by letting it cold soak and then turning it on.
    > It may not fail immediately, but you have shortened its life.
    >
    > Al



    You make an excellent point, Al, that nobody else here brought up (as far as
    I've read). Thermal cycling stresses solder joints. Period. Repeated stress
    eventually causes strain (damage). Period.

    In a former life I was an engineer in Packaging Assurance at a major U.S.
    business machine company. Our life projection testing included thermal cycling
    in the range 0C-100C specifically because thermal cycling produces stress and
    stress precipitates strain ... i.e. component failure.

    So exposing e.g. your laptop to thermal cycling - be that room temp. -> hot car
    -> room temp. or room temp -> cold car -> room temp - is decidedly a Bad
    Thing. Maintaining your electronics at a *constant* temperature during its
    entire life is impractical but would go a long way toward extending its life.

    Then again, who really cares if a laptop dies after only a couple years? Within
    that relatively short period of time it is superceeded, at least twice, by
    newer-faster-better.

    So says this guy, who still uses a PC-AT, a vintage 1993 80486-20 laptop, and a
    vintage 1998 Pentium II-350 desktop PC.
    Michael, Feb 25, 2007
    #17
  18. wylbur37

    Al Guest

    In article <>,
    Michael <> wrote:

    > Al wrote:
    > (snip)
    > > The problem is with temperature cycling. The solder joints eventually
    > > fracture and lead to either intermittents or opens. You can really
    > > stress you electronics by letting it cold soak and then turning it on.
    > > It may not fail immediately, but you have shortened its life.
    > >
    > > Al

    >
    >
    > You make an excellent point, Al, that nobody else here brought up (as far as
    > I've read). Thermal cycling stresses solder joints. Period. Repeated
    > stress
    > eventually causes strain (damage). Period.
    >
    > In a former life I was an engineer in Packaging Assurance at a major U.S.
    > business machine company. Our life projection testing included thermal
    > cycling
    > in the range 0C-100C specifically because thermal cycling produces stress and
    > stress precipitates strain ... i.e. component failure.
    >
    > So exposing e.g. your laptop to thermal cycling - be that room temp. -> hot
    > car
    > -> room temp. or room temp -> cold car -> room temp - is decidedly a Bad
    > Thing. Maintaining your electronics at a *constant* temperature during its
    > entire life is impractical but would go a long way toward extending its life.
    >
    > Then again, who really cares if a laptop dies after only a couple years?
    > Within
    > that relatively short period of time it is superceeded, at least twice, by
    > newer-faster-better.
    >
    > So says this guy, who still uses a PC-AT, a vintage 1993 80486-20 laptop, and
    > a
    > vintage 1998 Pentium II-350 desktop PC.


    And I did component failure analysis at a major defense contractor. I've
    seen it too many times. And another one was tin whiskers between solder
    joints. ;-) Can't wait to see what happens with the new lead free
    solders. It'll be a bonanza for us failure analysts.

    Al
    Al, Feb 25, 2007
    #18
  19. wylbur37

    PeterD Guest

    On Sun, 25 Feb 2007 20:55:11 GMT, Al <> wrote:

    >In article <>,
    > Michael <> wrote:
    >
    >> Al wrote:
    >> (snip)
    >> > The problem is with temperature cycling. The solder joints eventually
    >> > fracture and lead to either intermittents or opens. You can really
    >> > stress you electronics by letting it cold soak and then turning it on.
    >> > It may not fail immediately, but you have shortened its life.
    >> >
    >> > Al

