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'[EE]: Flux Kills ??? [a monday morning story]'
2000\07\17@145220 by Dan Michaels

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Funny thing happened on the way to monday. In the past we
have always used rosin-flux solder to hand solder pcbs. But
I have 3 new pcbs here that were soldered last week using
"water-clean" solder.

The boards use a 766x type switched capacitor negative voltage
converter chip, with 10+ Khz oscillator, that happily decided
not to run on any of the 3 boards. [I just love mondays].

So, scratch head, check with scope, input voltage ok, nothing
out. Hmmmm, measurements of inter-pin resistances with DMM all
>1 Mohm. Start snipping capacitors, v-regs, etc. Still doesn't
work. Hmmmm, scratch head. Maybe try cleaning up the new weird
flux with distilled water. Bingo, instant success - all 766x
chips start oscillating fine. Whew, new pcb layout ok - stop
sweating, go for cappucino. [Hmmm, maybe better clean all the
other solder joints too before any more tests].

Hmmm, in the past many people have mentioned problems getting
PIC oscillators to run properly. Hmmm, wonder could this have
to do with flux leakage - water-cleanable or otherwise?

Any comments?

cheers,
- DanM

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2000\07\17@152059 by Spehro Pefhany

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At 12:50 PM 7/17/00 -0600, you wrote:

>Hmmm, in the past many people have mentioned problems getting
>PIC oscillators to run properly. Hmmm, wonder could this have
>to do with flux leakage - water-cleanable or otherwise?
>
>Any comments?

Yes, I've noticed relatively severe leakage problems with
water soluble and no-clean formulations. The latter are
particularly stubborn to clean (no-can-clean). Since I do a
lot of fussy analog circuits it shows up clearly.

For prototypes I have rosin core flux around, for hand made
pre production careful cleaning is called for (even spot
cleaning).

This problem is compounded by what seems to be a lack of
awareness amoung the factory reps for the solder, who seem
to only think of 'pure' digital circuits where you could
dunk the thing in tap water and it would probably still
work (for a short while).

Best regards,

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2000\07\17@152319 by Craig Lee

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Flux really wreaks havoc with performance in RF circuits, but
'scratch head', 10kHz?!

Craig

{Quote hidden}

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2000\07\17@153347 by Dan Michaels

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Craig Lee wrote:
>Flux really wreaks havoc with performance in RF circuits, but
>'scratch head', 10kHz?!


Well, what can I say? No-clean-no-go, wash-distilled-run-fine.
Frequency is probably not the issue here, but rather switched-cap
switch operation.

cheers,
- DanM

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2000\07\17@153356 by Dan Michaels

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Spehro Pefhany wrote:
.........
>
>For prototypes I have rosin core flux around, for hand made
>pre production careful cleaning is called for (even spot
>cleaning).
>

In the past, I've not bothered about cleaning rosin core flux
- seems easier to just leave it on than use any of the cleaners,
which are all a mess. I've never noticed any serious "deterioration"
problems that others have mentioned.

- DanM

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2000\07\17@190027 by David Duffy

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What brand of solder was it? We've used the "Cobarcore" brand stuff and
not noticed any problems apart from working best with plated boards. On
some bare copper boards with a solder-through coating it didn't want to
flow as well. I haven't AFAIK had any flux related faults on boards using a
mix of audio,video,micro,etc signals. Something to think about though...

Regards, David.

At 12:50 PM 17/07/00 -0600, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2000\07\17@191312 by Tony Nixon

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Dan Michaels wrote:

> Hmmm, in the past many people have mentioned problems getting
> PIC oscillators to run properly. Hmmm, wonder could this have
> to do with flux leakage - water-cleanable or otherwise?

I get some of my ignition kits returned so I can try to find out why
they don't work, and amongst other things, some people have placed the
crystals in connectors made from machined IC sockets, including the
caps. (Does wonders for an automotive project)

--
Best regards

Tony

ICmicro's
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2000\07\17@191735 by Dan Michaels

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David Duffy wrote:
>What brand of solder was it? We've used the "Cobarcore" brand stuff and
>not noticed any problems apart from working best with plated boards. On
>some bare copper boards with a solder-through coating it didn't want to
>flow as well. I haven't AFAIK had any flux related faults on boards using a
>mix of audio,video,micro,etc signals. Something to think about though...
>

Yeah, the brand of solder may be a factor. We tried Sea Step
from Easy Braid. As this is a first try, it is useful to
hear what others are using.

But I am a little confused here. If the Cobarcore stuff is
water-clean type, then aren't you cleaning the boards after
soldering? If not, why not?  But if it's not water-clean, then
your experience falls into the "old" category - ie, of not
cleaning the old type rosin [??] flux.

