alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)
I only recently found this report about a means to increase the capacity of lithium cells. It could be useful for many things. Netbooks and telephones are the obvious candidates, but it might also make electric cars genuinely practical.

If the use of renewable energy is to be substantially increased, will require a lot of energy storage, the doing of which is not currently known, if frequent power cuts are to be avoided, and this may be part of the solution.

ROHS woes

Jul. 23rd, 2008 04:10 pm
alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)

Since before the EU ROHS regulations came into force I have been wondering if the one that prohibits the use of lead in solder was a net benefit to the environment.

Yes, the solder in electronic equipment that is scrapped will be a bit less toxic, but:

1) It is all meant to be recycled anyway under regulations that came into force at around the same time (the WEEE regulations).

2) There will be more scrap because it will fail much sooner. 'Course, the councils will be able to charge us more to take the WEE to a recycling centre... and use more trucks and therefore fuel to do so.

I recently had an illustration of this when I tried to repair my niece's ipod. When I opened it I found that the problem appeared to be caused by a little of the solder paste not having melted, and having dried out and become a conductive dust in the works. The unused flux (I deduce) had caused corrosion when it got damp in the English weather, and so far repair has eluded me, despite repairing the obvious broken track and soldering the connections that were, previously, just touching.

With lead in the solder, there can (depending on the parts used) be tens of degrees between the temperature at which the solder melts, and the temperature that will rapidly destroy the components. Now, with lead-free solder, there is a wafer thin gap between not melting the solder and destroying everything rapidly by overheating. At best, some thermal damage is likely. At worst, a very few degrees of temperature difference between different areas being soldered can result in overheating in one place and not melting the solder elsewhere.

Today, while reading Electronics Weekly, I noticed this story about a lead-free reliability issue.

I think that the EU commissioners should be obliged to do all their air travel in aircraft with lead-free avionics for several years before anyone else does so. (There are currently temporary exemptions for avionics and military equipment.)


alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)

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