An Arduino-compatible smart outlet designed to instantly turn your toaster oven into a reflow soldering station.
Advances in technology continue to shrink the size of components. Hobbyists, who have traditionally worked with through-hole parts, are finding these parts harder and harder to come by as more parts become unavailable in through-hole variants.
Soldering surface mount components with a soldering iron, while possible, can be a rather tedious task. In particular, when you’re working with densely packed pins like those of a microcontroller, hand soldering a board quickly becomes a daunting task.
Reflow soldering is an easier way of soldering these surface mount parts. Solder paste is applied to the PCB where the component pads will make contact. The components are then placed in the solder paste. Because of the viscosity of the paste, these components stick. When placed in the oven and heated, the solder paste melts, binding the component to the pad and aligning the part with the pads.
The reflow process itself requires that the oven be heated to a soak temperature, allowed to soak for a minute or so, and then brought up to the peak temperature for a moment before being allowed to cool. While you can do this manually in a toaster oven, the process is prone to error. Commercial solutions are expensive and provide little over a standard toaster oven.
Reflowster to the rescue!
Enter Reflowster, a simple reflow controller to make soldering with a standard toaster oven easy and painless. Reflowster simply plugs in between your toaster oven and your power outlet. A thermocouple (included with Reflowster) plugs into Reflowster and is placed inside the toaster oven to measure the temperature. The final step of set up is to put the toaster oven into “always on” mode which is typically available by turning the timer backwards a few degrees.
Reflowster’s encoder and LED display allow you to navigate menus and use either a standard soldering profile or your own custom profile. Once the reflow process is started, Reflowster turns the power to the toaster oven on until a soak temperature is reached. Reflowster waits for the configured soak duration and then turns the oven back on until the peak temperature is reached.
For more detail: Reflowster – Soldering Controller for Surface Mount PCBs