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DIY reflow oven whizoos and whizdon'ts
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author DIY reflow oven whizoos and whizdon'ts
EATyourGUITAR
this is a quick two cents my experience buying a kit from whizoo to convert a toaster oven to a SMD reflow oven. the kit comes with a color touch screen brain called control leo 3. it is arduino based but that does not detract from the user experience. the full kit sells for $250. the oven they recommend is $30 available online and everywhere. I got a 1400W oven for free so I went with that. my kit came with a 220VAC booster element 450W which was not what I ordered but it worked out better with the shipping mistake. my oven had 4 elements at 55VAC each. instead of two elements per 110VAC load, I put them all in series to make a DIY 220VAC load. each circuit has a dedicated solid state relay driven from low voltage DC. the computer takes care of everything. the temp probe connects to the computer. it learns the oven. you can update from SD card.

conclusion:
lots of stuff in the kit did not fit my oven. I had access to an amazing machine shop. I had to purchase special crimping tools. if you do not have an unlimited time and money budget I would suggest NOT building your own reflow oven. if you like wasting money on stupid projects then get it. I now have a very nice reflow oven but it was way more work than I had planned for. floor and tunnel shield is not cheap.



























KSS
EATyourGUITAR wrote:
the kit comes with a color touch screen brain called control leo 3. it is arduino based but that does not detract from the user experience

ardu-snark unnecessary and unappreciated. Many hundreds of these kits have been assembled and are in daily use. The creators have provided useful upgrades and continue to improve their product. Arduino use has made the development more widely spread than otherwise would have been possible.

Quote:
the oven they recommend is $30 available online and everywhere. I got a 1400W oven for free so I went with that.

You bought a KIT for a specific oven which is "available for $30 online everywhere, but you decided to just do your own thing anyways. To save 30 dollars? For the supposedly free oven, you paid in much unnecessary time and unnecessary effort. Okay. Have noticed a common theme in your posts over years of you-against-the-world, but might you also consider how your own choices and actions have led to the results and imo faulty conclusion seen here? Appears you also decided to ignore the prominent warnings of the creators about heater type if using ovens other than the one this kit is designed for The calrod heaters seen in your first pic are among the worst type to use for this project. Too slow in response to needed changes.

Quote:
my kit came with a 220VAC booster element 450W which was not what I ordered but it worked out better with the shipping mistake. my oven had 4 elements at 55VAC each. instead of two elements per 110VAC load, I put them all in series to make a DIY 220VAC load. each circuit has a dedicated solid state relay driven from low voltage DC. the computer takes care of everything. the temp probe connects to the computer. it learns the oven. you can update from SD card.

QFT. To preserve at least some of the obvious reasons for the biased conclusion below.

Quote:
conclusion:
lots of stuff in the kit did not fit my oven.

How can this be in any way a surprise, given all the details you've shared? When one buys a kit for a specific , cheap and widely available item to be used as a core of the entire project, one should not be surprised that the kit may not match when the wrong core oven used. That is in NO way the fault of the creator or seller of the kit.
Quote:
I had access to an amazing machine shop. I had to purchase special crimping tools.

Were the crimping tools necessary because of your 4 rod 220 setup instead of the one designed for your kit? Haven't heard anyone else mention this. Yes, have been following the control LEO development off and on since the beginning

Quote:
if you do not have an unlimited time and money budget I would suggest NOT building your own reflow oven. if you like wasting money on stupid projects then get it.

I offer an alternate conclusion and advice. This is an inexpensive and excellent kit when used as designed and directed and with the intended core oven. As above stated, many hundreds of people have built these without a machine shop and without needing special crimp tools because they simply RTFM and did what was suggested.

I do not own one of these but have had boards sourced from small companies who have built this and use it daily. Yours is the most negative review I have read on this in recent years. Can't recall anyone else saying it was "stupid", or a waste of time or money. at least since the bundled kits have been out for years now.

Quote:
I now have a very nice reflow oven but it was way more work than I had planned for. floor and tunnel shield is not cheap.


Based on the choices you made, it seems that was inevitable, and you're quite right about the extreme cost of the insulating materials. Which is also covered at the website since the oven chosen for the kit build was at least partially chosen for its minimal required qty. of these expensive materials. They do warn that choosing a different oven will likely increase the cost substantially.

Final thought, this seems to be one of, if not the best option for a low volume pro level SMD oven. And I have no connection with the product or creators other than using parts made in them, and the comments and personal experience of those who built the kit as published. Well, also have some older expereience with some who built the earlier versions, and even made the same calrod mistake. Switch to quartz heaters, you, and your service dept will be glad you did.

Always appreciate build photos. Thank you for sharing those.
Altitude909
Just to throw my 0.02$ since I just went through the whole "procure a reflow oven" bit. I considered DIYing one like this but in the end just bought a T962 despite mixed reviews and am happy with that decision. For euro sized boards, it works very well. It did need some modding but there is a pretty solid user base for this device and there is a third part firmware and lots of videos and tutorials on how to improve the performance. The total was $219 for the oven, $10 in additional parts. Maybe an hour on the bench and then another hour calibrating it

One VERY important note about the IR lamp based ovens, its very sensitive what the boards are plated with. I was knocking out boards without issue until i tried one board and it was a total disaster, parts coming off, tombstones on half the parts. I realized that this board was HASL plated, everything else was ENIG. Got ENIG boards made, problem gone. Its a cheaper approach that a resistive heater and that's one "gotcha" but there are benefits too, it heats up ridiculously fast and the ramp and soak accuracy is pretty good once you get over 100 C. Total process time from start to finish (as in take the board out) is less than 3 minutes.

