Hackaday Links: April 13, 2011

Oven parts scrounging


In response to last week’s post about parts scrounging with a heat gun, Hackaday forum member [BiOzZ] decided to try doing the same thing in his oven. It seems to work quite well, but we’re wondering if there should be any concerns over the lead content of the solder. Anyone care to chime in?

Spill-proof parts holder


Have you ever been in the midst of disassembling something and knocked over your container full of screws onto the floor? [Infrared] has a simple solution to the problem which also happens to keep a couple of plastic bottles out of the landfill.

Easy button stops abuse of the word awesome


Do you often repeat a word ad nauseam? Make author Matt Richardson does, and he hacked a Staples “Easy” button to help him break his addiction to the word “Awesome”.

Cheap Remote-controlled baseboard lighting


[Sean] scored a pair of LED deck lighting kits for a steal and decided to install them into his newly renovated kitchen. They are currently remote operated, but he plans on adding an X10 interface as well as PIR sensors for automatic triggering in the near future.

Yet another LCD recapping guide


It starts with a finicky backlight, or perhaps a high-pitched whine from the back of your display – by now, we’re sure that everyone knows the symptoms of an LCD panel that’s just about to die. [Eric’s] Syncmaster recently quit on him, so he pried it open and got busy recapping. It’s running again, and he wanted to share his repair process in case others out there own the same display.

34 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: April 13, 2011

  1. Lead is toxic. Period. Lead solder is toxic. Period. You can use equipment to generally protect against said toxicity. People work generally safely in lead mines and lead refineries. But you need to have respirators, masks and gloves. Or work outside or use a fume hood and wash your hands after touching lead. Obviously breathing in lead fumes is worse than touching solid lead and washing your hands. Use common sense, don’t breathe in lead smoke and favor ROHS over lead :)

  2. @CutThroughStuffGuy

    RoHS complaint devices are lead free but even before RoHS compliance lead free solder was used to increase worker safety

    during oven desoldering i smelt no smell (besides our normal oven stench) and the over oven fan was on and all windows open (as normal)

    im sure this is not something to spend all day doing but i felt no ill effects the hour i was doing it

  3. @CutThroughStuffGuy

    “Use common sense, don’t breathe in lead smoke”

    Wow. Lead II Oxide doesn’t boil till 1477 deg C. That’s must be some sort of Super Oven to be getting that hot and creating Lead smoke.

    The dangers of Lead solder to the person soldering is mostly myth. You will have health issues with flux fumes long before you ever inhale enough lead to cause problems.

    The ROHS movement was to keep the amount of lead solder in e-waste down, because it will contaminate land-fills and drinking water supplies.

  4. the anti spill container made me think of this back woods hillbilly fly trap. if you do the same thing by cuing the bottle top off and fliping it up side down.put a piece of tuna at the bottom. the flies will go inside but cant get out it work way better then fly paper

  5. Lead can be dangerous but if care is used it is a useful product. There are standard precautions in using Lead at home (wash hands, etc) but the use of Heat Guns does cause concern to me as the upper Temperature may be high enough to cause Lead Vapors to appear. Lead use at temperatures over 900 degrees F starts to become serious due to vapors, use in a Home Oven helps limit the over temperature problem. Note that 60/40 solder melts at 370 degrees F, well below the danger point.

  6. And since I’m sure some people are going to require a reputable source, this is the best I can find that isn’t wikipedia, a sales ad, or someone with a blog:

    Burgess WA. Recognition of Health Hazards in Industry, 2nd Ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1995.

    “Simple lead-tin soldering operations at controlled working temperatures typically do not generate significant lead fume concentrations.”

  7. I agree, lead vapour will not be an issue until close to boiling, rosin based flux is a bigger issue for asthma. 5-10 min exposure to rosin a day is safe.

    Lead could be an issue if handling lead solder closely then smoking or eating but good hygiene is all that is needed. If you have been exposed to lead and stop the exposure ,lead will leave your system.

    I try to only use lead based solder as it is more durable.

  8. Er, before someone else catches me on this, and since my comment with the link is being held for moderation, I’ll repeat it in the mean time.

    “And to be fair with my first comment, you can get lead vapor at lower temps, but according to the book in the comment awaiting moderation:

    The lowest temp you can get lead vapor is 500 deg C, 932 deg F. Still above your oven and soldering iron.

  9. I like these guides they helped me out with my first monitor and at work I have recaped over 3000+ mobos and LCDs and it has saves our business thousands. Keep up the recycling!

  10. oh and a great way to keep yourself safe while soldering I use a mask (cheapo) and a esd fan that blows over my project and in the room a hepa filtration unit.

    You dont need all of this but be safe while your hacking and get the 10 for a dollar masks!

  11. Q:
    Can you customize the easy button to say something else?

    Asked on 3/3/2011 by HGI2001 from Conshohocken, PA

    Know the answer? Answer this question

    1 answer


    The easy button cannot be customized.

    Answered on 3/17/2011 by Dawn B from Staples

  12. As has been pointed out, flux isn’t nice stuff either and that and the epoxy (BPA) in the PCBs starts to vaporize first. But I disagree that lead just “leaves your system”. It bioaccumulates and tends to stick around for quite a while.

    Mercury – same thing. Mercury vapor is nasty, nasty stuff in concentration. You don’t have to boil it to generate it.

    And I worry about lead dust in addition to solid lead. Again – not to the point of paranoia but it is a concern and should be addressed if you are going to work with it on a regular basis – just like anything else.

    Go outside to the beach and you get some of your DNA scrambled by UV A B and C. You breathe in pollution from other cars, including fine particles. Cosmic rays and neutrons stream through your body every instant. Like any machine, living means wear and tear. The important thing is the dose and taking reasonable precautions to minimize said damage.

