Was It a Lack of Lead?

A National Traffic Safety Administration investigation into reports of fires in some SUVs has also launched the industry chatter over whether the problems

Last week, the NTSA said it would investigate Ford’s Escape and Mazda Tribute SUVs of model years 2001 to 2003 in response to complaints of fires in the engine compartments of the Ford version. (The autos are different versions of the same vehicle.)

Two other complaints alleged “fire-related phenomena,” such as sparks, melted electrical connectors or smoke, in the same area, in or near the anti-lock braking system control module. In all, at least 10 separate complaints have been received, the agency said.

As has been reported, Sony has also been plagued by “exploding electronics” this year, and has recalled millions of laptop batteries. Many industry watchers speculated that the batteries, which have been problem-free for years, now contain lead-free joints.
As with the Sony battery case, there’s word yet on whether the ABS systems contain lead or lead-free solder joints. But neverthless, tongues are wagging over the possibility, and adding *ahem* fuel to the ant-lead-free fire.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (pcea.net). 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