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RoHS Directive
Old 14th September 2005
Lives for gear
ulysses's Avatar
Originally Posted by tINY
The self-declaration is an interesting twist. Does that mean that no-one is going to check to see if products actually are compliant?
No. You are responsible for making sure your product is compliant and declaring it as such. You may be asked for documentation to prove it, and your product may be purchased by the EU for testing to see if you're lying. On the upside, I suppose it means you could sell an extra unit here or there to supply the testing lab. Apparently they're planning to have secret shoppers or some such thing. Maybe it would be a good idea to make your product SEEM non-compliant in order to attract that segment of the market.
Old 16th September 2005

I suppose that if you make an expensive, low-volume product., getting the EU toadies to by one so they can grind it up and do a assay on the dust might be a viable way to sell one or two more units....


Old 18th November 2005
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brianroth's Avatar

In perhaps a related "twist" is the apparent demise of various through-hole components.

I am keeping a close eye on availability of things such as garden-variety opamps. It appears that the very-common "Schadow" modules (such as the F2UEE) might be becoming scarce.

I should be more attentive to things such as surface mounted parts, but devices using them seldom (never?) have schematics available. Of course, I should move-on from the ancient technologies, and purchase perhaps a few thousand dollars worth of new equipment.

So, it craps out, you toss it. Chinete technology...just like the paper plates used for July 4th picnics.

That is totally unlike stuff from other eras, which could actually be repaired.

Old 20th November 2005
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ulysses's Avatar
I've been using an identical switch made (or imported, actually) by CIT. I think the part number I've been using is DL2LAR, which is a latching, non-shorting, gold-contact, non-sealed, RoHS-compliant DPDT pushbutton switch that seems to be more or less identical to the various E-Switch and ITT parts.
I haven't actually found anything yet in my Bills of Materials that are becoming obsolete due to the RoHS changeover. There seems to be lead-free versions of all my parts in the works. Some of them are a bit slow coming along, and it may be a while before Mouser and Digikey have plentiful stock of them because they have to sell out all the old non-compliant stock first. But I'm fairly confident I'll have my products in full compliance before July 1, and without any unwanted changeovers to SMT technology.
Old 6th December 2005
Here for the gear

Originally Posted by gyraf
Not good at all..

It seems like all NOS tubes will be banned as well..?

Jakob E.
and guess what man
That's bad for business beter for your children's health
Old 13th December 2005
Lives for gear
gyraf's Avatar

Originally Posted by Labbé
beter for your children's health
Nope, not as long as common consumer things like crt's and batteries are still allowed to use these substances. Protecting the environment is one thing, passing less-than-well-thoughtout laws is another..

Jakob E.
Old 14th December 2005
Lives for gear

It's the blatant political stupidity and hypocrisy that piss me off. I'm all for green,
but let's have some common sense.

But then again, we are talking about politicians, aren't we...
Old 22nd December 2005
Gear Maniac
Helsing's Avatar

How much threat does the miniscule amount of new tube based equipment pose to society? The boutique stuff doesnt end up in the landfill.

I think that ROHS will be a good thing because of all the disposable electronics out there, but there should be some distinctions made. EG I would rather be hooked up to a life support machine built with strong, leaded solder joints.

Jon Erickson
Old 26th December 2005
EveAnna Manley's Avatar

Looks like we'll be working on some exemptions.
Old 31st December 2005
Lives for gear


Originally Posted by EveAnna Manley
Looks like we'll be working on some exemptions.
Hi Everyone,

I hear that they are looking things over to include products like ours but in the meantime.........................................

Ship to Europe as Broadcast equipment or Medical............
I hear they will pass it thru? Rumor?

It doesn't look bright folks so the best advice.......................
bend over and place your hands over where the sun don't shine
Or we all pitch in and purchase a warehouse over there and stuff it to the max with equipment so we don't have to export later??????

