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toaster oven SMT
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author toaster oven SMT
s'mores
Getting kinda burnt out (pun intended hihi ) on hand soldering all this 0805 business. Toaster ovens. Who's tried em? Any tips or tricks? Are you using low temp solder paste? I picked up some Sn/Bi paste, melts at low temp but I'm wondering if it has any downsides. Any tips or tricks for temperature, ramp-up time, etc?
nigel_mck
Haven't tried toaster ovens but I've had great success with the hotplate method. I used MG chemicals leaded solder paste, placed all the components, then heated the boards up to 350C until everything reflowed. Worked great both times I tried it.

I use a hot air reflow station now, its much easier to do sections of the board rather than having to do the whole thing at once. This way you can test just the power section of MCU before soldering everything else.

Hope that helps!
adam
you can get a controller for more accurate ramps, my friend solders BGA's in one, he says the surface tension pulls them into position no problem.

you can use pizza ovens for bigger boards
s'mores
yeah BGAs would be awesome! been wanting to incorporate FPGAs and maybe parallel interface memory to eliminate the hassle / latency issues with using a memory controller - also plenty more options with codecs, DACs, etc. I just bought my first microscope and hot air station so I'll probably have a go with that first
s'mores
adam wrote:
you can get a controller for more accurate ramps


I'm conjuring up futile dreams of a synth-controlled PWM relay to ramp up temperature...
sammy123
Convection toaster oven is what you want. Works perfect. No fancy controls needed.
adam
s'mores wrote:
adam wrote:
you can get a controller for more accurate ramps


I'm conjuring up futile dreams of a synth-controlled PWM relay to ramp up temperature...


hihi no idea how many bga's per board he solders, i imagine one, seems like the chance of an error would multiply the more you use, i guess it'd be worth starting simple and doing more complex stuff if you can get it working ok
SmokyClap
Ive used the hot air reflow method and its worked. Just be careful to not set the fan speed too high and blow off the components.

I even made my own stencils using a cutting printer.
s'mores
I already learned about blowing off components the hard way d'oh!

An AD9833 (expensive little fuckers) literally flew off the board and into the void never to be found again
eb0687
nigel_mck wrote:
Haven't tried toaster ovens but I've had great success with the hotplate method. I used MG chemicals leaded solder paste, placed all the components, then heated the boards up to 350C until everything reflowed. Worked great both times I tried it.

I use a hot air reflow station now, its much easier to do sections of the board rather than having to do the whole thing at once. This way you can test just the power section of MCU before soldering everything else.

Hope that helps!


Is this the solder paste:
https://goo.gl/4jUMVk
Morphology
There are several tutorials on YouTube of people modding toaster ovens, adding Arduino controllers etc to give the right temperature profiles for SMT soldering.

This 2-Part one, for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laIi6eWGZ6M

I did a few boards with a hot-air gun and solder paste, but I found it difficult to get just the right amount of paste on the pads (I wasn't using stencils), and ended up with either too much (and using solder wick to try and remove the excess) or too little, and having to touch the joints up by hand.

So, currently, I've reverted to soldering by hand using a conventional iron with a very fine tip, very fine (leaded!) solder (0.3mm) and using the "dab of solder on one tab/pin, locate the component, solder the rest" technique, and I'm pretty happy with the results.

I have to wear a magnifying head band - eyesight not being what it once was.

I'm intrigued by the toaster ovens though, and fancy having a go at building an arduino-controlled one just for the fun of it.
keninverse
I use stencils and hot air for most passives and hand solder electrolytic caps and ICs under a boom scope. It works for me but all the stencils I use have the hand soldered components omitted.
sammy123
I have done stencils and also just used the syringe stuff. Both worked fine in a unmodified convection oven. I've never had a part blow off or any tomb stones. Works like a charm.

I got the oven off Craigslist for $30. It's big and has a rotisserie option cool
thx2112
I have an oven ready to go, but hot air is fast and convenient -- and I can handle tombstones and misalignments as they happen.

Single panels are done with a syringe, and batches are done with a mylar stencil.

I found that with the stencil there are no tombstones or misalignments (probably because there's a consistent amount of paste under each pad.)
andrewF
If you are doing reflow regularly it is worth setting up an oven with a controller. I have used the Controleo2 for a couple of years.
Put in the PCBs, press start, go and play with the dog, come back in 5 minutes and open the door. done.
It has been faultless.

Now there is a vers.3 out, some friends have one and it looks even better.
whyfarer
I use a frying pan on my stove. I test warming up the pan ahead of time and measure the temperature so I know what stove setting I need to just melt the solder. This also lets me poke any components that might get pulled out of place as the solder paste melts.
eb0687
whyfarer wrote:
I use a frying pan on my stove. I test warming up the pan ahead of time and measure the temperature so I know what stove setting I need to just melt the solder. This also lets me poke any components that might get pulled out of place as the solder paste melts.


what temperature do you aim for when using the frying pan method?

Also, if you can share your success rate using the above method.

Thanks
whyfarer
eb0687 wrote:
whyfarer wrote:
I use a frying pan on my stove. I test warming up the pan ahead of time and measure the temperature so I know what stove setting I need to just melt the solder. This also lets me poke any components that might get pulled out of place as the solder paste melts.


what temperature do you aim for when using the frying pan method?

Also, if you can share your success rate using the above method.

Thanks


I aim for the temp to be 5-10 degrees over the solder paste melt point (which should be printed on your solder or at least it was printed on mine). If you're unsure, I suggest testing it out in 5-10 degree increments until you find a temp that just melts it. And once you know you can skip that step in the future.

