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Reflow Soldering

Reflow soldering is a quick way of adding SMD ( Surface Mount Device) components to a project.  Here are 3 methods.

Wikipedia states:

Reflow soldering is a process in which a solder paste (a sticky mixture of powdered solder and flux) is used to temporarily attach one or several electrical components to their contact pads, after which the entire assembly is subjected to controlled heat, which melts the solder, permanently connecting the joint.

Reflow soldering generally is meant for SMD or surface mount components as opposed to through hole components.

A popular option for doing reflow soldering is using a toaster oven. The video below illustrates this perfectly.

To do reflow soldering at home or in your work space as shown in the video above you need a toaster oven that allows you to control the temperature and has a timer. Make sure the oven can get hot enough to melt the solder you are using and follow the instructions for your components.  Also do not use this oven for cooking.

Our Chip Quik SMD291 Tack Fluc 10cc Syringe is perfect for your reflow soldering project. 

Basically you apply the solder to the pads and then using tweezers like our Straight, Fine Point Tweezers put the component onto the board.  Then you pop the whole thing in the oven for a while.  Now, how long and at what temperature you bake it for is the hard part as every toaster oven is slightly different.

Another way to do reflow soldering is with a hot air rework station like our BlackJack SolderWerks BK4050 Hot Air Station

BlackJack SolderWerks BK4050 Hot Air Station

The process here is similar.  You would apply the solder paste and then the component. Then you would use the hot air gun  to heat up solder and flux to adhere the component.

 

A third option would be to try hot plate or skillet reflow. Yes, you actually use an electric skillet to heat up the board for reflow. 

Reflow Skillet

Above image Reflowing in the skillet by Mechatronics Guy.

For all the gritty details, RepRap has a good write up called Hotplate Reflow Technique.  There is also this Instructable called Simple Skillete Surface-mount Soldering.

Let's recap the three methods. 

1. Toaster Oven - complicated and may take some trial and error to get time and temperature correct.

2. Hot air station - easy but could be costly

3. Skillet - cheap, easy but less temperature control.

 

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