PT/35(b): A Very Simple Question – UPDATE

A reader has suggested an explanation to my question. It seems a reasonable explanation and others do agree with him. But that is not likely to be the correct explanation for two reasons as I explain in this update.

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Here is an early picture of PT/35(b)


Here is another one.



According to our timeline, Picture 334 was taken on or before 22 Sept 89.

22 September 1989

Photos 333 and 334 of RARDE report – close up photos of fragment, were taken on or before 22 Sept 89, according to the photographic register (FC3877 and FC3878).

And now, let us take a look at a picture taken at a later time. (27/04/1990)


Just to be sure, look at this one too.



And this one.


(I really like this one!)


The early pictures show that the left bottom part of the “1” shaped pad has a clean and straight edge. The latter pictures show that some “TIN” has flown over the edge of the pad.

How do you explain this?

ANSWER from a reader (Comment from Brendan)

That silver bit sticking out of the bottom left of the “1” pad appears to line up with the contours of an area of solder on the pad. That area of solder (which presumably had been applied to connect one of the pins of the relay) looks flatter in the photos taken after the other corner was cut from the board fragment. That smooth surface can be seen in these images too:

In the photos from before the cutting, that surface looks less uniform (see Picture 334, the second image in the article above). The same kind of uneven structure can be seen in the top right part of the “1” where a wire was apparently soldered on.That looks like a mountain shape in the last picture above.

So it’s possible that whatever flattened the surface area also pushed out some of the solder from the pad onto the bare part of the board.

The only thing that I can think of that would cause that is something like a vice grips that could have been used to secure the fragment while the bottom right hand corner was being sawed off.

It’s possible that the heat of the saw cutting through fibreglass caused the solder to melt while the board was being gripped. However, the solder could have been flattened simply by being gripped extremely tightly. Without a very secure grip, the fragment could have cracked as a result of the sawing action. Whoever cut the board may have set the grip extremely tight to make sure that far greater destruction of the board would be avoided.


Here is a picture taken BEFORE “the bottom right hand corner was being sawed off.” The solder “out of the pad” is already visible.


Also, here is another question: Why is there any soldering at all on that part of the pad? The wire was (according to the investigation) soldered on the top part of the pad. And the relay is NOT soldered to this (bottom) part of the pad either!


Here is a larger view of the pad.


So? Any idea?


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8 Responses to PT/35(b): A Very Simple Question – UPDATE

  1. Brendan says:

    The picture in the update shows the solder jutting out from the edge by just a small amount. The photos that were taken later show it coming out out much further. That would seem to support, instead of contradict, the idea that there was a small piece of solder at the edge of the pad that got squashed, causing it to spread out over the edge.

    That doesn’t explain why Photo 334 (taken before the other corner was cut off) shows a straight edge without anything sticking out. Well, if you zoom in on that photo

    you’ll see a dark area that’s about the same size and shape and in the same location as the protruding solder in the photo from the update.

    Now, solder is silver/light gray, so why does the solder, that appears bright in the ‘update’ image, appear very dark in Photo 334? I think that it has to do with the position of the light in the top right which is blocked from reaching some parts of the surface. You can see similar dark areas of solder in other areas, most notably in the ‘mountainy’ part of the top right.


  2. Brendan says:

    “Also, here is another question: Why is there any soldering at all on that part of the pad? The wire was (according to the investigation) soldered on the top part of the pad. And the relay is NOT soldered to this (bottom) part of the pad either!”

    I thought before that the other pin was also connected to that pad. I can see now that it was connected to a different pad on the other side of the two tracks. That can be seen on the bare board:

    Wherever it came from, there was a significant amount of lead, as well as tin, found on the bottom of the pad, just like in the top right (see pages 14 and 20 and Fig. 1c of the Dundee University Report). That combination indicates the application of solder. The photos of the fragment also show something there that is different to the more uniform surface in the middle of the “1”.

    So the solder appears to be there alright but it’s a mystery to me how it got there.


  3. Scott says:

    Well we have ruled out careless handling so my guess is……’s not the same timer fragment?


  4. Craig says:

    Is there any info with regard to the date of ‘Photograph 3’ ?

