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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.
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 ...
Solder Paste Prep Before Use
Although this method of preparing your solder paste is definitely acceptable, there are chances of running into a few issues. ...
Tiny Solder Balls After Reflow
One possible cause is the board itself. Air, moisture or even the alcohol you use to clean the board, can ...
Production Floor Temperature and Humidity Loggers
One should not challenge an auditor, however it would be fair to ask, what standard indicates that more than one ...
ESD Grounding - 1 Meg Ohm Resistor
To prevent the user from being electrocuted should their wrist strap come into contact with a live mains voltage. 1 ...
Rechecking Thermal Profiles
It is very important to know you have the right oven recipe to correctly solder your customer's products. This can ...
Soldering Station Calibration
Yes I agree! Anything used in critical manufacturing processes can and should be calibrated. Calibration is often confused with, adjustment ...
Suggested Limit for PCBA Heat Cycles
I would "suggest" no more than two heating cycles, to solder reflow temperature. Most assemblies can be soldered in one ...
Burned Chip Repair
Surface mount components can be safely removed and a new component can easily be replaced using the same tools. This ...
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 ...
Double Sided BGA
The fact that you are asking this question means you care about your soldering processing and the impact they will ...
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
Elevated relative humidity (RH) is known to help reduce the concentration or buildup of electric charge (potential difference). This can ...
Jumper Wire Gauge
Jumper wires on circuit boards can take a couple of forms. If you must use through hole, bent solid wire ...
Long Term Component Storage
Most all manufactures ship their products having a Moisture Sensitivity Level (MSL) > 1 in a Moisture Barrier Bag (MMB) ...
Reflow Oven Calibration Schedule
The oven manual or the oven manufacture is the best source for a recommendation on the calibration frequency. However, many ...
A Generic Reflow Profile
You are correct in your thinking that different board types, thicknesses and component densities may demand different oven recipe settings ...
Zip-lock Bags vs. Heat Sealed Bags
The question of the quality of the seal in somewhat mute once you open a sealed component bag.   Once ...
Silver Solder for Audio Circuits
All elements of the conductive path for audio signals have the potential for adding "noise" (aka: hiss, buzz, hum, etc) ...
Insufficient Barrel Fill on Through-hole Components
This is a difficult number to find in the "standards." I can tell you that board designers have a "rule ...
Test for Flux Penetration
The tried and true method is to lay a flux sensitive paper over an unpopulated board and pass it over ...
Deionized Water Sample Testing
Deionized water is a very "hungry" acid. However, it's hunger is very easily satisfied. DI water fresh from a DI ...
Soldering Multilayer Ceramic Chip Capacitors
It would be best if you could solder both ends of the cap at the same time, using a hot ...
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 ...