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Rocketman
User Rank
Iron
Re: Upside to the on-going debate
Rocketman   7/26/2012 11:05:33 AM
I remember dealing with tin wiskers on wire wrap terrestrial sysems back in the 70's.  They were occuring between pins with 1/16 in spacing. Ok, so now I've been working with spacecraft and satellites for 25 years where there is one rule on this: don't use pure tin. I feel like saying "duh". 

ttemple
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Upside to the on-going debate
ttemple   7/26/2012 10:46:30 AM
NO RATINGS
Amen to that naperlou.

I have a 2006 Malibu, over 100k miles on it, virtually no problems.  Easily gets mid 30's on the highway, mid 20's driving around town.  Got 80k miles on the original tires.

I drive a 1992 Cadillac Deville that has 202k miles on it.  Runs like a champ.  Springs a leak here and there every once in a while (my plumbing aint' what it used to be either!), but other than that it gets me around.  I get about 20 mpg, almost all around town driving.

I don't believe that the "J factor" cars are ultimately any better than "A factor" cars.  I have had both over the years, and I have had good experiences with both. I prefer current American built sedans to anything built.

ttemple
User Rank
Platinum
Re: More information
ttemple   7/26/2012 10:36:43 AM

"In fact, NHTSA only knows of four occurrences of tin whiskers in a population of 1.7 million Camry vehicles. None of those occurrences involved any crashes or injuries and in each case, the vehicle entered a form of fail-safe operation that was so noticeable that the consumer quickly brought the vehicle in for repair."

 

What kind of rubbish is that?  It implies that they inspected 1.7 million vehicles.  How many did they actually look at? four? four thousand? forty thousand?  Certainly wasn't 1.7 million.

 

Chuck_IAG
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Upside to the on-going debate
Chuck_IAG   7/26/2012 10:29:03 AM
To Mr Weaver: with all due respect, it appears your comparison of the relative ease of servicing different brands of cars was comparing a standard transmission with an automatic.  Manual transmissions will always have a threaded (and inconvenient) plug to check the lubrication level, rather than a dipstick as do automatics; the fluids have different purposes and viscosities.  The same is true with Toyota stick shifts.  Having had a number of BMWs as well as a number of Toyotas (and 2 Lexuses), I know the engineering levels vary.  However, the downfall of the German engineering is their electronics, not their mechanics. My 1984 BMW 635CSi drive train was darn-near bulletproof and still cranked out well in excess of 130 MPH before I got too scared to push my luck, and traded it off last year (for, oddly, an older Toyota MR2).  I fear Toyota, "German cars," and any other manufacturer in the spotlight can be found "guilty" of cost/benefit tradeoffs.  My wife (the Lexus driver) calls it a witch hunt.

averagejoe72677
User Rank
Gold
Tin Whisker Headaches
averagejoe72677   7/26/2012 10:17:16 AM
Seems to me the EU in it's quest to eliminate lead as a pollution source has signed the death warrant of untold millions of electronic devices around the world. It isn't just automobile electronics that will suffer a premature death, it is just about all devices we buy and use everyday, washers, dryers, TV's cell phomes etc. There have been numerous post placed here over the last few years about tin whiskers causing electronic failures in all types of electronics. If indeed electronic throttle controls on cars are susceptable to this same fate as other electronic devices, then there should be a loud outcry worldwide to suspend ROHS compliance until a workable solution is found.

naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Upside to the on-going debate
naperlou   7/26/2012 9:57:18 AM
NO RATINGS
Perhaps you should try some American brands. We have had one brand for many years now, covering several cars and many miles (over 150K). They are more stylish as well.

Chet Brewer
User Rank
Iron
Re: Upside to the on-going debate
Chet Brewer   7/26/2012 9:47:53 AM
Tim, even more interesting was the experience of buying a new toyota recently, at delivery the sales person came out and gave me a canned pecture on the floor mats.

My experience after 2 months of driving it are that the pedals are not laid out particualry well for a tall person with big feet. On a couple of occasions I have hit the accelerater by accident and had trouble getting my foot off.

I do get depressed when senators decide to do design work however. They can't pass a budget but they can design electronic automobile controls

ab3a
User Rank
Platinum
Re: More information
ab3a   7/26/2012 9:32:32 AM
I know several who would disagree. 

One of them is Bob Landman of HL Instruments. He and several others in NASA GSFC have been studying this problem for years.

This issue of tin whiskers is not new, and it is insidious. It was discovered during WW II and it is the reason we use lead based solder. Unless a solder is made with at least 3% lead alloy, it will start forming whiskers. The exact mechanism that causes this is not known, but the experimental evidence is incontrovertible.

All this nonsense got started because of the highly political and ignorant RoHS effort by the EU. Lead, as a material, has for all intents and purposes been declared "evil". I understand that we want to eliminate toxic waste from electronics, but if we make devices that become unreliable after just three years of service since manufacture (the average time it takes to grow a whisker to an adjacent contact), how environmentally sound is that?

Furthermore, with all the RoHS stuff in the supply chain, it is getting increasingly difficult to buy parts that aren't RoHS. Many will re-label parts as lead based, when they're not. This is very disconcerting to those who build high reliability devices or long lived devices such as spacecraft or safety systems.

Some progress has been made on a treatment that can be used to mitigate this problem, but it is still a long, intractable, and difficult issue.

Toyota is hardly the only company wrestling with this problem. This is an industry-wide problem that requires a political solution. The RoHS standards have run amok and need to be reigned in. 

Jake Brodsky

PS:  I wrote "3 years of service" when I should have written "3 years since manufacture."  Whiskers will grow whether the equipment is in service or sitting on the shelf. 

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Re: More information
tekochip   7/26/2012 7:47:55 AM
NO RATINGS
Thanks Charles, the NHTSA is making a very solid determination.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
More information
Charles Murray   7/25/2012 6:42:16 PM
After our story was turned in, NHTSA came back to us with a written statement about its position on this matter. There's not an iota of change in NHTSA's position, but I think it's worth posting anyway:

"As NHTSA and NASA indicated in our reports, the occurrence of "tin whiskers" is exceedingly rare and even when they are present, they do not appear to present any significant danger to drivers. We found that even if these tin whiskers created a small electrical short, they would not affect a driver's braking ability and would not cause the vehicle to accelerate out of control. As we identified and discussed in the reports, we have no reason to believe this could present a danger to drivers.

"In fact, NHTSA only knows of four occurrences of tin whiskers in a population of 1.7 million Camry vehicles. None of those occurrences involved any crashes or injuries and in each case, the vehicle entered a form of fail-safe operation that was so noticeable that the consumer quickly brought the vehicle in for repair."

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