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  1. SPACE PRODUCT ASSURANCE esa Soldering Course based on: EUROPEAN COOPERATION FOR SPACE STANDARDIZATION ECSS-Q-ST-70-18C, 15 November 2008 Preparation, assembly & mounting of RF coaxial cables 20120112 Part A

  2. Change log

  3. Introduction The main part of this Standard is based on industrial experience and recommendations from European soldering technology experts. Modifications are incorporated into the text to provide for the specific requirement of low‐outgassing electrical systems which are required by scientific and application satellites. Other additions were made in the light of recent technological advances and results of metallurgical test programmes. The use of processes other than solder assembly is recognized, but only certain general requirements are given in this Standard. • These requirements apply to assemblies designed to operate within the temperature limits from ‐45 °C to +85 °C. More extreme temperatures or other unusual environmental applications require special design measures or processing steps to provide environmental survival capability.

  4. 1 Scope • technical requirements and quality assurance provisions for assembly and mounting of high-reliability, radio-frequency (RF) coaxial-cable interconnections for use as transmission lines in spacecraft and associated equipment. • these assemblies generally designed for low-loss, stable operation from relatively low frequencies through higher frequencies in the microwave regions • these transmission-line cables not to be confused with low- frequency cables with conductive sheaths (usually copper braid), used in applications where shielding of centre conductors from surrounding electrical ambient is required Interconnection of those shielded cables is covered in ECSS-Q-ST-70-08

  5. Electromagnetic Spectrum Chart sonics10kHz ultrasonics 1MHz  microwave  cut-off frequency for 0.085 cable 60GHz cut-off frequency for 0.141 cable 32GHz limit for R125 series sma connectors 18GHz

  6. Electromagnetic Spectrum BANDWIDTH DESCRIPTION FREQUENCY RANGE Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) 0 to 3 kHz Very Low Frequency (VLF) 3 kHz to 30 kHz Radio Navigation & maritime/aeronautical mobile 9 kHz to 540 kHz Low Frequency (LF) 30 kHz to 300 kHz Medium Frequency (MF) 300 kHz to 3000 kHz AM Radio Broadcast 540 kHz to 1630 kHz Travelers Information Service 1610 kHz High Frequency (HF) SSB Range 3 MHz to 30 MHz Shortwave Broadcast Radio 5.95 MHz to 26.1 MHz Very High Frequency (VHF) 30 MHz to 300 MHz Low Band: TV Band 1 - Channels 2-6 54 MHz to 88 MHz Mid Band: FM Radio Broadcast VHF Radio Range 88 MHz to 174 MHz High Band: TV Band 2 - Channels 7-13 174 MHz to 216 MHz Super Band (mobile/fixed radio & TV) 216 MHz to 600 MHz Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) 300 MHz to 3000 MHz Channels 14-70 470 MHz to 806 MHz L-band: 500 MHz to 1500 MHz Personal Communications Services (PCS) 1850 MHz to 1990 MHz Unlicensed PCS Devices 1910 MHz to 1930 MHz Superhigh Frequencies (SHF) (Microwave) 3 GHz to 30.0 GHz C-band 3600 MHz to 7025 MHz X-band: 7.25 GHz to 8.4 GHz Ku-band 10.7 GHz to 14.5 GHz Ka-band 17.3 GHz to 31.0 GHz Extremely High Frequencies (EHF) (Millimeter Wave Signals) 30.0 GHz to 300 GHz Additional Fixed Satellite 38.6 GHz to 275 GHz Infrared Radiation 300 GHz to 810 THz Visible Light 810 THz to 1620 THz Ultraviolet Radiation 1.62 PHz to 30 PHz X-Rays 30 PHz to 30 EHz Gamma Rays 30 EHz to 3000 EHz

  7. 2 Normative references ECSS‐S‐ST‐00‐01 ECSS system — Glossary of terms ECSS‐Q‐ST‐10‐09 Nonconformance control ECSS‐Q‐ST‐20 Quality assurance ECSS‐Q‐ST‐60 EEE components ECSS‐Q‐ST‐70‐02 Thermal vacuum outgassing test for the screening of space materials ECSS‐Q‐ST‐70‐08 Manual soldering of high‐reliability electrical connections ECSS‐Q‐ST‐70‐26 Crimping of high‐reliability electrical connections ECSS‐Q‐ST‐70‐28 Repair and modification of printed circuit board assemblies MIL‐C‐17G(3) SUP1 General specification for cables, radio frequency, flexible and semi‐rigid. (8 Jan 1996)