    >>
    >>
    >> You make an excellent point, Al, that nobody else here brought up (as far as
    >> I've read). Thermal cycling stresses solder joints. Period. Repeated
    >> stress
    >> eventually causes strain (damage). Period.
    >>
    >> In a former life I was an engineer in Packaging Assurance at a major U.S.
    >> business machine company. Our life projection testing included thermal
    >> cycling
    >> in the range 0C-100C specifically because thermal cycling produces stress and
    >> stress precipitates strain ... i.e. component failure.
    >>
    >> So exposing e.g. your laptop to thermal cycling - be that room temp. -> hot
    >> car
    >> -> room temp. or room temp -> cold car -> room temp - is decidedly a Bad
    >> Thing. Maintaining your electronics at a *constant* temperature during its
    >> entire life is impractical but would go a long way toward extending its life.
    >>
    >> Then again, who really cares if a laptop dies after only a couple years?
    >> Within
    >> that relatively short period of time it is superceeded, at least twice, by
    >> newer-faster-better.
    >>
    >> So says this guy, who still uses a PC-AT, a vintage 1993 80486-20 laptop, and
    >> a
    >> vintage 1998 Pentium II-350 desktop PC.

    >
    >And I did component failure analysis at a major defense contractor. I've
    >seen it too many times. And another one was tin whiskers between solder
    >joints. ;-) Can't wait to see what happens with the new lead free
    >solders. It'll be a bonanza for us failure analysts.
    >
    >Al


    RoHS solder has already shown itself to be substandard in this
    respect, and we'll be seeing lots of these failures as the standard
    becomes the rule in the rest of the world. Course, Europe will lead
    the way in broken electronics gear!

    Now that was done to reduce 'hazardous' materials in the disposal
    chain. Wait... So now they throw away *more* stuff because it breaks
    more quickly? That's efficiency?
    PeterD, Feb 25, 2007
    #19
  20. wylbur37

    Chris Jones Guest

    PeterD wrote:

    > On Sun, 25 Feb 2007 20:55:11 GMT, Al <> wrote:
    >
    >>In article <>,
    >> Michael <> wrote:
    >>
    >>> Al wrote:
    >>> (snip)
    >>> > The problem is with temperature cycling. The solder joints eventually
    >>> > fracture and lead to either intermittents or opens. You can really
    >>> > stress you electronics by letting it cold soak and then turning it on.
    >>> > It may not fail immediately, but you have shortened its life.
    >>> >
    >>> > Al
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> You make an excellent point, Al, that nobody else here brought up (as
    >>> far as
    >>> I've read). Thermal cycling stresses solder joints. Period. Repeated
    >>> stress
    >>> eventually causes strain (damage). Period.
    >>>
    >>> In a former life I was an engineer in Packaging Assurance at a major
    >>> U.S.
    >>> business machine company. Our life projection testing included thermal
    >>> cycling
    >>> in the range 0C-100C specifically because thermal cycling produces
    >>> stress and stress precipitates strain ... i.e. component failure.
    >>>
    >>> So exposing e.g. your laptop to thermal cycling - be that room temp. ->
    >>> hot car
    >>> -> room temp. or room temp -> cold car -> room temp - is decidedly a
    >>> Bad
    >>> Thing. Maintaining your electronics at a *constant* temperature during
    >>> its entire life is impractical but would go a long way toward extending
    >>> its life.
    >>>
    >>> Then again, who really cares if a laptop dies after only a couple years?
    >>> Within
    >>> that relatively short period of time it is superceeded, at least twice,
    >>> by newer-faster-better.
    >>>
    >>> So says this guy, who still uses a PC-AT, a vintage 1993 80486-20
    >>> laptop, and a
    >>> vintage 1998 Pentium II-350 desktop PC.

    >>
    >>And I did component failure analysis at a major defense contractor. I've
    >>seen it too many times. And another one was tin whiskers between solder
    >>joints. ;-) Can't wait to see what happens with the new lead free
    >>solders. It'll be a bonanza for us failure analysts.
    >>
    >>Al

    >
    > RoHS solder has already shown itself to be substandard in this
    > respect, and we'll be seeing lots of these failures as the standard
    > becomes the rule in the rest of the world. Course, Europe will lead
    > the way in broken electronics gear!
    >
    > Now that was done to reduce 'hazardous' materials in the disposal
    > chain. Wait... So now they throw away *more* stuff because it breaks
    > more quickly? That's efficiency?


    I'd also like to know if "tin pest" has started happening. I guess the
    first place to check would be some cold country because it's supposed to
    happen below 13 degrees C.

    Chris
    Chris Jones, Feb 25, 2007
    #20
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