Review: eC-reflow-mate - quality reflow soldering made easy

January 24, 2018 | 08:00
After describing many options and features of the Eurocircuits’ online tool suite PCB Visualizer, let us look this time at a tool that is becoming more common every day: the reflow soldering oven in the shape of the eC-reflow-mate.

The old way

If you have ever populated by hand a board with many surface-mount devices (SMDs) you know how tedious this can be:
  1. apply a bit of solder to one pad
  2. place the part carefully and solder the pre-soldered pad while keeping the part in place
  3. solder the remaining pad(s) while making sure the part stays in place
  4. repeat one hundred thirteen times (if you are lucky)
 
High-desnity SMT board
You don't want to solder this manually, do you?

Now with a reflow oven

If you have to do similar jobs more than once a year you might want to think about investing in a reflow soldering oven. With a reflow oven populating a board goes like this:
  1. apply solder paste to all the pads
  2. place carefully all the parts
  3. shove the board in the oven, press start and wait three minutes
Besides the fact that through-hole technology (THT) parts are getting rarer every day and that there are many electrical, mechanical, cost, size, etc. advantages to using SMT parts, just the fact that you can solder a board in about three minutes is enough reason to switch to as-much-SMT-as-possible designs.

 
Eurocircuits eC-reflow-mate
A wide drawer makes loading and unloading easy.

Enter the eC-reflow-mate V4

You need a good reflow soldering oven, because there are a few parameters that greatly influence the soldering quality. The Eurocircuits’ eC-reflow-mate, now in its fourth revision, is such an oven. It is a practical drawer-based design with a large window allowing the user to see what is going on inside. A nice 3.5” color touch display controls the oven; a USB port allows the connection of a Windows computer for more detailed control thanks to the eC-reflow-pilot utility.
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