I'm just being silly..............but it is a very serious problem for us smaller manufactures.
I don't know the answers...........I wish I did.
Maybe apply pressure on our wonderful elected officals dfegad

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

Peter Montessi
A Designs Audio
Old 19th February 2006
Gear Maniac
beruang's Avatar

from the other bench

hi all-
this is an interesting topic for all, and the USA is not too far behind on regulating similar items as mentioned herein.

My day job (i.e., where i get my food money from) is an analytical chemist specializing in environmental cleanup for the Air Force, DOD, etc. (this was my "backup career" for music, actually). We are seeing a lot of activity by the EPA in the states to regulate these same compounds, as well as plasticizers and flame ******ants (PBDE's) found in so many electronic devices.

If I can give any useful information to GS members on regulated items let me know, I'll see what I can do. Hmmm-or if any of you want to know about recording too, I suppose! Hahahaha...what the hell? :-D

Old 20th February 2006
Lives for gear
ulysses's Avatar
I hope (but doubt) that the US will pass regulation that will be more effective than the RoHS initiative looks like it will be. The goal is to keep the lead from electronics out of the landfill, but the solution is not to keep lead out of the electronics (although in general that is a good idea). The solution is to keep electronics out of the landfill. Besides the hazardous materials covered by RoHS, there are plenty of other elements in electronic assemblies that do not belong in landfills. At the very least, the gold, silver, copper, and other valuable metals should be recycled. Even the steel chassis and hardware can and should be recycled. If states like Michigan and others can get people to agree to a $0.05 deposit on aluminum cans and plastic bottles, then surely a $5 deposit on computers, maybe $1 deposit on cell phones, along with a statutory prohibition of landfill disposal, should solve all of these problems at once.

I heard a story about an IC manufacturer who produces chips that go into one of the popular gaming consoles. Several hundred thousand of these gaming consoles were shipped to a small European country before it was realized that this chip, thought to be RoHS compliant, actually contained lead. Recall. These gaming consoles presumably had DVD drives with Euro region ID, and documentation in the native language of this particular country. That's not the sort of thing you can un-do in a cost-effective manner. Guess where this bargeload of electronics, which contain lead, is likely to end up? That's right, a landfill.

At the same time, I think there's a lot of misinformation and over-reaction taking place, especially in the US, about the reach of RoHS's ramifications. For instance, we know that replacement parts for gear "put into service" before July 1, 2006 is not covered by the law, so NOS tubes will not become contraband (though shipping new gear with NOS tubes in it might not be kosher). New tubes will have to be manufactured without lead, but that's no different than the challenge facing manufacturers of ICs, capacitors, diodes, switches, and everything else that has been made with lead, hexavalent chromium, cadmium, and other nasty feces for the past 85 years. We'll get over it and in the end we'll be better off for it. Many components will in the end be of higher quality because, by making them able to withstand the higher solder temperatures, they will also be able to withstand higher operational stresses. It'll be a bummer for us little guys if TI and other fabricators decide to drop some smaller lines during the changeover, but it will be a fantastic opportunity for other little guys like Linear Systems to fill the niche for certain small-run, high-performance components for us.
Old 20th February 2006
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brianroth's Avatar

Justin, I'm an "old hippie boy" who wishes for a clean planet. I also have worked in electronics much of my 52 years (Heathkits when I was in grade school! hehe).

My current concern is both the disappearance of components (I service equipment as well as build gizmos) and materials.

From reading multiple papers, etc. online, lead free soldering looks like a crapshoot. There are so many problems found in these early days that I shudder at the thought that everything built after 2005 will experience massive, unexpected failures in a few years. Airplanes and satellites falling out of the skies comes to mind. This has NOT been a smooth transistion.

Manufacturers of older components that I require for servicing older gear will likely cease production...I'm already getting worried about push-push switches.

But, I am in favor of the underlying concepts.