- DanM

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2000\07\17@200158 by David Duffy

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>David Duffy wrote:
> >What brand of solder was it? We've used the "Cobarcore" brand stuff and
> >not noticed any problems apart from working best with plated boards. On
> >some bare copper boards with a solder-through coating it didn't want to
> >flow as well. I haven't AFAIK had any flux related faults on boards using a
> >mix of audio,video,micro,etc signals. Something to think about though...


DanM wrote:
>Yeah, the brand of solder may be a factor. We tried Sea Step
>from Easy Braid. As this is a first try, it is useful to
>hear what others are using.
>
>But I am a little confused here. If the Cobarcore stuff is
>water-clean type, then aren't you cleaning the boards after
>soldering? If not, why not?  But if it's not water-clean, then
>your experience falls into the "old" category - ie, of not
>cleaning the old type rosin [??] flux.

The Cobarcore (http://www.cobar.com) is a "no-clean" type with synthetic flux.
The boards look cleaner than with standard solder. (Neither cleaned)
Regards, David.

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2000\07\17@210345 by Dan Michaels

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David Duffy wrote:
.......
>The Cobarcore (http://www.cobar.com) is a "no-clean" type with synthetic flux.
>The boards look cleaner than with standard solder. (Neither cleaned)


Ahh, check the msg from Spehro Pefhany. He mentioned some
leakage problems with analog circuitry when using this type
of solder - plus the fact it is virtually "impossible" to
remove tis flux.

And as I said, with the water-clean type, all these problems
just "go down the drain" with the distilled water wash. Board
is pretty, flux is gone, leakage kaput, no gooey mess, no
horrid flux solvents.

- DanM

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2000\07\17@213748 by David Duffy

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DanM wrote:
>David Duffy wrote:
>.......
> >The Cobarcore (http://www.cobar.com) is a "no-clean" type with synthetic flux.
> >The boards look cleaner than with standard solder. (Neither cleaned)
>
>Ahh, check the msg from Spehro Pefhany. He mentioned some
>leakage problems with analog circuitry when using this type
>of solder - plus the fact it is virtually "impossible" to
>remove tis flux.

Hmmm... As a test I just cleaned a board done with the Cobar solder
with cold tap water & a toothbrush (old one !) - it cleaned up great.
It's a pity that the customer will never see it !  <G>

>And as I said, with the water-clean type, all these problems
>just "go down the drain" with the distilled water wash. Board
>is pretty, flux is gone, leakage kaput, no gooey mess, no
>horrid flux solvents.

I'm all for using less of all those smelly (and expensive) solvents.
What's the most cost effective way to water-clean the boards?
Buying distilled water sounds expensive - never really looked.
Do you leave the boards to drain/dry on a plastic rack or something?
Regards, David.

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2000\07\17@222717 by Dan Michaels

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David Duffy wrote:
.......
>>Ahh, check the msg from Spehro Pefhany. He mentioned some
>>leakage problems with analog circuitry when using this type
>>of solder - plus the fact it is virtually "impossible" to
>>remove tis flux.
>
>Hmmm... As a test I just cleaned a board done with the Cobar solder
>with cold tap water & a toothbrush (old one !) - it cleaned up great.
>It's a pity that the customer will never see it !  <G>
>

Too bad, looks like Spehro bought the wrong kind :-).
He got the "no-can-clean" kind.
===============

......
>I'm all for using less of all those smelly (and expensive) solvents.
>What's the most cost effective way to water-clean the boards?
>Buying distilled water sounds expensive - never really looked.
>Do you leave the boards to drain/dry on a plastic rack or something?
>

Good question - since I just tried water-clean solder for the 1st
time, and discovered the 766x no-run problem this morning ......
Maybe somebody else can answer.

Also, many board stuffer companies use H20-clean solder and
wet dunking procedures, so ....

- DanM

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2000\07\17@223610 by Spehro Pefhany

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At 08:26 PM 7/17/00 -0600, you wrote:
>
>Too bad, looks like Spehro bought the wrong kind :-).
>He got the "no-can-clean" kind.

Probably. ;-)

Though they *looked* really good before cleaning, after bad cleaning
and after scrubbing the (invisible) residue off. It's the electrical
characteristics that were unacceptable.

Best regards,


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
EraseMEspeffspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTinterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com
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=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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2000\07\18@014835 by Nigel Goodwin

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In message <1.5.4.16.20000717123512.304fd68espamspam_OUTlynx.sni.net>, Dan Michaels
<@spam@oricomKILLspamspamLYNX.SNI.NET> writes
>Funny thing happened on the way to monday. In the past we
>have always used rosin-flux solder to hand solder pcbs. But
>I have 3 new pcbs here that were soldered last week using
>"water-clean" solder.

