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June 29, 2011

ENIG and Black Pad

We have noticed a problem on ENIG boards in our WAVE process. The problem looks similar to Black Pad. We do not know how to identify the problem, or where to begin to find a resolution to the problem. Here are some facts:

  1. Black residue is on the vias and this on the solder side.
  2. Component side SMT parts do not exhibit the problem.
  3. Boards are processed Pb-free - SAC305, with no-clean water based flux.
  4. THTs will not wet after residues appear (for touch up process)
  5. Blowholes appear to accompany the defect but are not always present.

Hope you can help identify the problem and how to eliminate it.

G. R.

Experts Comments

You likely have a sulfur contamination issue. Sulfur residues can occur when there is ineffective cleaning after the nickel plating process.

Dr. Craig D. Hillman
CEO & Managing Partner
DfR Solutions
Dr. Hillman's specialties include best practices in Design for Reliability, strategies for transitioning to Pb-free, supplier qualification, passive component technology and printed board failure mechanisms.
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