Monday, September 11, 2017

I'm back. My weekend Flying Session and Multi-Rotor Sale notification

I bet you all thought I disappeared from the scene :) No, I'm still alive. It's just that "life" has been getting in the way of my hobby :) It's been really crazy around here lately.

I think I got to go fly my quads like maybe 4 times all spring/summer. FPV racers are mostly just sitting on shelf and custom-build 550 hexa is still waiting for assembly. I have been maintaining my LiPos though (or, at least checking them).

It was kinda windy this past weekend, but the weather was good, so I decided to take the Nova over to the middle-school for a little flying.

I flipped though the switches and tried to remember how to do a proper pre-flight and actually fly this thing. It took a while (updating GPS almanac ?) but I finally got a good GPS lock (sats and hdop). I thought it would be OK if I use Manual-Mode sparingly ... instead relying on Loiter, Altitude-Hold, etc.

I had a couple of scary moments, but I flew-thru 2 batteries without any major damage. I also practiced my landings. I was glad to see I could just go fly the Nova after all these months. Not just with my rusty skills, but also that the Nova was still calibrated.

Hey, one of my primary affiliate partners just notified me of a limited time sale on multi-rotors and drones. This link and code are only good for a limited time, but if you need something, you might want to check it out.

Extra 20% Off For Multi-Rotor & Accessories DealsUp To 71% Off For FPV Racer and Multi Rotor Parts.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Electronics and computerized machines fail early due to Lead-Free Solder and RoHS techniques

Have you ever wondered why electronics and computers from the 90's and early 2000's seem to last forever? But now, you are lucky to get 3 years from just about anything computerized. Now-days, just about any machine (including vehicles, boats, and airplanes) have some kind of logic-board or PCB installed. From coffee-makers to TVs, computers, and spacecraft ... and everything in-between.

So now we know why. It's not just a conspiracy theory. Are the machines you purchased any less valuable or important that the ones that NASA's and the US-Military bought?

Lead-Free Solder - A Train Wreck in the Making

The advisory concludes with this guidance: “Though there are many alternative solder alloys available to replace traditional tin-lead, none of them has passed the reliability testing required of aerospace-quality hardware.”

Killed (Not Saved) By A Whisker - Why Our Electronic Gizmos Inevitably Die

The military and NASA were especially concerned, so they generally operate under waivers allowing lead solder in the gear on which our space program or national security supposedly depend.

Military Suppliers Confront the RoHS Challenge

The two main reliability concerns with lead-free processes are solder joint reliability and tin whiskering ... Most discrete parts and parts with leads can withstand the temperatures of both leaded and lead-free processes, but BGAs can be a problem.

Hazardous Materials Statement - Amphenol Aerospace (PDF)

Due to stringent customer and Mil-Spec requirements, AIAO will not pursue 100% transition to Pb-free products ... MS and other mil-specification part-numbers requiring leaded solder will not be made available in lead-free or RoHS compliant versions until the applicable MilSpec is revised to incorporate this change.

I think this inferior unleaded solder is killing more electronics than we realize. Reliability and longevity seems to have fallen from around 95% to around 60% ... on just about everything. I used to think it was just poorly executed Lead-Free solder techniques, the additional solder-heat weakening the soldered components, and more recently ... a large industry shift to BGA components. While I'm sure all this is still true, now we know the main reason. It only takes one bad/cold solder connection or weak PCB multi-layer-via to render a machine inoperable. Your thoughts?