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Reflow Oven Controller

Posted by Ignatius Havemann on January 22, 2014  /   Posted in Blog

8 April 2014 – When we assemble prototype PCB’s in the lab using SMD components and solder paste, we use a normal desktop oven to reflow the boards. In the beginning we used a TV-braai – well, that’s what we call it in South Africa –  and just eye balled it till we guessed it was cooked enough! Surprisingly I have built quite complex PCB’s using this method with a great success rate.

OC_Mini_Web_4

 

After a while we decided to hack an off-the-shelf oven and add some form of temperature control. We did this by ripping out some of the internals and controlling it with a relay and thermocouple.  This has been working perfectly for a few years except for the unsightly project box and wires protruding from the oven. I always wanted to make a dedicated PCB to control the oven and finally made the time to do it. The following was on my wish list:

  • Minimal hacking of the oven.
  • Safety.
  • Hacker friendly (Arduino™).

I decided to us a fused opto-isolated triac circuit capable of driving a 3000W oven. Added a MAX31855 thermocouple-to-digital coverter and added a piezzo buzzer, RGB LED, fan output and a connector with inputs for 3 push buttons. The smallest panel mount connector I could readily and cheaply find was a standard DB connector and used a Degson power connector for the AC line. The idea is to place the oven controller inside a project/laser cut box. Fit a panel mount AC socket to the side of the box where the oven can be plugged in using the plug which it came with. The oven can then be controlled using any micro controller of your choice such as an Arduino™ via the DB connector. The thermocouple can be inserted into the oven via the door or you could drill a hole in the side and mount it properly. I should mention a thermocouple in free air usually reads lower temps than the actual PCB because the PCB absorbs the heat better than the air and you should calibrate for this. Another option is to temporarily fix the thermocouple to your PCB with a paper clip but I find I never have space for this.

Here are some photos of the finalized PCB:

OC_Mini_Web_1

Oven Controller PCB – Top

OC_Mini_Web_2

Oven Controller PCB – Bot

 

OC_Mini_Web_3

Working oven controller @ www.binaryspace.co.za

We have extra PCB’s available and will sell them as blanks, populated or in a laser cut enclosure. Give us a shout if you are interested.

9 Comments

  1. Charles September 29, 2015 10:29 am / Reply

    Hi. I am interested in your oven controller. Can you supply in kit form (unpopulated) with laser cut enclosure?

  2. Anton April 7, 2016 9:58 pm / Reply

    Hi

    Do you still have any of the reflow controller kit or boards

    • Ignatius Havemann May 25, 2016 1:06 pm / Reply

      Hi,

      Sorry for the delayed reply. Been super busy and neglecting the blog lately…

      I do have blank PCB’s you can use to control your oven – only the thermocouple and AC triac side etc. as seen in the post. You will need to use your own controller such as an Arduino or similar for the PWM control and display. I do have enough components to assemble 1 unit – first-come-first-serve I suppose… I can either send you the blank PCB and BOM for you to assemble yourself or I can order the components and assemble it for you. Bit of a chicken and egg situation as the PCB has SMT devices…

      Please drop me an email or reply here then I will check pricing.

  3. George Georghiou May 25, 2016 1:48 am / Reply

    Hi. I’m nterested in getting a controller. can you give me prices please?

    regards
    george

  4. Terry Bartholomew May 25, 2016 12:49 pm / Reply

    Seriously need a working controller to try reflow soldering. Can you supply please?

    Thanks!

  5. Nicholas Barnes August 31, 2016 10:17 pm / Reply

    Hi guys,

    For those that might still be looking for a reflow controller, I have also designed a unit for this purpose. Drop me an email at nicholas@nsb-electronics.co.za if you would like more details.

    Regards,
    Nicholas

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