Old 21st February 2006
Gear Maniac

I've had a recurring dream about copper wire welding, even for 22ga leads. If somebody made the right tool, having say a tiny ceramic base, a heat source (perhaps an IR flash) and really effective heatsinks, maybe we could finally eliminate solder for throughhole components. I don't think it's impossible--the right combination of heat, pressure, and heatsinking could just work. One proper tool. Anyone else?
Old 21st February 2006
Gear Addict

Originally Posted by brianroth
Airplanes and satellites falling out of the skies comes to mind. This has NOT been a smooth transistion.
Safety-critical applications such as airplane computers are expempted from the law and are expected/encouraged to continue using whatever is the most reliable possible method (lead).
Old 21st February 2006
Tim Farrant's Avatar

I propose to submit an exemption to this Directive in March. I think it might be beneficial if several manufacturers do a combined submission. I propose to submit this under the umbrella of a new body called IBPAMA (the International Boutique Pro Audio Manufacturers Association).

I have exchanged a few emails with Peter Montessi and Dan Kennedy about this already, and invite any other manufacturers who wish to be involved to email me at [email protected]

This will need to be limited to those who build out board gear such as preamps, compressors etc.. ie, any product that needs to be connected to an installation to function, ie, on it's own it does nothing.

I'm damned if I am going to use lead free solder - it's just crap.

Old 21st February 2006
Gear Nut
Rmorph's Avatar


I was sorta hesitant to butt in.. seeing all the serious designers in here.. but this is actually a subject close to my heart, and I'm gonna have to argue for the RoHS legislation.

-----FLAME ON!

RoHS yay!
Use the lead free solder.
Get over it. Your kids will thank you.


My Dad worked in West Germany in the 60s making, you guessed it, batteries.

This was years before adequate safety regulations existed, and long story short he (and about 5 others) got a serious dose of mercury poisoning.. After coming out of hospital he got a small severance package and the sack, and spent altogether 15 years in and out of court trying to get compensation.

Eventually he was vindicated because in the meanwhile (then the EEC) EU safety regulations were later written that covered the sort of oversight that caused his accident. Suffice to say: the manufacturers had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the table over and over again before that happened.

Now to come back to the topic: As for the environmental legislation.. again with the kicking and screaming scenario, only this time very little has changed in 50 years, cos the casualties of environmental damage are harder to spot.

Brianroth put it in his post: Batteries (Damn you batteries!) are exempt.
This is quite simply because in the 100 years+ that the feckers have been invented, noone got around to developing an environmentally friendly manufacturing process. This is a multi billion dollar industry that generates a half billion tons of toxic waste a year btw.
I can guarantee you that the moment batteries DID get put on legislation like the RoHS, Phillips or someone would invent a new tox-free technique within 6 months...

Now. this little "beauracratic" piece of legislation may not stop that.. but by god its a step in the right direction, and 5 (10? 50?) years from now, if we want to put batteries on our list (And by god we should!) then this is the first step.

I see legislation like this as the baby steps neccassary to start wheeling these huge lawless companies in. Maybe once legislation like this gets passed it will be easier to initiate future legislation regarding the big offenders. Tim, Eva Anna, et al, I'm sorry you guys are affected. but not to the point that I would buy an "illegal" piece of kit once the RoHS is in place.
I'll take an A-minus sound over environmental destruction any day.

I mean seriously. The amount of crap going into our systems/rivers/children these days is just absurd. Isn't it worth a try?

Now don't get me wrong. Eva Anna I own a Voxbox and consider it the soul of my studio. It was damned expensive .. but I bought it because it was the best of the best.
If I went out tommorrow to replace it, and had to spend another 500 dollars for the "environmentally friendly" version then so be it.
Alternatively, IF I couldnt replace it cos the parts were no longer made, then I would cry, cry some more, and then make do.

Can I ask is there anyone here that can find anything worthwhile in this directive? At the moment everyone has their "business hat" on.
Take it off for a sec. Isn't ROHS a good thing?


Old 21st February 2006
Lives for gear
brianroth's Avatar

As I said in my post yesterday, I am in favor of removing toxic substances from our environment. Once upon a time here in the USA, rivers or lakes near to large cities would literally catch on fire due to all the crap the factories dumped into them!

