[Beowulf] Whiskers and computer problems.

Jim Lux james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Sun Sep 26 09:24:10 EDT 2004


----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrew Piskorski" <atp at piskorski.com>
To: "Beowulf Mail list" <beowulf at beowulf.org>
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2004 5:26 PM
Subject: Re: [Beowulf] Whiskers and computer problems.


> On Fri, Sep 24, 2004 at 10:53:24AM -0600, Robin Laing wrote:
>
> > Tin Whisker (and Other Metal Whisker) Homepage
> > http://nepp.nasa.gov/whisker/index.html
>
> Interesting, I had not heard about that.  Any idea how the
> semiconductor industry handles that, and how long have they been doing
> so?  I assume they do, as there's computer equipment ALL OVER modern
> fabs...

The way the industry handles it is by not using pure tin anymore...At least
in spaceflight hardware that we buy at JPL.  It is very troublesome in that
space hardware tends to use older parts (more experience and test data) and
because Class S parts are wretchedly expensive, we tend to use parts that
may have been in storage for a while (leftovers from a previous large buy,
for instance).  More than one project has encountered problems because when
they looked at the parts they wanted to use, they discovered that they had
pure tin plating (or worse, something plated over pure tin, so it wasn't
obvious at first).

The push to Lead-Free solder is causing lots of people lots of grief for
this reason.

Jim Lux
JPL

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