The oven has really changed how i work, I've switched to manufacturing all the low volume boards in house and just placing the parts by hand. I just have kits for everything and a medium size board (150-250 parts) takes about a half hour for me to do which is less than it takes to load a pick and place for a job. No brainer, just make them as I need them
EATyourGUITAR
KSS wrote:
salt


this is my opinion based on my experience. everything I stated is true to the best of my knowledge. I never did this before. this was my first time. you seem to have a condescending attitude because I didn't build it the way you would have. go ahead and build it. post your pictures and your experience. I don't want to be the only one posting about this. you are only going to get one point of view from me.

the connectors that come in the kit NEED a crimp tool that is not included in the kit. in fact, they need two crimp tools and additional crimp connectors because the connectors they supply are dependent on wire gauge, rated amps and voltage, rated temperature and specific application. even if I purchased the oven they recommend. I still would have upgraded the crimp connectors because they were shipped to me without the box so I can not sleep at night knowing that I do not know or trust what they are rated for. they are also not as good IMO for 3 way connections or for larger gauge wire. this is why I used a 10 to 12 AWG cap crimp rated at 220F. IMO if you build the oven they want you to build with the parts they say to use then that would be a bigger mistake than my expensive build. because of the untested, undocumented, unknown nature of this quasi legit electrical supplier, it would also be a risk of fire or death until I have been shown proof to the contrary. I am not saying it is definitely risky, I am saying that because I do not know, I can not say that it is safe with full confidence. I just don't have the whitepapers or the UL report. I don't have packaging, part numbers, date codes, batch numbers.

the instructions are really horrible. they must be the worst instructions I have ever seen. the rambling is a mix of product testing reports, marketing, saying the same thing twice, missing details, poor photography or none at all for some steps. they say never use the control leo 3 with 220VAC but they send me a 220VAC heating element when I ordered a 110VAC heating element. anyway it was completely fine because I'm not a dumb ass and I can do basic math 2+2=4. this makes me think that the creator is probably less experienced than I am with wiring up AC loads. this is what I do for work. I know what the heck I am talking about. I tested all my thermals. everything is perfect because I engineered it that way. no melted wires. the instructions suggest putting cheap Chinese SSR in a hot sealed intermediate chamber with no temperature monitoring. when they fail, they fail closed. the thermal pad they give you is more of an insulator compared to just bolting them to a massive heatsink with thermal compound. my SSR are passively cooled. THIS IS NOT A WELL ENGINEERED KIT. always unplug your oven when not in use to prevent fire. the factory that makes these relays is slapping a different company name on them every 6 months. wake up.
KSS
You misintrepret my reply. Don't care that you built yours the way you wanted, and am well aware of your electronics experience and expertise.

What I do take issue with is your condescencion towards a product which you chose to modify instead of making as designed. FWIW, we're in agreement about the SSR's in hot ambient and thermal grease and H/S before thermal pad. I would do that also. But you did not mention that in your first post here. Or any of the other details you've now followed up with. Too bad those weren't in your first post. Glad my post caused you to bring them up so that readers are more fully informed of your experience.

You only complained that the kit did not fit your oven, and the required extras meant this would need "an unlimited time and money budget", following up by saying it was "a waste of time and money if you like wasting money on stupid projects then get it." And you call my words "salt". Saying it's a stupid project is neither accurate nor fair. You're entitled to say it, just as I'm allowed to disagree.

Still, your conclusion is lopsided, based on my own personal experience with owners who use the results of the kit daily in commercial and semi-commercial ventures. Thermal pad, connectors and SSRs as supplied. I would expect the directions to be less applicable to the non target core oven you used, so that makes sense you would have to adapt and construct the missing portions and read between the lines. But that was your choice, not a limitation of the kit.

Thank you for the information regarding the connectors. Did you let them know so they could improve their product? It makes sense that those builds I'm aware of would not have mentioned this because they already have a large selection of crimp tools and extensive mfg. practices.
KSS
Quote:
IMO if you build the oven they want you to build with the parts they say to use then that would be a bigger mistake than my expensive build. because of the untested, undocumented, unknown nature of this quasi legit electrical supplier, it would also be a risk of fire or death until I have been shown proof to the contrary. I am not saying it is definitely risky, I am saying that because I do not know, I can not say that it is safe with full confidence. I just don't have the whitepapers or the UL report. I don't have packaging, part numbers, date codes, batch numbers.


You're entitled to your opinion. And your oft shown distrust of any but yourself.

Against that we have this.

We have all been shown to the contrary by the HUNDREDS of successfuil builds of this kit over a period of years now. Many in semi-commercial daily operation. If these were blowingf up, startting fires, failing in proper operation to the degree you imply, we'd most certainly be able to read about it online.

We don't because you're over-stating the concern.

Fortunately no one needs to take either of our words alone. There are plenty of build and use reports online.

We're also in agreement that a project like this should not be taken on without true respect for the many and various potential dangers and issues involved.
EATyourGUITAR
I am truly sorry if my reply was condescending. I respect your expertise as well. As you pointed out, we do agree on a lot of other things.

My build can fit 12x9in giant PCB panelized. So even though I didn't expect it or design it that way, I got something slightly better than the average build just by luck. This is my first time building a reflow oven. I will even admit that it was stupid of me to not get the right toaster oven. But I also got to build all the brackets so that was a learning experience. I can't say I enjoyed it. But I finished what I started by my own mistake. I learned a lot of problem solving. I accidentally overbuilt an oven. It was a good day.
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