Sony’s Possible Lead-Free Problem

Did you see the DigiTimes story last week?


“Although the major cause of the recent Sony battery recall has not been revealed, passive component makers suspect that cracking of the multi-layer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) or the inappropriate use of negative temperature coefficient (NTC) resistors caused the batteries to overheat.

“Sources at US-based passive component makers commented that overheating may have originated in the electrical insulation of the batteries and that MLCC and other passive components should not be the major cause of the incident.

“Some Taiwan-based makers, on the other hand, suspect that the adopted MLCCs had been cracked by printed circuit board (PCB) assembly, and that this may have caused an unstable flow of current, leading eventually to overheating.”
So some are suggesting that lead-free is behind the Sony battery failures. As Kathy Nargi-Toth, my colleague at Printed Circuit Design and Manufacture, says, “Make that link and we might have an interesting situation.”

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow

One thought on “Sony’s Possible Lead-Free Problem

  1. We are one of the most successful PCB manufacturers in the UK and we believe it is no longer acceptable to ignore the complexity of the printed circuit board when considering the implications of the lead free assembly process; the interaction between PCB Design, PCB Manufacture and PCB Assembly does have an effect on the product during its manufacturing life. Lead Free assembly temperatures have been shown to affect the pcb during the wave process and can cause de-lamination along with other assembly issues: tomb-stoning, copper dissolution, out gassing, pad cratering, poor wet out, etc.,.
    As an experienced PCB manufacturer, we are reacting to feedback from our customers by providing guidelines for Lead Free Assembly from the laminate manufacturers on our website.
    Please visit and you will find this from the dropdown capabilities menu under technical. See also under quality menu for the “Best Practice “guidelines for packing lead free boards.

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