Ask the Experts
April 7, 2010 - Updated
April 5, 2010 - Originally Posted

Lead-free Assemblies Reworked with Leaded Solder

Can circuit board assemblies originally built using lead-free solder be reworked successfully using leaded solder? I realize the assemblies may not comply with RoHS requirements, but will they be as reliable? Do you have any general recommendations for changes to the rework process? Can you point to any industry specifications or documentation?

J. T.

Expert Panel Responses

This is a very common situation. The most important thing is that you MUST remove all traces of the old lead free solder. I would wick, re-tin with leaded solder and wick again. Once this is done then you can safely rework the area with leaded solder. Just be careful with all these heating operations and use a direct power soldering system, it will provide the maximum safety for your PCB assembly.

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.
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