I fully agree with you that lead still has its advantages, if the industry had no concerns with the lead free process there would be no exemptions but there are?, also lead is a naturally occuring material and there have been no studies that I have seen to suggest any leakage from PCBs back into the environment, the amount of lead used in many products has also reduced purely because many products are now surface mount therefore are smaller so use less lead?.
Like many of these ideas CE,RoHS they start out to be good ideas and then "experts" get called in for their opinion and they start to build little empires to protect their new found jobs
As a small manufacturer based in the UK we have also had our fair share of the CE problems, this situation was not helped because we make transmitters and receivers and electronic equipment under the CE directive are not supposed to interfere with each other which is exactly what a transmitter and receiver are supposed to do?. This caused some confusion for a while
Our manufacturing has now been moved over to lead free although many types
of equipment (Telecom equipment and safety based) are exempt because of the tin "whisker problem mentioned earlier. Our sub contractor seems to have the lead free soldering cracked now but we have had to go over to gold plated PCBs to get a better finish.
We have stocks of finished items eg. Pocket Pager receivers these were bought in as complete units and are not lead free, we can sell these units into the market because they are existing stock, I dont know if the Castle mother board would be covered in this way as it is a component rather than a finished item?.
I find myself in a very similar situation to Druck I purchased an early Iyonix and have carried on funding select until now! , I have just received a request to re-new my subscription I am afraid I cannot justify funding select any longer , until there is some sort of commitment with regards to the Iyonix.
Unfortunately I have to agree with the negative comments with regards to MD, I paid a deposit, then sometime later was asked to pay for the machine in full as it was about to be manufactured, I paid for the machine in full and waited......
When the machine did not arrive on the agreed date I phoned MD and spoke to them asking for a delivery date they said that they could not commit them selves to a date , and it could be some months, at this point I asked for a full refund which they agree to.
After this conversation I tried phoning MD many many times and also recorded letters were returned un-opened , one of my last attempts at contacting MD I left my work telephone number and MD did leave a message on the answer phone that I would receive a refund as requested.
I dont know if the official sounding message on the answer phone at work or the idea that MD was not dealing with an individual, very quickly after that I did finally receive a full refund.
The fact the omega worked at all was quite a technical achievement it may have never delivered the fabled arm twister but it is a shame to loose someone of this technical ability from the RISC OS world.
I must admit that if MD came out with an Iyonix (which I now own) beater I would be very wary to purchase it because of the level of customer support that MD has shown.