Tin Whiskers in a Wireless Thermostat Receiver

Tin Whiskers are a crystalline growth made of the element tin.

Tin whiskers often form on lead free solder used to fix components to circuit boards since lead was banned.

They are in the form of a very thin straight hair with one end attached to the tin from which they are formed. In my case they have grown on a piece of tin plated steel used to screen electronic components which are part of a central heating wireless thermostat radio receiver. This receiver has developed an intermittent problem and doesn’t switch on my central heating when it should. I suspect there is an electrical fault which may be caused by a tin whisker growing inside the component screening box until it touched some electrical connection.

Since I have not completely dismantled the item to find out for sure I don’t know if that is correct but as you can see from the pictures the Tin Whiskers that I have found on the outside of the screening box (see featured image) are up to 2mm long. Although I already knew about Tin Whiskers these are the first I have seen in 50 years of handling electrical or electronic devices. I have used a USB connected microscope to photograph them but I have had a lot of difficulty. They are so thin they are hardly visible with a watchmakers eyeglass with 10x magnification. Continue reading “Tin Whiskers in a Wireless Thermostat Receiver”

Flipping Heck

It’s an unusual flying object that propels itself by flipping inside out. Created by engineers at Festo in Esslingen, Germany.

It doesn’t seem to have a name so it might be a “Flipping Heck”. It’s filled with helium so perhaps its a Flipping Balloon. See it here.

Find more interesting articles like this in New Scientist.

Venus Transiting the Sun on 5th-6th June 2012

In the feature image you can see Venus transiting the sun on 8th June 2004 – the first transit since 1882

Venus Transiting the Sun on 5th-6th June 2012 won’t happen again until 2117. Remember not to look directly at the sun and focus the sun onto a white card with a telescope/lens. Unfortunately for us in the UK this transit will be nearly over when we can see it which will be at dawn. People in America, Asia, the Middle East and the Arctic Circle will be able to see it during their evening or day time. Now on 6th June we are getting close to midsummer’s day so the sun will rise in the north east at 04:45 BST in London and at dawn there are usually a lot of buildings in the way of the sun. So you will need to be in flat country, on a hill, in a sky scraper or in a plane to see the sun at dawn. Also you won’t want any clouds in the way.

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Addendum

Since the event, Venus Transiting the Sun on 5th-6th June 2012, Many articles have been written and many photos were taken through telescopes all over the world as you can see from this Google search request.

Further Reference