Does it exist: Tiny hotplate for LED/MCPCB reflowing?

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sac02
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Does it exist: Tiny hotplate for LED/MCPCB reflowing?

I’m a noob and have only reflowed a handful of LEDs onto MCPCBs in my life. I’m using my helping hands to hold the MCPCB, and my 250W soldering gun held to the bottom of the MCPCB to heat it. It is awkward because the helping hands are not the firmest method to hold the MCPCB – they flex if I try to put pressure on the gun pushing up against the MCPCB, or push down on the LED to seat it.

The stovetop method seems awkward, plus my stove is crappy and hard to control temperture.

I’d like something a little more elegant/ergonomic.

I was thinking of a small hot plate – more like the kind meant for heating beakers in science labs, not heating skillets in a small apartment. Something I could easily store, and find room for on my workbench.

More like this:

And not this:

Unfortunately after rudimentary googling, the “scientific” hot plates are hundreds of dollars !!! , and the “small appartment” hot plates are more budget friendly (~$20).

Any thoughts or ideas?

joerch
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something like this?
https://www.amazon.com/Ovente-Portable-Infrared-Stainless-BGI201S/dp/B01...

or search for camping hot plates

Jerommel
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Those “lab” things are obviously way overpriced.
Soldering guns also suck.
So you should get a normal soldering iron and a “thing” where you can stick the soldering bit in so it gets hot enough to reflow LEDs.
Basically a small block of aluminium with a hole in it.
And i need something like that too.
The ‘helping hand’ (or 3rd hand) works, but it would be nice to have something that is level by itself.
I haven’t found the perfect solution yet, but i am also looking for it.
>1 Kilowatt kitchen appliances aren’t it.

..waiting for parts..

Still looking for 5” parabolic reflector (for recoil light)

sac02
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I do have a temp controlled soldering station, and I could easily drill a hole in a 25×25×15mm scrap of Aluminum I have laying around.

Do you think that would work? I’m thinking I’d have to really crank up the temp on the soldering station and it would kill my tips and possibly heating element quickly.

I really like that concept though!

vinte77
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You could always use the helping hands paired with a hot air station. You can get them for like $30 on ebay. It can help with more than just reflowing LEDs.

sac02
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Hmm, I hadn’t even considered a hot air station. Will $30 get me a decent one, or one that I’m going to regret buying and wind up spending $100 more, a couple months from now?

Lights-Out
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A mini frying pan and torch gun lol

LightRider
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A cylindrical heating cartridge pressed into a hole in a small block of aluminum would work. I used the ceramic heating cartridge from an old 100watt soldering iron. I drilled a half inch hole into the side of a 3” diameter by 2” thick piece of aluminum. I also have a temperature controller but haven’t used that part yet.

If I were to do it again I would use 3” by 1” and a 200watt heater cartridge. As it is now it takes about 20mins to heat up and 1.5 hours to cool if not heatsinked or cooled with a pan or something else to pull away the heat.

It’s not ideal but it works well

vinte77
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I bought one for $30 off of eBay recently and it works well. I think other board
members have bought similar ones and not many complaints.

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CRX
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I’ve only ever used long nose pliars and a jet flame lighter Blushing

Jerommel
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sac02 wrote:
I do have a temp controlled soldering station, and I could easily drill a hole in a 25×25×15mm scrap of Aluminum I have laying around.

Do you think that would work?

I’m sure it will.
The block shouldn’t be large though, or ti will take ages to heat, of it will radiate and air-cool too much.
Quote:
I’m thinking I’d have to really crank up the temp on the soldering station and it would kill my tips and possibly heating element quickly.
When you have a good heat conduction between soldering iron and the alu block, it will just heat it up until the thermostat ends it.
Usually those soldering stations are around 60 Watts, so i see no problem.
It may take a while to reach that 200°C though. (depending on size of alu block and ambient temp. and airflow, etc…)

..waiting for parts..

Still looking for 5” parabolic reflector (for recoil light)

djozz
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Had to look up the post from three years ago… this is what I made back then. My reflow skills have improved a lot since then but I still use the exact same contraption, it works well;
http://budgetlightforum.com/comment/334252#comment-334252

Jerommel
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Yeah, that’s the idea. Thumbs Up

And with an only 30 Watts soldering iron?

But in that topic someone suggested this:
https://www.fasttech.com/products/0/10002875/1214600-150w-temperature-co...
I’m not sure what the mains voltage is in AU,but it has a AU plug.
It’s not ideal, but it’s cheap, stable and regulated.

..waiting for parts..

