re-flow oven recommendations.

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Hi All

 

I am thinking about purchasing a small re-flow oven. I did not need one till now but i am using LGA modules and prefer to assemble boards in house for prototyping. 

 

Does any one have an recommendation or advice on the a good reflow oven?

 

The price range has to be in the £200-£300 range. I have seen few on ebay, but would like see if anyone has had success with those types of re-flow ovens.

 

Thanks

 

 

 

 

Thanks

Regards

DJ

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In my opinion, a Black & Decker Toaster Oven (50$) with quarts tubes works. I use a  solid-state relay (60$) to PWM the quarts elements with a slow 2 second period, there average temperature (due to thermal mass), and thus radiant output, is reasonably constant. The only oven modification I do is to put foil on the window. I set the oven controls to the max program a 328p that reads PWM values from EEPROM to cycle through.

 

The door is ajar during the entire process; that was how I profiled it, but the ajar wedge is what controls the cooldown rate. Once I liked the profile (e.g., the PWM cycle), there is not much need to keep profiling or do automatic feedback control (unless something changes). Your solder should have a profile, and some parts do also; merging those can get tricky, but usually, it's easy.

 

This link shows the idea.

 

https://github.com/epccs/RPUno/tree/master/Reflow

 

You have a 328p board, right?

 

update: Do practice runs to get the feel, add solder past on junk boards, and place it where you can see it reflow through the wedge space.

my projects: https://github.com/epccs

Debugging is harder than programming - don’t write code you can’t debug! https://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/help-it-doesnt-work

Last Edited: Tue. Apr 7, 2020 - 07:58 PM
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ron_sutherland wrote:
Black & Decker Toaster Oven (50$) ...   solid-state relay (60$)

So the relay is more expensive than the entire oven!

 

surprise

 

PS

 

What's with all this crazy putting the currency symbol after the amount these days ?

 

 

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The relay is a fire risk, and my house is, in fact, "my" house. As far as the currency symbol... I don't know, I think that is where it is on the checks I write, I never thought about it, is it wrong?

 

update:  just looked at a check, guess what... yep it is before not after.

 

update2: removed self-depreciation

my projects: https://github.com/epccs

Debugging is harder than programming - don’t write code you can’t debug! https://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/help-it-doesnt-work

Last Edited: Tue. Apr 7, 2020 - 09:15 PM
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That's the way your government does it:

 

https://www.usa.gov/currency#item-37317

 

You still write cheques ?!

 

laugh

Top Tips:

  1. How to properly post source code - see: https://www.avrfreaks.net/comment... - also how to properly include images/pictures
  2. "Garbage" characters on a serial terminal are (almost?) invariably due to wrong baud rate - see: https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/serial-communication
  3. Wrong baud rate is usually due to not running at the speed you thought; check by blinking a LED to see if you get the speed you expected
  4. Difference between a crystal, and a crystal oscillatorhttps://www.avrfreaks.net/comment...
  5. When your question is resolved, mark the solution: https://www.avrfreaks.net/comment...
  6. Beginner's "Getting Started" tips: https://www.avrfreaks.net/comment...
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I am so glad, I did not forget how to spell checks, I need some tea now.

 

https://www.grammarly.com/blog/c...

my projects: https://github.com/epccs

Debugging is harder than programming - don’t write code you can’t debug! https://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/help-it-doesnt-work

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Thanks

Regards

DJ

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For the first boards I did with that toaster from Walmart, I just manually modulated the elements and watched them glow, and the solder smoke and melt. At that point, I had seen boards go into a reflow on a pick and place line and done profiling, so I just sort of guessed my way through the process, and it worked. I don't expect the oven elements to last, they are getting hammered, but I can pick up a new one when needed.

my projects: https://github.com/epccs

Debugging is harder than programming - don’t write code you can’t debug! https://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/help-it-doesnt-work

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ron_sutherland wrote:
... program a 328p ...
IIRC, the previous version of the following was a mega328 with a Microchip IO expander.

Whizoo.com

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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I have a few friends & myself & one company I know that all have had very good luck with the controleo oven.  Based on our good results building them & using for 2-3 years, each of us have been very happy with the boards we built. We have used typical packages like  TQFP, 0805,  0603 0402 parts. etc.  I don't believe any of us have used BGA parts, so I can't comment on that.

The ovens we built all had a 2 line display...now with a few years progress the latest model has a graphics lcd...I'd definitely give it a look, you can use the kit to build your own.

 

https://www.whizoo.com/

 

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

Last Edited: Tue. Apr 7, 2020 - 11:20 PM
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I do most of my single-sided boards at home on the kitchen stove (electric, glass top), and double-sided at our local makerspace where we have a T-962A (eBay GBP250-300). It has a few user-programmable profiles, so you can configure a lower temp for the second pass of a double-sided board. It has been fairly robust so far.

 

What board sizes are you considering ?

 

I don't do anything smaller/denser than QFN though.