Define success rate? I still need to touch up some of the joints with an iron and to decouple a few solder bridges on ICs (lots of flux plus clean fine tip iron) but it's not usually too much. I bet if I had a stencil I would have to do even less but since I'm hand applying paste with a fine tip pin or xacto blade it's a little messier. I find it worth my time to go this route even with the touchups as compared to hand soldering all of it. I'm gong to do a MI build in the next few weeks when I can find the time and I'll try to take a before/after frying pan pics (and before touchup) and maybe even a video.
eb0687
whyfarer wrote:
eb0687 wrote:
whyfarer wrote:
I use a frying pan on my stove. I test warming up the pan ahead of time and measure the temperature so I know what stove setting I need to just melt the solder. This also lets me poke any components that might get pulled out of place as the solder paste melts.


what temperature do you aim for when using the frying pan method?

Also, if you can share your success rate using the above method.

Thanks


I aim for the temp to be 5-10 degrees over the solder paste melt point (which should be printed on your solder or at least it was printed on mine). If you're unsure, I suggest testing it out in 5-10 degree increments until you find a temp that just melts it. And once you know you can skip that step in the future.

Define success rate? I still need to touch up some of the joints with an iron and to decouple a few solder bridges on ICs (lots of flux plus clean fine tip iron) but it's not usually too much. I bet if I had a stencil I would have to do even less but since I'm hand applying paste with a fine tip pin or xacto blade it's a little messier. I find it worth my time to go this route even with the touchups as compared to hand soldering all of it. I'm gong to do a MI build in the next few weeks when I can find the time and I'll try to take a before/after frying pan pics (and before touchup) and maybe even a video.


You answered my question regarding the success rate, I actually wanted to know if you still had to do touch-ups afterward.

A video and before/after pictures as you mentioned would be great.

Do you have any solder paste recommendations for this method or anything I can get my hand on should be fine?
NV
I'd encourage going with a hot plate or skillet before cooking solder on your stove. Keeping solder paste in a small fridge well away from your kitchen is smart, and cooking it in your kitchen isn't something I'd encourage for the same reasons. The hot plate method works fine for simpler boards and they're generally only $30. I'd recommend throwing a piece of thin metal between the board and the skillet since the heating elements aren't always uniform.

With a bit more work a convection toaster oven can be brought up to handle basically anything you throw at it. They're $50 online and there are kits out there which allow you to add heating elements, automation, and other tricks. I much prefer this approach since I work with larger boards and double-sided SMT, but if I was just doing the occasional DIY module here and there a hot plate would be fine.

I'd pick either of the above over the cheap infrared ovens you sometimes see - those have tendencies towards both cold spots and overcooking dark colored components, which is basically everything you wouldn't want to overcook.
eb0687
NV wrote:
I'd encourage going with a hot plate or skillet before cooking solder on your stove. Keeping solder paste in a small fridge well away from your kitchen is smart, and cooking it in your kitchen isn't something I'd encourage for the same reasons. The hot plate method works fine for simpler boards and they're generally only $30. I'd recommend throwing a piece of thin metal between the board and the skillet since the heating elements aren't always uniform.

With a bit more work a convection toaster oven can be brought up to handle basically anything you throw at it. They're $50 online and there are kits out there which allow you to add heating elements, automation, and other tricks. I much prefer this approach since I work with larger boards and double-sided SMT, but if I was just doing the occasional DIY module here and there a hot plate would be fine.

I'd pick either of the above over the cheap infrared ovens you sometimes see - those have tendencies towards both cold spots and overcooking dark colored components, which is basically everything you wouldn't want to overcook.



Thanks for your input on this, I do agree that doing this in the kitchen seems sketchy. However, I have limited electronics experience apart from DIY kits and not really confident on modifying a toaster oven for SMT work.

Having said that I am looking at a couple videos on adding modifications to toaster ovens just to get an idea on how this is done.

Also, the hot plate/skillet method seems like a better alternative since it can be done outdoors away from food and other potential hazards. Is there any other benefit to the hot plate method that may not be so obvious.
NV
You don't have to modify a toaster oven to get it to work for reflow, it's just an option if you need more advanced capabilities. Most decent ovens can hit 500°F/260°C which is more than hot enough for lead-free paste. Insulation tape can help if your oven has trouble getting there. Another benefit of a convection toaster oven is you can more easily monitor the temperature and will have fewer issues with cold spots. Skillets and hot plates you might have to shuffle the board around to get an even reflow since they tend to have circular heating elements.

Note that convection is worth it over a conventional oven - getting the air moving helps prevent cold spots. They're generally only a few bucks more and also tend to have higher wattages to pump out more heat for reflowing.

The skillet benefits are that it's cheap and easy, and the cons are that it's really only suitable for smaller boards with single-sided placement. With larger panelized boards you'll need to be using a lab grade hot plate to prevent having to move the board around excessively to distribute heat, and at that point it's cheaper and easier to just get an oven. But for most people a decent hot plate will probably take them as far as they need.
s'mores
what about ventilation? do you just stick your skillet/toaster/duraflame log under a fume hood? do it outside and plug your nose? I feel like a bunch of solder (edit: flux) melting at once is gonna make a big smoke
heapish
Spoke to the fella from GMSN at Synth Fest in Sheffield. He said he was using a camp stove sacked on full with a 20 mm thick piece of aluminium on top.
Altitude909
you guys should look into one of these:
https://www.omega.com/pptst/CN7200_SERIES.html
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