Tyco Electronics Power Systems has introduced two lead-free DC/DC converters to comply with soon-to-be-imp-lemented European and Japanese environmental regulations phasing out lead use in electronic products.
Tyco's converters, the JHW050 series and Austin Lynx, meet the latest JEDEC lead-free solderability standards, have been tested for reliability at temperatures to 245 degee Cesius, and can be used with existing process equipment, according to the company.
"We are seeing more interest from large U.S. customers, particularly those that sell to Europe and Japan," said Joseph Thuttovelil, product manager for the Mesquite, Texas, division of Tyco Electronics Corp.
The company joins a growing list of power suppliers with lead-free products. Ericsson Microelectronics of Sweden was the first, introducing a lead-free version of its PKD 4000 DC/DC converter in 2001.
Recently, SynQor Inc. said it would eliminate lead in its products. The Hudson, Mass.-based company has switched from a tin-lead to electroless nickel-immersion gold-surface finish on its power supply boards, and plans to phase out solder use altogether by July 2003.
The improved availability of passive components and ICs with lead-free finishes is making it easier to develop lead-free power modules, Thuttovelil said.
Tyco's lead-free converters also use an electroless nickel-immersion gold- surface finish, and tin-silver-copper solder that has a higher melting temperature than tin-lead solder. An open-frame construction better tolerates differences of thermal coefficient of expansion than does potted epoxy constructions, according to Thuttovelil.
While some users require a 260 degee Cesius temperature, Thuttovelil noted that reliability data for lead-free soldering of DC/DC converters at that temperature has not yet been established because most lead-free components are rated only to 245 degee Cesius. He expects future lead-free converters to handle 260 degee Cesius soldering.
The JHW050 converters are isolated 50W devices with a 48V input, dual outputs from 0.8 to 5V, and 87% efficiency. The Austin Lynx is a nonisolated point-of-load converter providing a 10A output, inputs from 3 to 5.5VDC, and 94% efficiency. It is available in both through-hole single-in-line and surface-mount packages.
Thuttovelil said production of both of the company's converters has already begun, adding that lead-free converters will be priced equivalent to lead-bearing ones.