ROHS - Green or Madness ?


2005-03-10 11:57 pm
In a thread started today :-

I have a box full of electrolitic caps most of which are audio grade to some extent and some high quality parts - the list is below. They were going in the skip at work because they are not Rohs compliant (How green is that).

How much perfectly 'good' stuff is being thrown into landfill in the name of being 'green'?

In the UK, once it is in the dumpster or council rubbish depot, it is highly unlikely that anyone will be able to get their hands on it !!!

RoHS is for the most part just the government intervening and making decisions on things it doesn't understand. Unfortunately, this happens all too often.

Thankfully where I work only some of our product is sold to Europe, so we can still use non-RoHS stock up on products not sold to Europe.

For those who have ordered crossover parts from Solen in the past few months, you may have noticed the parts ending in "NR" being sold at a discount. These are the non-RoHS compliant parts that Solen is getting rid of. See the "On Sale" page for details.
ROHS is a big no-no, it was created by politicians that do not (want to) understand the real world problems. They are trying to make dumpster-ready throw-and-forget consumer electronics by prohibiting the use of a few toxic substances, which is a very naive approach that will never work.

The truth is that electronic equipment will always contain toxic substances, and semi-precious metals like copper, gold, silver, tin, etc... whose price is climbing every day because we are running out of natural reserves (that we will be forced to start recovering from dumpsters soon). That's why every piece of electronic gear must be recycled, like every car.

ROHS should have been conceived as "Recycling of Harmful Substances" rather than "Reduction of Harmful Substances"

The following link explains why we are actually going back to lead-tin solder and avoiding lead-free solder in some applications :


2004-09-08 7:17 am
If they REALLY wanted to "get the lead out" (har, har), they'd go after automobile batteries.

Economically, if Lithium Ion technology was in the demand for the auto market, with big auto money to develop it further, it would be less than a decade before they would be comparable $.

The purpose of RoHS, like so much of EU legislation, is to favor large established well-connected companies over small operations and start-ups.

That is my opinion for a long time already. Fortunately we are not (yet :bawling: ) a member of this strange organisation. Unfortunately our rulings and laws are strrongly influenced by them anyway !!!! :bawling: :bawling: :bawling:

Years ago they introduced new EMC rulings that were dropped again later on, when small companies were already killed by these.
I can't remember who it was but someone (from this forum) once metioned that EMC means Eliminate Minor Competitors.



P.S.: Don't such things belong to politics which in turn are forbidden to discuss about on this forum ???? ;)
you can continue to ship product you have in inventory under transition rules.

here Stateside we are getting rid of the plain vanilla incandescent bulb -- replacing it with one which contains mercury. the appealing nature of incandescent is its warm spectrum -- i can hardly wait until they get Hilary under a CFL.

we also have the 3.8 litre flush toilet -- which costs 5X that of an ordinary toilet. one guy here in NJ had a contract with the state to pull out all of the old terlets in housing projects in Newark and replace them with the 1 gal variety. this is what government does best, reallocate money to crooked politicians and their relatives.
Don't such things belong to politics which in turn are forbidden to discuss about on this forum ????

It's definitely approaching the danger zone. I'll try to keep on the right side of the line, but if one of the other moderators slaps me down, I'll understand completely. Always wondered what the inside of the SinBin looks like...

Jack, have you red Rod Elliot's rants about CFLs? My lab lighting is CFL now, and to make a low noise measurement, I have to turn them all off.
SY said:

Jack, have you red Rod Elliot's rants about CFLs? My lab lighting is CFL now, and to make a low noise measurement, I have to turn them all off.

Long time ago.

Perhaps 10 years ago there was an article in EDN about fluourescents and diodes -- seems that a fellow was trying to do some precision measurements and kept getting bizarre results -- the pulsing of the flourescents was illuminating some diodes and altering the current.

