Servicing Older Boards: Lead Tinning And Solderability Testing Are A Must

Times change, as do materials and components used to assemble printed circuit boards. As older boards come into your shop, you will need to know if older or legacy components can be resoldered, which you will have to test.

For the manufacturer who offers maintenance and other services to customers, it’s vital to be able to reassemble boards. In same cases, you may have to reuse older components.

To ensure that components can be reworked, they have to be tested prior to resoldering to ensure that they will continue to function. This is where lead tinning and other solderability testing equipment is vital to have.

Getting Components Ready To Solder By Lead Tinning

Lead tinning is the process where an older/legacy component is made viable to solder again.

As components age, connections and solder joints can oxidize, making them less viable for resoldering and decreasing the quality of the connection. It happens to terminals of car batteries, just as it happens to components on printed circuit boards.

In the event that a manufacturer has to service a board or use legacy components to produce new boards, they have to function or else boards won’t be leaving the shop.

Lead tinning tests the oxidation and other deterioration of the component, as well as determining their composition as a result of that oxidation. From there, flux and solder can be customized to ensure the component can be soldered and form an effective solder joint and connection.

Having lead tinning equipment is vital if your shop will have to service or use legacy components for assembling new boards.

Steam Aging And Solderability Testing To Ensure Components Can Work

Steam aging and other solderability testing equipment similarly examines whether components can form effective connections.

Steam-aging is a stress test for electrical components. By subjecting them to water and heat, components are effectively oxidized at a faster rate as well as being subjected to heat stress.

When working up a new board design with new components, you need to know they will work and hold up to use. Therefore, steam aging is essential to stress-test components and new board designs for quality control.

Solderabilty testing systems can combine multiple functions at once, including lead tinning and other testing functions to test individual components or boards, if that is called for.

The advantage is for use servicing boards that have come back to the shop or if asked to rework them for a client. Some solderability systems are desktop-sized for this exact purpose.

In either case, these systems are vital if your shop provides servicing for older boards and components, custom builds for a client, or for R&D purposes as new board designs must be tested prior to manufacture and shipping.

Determine Your Testing Needs For Testing

Of course, every manufacturer and service center for printed circuit boards is different, and so is the specific needs they have right now or may have in the future. It’s vital to consider what those needs are prior to committing to a particular testing system.

Full-size lead tinning and steam-aging equipment are the best choice for large manufacturers and service centers, as these will have the greatest capability in terms of volume of testing and frequency.

If you’re frequently having to test components that come in for maintenance or service, or constantly developing new board designs, larger systems are called for and should be invested in for best results.

Desktop solderability testing systems are better for smaller operations, or if lead-tinning is not done frequently. If your shop does minimal servicing, or specializes in small-batch production for your client base, those are the better system to buy as they will have the capability needed.

Invest in the right equipment for your business, and you’ll always get better results.