Author Topic: Solder paste particle size  (Read 758 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline luiHS

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 465
  • Country: es
Solder paste particle size
« on: September 22, 2021, 01:27:55 am »
 
Hi
I've been having trouble with very fine pitch component welds, specifically with QFN package, some microcontrollers, and an accelerometer.

Seen under the microscope, after welding in the oven, some small balls can be seen. The problem is that in very fine pitch components, these little balls that remain between pins seem to touch and create short circuits or the equivalent of a resistor. In some boards that causes them to end up burning and in others it does not work properly.

I have been reading about the types of solder paste and it seems that according to the particle thickness they are classified from T1 to T8, with T8 being the finest particle. I have been using T4 solder paste (Loctite MP218S), and I thought I could try to buy a T5, like Chip Quick SMD291AX10T5 or another.

Do you think that to solder very fine pitch chips it is essential to use T5 or even higher solder paste?.
Soon I will be working with BGA (0.8mm pitch) and I would not like to have this problem too.



« Last Edit: September 22, 2021, 01:41:13 am by luiHS »
 

Online Cerebus

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 8705
  • Country: gb
Re: Solder paste particle size
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2021, 01:38:27 am »
Grade 3 or 4 paste should be good to at least 0.5mm pitch - I have no problems with 0.5mm QFNs with grade 3 paste.

Sounds more like a temperature profile problem. A guess, but it's a guess, is too fast an initial ramp-up causing water/solvent in the paste to boil and spit paste all over the place.

Stale paste is always a good suspect too - is your paste (1) within date, (2) properly stored - usually meaning refrigerated, (3) if refrigerated given enough time to warm up before use?
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 
The following users thanked this post: luiHS

Offline luiHS

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 465
  • Country: es
Re: Solder paste particle size
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2021, 03:24:26 am »
Grade 3 or 4 paste should be good to at least 0.5mm pitch - I have no problems with 0.5mm QFNs with grade 3 paste.

Sounds more like a temperature profile problem. A guess, but it's a guess, is too fast an initial ramp-up causing water/solvent in the paste to boil and spit paste all over the place.

Stale paste is always a good suspect too - is your paste (1) within date, (2) properly stored - usually meaning refrigerated, (3) if refrigerated given enough time to warm up before use?


The temperature curves I use are those of the oven, I have two ovens, T962A and T962C. I use curves 1 and 2, with 2 being the traditional one recommended by all electronic component manufacturers.

I have already used this paste on several occasions from different batches, and the problem is the same, it is not an expired paste or in bad condition, the problem also appears in a recently purchased bottle.

I always store it in the fridge to make it last longer. The only thing I have never thought about is letting the temperature of the solder paste rise, after taking it out of the fridge, before using it. I will have to try it, it did not occur to me, this could be the problem.

However I will buy a solder paste T5 pot to test with the finer pitch chips.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2021, 03:27:19 am by luiHS »
 

Offline 48X24X48X

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 333
  • Country: my
Re: Solder paste particle size
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2021, 05:27:18 am »
Have been using T4 SAC305 and Sn64Bi35Ag1. Both work fine on QFN down to 0.4mm pitch. 1 thing I'm very particular is having the solder mask bridge between the pins. With green solder mask PCB offered by JLCPCB at 0.4mm pitch, this is just enough to obey the minimum rule but sadly their other color offering including their new purple offering couldn't. I don't refrigerate my paste but I don't keep my paste for long either. About 3 months, I would swap them out.
 
The following users thanked this post: luiHS

Offline Clif

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 5
  • Country: cn
Re: Solder paste particle size
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2021, 06:36:11 am »
the unsuitable stencil aperture design will lead to solder ball issue, can you show maore information about the defect picture and stencil design?
 

Offline Siwastaja

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4538
  • Country: fi
Re: Solder paste particle size
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2021, 11:54:36 am »
Seeing balls after reflow is not because of excess initial particle size, but due to process error like expired or poorly mixed paste, temperature profile problem etc. Such balls are usually much larger than the initial particles and result in from the solder not flowing properly to the pads and component legs. When everything works as it should, the flux in the paste pulls all the solder into the pads. In addition to flux quality (age/mixing) problem, other causes can be too large paste openings, too much paste (it has to go somewhere!), or general messy application - if you get paste where it doesn't belong, it melts into balls.

Grade 3 should really be small enough for your purposes, just don't use grade 2. Only if you do some very fine 0.3 or 0.4 mm pitch parts you need to use grade 4. You may still want to try changing solder paste brands to see if that helps, so you may want to give grade 4 paste a try. Getting reflow process work reliably is combination of sometimes nearly blind experimentation (where luck is an element, sadly) and more rigorous process control.
 

Offline Mangozac

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 334
  • Country: 00
Re: Solder paste particle size
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2021, 12:20:35 am »
Seeing balls after reflow is not because of excess initial particle size, but due to process error like expired or poorly mixed paste, temperature profile problem etc. Such balls are usually much larger than the initial particles and result in from the solder not flowing properly to the pads and component legs. When everything works as it should, the flux in the paste pulls all the solder into the pads. In addition to flux quality (age/mixing) problem, other causes can be too large paste openings, too much paste (it has to go somewhere!), or general messy application - if you get paste where it doesn't belong, it melts into balls.
This. We use T4 paste and when we start seeing balls it means someone hasn't refreshed the paste soon enough.
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf