Welcome to the never ending saga of Andy and his reflow controllers. About a year ago I published a project writeup showing how I built a PID-based reflow controller. It featured a 640×360 graphical LCD from the Sony U5 Vivaz mobile phone and was all-surface mount. It worked well and continues to serve me well to this day but I always thought that there were improvements that I could make in several areas.
Firstly, there’s no reason why it should have been all surface-mount. The LCD in particular has a 0.4mm connector that many people will find very hard to solder by hand. After all, presumably you’re building a reflow controller to help solve that very problem. Chicken and egg.
Secondly, the built-in LCD is overkill. We live in the age of the so called landfill android device where you can buy a powerful tablet computer for just £30 online. Why not harness that power and use bluetooth to transmit a control protocol back and forth to a simple on-board controller?
Finally, I used an SSR to pulse the oven power supply on and off. That always irked me. A fully integrated controller would be supplied by the mains and use zero-crossing detection to drive a triac that would dim the halogen oven instead of just switching it on and off.
A few months ago I set to work solving all these issues and I’m happy to say that they’ve all been addressed. In the remainder of this article I’ll present a reflow controller that’s almost entirely through-hole so anyone can build it. It’ll be driven direct from the mains supply and will feature bluetooth control via an Android app.
For more detail: An Android Reflow controller that anyone can build