    I appreciate and respect the comment made by Brendan.
    The issues I’m unsure about – the cutting of the fragment was carried out at Siemens laboratory in Germany, using a ‘diamond wire saw’ apparently overseen or in agreement with a number of professional individuals, noted as 27/4/1990
    I think if there had been any concerns with regard to cutting and altering the surface in any way, these folks would have stated that prior to the action.
    My view is if a diamond wire saw was used, it would be at slow speed but possibly a coolant could also have been added in any event.

    The photographs show a smooth cut including a cut overrun, there is no doubt the fragment would require to be fixed but I suggest a clamp was used to run the fragment smoothly through the saw rather than any direct pressure such as a vice on one particularly area.
    Furthermore, I cannot believe this organisation would not have available or used the best non-destructive type testing machinery, particularly in the lab.
    They must have had to cut samples from numerous products in everyday product testing and compliance.

    Also, the previous cut of the top of the ‘1’ was carried out by New England Laminates, Skelmersdale, noted as 14/2/1990 using a ‘low speed saw’.
    Could be very wrong but I’d be surprised if the Germans didn’t equally have similar knowledge or expertise as the English lads about cutting a PCB.

    This photo is noted as an early photo but if one looks at the top of the two tracks to the far right hand side, the downward track has been removed.
    I always thought this was a photograph with regard to the Strathclyde photos of 12/2/1990 but obviously it can’t be that as only one pin sample of the resin of the fragment had been taken to that date.

    It can’t be form RARDE because they state no samples were taken at all for over 7 months [May 1989 to Jan 1990] prior to the fragment being handed over to the Scottish Police.

    There is a RARDE note which appears similar kindly provided by John Ashton but it is still difficult to date the AWF note.
    PDF Page 11 of 33
    I can’t work out is this a AWF Allan Feraday note or has someone sent this to AWF ?
    Who noted the back to front ‘J’ in the top centre of the page, when was that noted and drawn ?
    Looks to me like the corner curvature of an MST-13.
    Someone has also noted the inner circle.
    Who noted all the dimensions with regard to the fragment ?

    The 20-23 February 1990 timeline notes the French scientist Claude Calisti was shown PT35b at a meeting with British & French representatives.
    Furthermore, Scottish police representatives further contacted Claude Calisti in February 1991 apparently with regard to same.

    Feb 20-23 1990, I’m not sure how Claude Calisti [CC] could have actually been shown PT35b, if this event did happen, is it possible these could only be photographs or is CC claim absolute ?
    Further observation follows on, if CC had been shown photographs in Feb 1990 and declared ‘non’, why would Scottish police contact CC again in Feb 1991 and enquire again ?

    There could be another explanation, the Feb 1990 was a meeting between the ‘British’ and the French at the exclusion of the ‘Scottish’ which could suggest a parallel investigation was ongoing….who knows ?


    • Ludwig says:

      Is there any info with regard to the date of ‘Photograph 3’ ?

      2 March 1990. Best, L


    • Brendan says:

      I had forgotten about the top part of the board that was also removed. It would be expected that for that operation the fragment would be clamped close to the top edge, but there doesn’t appear to be any crushing of the solder at the top right.

      I doubt that they would apply coolant to the saw because it would inevitably get onto the fragment and contaminate the surface that would need to be analysed. Any attempts to wash off the coolant might also remove other material from the surface.

      Another question about that RARDE note: What is the reason for the diagonal line drawn at the bottom left of the pad? That line happens to mark approximately the area of solder.


  5. Craig says:

    With regard to information from the link.
    Note this statement by Allen Feraday at PDF page 33 of 33, item 7:

    “Such tests would be unnessacry, undersiable and possibly even distructive to the general cause of the investigation and it’s legal aims.
    Furthermore, there are ^possible international reporcussions concerning any future explosive tests.”

    “general cause of the investigation and it’s legal aims”
    Strange wording or phrase from an apparent independent forensic investigator ?

    “international repercussions”
    What’s this, the UK side must follow the game plan no matter what the actual evidence shows.

    Talk about a stitch-up, the RARDE representative confirmed the whole script from early on.


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