A few months ago the 'Health and Safety Executive' came and did tests on
me at work, testing the amount of flux fumes I am subjected to in a
service environment. They are coming back again on Wednesday 19th July
to take further tests, as the original ones seemed unusually high - but
the way they wanted the test conducting in the first required continuous
soldering for 15 minutes, not a usual service procedure at all. I also
kept a record for them of all my soldering during the following week, it
was under the 15 minutes I did for them!.

I asked what the health hazard from the flux was, apparently it can
cause asthma, but none of the service departments they visited had any
asthma sufferers.

According to the representative who we usually buy solder from (probably
under 500g per year!), the new water based ones are really poor
performers, nowhere near as good as the old fluxes.
--

Nigel.

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2000\07\18@112640 by Dan Michaels

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Nigel Goodwin wrote:
........
>I asked what the health hazard from the flux was, apparently it can
>cause asthma, but none of the service departments they visited had any
>asthma sufferers.
>
>According to the representative who we usually buy solder from (probably
>under 500g per year!), the new water based ones are really poor
>performers, nowhere near as good as the old fluxes.
>--

By "poor performers" you mean they don't clean the component leads
as well, not that they produce more asthma?

- danM

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2000\07\18@152326 by Mark Willis

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David Duffy wrote:
> DanM wrote:
> >David Duffy wrote:
<snip>
{Quote hidden}

The stuff I use (Kester, I think?  I'd have to look;  Got it off the
shelf in the local electronics place, "SuperTronics") - it foams up and
comes off quickly with hot water without the toothbrush, faster with the
brush;  it comes off lots slower when removing it with cold water, so I
use hot.  I then get most of the water off (tap it on my hand to help
remove the water beads first from sockets, etc., then use a Q-Tip to get
any remaining water beads, towel hands try as needed o'course) - then
leave them in one of several warm places I have here (right outside a
server's power supply exhaust fan in summer, on an edge of the pellet
stove in winter) - the remaining moisture comes off pretty gently but
fairly rapidly;  you could use a hair dryer but I'd leave it on low -
you want any water you can get out to get away from the traces before
drying.

Some local manufacturing houses use a dishwasher with an orange-based or
lemon-based "Soap", for onesies what I do seems to work fine.

 Mark

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2000\07\18@162954 by Peter L. Peres

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>In the past, I've not bothered about cleaning rosin core flux
>- seems easier to just leave it on than use any of the cleaners,
>which are all a mess. I've never noticed any serious "deterioration"
>problems that others have mentioned.

I (we) use ONLY rosin flux for all work. Imho rosin has passed all
time-tests. Do you picture those dead bugs preserved perfectly for ~2
million years in a drop of amber ? That's a test that is good enough for
me ;-) Ditto the early electrostatic experiments which almost always used
amber (dielectric !). Rosin is in fact the base material for amber. Just
don't clean the boards and leave for 100-500 years to set ;-)

Peter

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2000\07\19@020726 by Nigel Goodwin

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In message <RemoveME1.5.4.16.20000718091022.373f1d7cTakeThisOuTspamlynx.sni.net>, Dan Michaels
<spamBeGoneoricomspamBeGonespamLYNX.SNI.NET> writes
>Nigel Goodwin wrote:
>........
>>I asked what the health hazard from the flux was, apparently it can
>>cause asthma, but none of the service departments they visited had any
>>asthma sufferers.
>>
>>According to the representative who we usually buy solder from (probably
>>under 500g per year!), the new water based ones are really poor
>>performers, nowhere near as good as the old fluxes.
>>--
>
>By "poor performers" you mean they don't clean the component leads
>as well, not that they produce more asthma?

Yes, they don't make soldering as easy as the older fluxes :-). The
fumes produced are not 'supposed' to have any nasty side effects.
--

Nigel.

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2000\07\20@021453 by Nigel Goodwin

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In message <RemoveMES5JKtpBkQKd5EwVgspamTakeThisOuTlpilsley.freeserve.co.uk>, Nigel Goodwin
<nigelgEraseMEspam.....lpilsley.freeserve.co.uk> writes
>>By "poor performers" you mean they don't clean the component leads
>>as well, not that they produce more asthma?
>
>Yes, they don't make soldering as easy as the older fluxes :-). The
>fumes produced are not 'supposed' to have any nasty side effects.

I don't like to reply to my own postings, but I was talking to the guy
from the 'Health and Safety Executive' today, and he said that they have
concerns about the new fluxes being used - they apparently have their
own types of safety issues!.
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