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Paul Austen

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Senior Project Engineer
Electronic Controls Design Inc

Paul been with Electronic Controls Design Inc. (ECD) in Milwaukie, Oregon for over 34 years as a Senior Project Engineer. He has seen and worked with the electronic manufacturing industry from many points of view, including: technician, designer, manufacture, and customer. His focus has been the design and application of thermal process measurement tools used to improve manufacturing processes like: mass reflow and wave soldering, bread baking, paint and powder curing, metal heat treatment and more.

Paul Austen has submitted responses to the following questions.
Competing Reflow Oven Zones
Ovens do their best to maintain isolation between zones. But there are practical limits to what they can achieve because ...
Reflow Profile for Mixed Lead-Free and Leaded
The lead free board does not care about the thermal profile (temperatures on solder joints) or the oven recipe (zone) ...
Reflow Oven - 5 Zone or 8 Zone
For the most part, ovens with more zones (thus longer length conveyors) allow you to increase the conveyor speed and ...
Moisture Sensitive Components in Flooded Storage Facility
Unless the moisture exposure has damaged the component or the packaging mechanically or aesthetically, or there was direct contact between ...
Reflow oven testing and calibrating concern
There is now a standard, IPC-7801 "Reflow Oven Process Control Standard" which could help address C.J's question. ...
Moisture Sensitivity Level for Bare Boards
The moisture sensitivity of printed board design will depend on the resin system. Whether anyone has assigned an MSL number ...
What Is This Contamination?
From the picture, it is difficult to be sure. I would suggest there is a corrosive contaminant under the epoxy ...
Is Solder Mask Considered an Insulator
IPC standards are, for the most part, focused on quality, quality programs and the protection of the environment [http://www.ipc.org/ContentPage.aspx?pageid=Mission-Vision-and-Goals]. There ...
Stainless Steel Benches and ESD
Metal benches, if grounded correctly are not an ESD hazard, in fact grounded metal is the best sort of ESD ...
Soldering Frame Causing Cold Solder Joints
"Selective Soldering Frames" can "pull" large amounts of heat from the solder wave at the point of contact, effectively lowering ...
Floor Life of MSD Parts
J-STD-033C has a provision for repeated short term exposure(open bag) of parts in paragraphs: 4.1.2.1 and 4.1.2.2. Repeated exposure is ...
Solder Paste Prep Before Use
Although thismethod of preparing your solder paste is definitely acceptable, there arechances of running into a few issues. The main ...
Tiny Solder Balls After Reflow
One possible cause is the board itself. Air, moisture or eventhe alcohol you use to clean the board, can absorb ...
Production Floor Temperature and Humidity Loggers
One should not challenge an auditor, however it would be fair toask, what standard indicates that more than one temperature/humidity ...
ESD Grounding - 1 Meg Ohm Resistor
To prevent the user from being electrocuted shouldtheir wrist strap come into contact with a live mains voltage. 1 meg ...
Rechecking Thermal Profiles
It is very important to know you have the right oven recipe tocorrectly solder your customer's products. This can only ...
Soldering Station Calibration
Yes I agree! Anything used in critical manufacturing processescan and should be calibrated. Calibration is often confused with, adjustment or ...
Suggested Limit for PCBA Heat Cycles
I would "suggest" no more than two heating cycles, to solderreflow temperature. Most assemblies can be soldered in one pass ...
Burned Chip Repair
Surface mount components can be safely removed and a newcomponent can easily be replaced using the same tools. This process ...
What Causes Component Rotation During Reflow
This is likely caused by an uneven rate of heating; one pin(pad) is melting the solder a little faster than ...
Double Sided BGA
The fact that you are asking this question means you care aboutyour soldering processing and the impact they will have ...
Reflow Causing Warp
You must run a thermal profile first to find where the temp differences are on the board. Warp is caused ...
ESD and Humidification
Elevatedrelative humidity (RH) is known to help reduce the concentration or buildup ofelectric charge (potential difference). This can result in ...
Jumper Wire Gauge
Jumperwires on circuit boards can take a couple of forms. If you must use throughhole, bent solid wire jumpers are ...
Long Term Component Storage
Mostall manufactures ship their products having a Moisture Sensitivity Level (MSL)> 1 in a Moisture Barrier Bag (MMB) containing a ...
Reflow Oven Calibration Schedule
The oven manual or the oven manufacture is thebest source for a recommendation on the calibration frequency. However, manychoose to ...
A Generic Reflow Profile
You are correct in your thinking that differentboard types, thicknesses and component densities may demand different ovenrecipe settings (profile). Whether ...
Zip-lock Bags vs. Heat Sealed Bags
Thequestion of the quality of the seal in somewhat mute once you open a sealedcomponent bag. Oncea sealed bag from ...
Silver Solder for Audio Circuits
Allelements of the conductive path for audio signals have the potential for adding"noise" (aka: hiss, buzz, hum, etc) to the ...
Insufficient Barrel Fill on Through-hole Components
Thisis a difficult number to find in the "standards." Ican tell you that board designers have a "rule of thumb" ...
Test for Flux Penetration
Thetried and true method is to lay a flux sensitive paper over an unpopulatedboard and pass it over your machine's ...
Deionized Water Sample Testing
Deionizedwater is a very "hungry" acid. However, it's hunger is very easily satisfied.DI water fresh from a DI bed will ...
Soldering Multilayer Ceramic Chip Capacitors
It would be best if you could solder both ends of the cap at thesame time, using a hot air ...
Unusual Component Lead Contamination
Here is one possible cause to check on before you apply the failure to the component. As with most solder ...
Lead Free Reflow Oven Zone Count
More zones offers more flexibility in the board or solder paste target thermal profile "shape" because you have more places ...
Board Spacing During Reflow
All ovens behave different depending on the amount loading. It is more important to load the oven consistently for a ...
Lead-Free Profile Using Leaded Paste
Mixing solder alloys on the same board is never a good idea, but it is a cleaver thought. It won't ...
Need for Reflow Profiles
Thermal profiling is the only way to prove to your customers that your oven settings (the recipe) are such that ...
SPC for Reflow Ovens
What most people mean when they ask, "what is the best way of running SPC" on most any process is, ...
Adding Weights to Small BGA's During Reflow
Be sure you understand the thermal profile of the environment under this component before you try a mechanical remedy as ...
Through Hole Component Phase Out
Most electronic gadgets are designed to interface with humans in some fashion. We humans are very abusive to most electronic ...
Problems with Insufficient Barrel Fill
Good soldering needs 3 things: Solder, a "wetable" surface(s), and heat. I suspect you have the solder, so that's not ...
Polarity on LED SMT Components
Tradition for many years has made the cathode of diodes the feature to marked with a band or other indicator ...
What Is the Life Span for a Profile Board?
You are fortunate to have profile test boards and I applaud your efforts to make sure your ovens are producing ...
Tombstoning Dilemma
Tombstoning is often caused by one end of the part reaching liquidous temp just before the other end. The surface ...
Issues with BGA Components Near PCB Edges
Thermal Profiling is the key to determine if you are going to have a reflow problem with a BGA, or ...
Solder Joint Explosions
First make sure the temperature that the board's solder joints are being subjected to are within reasonable temperature limits by ...
Problems with blow holes
Blow holes have many causes. One possible cause is air escaping from between the layer of the PCB through pin ...