Technical Articles Archives

Ten Labels to Solve Your Engineering Challenges


Put the right one on There’s a right label for every application and Brady has designed a handy cheat sheet to help you on your way. When choosing a label, you’ll want to ask yourself several questions – Will the Read more

Dry Air Static Control and Ionizers


Dry air and ESD control The specifications and devices being assembled determine the recommended humidity range for a manufacturing facility. When the air is dry, static control becomes much more challenging. Although ESD events may be reduced by increasing the Read more

Zero in on Smog with Weller’s Fume Extractors


Weller Zero Smog Fume Extractors Compared   Smog - fog or haze combined with smoke and other atmospheric pollutants Weller’s fume extractors remove dangerous gases and harmful particles out of the air, typically while soldering to create a healthier environment. If you’re Read more

Ten Things You Should Know About LEDs

Posted on by Barb N. in LEDs, Technical Articles Leave a comment

LEDs – Know the basics

From manufacturers to universities, LEDs are quickly replacing conventional light sources. Knowing a few basics may help you weave your way through this wave of the future. Here are lighting manufacturer Luxo’s suggestions for things you should know about LEDs.

  1. What is an LED (Light Emitting Diode)?

An electronic component that generates light in a semi-conductor material. Under the right circumstances a diode may provide different wavelengths of seeable light.

  1. LEDs are not new.

Some people may recognize LEDs as being the red or green signal markers on hi-fi’s and TV sets—usually low-powered LEDs. High-powered LED costs have dropped in the past couple of years and operate at powers of around 1 W making them attractive to most industries. Forecasts show that by 2020, almost 50 % of all new and replacement light source unit sales will be based on LEDs–and because LEDs cost more than conventional lighting, the value of the LED sales will be even higher.

  1. LEDs last longer and don’t need to be replaced as often as most conventional lighting.

LEDs don’t have any movable parts or filaments to break so they last longer. This makes them very convenient with installations and replacements of challenging luminaires especially those at excessive heights and other difficult to service locations, e.g., windmills, telecommunication towers and chimney stacks.

  1. LEDs are more efficient than many conventional light sources.

All of the light emitted by an LED points in one direction allowing for less reflections inside the luminaire making them very suitable in situations where only downward lighting is needed. However, if both upward and downward light distribution is needed, the LED is less suitable, e.g., if compared to a T5 fluorescent lamp.

  1. LEDs offer new possibilities for color tuning to evolve.

Because LEDs are electronic components, they can be easily controlled (tuned) using software and control gear. An LED luminaire color can be mixed and may include red, blue and green diodes resulting in either colored light or white light.

The different color temperatures make it possible to produce cool and warm colored light. This capability comes in handy in office environments, schools and hospitals where concentrated light might be warranted, e.g., during a patient examination. LEDs can also be tuned to a warm temperature where more relaxing lighting may be desired, e.g., yoga cool down.  This attribute is also being maximized to increase the growth of plants and reduce water consumption.

  1. Temperatures inside a diode define an LED’s lifetime.

Heat management is the key to controlling the life of an LED and the temperature inside the diode. The temperature within an LED may get very high causing it to slowly emit less and less light. The higher the internal temperature, the faster the lumen degradation. Higher temperature on the LED chip (known as the junction temperature) speeds up the decline.

Lumen – a unit of luminous flux in the International System of Units, that is equal to the amount of light given out through a solid angle by a source of one candela intensity radiating equally in all directions. 

  1. Understanding LEDs and lifetime, and diminishing output.

The amount of light from the light source at a future point in time is called the lamp lumen maintenance factor, or LLMF.  The lifetime of an LED module is defined as the time it takes until its light output, or lumen maintenance, reaches 70% of the initial output (L70). This means the module doesn’t die instantly as do most conventional light sources; instead it slowly dims down. The luminaire industry has standardized LED lifetime L70 to a minimum of 50,000 hours.  This corresponds to an LLMF of 0.7 as long as the lifetime of the lighting installation is set to the same amount of hours.

  1. The color spectrum of an LED comes from its color rendering capability.

Sunlight, halogen and metal halides possess complete spectrums while sodium lamps,

fluorescent tubes and LEDs have varying power distribution curves. Cool white LEDs have more blue light in them; warm white LEDs have more yellow and red light. 

  1. The LED driver is the auto pilot of the LED luminaire. Proper drivers help LEDs to stay cool and stable.

LED drivers differ from conventional power supplies because an LED driver responds to the varying needs of the LED supplying constant amounts of power as its electrical properties change with temperature. Choices include constant current for serial connections or constant voltage for parallel connections.

LED driver advantages –

  • Short response time – switches and dims immediately and can dim all the way from 0.1 to 100%
  • Very efficient at producing colored light

 

  1. Watch the LED’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Many applications warrant using LEDs, but not all. Analyzing the TCO when investing in LEDs including the energy costs, lamp change costs and cleaning costs can be crucial. Take time to consider all costs and suitable applications before making a final decision to transition or make new investments in LEDs.

 

 

Infographic showing the history of the LED light

 


The Benefits of ESD-Safe Turntables -Take One for a Spin

Posted on by Barb N. in Cleanroom, ESD News, Product Reviews, Static Control Tips and Tricks, Technical Articles Leave a comment

Remember the lazy Susan?

imagesOnce a staple on every dining room table where with a spin of a wooden disc your salt and pepper shakers suddenly appeared in front of you. The same idea works for an ESD-safe turntable, however this disc does much more than turn.

