Thursday, June 5, 2014

Toast-R-Reflow and PowerSwitchTail

I just discovered the PowerSwitchTail on AdaFruit. For what it's worth, it appears to be an almost "consumer friendly" solution to the problem of controlling reflow ovens or hot plates with a micro controller.

If you wanted to build a reflow oven without actually taking the oven apart, you could connect its power cord through one of these, and then connect one of the two Toast-R-Reflow outputs to the control input, turn the oven's own controls on as high as they will go, and go.

The only reason it might not work is if the oven's own temperature controls do not allow the oven to heat as hot as the reflow controller desires. Toast-R-Reflow's SnPb profile goes up to 225°C, which is 437°F. That's close, but not quite 450°F, so if the oven's controls go up to 500, and they're even in the ballpark, it should be ok.

The one gotcha is that Toast-R-Reflow's controller comes with the LED series resistors on the controller, while PowerSwitchTail has them as well. If you want to use a Toast-R-Reflow controller with PowerSwitchTail, you need to replace the output series resistors with either zero ohm resistors (yes, those exist) or wire jumpers. As a special option (and at no extra cost), if you want a Toast-R-Reflow controller with no output series resistors, just mention it in your order and I will do that (if you do, DO NOT use the controller with unmodified Toast-R-reflow power boards - you will destroy the opto-isolator!).

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