    I personally choose to stay away from heating up lead and BPA epoxy PCBs without protective gear and ventilation. I also prefer to buy new components because then I can be reasonably assured they function as advertised and expected as well as not having to scrounge around to get something that might work vs something that I know will work. But I still scrounge and desolder too. To each their own.

  13. @CutThroughStuffGuy

    “flux isn’t nice stuff either”

    Flux smoke isn’t nice, but lead solder is ok since it’s not in the smoke, so there’s no ‘either’ about it.

    Unless your soldering iron and oven go above 500 deg C, there’s no lead vapor in the fumes according the the few books I could find on the subject. One, a study of Lead Poison cases in the 90s, reported the worst case of lead poisoning through fumes was a stained glass artisan, and even then the amount of lead in there blood was only about half of usual lead poisoning cases.

    It is good protection to wash your hands after soldering with lead solder, but you’re not breathing it in.

  14. @CutThroughStuffGuy

    im not worried about mercury as it would vaporize at room temperature and i have 10 computers running at any one given time in the same room

    lead will not vaproize any where close to 400*f

    most flux is vaporized away after soldering/reflowing so reheating the solder and removing it is no problem

    the convection fan was running after i removed the components so atleast 99% of whatever vapor was in there must have been rushed out

    i felt no ill effects, i have no heavy metal poisoning, nor did i smell any vapor and because i did not eat the solder after scraping it off i all seams perfectly safe

    if you still dont want to risk it grab a toaster out of a trash can break your board up and use that outside in a biohazzard suit XP

  15. http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l132.pdf is the control of lead at work regulation in the uk (and likely almost identical to the rest of eu). It gives more detail of when you need blood tests etc. If you have a blood test and it reveals too high a concentration of lead you have to be suspended from working with lead but you can continue to work with it later (period of time determined by doctor).

    this law only applies when you are a professional and not for hobby stuff.

  16. Suggestions for the Awesome Button…

    – If you press it more than once in a second then the previously sent word is erased again (send backspace characters) and replace it with different random word.

    – If you hold the button down you get a long stream of superlatives instead of just one :D

  17. The LCD monitor repair article is quite good, but he forgets to mention one very important point:


    The busted ones that were in the monitor are crap quality. Your local Radio Shack etc sells ones exactly the same. Using these will only let the problem occur again quickly!

    You must use high quality decent brand capacitors such as Rubycon, Panasonic, Nichicon, Sanyo etc – any cheap brand is just asking for trouble.

    The other point is Low-ESR – the SMPS (Switch-Mode power supply) in an LCD monitor (and a lot of other things) usually requires the use of Low-ESR capacitors.

    This can be verified by looking up the datasheet on the busted capacitors – if they are Low-ESR make sure you replace them with Low-ESR. Using General-purpose capacitors will NOT be a good idea as they will die even quicker than the old ones.

  18. @Agent24

    Very true, I usually go with Rubycon, though I needed the monitor sooner than later in this case so I snagged some caps locally. I should be ordering a batch of caps soon for some motherboards and some other monitors i was recently given, and plan on getting a few replacements to keep on hand for the Samsung

  19. I wouldn’t worry about lead fumes. As others have mentioned the temps are too high for a home oven. Even though the lead will not fume, there are other items in electronics that can out-gas, capacitors can pop caustic electrolytic oil, the caps shrink wrapping on the can can melt, connectors can melt, adhesives that were put on the board after soldering can catch on fire, all sorts of stuff. Also, through-hole soldered components sometimes have cavities that will splatter solder when it is re-flowed.

    That said, I would use a small toaster oven instead. They are cheap and easy to temperature regulate. It’s just like powder coating in an oven, you really don’t want to use it for food again as a precaution.

    Oh, and lead is still used currently in RoHS 5 of 6 products (RoHS compatible except for lead), like telecommunications, avionics, military, life support. Look up “tin whiskering” caused by lead free alloys to see why you do not usually want it in critical systems.

  20. @HaD readers and commenters:
    Have you ever left a glass of water out at room temperature? Did you notice that it evaporates? Did you know that evaporation creates VAPORS???
    Yes, vapors appear far below the boiling point of most substances. Don’t try to claim otherwise, it’s first year chemistry.

    Using lead in an oven that you will cook food in is a stupid idea, as is heating any large quantity of lead indoors (without proper ventilation).

    Now I’m not saying you should never solder again, or that you’ll get lead poisoning from any method posted here. I just want to clear up the bad information on the topic. Now go be good hackers with your new-found knowledge.

  21. I’ll take leaded solder with not so nasty flux over the lead free solder and it’s nasty assed flux. I am much more concerned about inhaling the flux fumes than getting trace amounts of lead on my skin. Besides, it’s easy to wash off. But protecting your lungs isn’t nearly as easy. And sure the fluxes in leaded solders can be nasty, but in my experience the lead free stuff is worse.

    That said, I wouldn’t put a PCB in my oven. Most places use ‘no-clean’ processes these days. So there could be plenty of flux on that PCB. And even if it doesn’t present a health risk(which it probably does)…it stinks like hell. I’d also be concerned about the electrolyte in capacitors. It is a nasty chemical as well.

    But hey, if you think it’s an acceptable risk, that’s your choice. To each their own. :)

  22. @Spork

    Thanks for clearing it up for us. O wait, you didn’t provide any sources. Nevermind.

    Like I said earlier, studies I linked have shown no discernible amounts of lead will enter the air as vapor until at least 932 deg F. Under that, you are safe.

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