  8. 3 Terms, definitions and abbreviated terms 3.1 Terms from other standards For the purpose of this Standard, the terms and definitions from ECSS‐S‐ST‐00‐01 apply, in particular for the following term: requirement 3.2 Terms specific to the present standard 3.2.1 minimum bend radius inside radius of the bend measured on the outer surface of the cable

  9. 3 Terms, definitions and abbreviated terms 3.3 Abbreviated terms For the purpose of this Standard, the abbreviated terms from ECSS‐S‐ST‐00‐01 and the following apply: Abbreviation Meaning FEP fluorinated ethylene propylene PTFE polytetrafluoroethylene SMA sub miniature version A VSWR voltage standing wave ratio

  10. 4 Principles and prerequisites of reliable soldered or crimped cable connections 4.1 Principles of reliable soldered or crimped semi-rigid cable connections Reliable soldered or crimped connections result from proper design, control of tools, materials and work environments and careful workmanship

  11. 4 Principles and prerequisites of reliable soldered or crimped cable connections 4.1 Principles of reliable soldered or crimped semi-rigid cable connections (continued) Basic design concepts for reliable connections and which prevent joint failure: a. Avoidance of dimensional mismatch between coaxial-cable assembly and units being connected; i.e. not forcing the semi-rigid cable assembly into position and thereby cracking or pre-stressing joints b. Use of cable-end connectors with retractable (non-captive) coupling nuts; after completion of mounting, the coaxial-cable assembly is not in a state of tension resulting from axial movement when connectors are threaded together

  12. 4 Principles and prerequisites of reliable soldered or crimped cable connections 4.1 Principles of reliable soldered or crimped semi-rigid cable connections (continued) c. Minimizing internal stresses on soldered or crimped connections resulting from exposure to thermal cycling NOTE thermal coefficient of expansion of the dielectric is about 10 times that of copper and in service this can introduce a tensile stress on the joint d. The various assembly and mounting processes are covered by quality-control inspection steps.

  13. 4 Principles and prerequisites of reliable soldered or crimped cable connections 4.2 Prerequisites for assembly and mounting of semi-rigid coaxial cables documented soldering or crimping programmes: • procedures for training, certification, maintenance of certified status recertification and revocation of certified status for soldering, crimping and inspection personnel • workmanship standards consisting of satisfactory work samples or visual aids illustrating quality characteristics for all connections involved, including applicable illustrations in annex B of this Standard

  14. 4 Principles and prerequisites of reliable soldered or crimped cable connections 4.2 Prerequisites for assembly and mounting of semi-rigid coaxial cables • Records kept to provide identification between finished product and operator. Records also maintained of training, testing and certification status of assembly operators. Records retained for at least one year, or longer if this is specific requirement of the customer’s project • Equipment and tools verified and calibrated periodically for proper operation, and records of tool calibration and verification maintained (see clause 5.8).

  15. 4 Principles and prerequisites of reliable soldered or crimped cable connections 4.2 Prerequisites for assembly and mounting of semi-rigid coaxial cables (continued) • For soldering or crimping requirements not covered in this Standard, the contractor submits a process procedure including all pertinent quality requirements to customer’s project office for approval in accordance with ECSS-Q-ST-70.

  16. 4 Principles and prerequisites of reliable soldered or crimped cable connections 4.3 Alternative coaxial cable technologies • Alternative coaxial cable technologies are accepted for application in individual customer programmes following the completion of qualification and batch acceptance test programmes in accordance with 5.7. The precise test-programme and results are subject to review and acceptance by the relevant customer programme • For materials used in the alternative technology see ECSS-Q-ST-70-71 • Some mounting requirements for alternative technologies are given in 5.6.3

  17. 5 Requirements 5.1 Preparatory conditions 5.1.1 Facility cleanliness a. Unless classified as a cleanroom, areas in which soldering is carried out shall be maintained in neat orderly fashion with no loose material (dirt, dust, solder particles, oils and clipped wires) that can cause contamination of the soldered connection. • Furniture kept to minimum in work areas and be arranged to allow easy and thorough cleaning of the floor c. A washroom and eating, drinking and smoking facilities should be located close to, but outside, the soldering areas.

