ControLeo2 Reflow Oven Controller Quick Review + CS Review

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RMM
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ControLeo2 Reflow Oven Controller Quick Review + CS Review

A few weeks ago, after doing some extensive research, I decided to purchase the ControLeo2 reflow oven controller kit from whizoo.com.  I've been doing reflow by hand since the beginning, starting with a pie tin on the oven, then going to hot air, then to a hot plate (and combination of hot air, depending on the parts).  What I was after was a solution that not only reflowed automatically and consistently, but that also reflowed correctly (most cheap ovens and PID kits do not).  The ControLeo2 self-tunes and adjusts itself to conform to the J-STD-020 reflow profile.  It will not allow you to reflow if things aren't within the appropriate parameters.

The kit came well packaged and there are instructions and build pictures on the website.  Even with the instructions I spent a full day building the oven and getting things running.  There is a lot of time involved in this project (to do it right).  You have to be meticulous in your insulation of the oven and high-voltage wiring.  

As with most complex DIY projects, you can expect to run into a few snags along the way. Once I got everything put together I ran into some problems getting a reflow to complete.  After some e-mails back and forth with Peter everything was solved.  He helped me understand what was going on and what to look for.  His expert advice was exactly what I needed to get everything running 100%.  

After using the oven for over a week now I can say that I am very satisfied with it.  Recommended!

Whizoo sells just the bare controller (add your own relays and other parts), oven build kits, and complete ovens.  

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Edited by: RMM on 08/21/2015 - 08:36
djozz
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Nice, it looks like a normal kitchen oven actually, with all sorts of added controlling stuff, or perhaps that is what it is?

DanielM
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Is there a pizza reflow profile in the settings?
Seriously pro stuff there, must save you a lot of time.

Old-Lumens wrote:
I love modding, but I don't have much use at all for flashlights in general.
djozz
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It is open source and works with Arduino so the perfect pizza is in reach from now on !!!

DB Custom
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Daniel, are you aiming at Pizza Drivers here? Is Richard going into delivery? Silly

Thanks for showing us this Richard, I really needed something else to soak up all the extra coinage I have laying around here…..

Dale

DanielM
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DB Custom wrote:
Daniel, are you aiming at Pizza Drivers here? Is Richard going into delivery? Silly

Thanks for showing us this Richard, I really needed something else to soak up all the extra coinage I have laying around here…..


What, you’re thinking of going industrial too? What’s next a lathe?

Old-Lumens wrote:
I love modding, but I don't have much use at all for flashlights in general.
RMM
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I'm thinking about buying a second one and programming in profiles for my pop-tarts, breakfast burritos, and other pastries.  It will go through the full pre-soak, soak, reflow, and cool down phases.  Wink

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DB Custom
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Daniel, you’ve got me all wrong man…. I’m broke! Richard has Power of Attorney over my bank account so he can seize funds whenever they appear. Wink

Dale

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What an oven, just watched the video on the build. Best of all the reflow oven is still covered by the Black and Decker warranty.Wink

Now you have me wondering if you reflowed my driver in the new oven? I'm still in awe how tiny the components are and the soldering is perfect on the driver.

My current and or voltage measurements are only relevent to anything that I measure.

Budget light hobby proudly sponsored by my Mastercard and unknowingly paid for by a hard working wife. 

djozz said "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

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MRsDNF wrote:
Now you have me wondering if you reflowed my driver in the new oven? I'm still in awe how tiny the components are and the soldering is perfect on the driver.

No fancy oven on that one; I used hot air and the soldering iron.  Yes, I'm just that good. Sealed

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MRsDNF
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I hope you dont mind Richard but just how good are you with a hot air and soldering iron setup? I've posted this elsewhere but for those that missed it he is this good. Astoundingly good in my book.

I hope the reflow oven streamlines things a lot for you as I guess thats what you have it for as I cant see how you could improve on the above. Thanks.

My current and or voltage measurements are only relevent to anything that I measure.

Budget light hobby proudly sponsored by my Mastercard and unknowingly paid for by a hard working wife. 

djozz said "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

RMM
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Lots of practice thanks to you guys.  You get a feel for it after a while and you learn what tips to use, how much heat, how much solder, how much flux, what angle to hold at, etc.  

Here is the 17mm MTN-MAXlp HP (also hand reflowed):

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wight
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I’ve wanted a reflow oven for years. Good commercial options are too expensive/big for me. DIY has been possible for a long time, probably at least the timeframe Arduino has been on the market… but that brings many unknown factors and I never had the time/wherewithal for it. This looks like a really good compromise, thanks for sharing.

  • What’s the deal with double sided boards? Do you just use different temp solder with different ControlLeo2 profiles for each side? When the high temp side is done you just flip the thing over, populate everything, put it on the PCB tray, then fire up the low-temp profile?
  • Did you use a toaster oven with convection?
  • You got the “kit” with SSRs, insulation, etc, right?
  • Were there added and/or unexpected costs beyond the cost of the toaster oven and the PCB tray?

This is still a little rich for me considering how badly I need it (not very badly), but it’s definitely on the list.

Still taking a break. Smile
list of my drivers & variants (A17DD, FET+1 stuff, WIP stuff, etc)

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Richard! Save all those driver pics to your site!
When trying to do a first DIY driver build, a pcture beats a thousand words.

RMM
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wight wrote:

I've wanted a reflow oven for years. Good commercial options are too expensive/big for me.  I agree; not only are they expensive, but most of the Chinese reflow ovens do a terrible job.

* What's the deal with double sided boards? Do you just use different temp solder with different ControlLeo2 profiles for each side? When the high temp side is done you just flip the thing over, populate everything, put it on the PCB tray, then fire up the low-temp profile?  The first rule is not to design double sided boards.  Sealed  When that fails, it depends on what components are on the boards.  If they are heavy components then you can't really use the oven to do both sides, so on those boards I just use the oven to reflow one side then hot air for the other.  You can't easily reprofile the oven as delivered; you get it set up with a profile then you stick with it.  Since it's open source I'm sure you could add the option, but for me it's not worth the effort to deal with two profiles, two different pastes, etc.

* Did you use a toaster oven with convection? * You got the "kit" with SSRs, insulation, etc, right? * Were there added and/or unexpected costs beyond the cost of the toaster oven and the PCB tray?  Yes, I got one with convection.  You will need more power for this since most of the ovens are bigger that have convection.  I bought the complete kit.  I did have to go buy some fiberglass insulation batting to get the oven insulated beyond the included materials, but beyond that I had everything I needed (assuming you already have the necessary tools).

This is still a little rich for me considering how badly I need it (not very badly), but it's definitely on the list.  It is definitely a cool machine and it has continued to work well for me, but if you only are reflowing a handful of boards it may not be worth it to you, especially if you are using leaded solder.

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