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What does RoHS stand for?

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Never heard of it but it looks like a standard in the UK for limiting the amount of hazardous materials in electrical equipment.


As far as what it means to GPS, I guess that it means that if GPS units have more than the agreed levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardant, they can't be sold in the UK

Edited by briansnat
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I googled this before I asked in here, but couldn't get a clear answer as to what exactly this means. Does anyone know exactly what this means and more importantly what it means to the use of a GPS?


Thanks, 1Woodsman


RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances). Banned substances are lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), hexavalent chromium (CrVI), polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE). The EUnion restricts all of these, but the U.S. has only adopted RoHS of the first four heavy metals.


The problem is that lead-free soldered products are less reliable than those using lead-based solder (lead free is more brittle and grows tin whiskers). That's why there are exceptions granted for military and high-reliability applications. Untill they can perfect the process, and remove all exceptions, I am leery of purchasing any RoHS electronics.


RoHS Compliance FAQ

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Great, thanks very much for so much information. I noticed this in relation to the GPS because I have done so much looking around at the GPS units I was interested in buying. I'm not sure if the new one I have is bound by this or not. I finally setled on the Garmin GPSMAP 60 CX after seriously looking at three of the units I was most interested in. I had the Oregon and Colorado 300 at home for alittle while and broought them back for arefund and the settled on this one as my best option.


thanks, 1Woodsman

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The banned substances identified as restricted by RoHS are not just limited to solder but also cover plastic housings, plated metals used in structural components and emi shielding, rubber gaskets used for waterproofing, insulation on wires, packaging materials, printing inks, and virtually every component contained in the product.


When you are purchasing consumer electronics from global companies RoHS is becoming more and more a fact of life. When companies can build one product that can be sold worldwide it is much more efficient to design, maintain bills of material, procure and warehouse parts, and makes a more efficient manufacturing process.


Also corporate images can be tainted if the company is not producing "Environmental Friendly" product.

You can find proof of that on the GreenPeace website by searching "Guide to Greener Electronics"


The link points to version 10 of the guide and the guide is updated every few months. Personally I don't pay much mind to this guide when making purchases but I am exposed to it through work.


As far as solder alloys go there have been great strides made in alloy development, fluxes, component and circuit board design, manufacturing equipment and process techniques. Early attempts at solder alloys included Bismuth (Bi) to keep the process temperatures down but Bi is brittle and that's how Lead free solder originally got the reputation for being brittle but that has for the most part been resolved by moving to alloys that do not contain Bi. Whiskers and a couple of other inherent problems with lead free soldering has also been worked out. I am not concerned with electronics which are RoHS compliant just as long as the company makes the product is reputable and has a brand image worth protecting.


I expect that the GPS will succumb to HcbMK (Handled Carelessly by My Kids) long before any problem surfaces due to the use of environmental friendly material.


I hope this gives you a little more background and eases your purchasing decision.

Edited by Lou_U
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