  18. 5 Requirements 5.1.1 Facility cleanliness (continued) d. Working surfaces covered with an easily cleaned hard top or have a replaceable surface of clean, non- corrosive silicone-free paper. e. Clean tools in the soldering operation f. excess lubricants removed before soldering starts. g. Before assembly, wire, terminal and connector contacts visually examined for cleanliness, absence of oil films and freedom from tarnish or corrosion.

  19. 5 Requirements 5.1.2 Environmental conditions a. controlled environment that limits entry of contamination b. room temperature: 22 ± 3 ºC relative humidity at room temperature 55 ± 10 % c. work stations not be exposed to draughts • fresh air supplied to the room through filtering system; positive pressure with respect to adjacent rooms.

  20. 5 Requirements 5.1.3 Lighting requirements a. lighting intensity minimum of 1 080 lux on work surface b. at least 90 % of the work area shall be shadowless and without severe reflections

  21. 5 Requirements 5.1.4 Equipment and tools Brushes a. The supplier shall use brushes for cleaning, provided that they do not scratch the metal surface to be cleaned or damage adjacent materials beyond their visual inspection requirements. NOTE Medium‐stiff natural‐ or synthetic‐bristle brushes can be used. b. The supplier shall clean these brushes before use in a solvent prescribed in clause 5.2.3. c. The supplier shall not use wire brushes.

  22. 5 Requirements Equipment and tools (continued) 5.4.2 Files a. The supplier shall use smooth, single cut and mill type files for dressing copper soldering‐iron tips and removing burrs from the conductor. b. The supplier shall not use files on surface‐treated tips or pretinned items. NOTE Nickel plated is an example for surface‐treatment. c. The supplier shall keep the files in a good condition and shall be cleaned before use. d. The supplier shall not keep the files in a cleanroom environment.

  23. 5 Requirements Cutting tools a. Cutting tools for preparation of the semi-rigid cable: • Fine-tooth jeweller’s saws (0,28 mm - 0,33 mm blade preferred) • razor blades (single edged) • suitable wire cutters. b. The jeweller’s saw shall be used together with a cable clamping device; see Figure C-1.

  24. 5 Requirements Cutting tools (continued) c. The supplier shall cut the dielectric and inner conductor with a tool that produces a clean, smooth‐cut surface along the entire cutting edge. d. The supplier shall not perform any twisting action during this cutting operation.

  25. 5 Requirements Cable-forming tools • Bending jigs (Figure C-2) available to form cable to predetermined shapes as identified by the contractor’s engineering drawing • Roller sizes to be available for each cable diameter. Equipment not to introduce dents, nicks, wrinkles or cracks in cable outer conductor.

  26. 5 Requirements Cable stripping and dressing tools a. The supplier shall use cable stripping and dressing tools in such a way that they do not twist, ring, nick, or score the underlying material surface. NOTE Many pieces of commercially available equipment exist to strip the outer conductor or the dielectric material. These can be automatic, power‐driven devices with precision factory‐set non‐adjustable cutting and stripping dies, or precision hand‐type strippers with accurately machined cutting heads. b. The supplier shall perform either periodic calibration or sample evaluation during a production run.

  27. 5 Requirements Heat-treatment chamber a. The supplier shall use thermal cycling cabinets, ovens, refrigeration units or cold chambers capable of maintaining temperatures between ‐50 °C and +90 °C NOTE Under certain circumstances (see Table 5‐2 step 3.3) greater temperature extremes can be required. b. The supplier shall calibrate the working zone to within ±5 °C.

  28. 5 Requirements Soldering equipment a. The supplier shall accomplish one of the following soldering methods that conforms to the requirements on “Equipment and tools” of ECSS‐Q‐ST‐70‐08: 1. by hand or 2. by using a resistance heating unit or 3. other contact heat source * * eg thermal resistance tweezers, solder pot

  29. 5 Requirements Soldering equipment b. When non‐contact heat sources are utilized, the supplier shall set up, operate and demonstrate to the satisfaction of the customer that the particular method and schedule produces joints of an acceptable standard. NOTE This includes verification testing as detailed in clause 5.7.

  30. 5 Requirements Crimping equipment a. The supplier shall use the settings recommended by the tool manufacturer as a guide. NOTE This is necessary since manual crimping tools are available; they are custom designed and applicable only for particular connector shells. b. The supplier shall set up the tool for the cable and connector types by a detailed calibration programme based on the requirements of ECSS‐Q‐ST‐70‐26. c. The supplier shall perform verification testing as detailed in clause 5.7.