However, in pro gear, the amount of lead is miniscule compared to the excluded batteries and CRTs. Plus, pro gear generally has a LONG lifetime (witness all of the Ampex "preamps" built 50+ years ago, being bought and sold on the used market) and doesn't hit the landfill like a bazillion Walmart color TV sets that expire on the 366th day (1 day past the warrenty).

RoHS imposes a hardship on small manufacturers while the gross polluters continue unabated.

Old 21st February 2006
Tim Farrant's Avatar

Thank you Brian, my feelings too - they are going about it the wrong way. Ulysses hit's the nail right on the head - keep the dangerous stuff out of landfills and waterways. Recycle it.

And we won't mention the tons of nuclear waste that gets dumped into the Pacific Ocean every year now will we....

Old 21st February 2006
Gear Nut
Rmorph's Avatar

At the risk of turning this thread into a hippie camping spot :-)

I think you guys are missing the big picture..
Its not like there will suddenly be an overnight "Quickfix" piece of legislation that will solve all the environmental problems. Lobbyists would kill it with the ever popular "Think of the jobs!".

Big manufacturers tend to be really sneaky, so the legislation has to be brought in sneakily as well.. over a number of years. Aiming not DIRECTLY at them, but sort of around them. If this bill had been too adventurous it would have been shot down before it saw ink. Think Big business + Lobbyists, same as in the states.

If you agree with that, then surely you must see that RoHS is a baby step in the right direction. IF we have any chance of getting the REAL culprits, then it will be through amendments tacked on to legislation such as these.
Most importantly: RoHS signifies a "Green attitude" and the more of that we have in the halls of power the better. 20 years from now it might make a difference.

The way I see it: Exemptions can be removed, and that is the plan: Get the legislation in place first, then tighten it up.

Hopefully in a few years CRTs and batteries will be removed from the exemption lists.
Obviously you guys want your own exemptions, and I see nothing wrong with that, but I guarantee you: Every exemption from that bill will be used as a loophole by industry.

Exemption to lead free solder for highend audio parts?
Suddenly half the electronics manufacturers (for example) will migrate their leaded solder operations to "small custom shop audio parts makers" just down the road. All company owned of course. These guys have very big umbrellas.

At the risk of a permaban from Tim or EvaAnna: I think you guys should be looking at alternatives instead of ways around this: We want to be removing the exemptions - not making more of them.
Old 22nd February 2006
All of the audio gear in the world wouldn't fill one landfill. This is done for the pc industry which dumps 1000's of times more contaminants simply due to the volume.

If they really want to get the lead out of the enviroment, maybe they should stop making lead bullets?

Heck, maybe we could start selling our used nuclear waste to Iran, seems they want to extract the plutonium from them....

I gotta stop thinking about this crap.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 22nd February 2006
Tim Farrant's Avatar

Originally Posted by Rmorph
At the risk of a permaban from Tim or EvaAnna: I think you guys should be looking at alternatives instead of ways around this: We want to be removing the exemptions - not making more of them.
But this is exactly the problem, at this time there is no viable alternative (IMO). We don't manufacture solder, and until those who do can make a lead free solder that can be used in hand soldering that actually sticks to copper, then I see no point in using it. If someone can demonstrate to me a lead free solder that works - I am MORE than happy to use it.

I cannot afford to have an returned products because of poor solder joints.

Components we use are slowly becoming RoHS compliant, so this will automatically reduce the amount of lead in our products anyway.

Old 24th February 2006
Lives for gear
ulysses's Avatar
I found something interesting on a UK government website
The National Weights and Measures Laboratory is in charge of RoHS enforcement in the UK, and they put up this website that has some information about it. Not as specific as I would have liked, but I found one juicy tidbit in the FAQ section:

Can I stockpile non-compliant EEE for sale after 1 July 2006?

No, the EC's 'Guide to the implementation of directives based on the New Approach and the Global Approach' (the 'blue book') available at states Under the sixth bullet point in section 2.3.1 that "placing on the market is considered not to take place where a product is in the stocks of the manufacturer…". Therefore it is our view that goods stockpiled in a manufacturer’s warehouse are not yet on the market.

