July 17, 2013
Tutorial - Reflow Skillet
about 2 years ago
“As I understand it any kind of induction stove is a transformer…” Any hotplate not described explicitly as (expensive) “induction” will be heated by a resistive heating element, no induction involved. You can heat, e.g., a thin-walled coffee jug; no induction involved. From the price and description of those described here, they do not use induction. (I also have worked with big magnets - if you went near one with a clockwork watch it wouldn’t just be magnetised and affected, all the insides would break loose and rattle inside the case.)
An additional viable source of hot air for rework and soldering is a gas soldering iron with interchangeable tips; many such have a hot air tip which delivers a very narrow stream of hot air. There are professional-grade ones (e.g. Portasol, which I have) and cheaper ones. Also some devices which have hot air but no soldering bits. Additional, useful functionality is heat-shrinking. Useless (for me) is hot knife to cut plastics, blowtorch nozzle. When looking into what to use, I found reports of people using these tools professionally, as well as lots of non-pro use. They are portable, if anyone needs to do this sort of work on-site (doubtful?). I think I’ve read of the use of gas blowtorches too.
Anyone worried about damaging devices with controlled heat: in a test reported in Wikipedia article Rework (electronics) at the end of the Reflowing and reballing section (as of mid-July 2013!), 20 devices were reballed professionally several times; none failed, although one went through 17 heat cycles (in 2 out of 20, professional reballing failed, but succeeded when repeated).
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