  31. 5 Requirements Assembly equipment, tools and processes for other technologies a. The supplier shall only use the equipment, tools, and processes for the assembly of the cables and connectors that are designed to avoid damage or degradation of the cables and connectors. NOTE The equipment, tools, and processes can be subject to a manufacturing audit by the customer before application in their programme.

  32. 5 Requirements Defective or uncalibrated equipment or tools • The supplier shall promptly remove and replace defective or uncalibrated equipment or tools from the work areas.

  33. Equipment and tools Sourcing hints: Specialist RF cable assembly tooling such as • Radiall: R282 120 010 SMA Solder kit (~£3107 in 2007) • Radiall: R282-102-000 Bending kit, (~£550 in 2007) • Radiall Technical support Barry Wheeler tel 020 8991 7700 Availability & pricing from: Microtek Components tel 01635 522 292 also: Richardson Electronics Pte Ltd Tel: 65-64875995 Fax: 65-64875665 Kaylene Chong []

  34. Equipment and tools Radiall SMA solder kit

  35. Equipment and tools Radiall bending kit

  36. Equipment and tools Radiall coning kit ie to form point on centre conductor for connectors without centre contact.

  37. Equipment and tools Sourcing hints: Specialist RF cable assembly tooling such as • • • • • ie forming point on centre conductor for connectors without centre contact. •

  38. Equipment and tools Sourcing hints: Specialist RF connector gauge kits from Maury Microwave •

  39. Equipment and tools Sourcing hints: Specialist RF connector gauge kits from SRI Connector Gage Co.

  40. Equipment and tools More sourcing hints: • Suhner cable cutting device type 9144. • Triton PTH (press to heat) light duty soldering tool • American Beauty Tools (Jim Steadie) 01707 • Pace thermal tweezers (2V, 80-W) (obsolete tool)

  41. 5.2 Material selection • 5.2.1 Solder • a. The supplier shall use solder ribbon, wire and preforms, provided that the alloy and flux conform to the requirements on “material selection” of ECSS‐Q‐ST‐70‐08. • NOTE 1 The following solder alloys are approved: • • 60 Sn (remainder lead): For degolding operations, coating and pretinning. • 96 Sn (remainder silver): For making coaxial‐cable • outer‐conductor‐to connector solder joint. • 96 Sn or 63 Sn (remainder lead): For contact‐pin • soldering and cover soldering of right angle • connectors. • NOTE 2 Refer also to the table of “Chemical composition of spacecraft solders” in ECSS‐Q‐ST‐70‐08.

  42. ECSS-Q-ST-70-08: Solder Composition

  43. 5.2 Material selection • 5.2.2 Flux • The supplier should perform degolding and • pretinning operations with activated fluxes. • NOTE Examples of activated fluxes are • J‐STD‐004 Type ROL1 and ROH1. • b. The supplier shall completely remove activated • fluxes immediately after use and before any • further soldering operation. • c. The supplier shall only use pure rosin flux • for spacecraft assembly work. • NOTE An example of pure rosin flux is • J‐STD‐004 Type ROL0.

  44. Solder theory: Intermetallics Cu3Sn Cu6Sn5 Au AuSn AuSn2 Data source: September 2001 presentation by Istituto Italiano della Saldatura (LM)

  45. Solder Theory: TIN-LEAD PHASE DIAGRAM PURE LEAD MP 327º PURE TIN MP 232º pasty pasty 183º Eutectic 61.9% Sn 38.1% Pb solid

  46. Composition of Eutectic Tin/Lead Solder + Pb (Lead) 37% 327°C Sn/Pb 63/37 183°c Sn (Tin) 63% 232°C

  47. Eutectic Sn/Pb (Eutectic means lowest melting point, no melting range) 183°C  Solid Liquid Sn63/Pb37 is near eutectic and recommended for pcb soldering For solder-pot processes, the amount of Sn in excess of 61.9% allows for Sn depletion during use. Sn61.9/Pb38.1 is true eutectic

  48. Solder Theory: TIN-SILVER PHASE DIAGRAM TIN-SILVER PHASE DIAGRAM PURE SILVER MP 962ºC Eutectic 96% Sn 4% Ag PURE TIN MP 232ºC 221º solid

  49. Flux Flux Cored Solder

  50. Wetting Action and Contamination Oxide film (contaminant) prevents wetting and the formation of the INTERMETALLIC LAYER. Flux removes this oxide film. INTERMETALLIC LAYER SOLDER COPPER