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You might be able to sneak in under 300 GBP for a T962A off aliexpress or eBay.

 

You will need to update the firmware and add a few cheap components to make it usable (a DS18b20 and a small FET)

 

Also - for Pb free the working area is not as large as they claim.

 

I have one I got 2nd hand very cheap and it has worked quite OK for me.  I am going to buy a second one to increase throughput with a bit of redundancy.

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Thanks

 

I have been looking at the  T-962A .  What is the difference between  T-962A  and  T-962. I have also been looking at  T-962C

 

My largest board is the 13cm b 16 cm. Is this a good size?

 

Well my LGA is the following component, which is simply a QFN but with pads in middle.

 

https://www.quectel.com/product/bg96.htm

 

Thanks

 

Thanks

Regards

DJ

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Hi Andrew

 

Are you based in the UK?

 

Is there any supplier that has also ready updated firmware and added to the extra components?

 

Thanks

Regards

DJ

Last Edited: Sat. Apr 11, 2020 - 04:32 PM
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djoshi wrote:

Is there any supplier that has also ready updated firmware and added to the extra components?

 

There's someone like ET Techincal (spelling?) on eBay who does a complete range of upgrade kits.

 

[EDIT]

 

Close, it's ES Technical...

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ESTec...

#1 Hardware Problem? https://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/...

#2 Hardware Problem? Read AVR042.

#3 All grounds are not created equal

#4 Have you proved your chip is running at xxMHz?

#5 "If you think you need floating point to solve the problem then you don't understand the problem. If you really do need floating point then you have a problem you do not understand."

Last Edited: Sat. Apr 11, 2020 - 04:41 PM
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Down Under = Australia.

 

The ES Technical kit is a complete retrofit that throws away all the old electronics and replaces it. It is a few $100 to do this.

 

The "Unified Engineering" upgrades are a firmware flash, adding a DS18B20 temp sensor for cold juction compensation and a small FET for fan control.  It costs some time and $5

 

Start here 

 

https://github.com/UnifiedEngineering/T-962-improvements

 

edit - OH - and T962 and T962A are different size.  "A" being larger.  The 962C seems to be a totally different machine.  I have the A so I can not speak for what the C is like.

Last Edited: Sat. Apr 11, 2020 - 09:44 PM
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You might want to read reviews about  T962xxx models...opinions differ on whether they are very good or sort of junky.  

https://www.whizoo.com/  (read section the alternatives)

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

Last Edited: Sun. Apr 12, 2020 - 12:52 AM
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The reviews talk about JSTD020 3.2.2

 

 

Does IR heat the air? I don't think so. It passes through the air and is reflected and diffused, and is eventually absorbed. The quartsz tube is probably for diffusion, and there is shiny metal shielding between the pizza and the elements. Those plates reduce the hot spots by forcing the light to reflect a number of times before reaching the pizza. The pizza heats up more evenly that way, these IR ovens are not heating by convection, in fact, I have my door wedged open to let out the convection heat. It is true that dark (high emissivity) parts can burn and popcorn, but that can happen in a $10k IR reflow oven as well. SMD lines have knowledgable people that can combine convection and IR to do the task.

 

OP Question: does that BG96 have a metal surface? I had not noticed that, if so you have a problem part and need to talk to the manufacture about its reflow options, I bet it will want something fancy (vapor phase).

 

update: sp

 

my projects: https://github.com/epccs

Debugging is harder than programming - don’t write code you can’t debug! https://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/help-it-doesnt-work

Last Edited: Sun. Apr 12, 2020 - 03:15 AM
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Quart is a measure, quartz is a naturally occurring substance. The quartz tube is for the high temperature of the lamp, not specifically for diffusion.

I've reflowed similar cellular modules to the BG96 in a small reflow oven successfully.

 

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The sad thing is I had put that in Grammarly just to have a fighting chance.

my projects: https://github.com/epccs

Debugging is harder than programming - don’t write code you can’t debug! https://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/help-it-doesnt-work

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A case of dyslexia?  I would've thought Grammarly would've barfed at the use of quarts, but then again, I'm probably not the target audience for Grammarly.

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avrcandies wrote:

You might want to read reviews about  T962xxx models...opinions differ on whether they are very good or sort of junky.  

https://www.whizoo.com/  (read section the alternatives)

 

I am not a huge fanboy of the T-962 and I call I "adequate after upgrading".

 

If I was trying to offer a counter point or alternative I would not cite a company that sells a competing product.

 

really - it is like posting a link to ford(dot)com where there is a statement saying that a Corolla is not very good.

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If I was trying to offer a counter point or alternative I would not cite a company that sells a competing product.

Why shouldn't they?  They want you to know how their units are better than their competitors.   Or at least how they claim to be better

Would you prefer for them to say nothing about the competition?   I'm gonna mull that over a bowl of solder soup.

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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andrewm1973 wrote:

Down Under = Australia.

 

The ES Technical kit is a complete retrofit that throws away all the old electronics and replaces it. It is a few $100 to do this.

