Iyonix banned by new EU green lawPublished: 1st Aug 2006, 23:03:02 | Permalink | Printable
Will need redesign to meet new requirementsTough new EU regulations on the hazardous substances used in electronic equipment will halt the manufacture of new Iyonix motherboards, claim insiders.
The so-called RoHS directive came into effect in July, and lays down strict limits on the amounts of chemical nasties, such as lead, cadmium, and mercury, that can be used in new electrical and electronic goods. The new rules include restrictions on the amount of lead that can be used in the solder on PCBs - the electrical glue that links together components on a computer's circuit boards.
In order to be compliant with the new limits, the Iyonix motherboard will require a costly redesign to accommodate the new strict rules. Non-compliant products are now banned from sale in Europe.
According to the RoHS FAQ, "any item of electrical or electronic equipment covered by the RoHS scope that is placed on the EU market from July 1, 2006, will have to comply, regardless of whether it is one of a line of products that existed before that date."
The FAQ also states that companies are prohibited from stockpiling non-compliant kit before the deadline to sell after it has passed.
The technology industry as a whole has known about the July deadline for a number of years - AMD lowered the lead content in its processors last year, but shipments of Palm Treo PDAs were surprisingly laid low by the new directive. The RoHS deadline also caused an electronics mountain to suddenly grow in Europe as companies sought to shed as much non-compliant kit as possible. RoHS enforcers have promised to come down hard on businesses that flout the new regulations.
A well-placed source close to Castle said the Iyonix developers have been pondering a solution to the RoHS problem for the past few months.
Another added: "Further Iyonix motherboard builds will require a PCB redesign as there is one component used on the PCB that is not available lead-free in its package. There are, however, larger pinout versions of that device that are lead-free.
"What this generally seems to be is that the smaller manufacturers are forever chasing their tails trying to keep the EU clean. Larger ones may comply or may just brazen it out."
An engineer experienced with RISC OS hardware, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "RoHS finally became a legal requirement on July 1, after a number of years of hesitation.
"Note that most chips are 'tinned' with solder by the manufacturer and the same restrictions apply. The Iyonix wasn't designed for a lead-free process because there was no suggestion that this would be a requirement at the time.
"It is very unlikely that boards that are not designed for a lead-free process can be used lead-free without modification. Increasing the complexity of boards makes this even less likely.
"The difficulty of modifying an existing design depends mostly on the complexity of the design - for complex boards this probably requires a similar level of skill as that which would be required for the original layout."
Castle declined to comment. It's understood other RISC OS products, such as the A9 range, designed for AdvantageSix by Simtec, are RoHS-compliant.
Castle Iyonix website
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