Just like the revolving server, the turntable rotates to make working on large products and assemblies easier. With an ESD-safe turntable you avoid lifting heavy objects and–potential back injuries. With just a turn of the wheel you can access your next work area with ease—no lifting, lugging or jostling into place. And of course, the turntable eliminates electrostatic build-up.

The devices can be used on grounded or ungrounded surfaces, however on ungrounded surfaces the turntable must be grounded. The sizes range from 12” to 20” and come in different shapes depending on your application and preference.

esd-turntable

ESD-Safe Turntable – Not for use with food. Great for heavy objects.

The ESD-safe turntable can be an invaluable tool in the electronics industry and has become a staple in its own right at many workstations. See a choice of ESD-safe turntables at All-Spec including these brands – Protektive Pak, Fancort, Sovella and Desco.

Summary –

  • Keeps heavy objects grounded and shielded from static
  • Eliminates heavy lifting or transport
  • Protects workers, products and components
  • Useful all kinds of heavy assembly, rework or maintenance jobs
  • Removes charges on contact with grounded ESD surfaces

 

 

SEE HOW IT WORKS – Protektive Pak ESD Turntable


ESD–Smaller Parts, Bigger Problems

Posted on by Barb N. in ESD News, Static Control Tips and Tricks, Technical Articles Leave a comment

ESD Sparks Conversation

It’s no shock that smaller electronic parts have been causing bigger ESD (electrostatic dissipation) problems–serious problems that cause component damage and money. How much damage depends on the sensitivity or susceptibility of the device.

Thankfully you can put controls in place to significantly reduce ESD incidents. Preplanning, understanding causes and solutions, and wearing special fabrics and components will help.

Preplanning

  1. Design products and assemblies to be as protected as practical from ESD damage
  2. Decide how much of the environment needs to be controlled
  3. Identify the areas needing protection and ESD sensitive parts
  4. Define the electrostatic protected areas (EPAs)
  5. Define the areas where ESD sensitive parts (ESDs) will be handled
  6. Eliminate static generating processes to reduce electrostatic charge generation; keep processes and materials at the same electrostatic potential; provide appropriate ground paths to minimize charge generation and accumulation
  7. Use grounding, ionization, and conductive and dissipative static control materials to dissipate and neutralize
  8. Use grounding, ionization, and conductive and dissipative static control materials to dissipate and neutralize
  9. Protect products from ESD with proper grounding or shunting, static control packaging and material handling products

Areas needing ESD protection

Causes and effective solutions

ESD is a tiny version of lightning. As the current dissipates through an object, it’s seeking a low impedance path to ground to equalize potentials. In most cases, ESD currents will travel to ground via the metal chassis frame of a device. However, it’s well known that current will travel on every available path.

Table showing esd causes and solutions

Control the area

The first step is to ground all components of the workstation and the personnel (work surfaces, equipment, etc.) to the same electrical ground point, called the “common point ground” i.e., system or method for connecting two or more grounding conductors to the same electrical potential.

All-Spec carries all of the products listed below to help you control your environment and keep it safe from ESD.

ESD control materials

 


BGA Conductor Receives a Path Redesign

Posted on by Michelle R. in Technical Articles Leave a comment

From design to production, circuit boards require hours of planning, execution, revision and more revision to arrive at a final product (until the next model comes out). Recently, BGA conductors were evaluated and found to have a design that contained a flaw involving 23 of the 676 balls on their component. The problem? They weren’t connected where they needed to be connected.

blogBGA

With re-routing as the only viable solution, the design team set about what was a major undertaking. Had the pads that required re-routing been located on the perimeter of the BGA’s layout, the rework would have been much easier. However, their actual location proved to be a challenge that would require meticulous planning.

It was decided that the newly routed pads needed to extend from the center of the component, and they would stretch to the outside of the package footprint so wires could be added to the newly designed pattern of the surface mount pads.

Easy in theory. A bit more challenging in practice.

The initial design placed the new circuits too close to those on the circuit board. Creating a configuration that prevented the newly laid circuit from interfering with the solder paste stenciling and BGA placement required several intricate operations before the new paths were placed where they needed to be.

Whether constructing a new design or improving on a current one, trust your electronic assembly applications to Hisco, where we have the best names in the industry available by phone or on the internet. Call us or visit us online today!


Lead-Free Solder: What You Need to Know

Posted on by Michelle R. in Technical Articles Leave a comment

Health dangers associated with lead use are well-documented, and most countries have already begun the transition to lead-free soldering solutions because of these negative effects. Here’s what you need to know about working with lead-free solder.

Lead free solder image

Advances in soldering chemistry are slowly allowing lead-free solder to shed its reputation as an inferior alternative to lead-based solder. Adding tin, silver, copper and nickel in various amounts adds strength to lead-free solder and, in some cases, offers superior strength.

Lead-free solder also has less impact on the environment when used over the long term, as properly disposing of lead presents its own unique set of challenges. Lead-free alternatives are easier to dispose of when no longer needed, and they pose a much smaller risk to health.

It is important to note that the more pure lead-free solder is, the stronger and more reliable it is. This means that you should never mix it with lead-based solder, as this can lead to weakened joints. Also, lead-free solder does not require special soldering irons for use, especially when the application calls for switching soldering material.

For the latest in soldering paste and soldering products, All-Spec carries the brands that professionals trust at competitive prices. Call or visit us online today!

 

 


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