Yesterday I wrote about some thermal mass related traps. Here’s another one we see now and then.
The top image shows good flat-topped caps. The bottom and inset has overheated bulged and damaged caps. These caps are RoHS compliant — supposedly. Their data sheet calls them out as RoHS compliant and their temperature specs and recommended reflow profiles indicate RoHS compliance. So what happened?
Well, they are compliant pretty much only in singles. A single of these caps will solder up fine and not be damaged. However, put four in close proximity like this and the solder paste on the inside pads will not melt at the recommended profile. They need a bit more heat because the thermal mass of the four parts close together sinks heat away from the inside solder pads. In the end, we hand soldered these specific parts to solve the problem, but for production, either a more thermally robust part would be needed or the part spacing would need to be changed to compensate for the combined thermal mass.
“Hot” is a relative term