Ask the Experts
June 2, 2008 - Updated
June 2, 2008 - Originally Posted

Leaded Solder on ROHS Compliant Parts?

Is it a problem soldering (by hand in this case) RoHS compliant parts to a RoHS compliant PCB using leaded solder?


Expert Panel Responses

Can't really answer that unless I know if the assembly is a RoHS part or not. If this assembly is RoHS then yes it is a problem and will put the assembly out of spec. If the final assembly is not RoHS then it is not a problem and will make the job easier using Sn/Pb solder. I assume this is PTH parts we are talking about and many of these parts are no longer available with Sn/Pb tinning or plating because it is easier to just make everything RoHS and it works in both leaded and lead-free process. As long as your assenbly does not need to be lead-free you fine to use the leaded solder and the solder joints will be just fine also.

Greg Hueste
Senior Applications Engineer
Speedline Technologies
Greg joined Electrovert in February 1984. Based out of the Electrovert applications laboratory in Camdenton Missouri, Greg has been in the process applications support role since 2000. His primary responsibilities include providing process and machine applications support for the wave soldering lines as well as process, machine and operations training. He also provides applications support for the reflow and cleaner lines. Greg is a PBET certified trainer and holds two patents on wave solder nozzle design.

No, using leaded solders on a lead free application will work just fine. You might notice a small difference in the wetting characteristics of the assembly but just remember to keep the temperatures low and if possible use a variable power soldering iron.

Edward Zamborsky
Regional Sales Manager
OK International Inc.
Ed Zamborsky is a Regional Sales & Technical Support Manager for Thermaltronics, located in New York. His position requires frequent customer visits throughout North America and the Caribbean and his position encompasses not only sales but the role of trainer and master applications engineer for all of Thermaltronics products. His expertise includes such specialties as hand soldering, convection and conduction reflow techniques, array rework, fluid dispensing equipment, and fume extraction. Ed has authored many articles and has presented many papers on topics such as; Low Volume SMT Assembly, Solder Fume Extraction, SMT Rework, BGA Rework, Lead-Free Hand Soldering, High Thermal Demand Hand Soldering, Lead Free Visual Inspection and Lead Free Array Rework.

If the product is supposed to be RoHS-compliant then yes, it is a potential legal problem because it may no longer be RoHS compliant if the product can not take advantage of the exclusion for lead in solder.

Michael Kirschner
Design Chain Associates, LLC
Mr. Kirschner is President of Design Chain Associates, LLC, focused on helping electronics OEMs comply with RoHS/WEEE requirements, and speeding time-to-market, reducing product cost, and increasing engineering and procurement efficiency.
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