Author Topic: Why are some R&S Spectrum Analysers marked hazardous by Farnell?  (Read 1097 times)

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Offline jpb

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Whilst browsing Farnell for something else I noticed that they have Hazardous warnings on the latest R&S Spectrum Analysers.

Why is this - all I can think of is that they have some sort of battery in them, but I didn't think this was the case?

See attached:
 

Offline Bicurico

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Re: Why are some R&S Spectrum Analysers marked hazardous by Farnell?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2018, 06:33:43 pm »
On January, 1st 2018 I started the year with a huge scare.

I was rebuilding a R&S CRTU from different spare parts and one component was the RF Input module. The one I had was broken and I got a new one. I know what was broken, so after assembling the CRTU (which was working fine now), I opened said RF Input module, to see how difficult it was to access the broken component and to generically clean it, as some forum members said that cleaning the boards sometimes improved the component's performance.

Indeed, after opening the module, there was a lot of white pouder, some oxide. So i started cleaning it with different tools and at the end I was blowing on it.

After doing it, or better, while doing it, I noticed the sticker on the module saying "DANGER - BeO - Handle with care" (or something similar). Uhhh! I Googled BeO and guess what: it is a white powder, which is highly toxic, poisonous and cancergen. All in one.

Now I had two options: either it was just Aluminium oxide or it was in fact Berylium oxxide.

To make it short: I called the national hotline for poison issues and aftter they asked me some questions (what I was doing, how long was the exposure, what sympthoms, etc.), they said it was probably nothing.

Also, I found out that the white powder was certainly Al2O3 and not BeO.

The BeO is used in high power components like resistors and/or capacitors or transistors (not sure), so unless you dessolder them or break them anyhow, it should be OK.

Anyway, the stuff is highly toxic and that means you cannot just dispose of a CRTU or CMU200 in the household garbage bin.

Other test equipment may have even worse elements inside, like radioactive stuff.

Sure enough, if the device is not tampered, all is OK, but the warning labels are on it and these devices require special care and paper work.

BeO: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beryllium_oxide#Safety

Ohh, another very toxic element is Yttrium, which is often used in the YIG of spectrum analyzers!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yttrium#Precautions

Regards,
Vitor

Offline jpb

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Re: Why are some R&S Spectrum Analysers marked hazardous by Farnell?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2018, 10:12:19 pm »
On January, 1st 2018 I started the year with a huge scare.

I was rebuilding a R&S CRTU from different spare parts and one component was the RF Input module. The one I had was broken and I got a new one. I know what was broken, so after assembling the CRTU (which was working fine now), I opened said RF Input module, to see how difficult it was to access the broken component and to generically clean it, as some forum members said that cleaning the boards sometimes improved the component's performance.

Indeed, after opening the module, there was a lot of white pouder, some oxide. So i started cleaning it with different tools and at the end I was blowing on it.

After doing it, or better, while doing it, I noticed the sticker on the module saying "DANGER - BeO - Handle with care" (or something similar). Uhhh! I Googled BeO and guess what: it is a white powder, which is highly toxic, poisonous and cancergen. All in one.

Now I had two options: either it was just Aluminium oxide or it was in fact Berylium oxxide.

To make it short: I called the national hotline for poison issues and aftter they asked me some questions (what I was doing, how long was the exposure, what sympthoms, etc.), they said it was probably nothing.

Also, I found out that the white powder was certainly Al2O3 and not BeO.

The BeO is used in high power components like resistors and/or capacitors or transistors (not sure), so unless you dessolder them or break them anyhow, it should be OK.

Anyway, the stuff is highly toxic and that means you cannot just dispose of a CRTU or CMU200 in the household garbage bin.

Other test equipment may have even worse elements inside, like radioactive stuff.

Sure enough, if the device is not tampered, all is OK, but the warning labels are on it and these devices require special care and paper work.

BeO: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beryllium_oxide#Safety

Ohh, another very toxic element is Yttrium, which is often used in the YIG of spectrum analyzers!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yttrium#Precautions

Regards,
Vitor

Beryllium oxide is very toxic and it was used for hermetically sealing things I think. I knew someone at Plessey electronics who suffered from Beryllium poisoning because he had worked with it as an apprentice. It affected his lungs I think - I was told he needed to have on going treatment over the long term though he continued to be able to work.
I am surprised that they still use it in modern products. If this is the case it would seem to be only their newest devices as well - their previous spectrum analysers aren't marked in the same way.
 

Offline dmills

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Re: Why are some R&S Spectrum Analysers marked hazardous by Farnell?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2018, 10:50:23 pm »
It is used in RF power devices because it has good electrical insulating properties combined with very high thermal conductivity and a thermal coefficient of expansion that is a reasonable match.

No big deal as long as you don't crush it or get it in a cut.

Regards, Dan.
 

Offline aargee

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Re: Why are some R&S Spectrum Analysers marked hazardous by Farnell?
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2018, 01:53:13 am »
Used to work with RF power valves/tubes in the last century, the non metallic parts were BeO, coloured white, if it ever shattered it was a case of “run away” and get material hazards kit with masks, etc.
Not easy, not hard, just need to be incentivised.
 

Offline Dave

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Re: Why are some R&S Spectrum Analysers marked hazardous by Farnell?
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2018, 01:58:04 am »
Heh, heh, you're scared by a bit of beryllium? Clearly you're not cut out for gold recycling.

 :scared: :scared: :scared: :scared: :scared:
<fellbuendel> it's arduino, you're not supposed to know anything about what you're doing
<fellbuendel> if you knew, you wouldn't be using it
 

Offline dmills

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Re: Why are some R&S Spectrum Analysers marked hazardous by Farnell?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2018, 03:42:36 am »
Those RF power devices were probably worth a hell of a lot more as RF power devices then as a few mg of gold scrap.

Regards, Dan.
 

Offline Dave

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Re: Why are some R&S Spectrum Analysers marked hazardous by Farnell?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2018, 11:48:19 am »
Especially because they look brand new (no solder anywhere). But then again, the same could be said for those processors they are smashing up. I'm willing to bet vintage computing enthusiasts would be willing to buy them at a premium.
<fellbuendel> it's arduino, you're not supposed to know anything about what you're doing
<fellbuendel> if you knew, you wouldn't be using it
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: Why are some R&S Spectrum Analysers marked hazardous by Farnell?
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2018, 11:51:16 am »
Beryllium oxide is very toxic and it was used for hermetically sealing things I think.

It was used as a very effective heat sink compound. It's toxic, but it's not that scary. Just don't get it into your mouth or lungs and wash your hands if you get some on you. I still had a tub until recently. I used it in my vintage computers as a replacement heat sink compound for whatever I cleaned off.
 


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