However, this applies to manufactured goods; imports of finished product that have cleared customs and are being held by the producer without any further process required are on the market.?
What this says is that if you ship product to a dealer in the EU before July 1, they will still be allowed to sell it after RoHS takes effect. This is good news because a) it means we should all have pretty good sales months in May and June; and 2) because this "stockpile loophole" should buy us some valuable time right when we need it most. For example, I know Grayhill is promising to make cadmium-free 71-series switches, but I do not expect any to be available to me (through distributors) for a while. I'm glad to know that my European dealers can confidently order non-compliant product from me now, without fear of non-compliance if it isn't sold by July 1.
Old 24th February 2006
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ulysses's Avatar
Another thing -
What about the chassis, screws, nuts, standoffs and spacers? How do I know what kinds of steel coatings contain Hexavalent Chromium? I don't, that's how. And hardware suppliers whose primary market is not the electronics industry don't have all the "green" links and info on their websites like the other vendors have. I'm not looking forward to asking these hardware guys for documentation on compliance with a directive they've never heard of. Keystone is on it, but that's about it.

This link to an apparently rejected application for exemption suggests CrVI is very widespread in the steel components of electronic assemblies.
Old 26th February 2006
Lives for gear
brianroth's Avatar

For reasons NON RoHS, I've been using stainless steel fasteners for the past umpteen (OK, maybe 10+) years.

More than a few years ago, I discovered a local supplier with a HUGE stock of SS parts (they cater to the aircraft trade), and I like the studiness of the fasteners...and nary a "hickie" on cost compared to other sources.

However, I don't know if the "generic aircraft grade" SS parts are compliant. There might be some "secret sauce" involved in the manufacturing.

Siiigh...I may be paranoid, but I wonder if this all is a backdoor method for the Euros to exclude imports?

Of course, that will not stop the likes of Behringer. They blatantly ignored FCC Part 15 certification for the USA, and from the looks of it, they will pay a fine which is "petty cash" for the size of their operations.

Old 26th February 2006
Gear Head
elco's Avatar

Originally Posted by brianroth
It appears that the very-common "Schadow" modules (such as the F2UEE) might be becoming scarce.
It gave me quite a scare when I could no longer find latching F2UEE's at Mouser recently. I thought it might be the end. Fortunately Digikey still has 7086 of them left.

According to the attached image, the F2UEE switch is both lead free and RoHS complient.


Attached Thumbnails
RoHS Directive-f2uee.gif  
Old 12th March 2006
Originally Posted by Tim Farrant

There are lead free solders becoming available now, so this is not a problem. However, from what I can gather, these solders require up to another 40 degrees C to melt compared to conventional solder. Whilst this might not seem like much, the impact it will have on surface mount construction is a major problem, because many of the small surface mount devices cannot handle the extra heat required and will simply cook.

Tim, surface mount topology does not use "Regular" solder in it's construction. One of the down sides to surface mount technology is the way it is assembled. The "Solder" is a wet conductive paste that dries hard. Boo for surface mount.
Old 12th March 2006
Lives for gear

No the solder is a damp paste consisting of tin, lead, antimony and other trace particles in a suspension that gets heated in a controlled process to burn off the volatiles and melt and flow to make a joint, just as solder in wire form does.

The new solders that are RoHs compliant substitute other metals like silver for the lead content.
Old 12th March 2006
Studio Tech.
Originally Posted by WHITEAUDIOLABs
One of the down sides to surface mount technology is the way it is assembled. The "Solder" is a wet conductive paste that dries hard.
This dude is right. It's a conductive paste that dries hard.
Old 12th March 2006
Lives for gear
ulysses's Avatar
Solder for surface-mount stuff is applied as a paste, but then it gets melted afterward. If you've ever looked at a solder joint on a surface-mount component, this should be obvious.

The only big bump in the road for lead-free surface-mount stuff is that the small packages have to be made to withstand the slightly higher (+40C) temperatures used in the reflow process.
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