I agree, I've seen it over and over. Themes solder formulations make such ugly looking joints that it's nearly impossible to tell from a visual examination if the joint is good or not. The EU really has to examine this issue again. I think they made a bad call.
You wrote ". The problem was immediately apparent: several cold solder joints on one of the relays. I re-soldered every joint on the board because there was so little solder used in manufacturing that future failures were inevitable. Sure enough, the problem was solved.
"We then pulled the module on his Accord and found exactly the same problem -- exactly the same pins, even! The same remedy with the same result, the problem was resolved."
Not at all surprising. The misguided European rulings changing the composition of solder has resulted in formulations that are brittle and become more brittle with age. Electrical appliances, cellphones, cameras, music players, and cars are all failing prematurely due to this terribly ill-considered decision. I received a set-top box sent from 200 miles away, and received it with a surface mount IC (BGA) rattling around in the bottom.
I am sure you made the repairs with 60/40 or 63/37 Pb/Sn solder which should have been used in the first place.
This is not to mention the "tin-whisker" problem, also caused by the new solder formulations and suspected of causing the runaway Toyota accelerations.
Cars have used self-resetting thermal breakers instead of fuses on the headlights as early as the 1940s. There's a reason for this. On a pitch black country road on a cloudy moonless night, you don't want to be pitched into sudden darkness--and with no way to get home, just because wire insulation chafed through someplace.
You might be able to find and replace that fuse in blackness, but could your wife?
Better that you or she should drive home with blinking lights, cycling at a rate low enough to prevent fire or further wire damage but high enough for safety--to see and be seen.
Earlier this year paralyzed IndyCar drive Sam Schmidt did the seemingly impossible -- opening the qualifying rounds at Indy by driving a modified Corvette C7 Stingray around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Wearables are changing the way we see ourselves. With onboard sensors that have access to our bodies, we are starting to know our physical selves like never before, quantifying our activity, our heart rate, breathing, and even our muscle effort.
Last week, the bill for reforming chemical regulation, the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015, passed the House. If it or a similar bill becomes law, the effects on cost and availability of adhesives and plastics incorporating these substances are not yet clear.
This year, Design News is getting a head start on the Fourth of July celebration. In honor of our country and its legacy of engineering innovation -- in all of its forms -- we are taking you on an alphabetical tour through all 50 states to showcase interesting engineering breakthroughs and historically significant events.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.