Converting an infrared cooker for reflow soldering

SadE and Rubu are trying to convert an infrared cooker into an oven for reflow soldering. This is a different than a normal toaster over, and claims to heat very quickly. The idea is to add a PID controller to the oven for temperature control, and slow down the convection fan so parts don’t fly away. If you have any ideas or suggestions leave them in the comments below, or in the forum.

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5 Comments

  1. the problem with these IR cookers is that they can’t rise the temperature more than 160C which is not sufficient to reflow solder, lead free solder require up to 240-245C peak, leaded solder require 220C peak
    no matter what controller you put the heater is weak for this job

    1. I actually tried to reflow using this type of cooker without any controller (looks exactly like one on the picture) and it was more then capable of reflowing solder, the problem was that when it achieved the temperature it blew off most of components from the PCB :( (I was trying to reflow the already soldered board)

  2. Lol, I think Rubu will do the job before me ;-)

    @Olimex: these cookers are rated to 250°C . Maybe you get a bad one, but I can’t see how a cooker can cook at 160° !

    @arhi : the fan has to be controlled too. Probably not so easy with an AC fan. A simple solution could be to modify the metal wings angle.

  3. IR heating (radiant heat) causes hot spots based on the dispersion of the light source, proximity to the light source, and the absorption variances of the item being heated, among other things. For example, a mirror will reflect most of the heat (light) provided by a radiant heat source. The convection fan prevents hot spots by cooling the hot spots and heating the cool spots. If you reduce the output of the fans, then you also reduce the ability to accurately control temps on the various surfaces on a PCB. Hint: tinned surfaces are very reflective. Different colored parts will absorb the light at different rates.

  4. I recommend using a toaster oven of 1500W or more. It needs to be capable of 500F/260C. An oven that only goes to 450F isn’t hot enough. Convection may be nice if you find or modify one so that won’t blow parts off the board.

    Get a cheap one from a resale store with manual knobs so the conversion is simple.

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