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Toaster Oven Conversion to SMD Reflow Oven

Arduino Nano controls the elements of a Toaster Oven based on temperature readings to reflow tin-lead solder paste on a SMD PCB.

I’m getting too old to solder surface mount devices by hand so I decided to convert a toaster oven into a reflow oven. There are tons of examples on the internet but I believe the best one is from Whizzo. I used many of the Whizoo methods for sealing and insulating the oven but I’m on a tight budget and can’t afford their kit. Besides, it’s a lot more fun to figure out my own design and learn along the way. My requirements are not as challenging as Whizoo’s because I only solder one small board at a time and I use standard tin-lead solder. With the lower melting temperature of leaded solder, I don’t need to add a 3rd heating element. An inexpensive Arduino Nano has just enough I/O’s to control two solid state relays (SSRs), read the temperature, and talk to a 16x2 liquid crystal display (LCD). There is no power switch, touchscreen, or input buttons of any kind. If a different solder profile is needed, new Arduino code must be downloaded. The software tells me when to manually open the door during cool-down so there is no servo motor. The oven is powered from a plug strip with a switch. 5 volts DC is provided via a USB cable from a PC or power supply. The minimal features of my oven bring the cost down to under $100.

This is the Hamilton Beach model 311-34 toaster oven I bought for $10 at my local Goodwill store. When looking for a toaster oven to convert, it’s best to keep it small and simple.”

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