After all the incandescents have been chucked we're going to find out that the CFL's cause hyper-activity in adults. If you ever look at the spectrum of these lamps you're gonna understand why some folks prefer vinyl to CD's --
I have been using CFL for 20 years now, I started with the ones that had a conventional ballast rather than a high frequency one. Nowadays there is a wide selection of CFL with varying quality, ranging from the cold white Chinese stuff with noisy ballasts that also produce quite a lot of heat (and probably UV) and are available in up to 32W, to the higher quality warm white Philips stuff (that does no longer seem to be available in high power >15W versions).

Anyway, I find that conventional fluorescent lamps with conventional ballasts are far more noisy, both electrically and acoustically. There is usually substantial RF ringing at zero crossing.
phase_accurate said:
I assume that more electrical energy would be saved if it was forbidden to illuminate empty office-buildings and department stores at night than changing the light bulbs.



This is coming -- in the U.S. there will be "dark" laws which prohibit night-time illumination of building exteriors -- so we will look like I recall Prague and Dresden back when I first visited in the 1960's. Worst are the suburban homes with the trees iluminated at 3:00 in the morning.

All of the lamps generate some heat and it can be more economic to load the building with some heat continuously -- rather than trying to warm a cold building at 7:00 in the morning. That's why we have pointy-headed guys who know a lot of calculus. It's not just the physics, it's the KWH charge which varies during the day and the thresh-hold points for surcharges. The electric co's work with folks, however, since it is in their interest to optimize their capital expenditures.

I have never met a politcian who took calculus or statistics.


2006-04-26 5:50 pm
The laws could be misguided but Pb is a poison and if there are alternatives thay should be used. Also I don't remember how much Hg is in a light bulb 5mg? How does that waste compare to that of the coal plant? Does the use of these bulbs use less coal? Is there a net loss in Hg output?
we also have the 3.8 litre flush toilet -- which costs 5X that of an ordinary toilet.

The gallon/flush toilet idea (thanks Al!) doesn't work that well anyhow because more often than not one has to flush two or three times to get everything to go, and on the the really big jobs your business has to be divided to prevent stoppage. Same thing with RoHS solders - way more energy is used to get the joint right than with ordinary 63/37. I have been exploiting the Solen sale page for a year now - in this case I am able to gain from government silliness.



2002-12-23 11:22 pm

I haven't seen anyone else mention this yet, but what concerns me about this RoHS directive is that lead-free soldered joints have an adverse effect on ultimate sonics.
I believe this is due to the joints (however carefuly made) being always dull in appearance and rough-surfaced compared with a shiny 'conventional' joint with a meniscus or fillet of solder running up the lead of the component.
Lead-free solders just don't properly 'wet' the parent metals like conventional solders do, and the new alloys formed during soldering between the copper (or whatever) leads and the traces, are brittle and just not as strong and can be broken apart more easily.

I earned my living through soldering (by hand) for some years and learned just a little bit about this subject at that time. I used to compare entire PCBs which had been soldered with different solder alloys, but which were otherwise identical, and the results can and do sound different. Currently I have 8 different solder formulations (and 5 fluxes) but will not use lead-free for anything by choice for DIY, although we cannot avoid this now in any commercial work. As someone else has said, more heat is needed, anyway, with lead-free and the results are not as good from the aspects of longevity, strength, and (for us) sonics, and that is why there are certain 'dispensations' for life-support/critical applications.

Furthermore, I have more lead on my roof than will be in all of the electronic circuit boards in the town where I live, and this is being constantly 'washed' 24 hrs a day by more acidic rain than used to be the case. Lead is a fairly benign metal, I know, but it does erode over time and forms white 'salty' deposits which will be washed into the ground or into the local drainage systems.
Locally, I know of several civic buildings and churches where there are thousands of square feet of exposed lead on their roofs, and no-one turns a hair about this, but lead came out of the ground originally as lead ore, anyway. I don't know about the miners involved, but in Cornwall (UK) where lead was mined years ago, I don't think that there were any special health issues, and the locals were sitting on top of thousands of tons of lead ore at one time, until it was all dug out.

Somewhat regrettably, I am old enough to remember that all of the domestic water pipes in the UK at one time were just plain lead, and we bathed in, washed our clothes in, cooked our food in, and innocently drank this water, all of which had come through lead pipes.

It really is quite ridiculous!:(