 

The "Unified Engineering" upgrades are a firmware flash, adding a DS18B20 temp sensor for cold juction compensation and a small FET for fan control.  It costs some time and $5

 

Start here 

 

https://github.com/UnifiedEngineering/T-962-improvements

 

edit - OH - and T962 and T962A are different size.  "A" being larger.  The 962C seems to be a totally different machine.  I have the A so I can not speak for what the C is like.

 

Thanks i i will read the link. It seems like you can a T962 for £150, but the additional updates they charge for get the unit to about £500

Thanks

Regards

DJ

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avrcandies wrote:

If I was trying to offer a counter point or alternative I would not cite a company that sells a competing product.

Why shouldn't they?  They want you to know how their units are better than their competitors.   Or at least how they claim to be better

Would you prefer for them to say nothing about the competition?   I'm gonna mull that over a bowl of solder soup.

 

I wont be too harsh.  I don't know if English is your first language or not.

 

From dictionary(dot)com

 

Cite - refer to (a passage, book, or author) as evidence for or justification of an argument or statement, especially in a scholarly work.

 

It's fairly obvious I was not trying to say _THEY_ should not say what they have to offer over their competition.  That is perfectly fair.  I would even give them some leeway in being overly critical or biased.

 

I was saying _YOU_ are doing a less than stellar effort in citing them as your counter point.

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Andrew, i’m not following the point you are making. I see nothing wrong with Candyman’s post. No need to point the bone.

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I was saying _YOU_ are doing a less than stellar effort in citing them as your counter point.

You make a good argument there--in that they would likely be biased, so I should probably not use them to give us the pros/cons.  

 

However, I think the points they listed about the T962 I have seen in many different forums and other places---it was just a handy link (since I had read all that link when making my original post).

 

I'll send you a bowl of solder soup, express.

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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If you just google T962 oven problems your first few links are

 

Saying it is adequate which is my view

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/t962-reflow-ovens-off-ebay-has-anyone-tried-one/

 

Also saying it is adequate and pointing out that ovens that are above adequate are $3K

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13509857

 

Someone saying just don't do it it is not worth the effort.

https://electronza.com/t-962-reflow-oven-review/

 

This link that has a mix of "adequate" and "don't" however the don't is obviously from the same person as the above link.

https://www.reddit.com/r/PrintedCircuitBoard/comments/d295yh/replacement_reflow_oven_t962/

 

I am sure if I cared, I could find many more people saying it is crap.  I however don't see that as my role here as I said I find it adequate.

 

My modified T-962A is used for boards that range from simple like the UzeboxDTV that has an ATMega644 in TQFP, a few SO14 and a TSSOP28.  All the way up to a small volume commercial product that has

 

2 DFN

2 QFN

100 pin TQFP

LGA GPS module with a metal shield on top (not as big as the one you show)

SM CR2032 Coin cell holder

Various black colour plastic connectors that do not burn

 

And I find it quite workable and will happily buy a 2nd one to have 2x the workflow increase with the added redundancy.  The only problem I do have is that on cold winter mornings I have to give it a dry run to get warm it up before my first real run.  The 1500W is not enough to get it from chilly temps in the teens to working temp fast enough.

 

 

BTW - I don't understand the offer of a bowl of solder soup?

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Thanks

I will aim to order the T962A as I see it's more powerful.

What modification did you have to do? Is there any YouTube videos?

Thanks

Regards

DJ

Last Edited: Fri. Apr 17, 2020 - 02:25 AM
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All the mods are on the git hub page linked above from "unified engineering"

 

I pulled out the masking tape and replaced it with kapton tape to stop the burning smell.

Upgraded the firmware.

I added a DS18B20 temp sensor for cold junction compensation

Added a small fet for fan control (IRLML2502 in my case I think but almost any N MOSFET will do)

 

All up takes maybe 1 hour and $5 or worst case $10 if you have to buy the kapton.

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So what extra does the  ES Technical  versions have?

Thanks

Regards

DJ

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new near future arrival; kit doesn't have an ETA though the lead-time is 8 weeks

REFLO Air - Crowd Supply | Mouser

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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It looks like a hot air work station or am i wrong?

Thanks

Regards

DJ

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More akin to an inexpensive BGA hot air rework station (popular for gaming console motherboards, maybe some mobile phone PCBA, FPGA swaps, etc)

REFLO Air is portable though not enough pre-heat for PCB with a lot of copper (ground plane(s), power plane(s), copper for heat sinking)

REFLO Air | Crowd Supply

[mid-page]

Comparisons

...

T962A

...

edit :

PCB Pre-heaters. Preheat for SMT, SMD, BGA. Lead-Free Solder Preheaters. Rework Pre-heat. (Zephyrtronics®)

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Sat. Apr 18, 2020 - 04:41 PM
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I find with air work station, the temperature drops due to being open so you can not confirm if LGA/bga is soldered

Thanks

Regards

DJ