Still looking for 5” parabolic reflector (for recoil light)

mapache
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Au is 230v.

What is wrong with using the 2nd electric hot plate pictured in the OP or a 6” electric skillet like this?

keltex78
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I have always just balanced the PCB on the side of my soldering iron barrel and have gotten good results. No special anything needed.


Keepin’ the “B” in BLF

Don wrote:
It sounds like the XM LEDs won’t really be suitable for flashlight use. Pity…

keltex78
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When I was a kid, my parents had an automotive vinyl seat repair kit that included a soldering iron type of tool with a flat paddle tip like pictured below. I’m curious if one of those would work for reflow.


Keepin’ the “B” in BLF

Don wrote:
It sounds like the XM LEDs won’t really be suitable for flashlight use. Pity…

dekozn
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could a copper bar be used instead of aluminium? Heat up the bar with a gasburner with the star on it. Or would the heat release unhealthy gasses from the copper?

ImA4Wheelr
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A hot air station is great if you plan on reflowing tiny components on pcb's.  If not, get one of these.  Often on sale for about $8.  Just put your star, solder paste, and led in a helping hand.  The heat from below and with in seconds, it is reflowed.  Very easy to control the level of heat by the distance you hold the gun from the base.  Plus you can remove the heat instantly with a flick of your hand.  Less stress on the LED/base and no disturbing the LED as the solder cools.  You'll never reflow by another method again.

 

sac02
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ImA4Wheeler, I already have one of those in my garage! It has two heat settings: 1. Hot as Frick, and 2. Auto-ignition of anything within 12 inches. Lol.

I had not even considered using it as hot air for reflow, but I’ll certainly give it a shot now that mention it.

hmihaylov
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Jerommel wrote:
But in that topic someone suggested this: https://www.fasttech.com/products/0/10002875/1214600-150w-temperature-co... I’m not sure what the mains voltage is in AU,but it has a AU plug. It’s not ideal, but it’s cheap, stable and regulated.

This looks like a very good option. I have just now started to reflow leds (melted the dome of one in the process) and was using the tip of the (obviously too hot) soldering iron under the MCPCB to heat it up. As this is far from perfect I am looking for another solution.

May the Light illumine you Wink

Joshk
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I’ve always used my heat gun, it works great. I do a tail-stand with it. Then I hold the PCB with a pair of needle-nose pliers over it at about a 2.5” distance. It works fast too.

djozz
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dekozn wrote:
could a copper bar be used instead of aluminium? Heat up the bar with a gasburner with the star on it. Or would the heat release unhealthy gasses from the copper?

A huge advantage of alumimium is that solder does not stick to it, and so the surface stays flat and clean much longer.
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mrheosuper
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i use Alumium block and Heating Element from 3d printer, cost only 3-4$, 12V, 30W, work very well

Forgot my pen

mattlward
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This is what I use, less than 1 minute and it is done. I also use it to warm bullet moulds and melt pewter when I do not fire up the 100 pound lead pot.

Hot plate

EDC rotation:
Convoy S2+, 6*7135, XM-L2 3D, 10 degree TIR, PilotDog lighted tailcap.
Convoy S2+, H17F, XM-L2 4C, lighted tailcap
Zebralight SC52w-L2
Olight S1A
Olight S1R

sac02
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mrheosuper wrote:
i use Alumium block and Heating Element from 3d printer, cost only 3-4$, 12V, 30W, work very well

I just Googled that, I like it. Basically the same as the soldering iron in the Al block, but without the handle and such – looks like the most compact option for the workbench/toolbox so far.

I’m glad I asked this question, lots of good options I had not considered!

Gunga
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Those ones from Banggood look pretty cool. Do they work well? I just use a soldering iron but wouldn’t mind a more controlled device. Especially for triples and some other more difficult tasks.

djozz
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how hot do these 3D-printer hotplates get?

MILSPEC
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Since we are all brainstorming here I just wanted to highlight another option, albeit not a very compact one:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckcHyMxqesM


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCGzKDTFBSQ

I understand that this not the hot plate/skillet option, but with a reflow oven you woud have good control over the temperate profile, can reflow multiple boards/pcbs at once and even larger projects, and the costs would be reasonable if you have an older oven somewhere. Also, this can be a fun build project. IMO, this should also be a better reflow option for boards with both sides populated.

hank
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Oh, drat. The $60+ Gopher power supply promotion deal ends before they expect to restock.

Quote:
restock on 3rd April 2017

Price: US$42.22

Promotion Sale From March 19 to March 31.

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