[V6-12v] [s-cars] Tin whiskers

The CyberPoet thecyberpoet at cyberpoet.net
Fri Feb 22 21:43:55 PST 2008

(Kent, thank you for passing that bit around).

This is strictly supposition, but I would expect that the liberal use  
of dielectric grease would prevent at least the vapor that permits  
the plasma arc from forming, if not the whiskers from growing in the  
first place.

Although it doesn't seem common practice in the automotive trade, it  
is rather common practice in the motorcycle realms to immediately  
pack every electrical connector chock-full of dielectric grease for a  
new bike, or cleaning and packing/repacking connectors on used bikes  
when first acquired. A car that quits on you, quits on you. A  
motorcycle that quits on you has a higher probability of leaving you  
in a perilous situation at that instant.

Just a thought.

=-= Marc Glasgow

On Feb 22, 2008, at 10:42 PM, Tom Christiansen wrote:

> Folks,
> Most parts sold these days are ROHS compatible, thus, contain no  
> lead. It
> wouldn't make sense to have one product line for automotive use that
> contained lead and another product line for everything else that  
> did not
> contain lead. So manufacturers have been phasing out lead for a  
> while now.
> Yeah... like everything else you don't get something for nothing.  
> So when
> they phased out lead, an old friend -- tin whiskers -- came to visit.
> Whether it's the removal of lead that causes the problem or if it's  
> really a
> product of miniaturization is unclear to me. I think one probably
> exacerbates the other. In any case, if the car manufacturers buy  
> components
> from established manufacturers who have reasonable product  
> qualification
> tests in place (this include testing at elevated temperature,  
> humidity,
> operating voltage, etc as well as temperature cycling) for weeks it
> shouldn't be much of a problem.
> I certainly wouldn't shy away from getting a new car because it might
> contain ROHS compatible components. In fact I bet the connectors  
> and wires
> will fail before tin whiskers became a problem.
> Tom
> On Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 6:41 PM, Kent McLean  
> <kentmclean at comcast.net> wrote:
>> Mike Sylvester wrote:
>>> Are they actually using no-lead solder in the automotive industry?
>> I dunno. That's why we have this list, to discuss stuff like this.  
>> But
>> lead is
>> slowly being removed from products. Have you seen the plumbing in  
>> a new
>> house
>> lately?  Most of 'em don't have copper *or* lead.
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