Author Topic: SMD reflow test board - interest?  (Read 2763 times)

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Offline bit.cyber

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SMD reflow test board - interest?
« on: April 01, 2017, 12:13:39 pm »
Hopefully this is being posted in the right category - here goes...

After expending some effort to convert a toaster oven into a solder reflow oven I'm now considering how to test/tune it. Yet I'm unable to find suitable test boards, with stencil, components, etc. So, I'm going to look to design up a couple of boards and batch produce them if there's demand. Thus to the question: general level of interest for such a kit?

The cost would be minimal'ish - that's the point, particularly if they'll be junked - let's say $15-20 with everything (although I haven't run the full numbers). Bulk ordering should make this possible.

I have a couple of designs in mind: a 'junk' test board with sample components, but otherwise doesn't do anything. Then a design or two could also serve a useful purpose, of course assuming the reflow works, e.g., a bidirectional level shifter board - 5.0 V to 3.3 V - or whatever (I'm always looking for one of these and have to order it from Sparkfun or whomever).


(For the record, I did find a test board from Beta Layout - - but the shipping was EUR20 for a EUR14 kit. Definitely defeats the purpose. I would just be posting anything, which is significantly cheaper.)
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Offline ebclr

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Offline bit.cyber

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Re: SMD reflow test board - interest?
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2017, 03:01:12 pm »
I would totally agree with "not worth to reinvent" the wheel! There just isn't any economic sense.  :-+

However the "wheel" I'm thinking of here is to primarily be able to test my home built reflow oven, without ruining some more expensive boards/components that are ready and raring to go. The mention of something useful was in relation to if everything does work out then to have something other than just a board that makes it's way quickly to the bin. Apologies if this wasn't clear.

Anyway, good to hear your thoughts.
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Offline daveatol

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Re: SMD reflow test board - interest?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2017, 12:55:44 am »
Just reflow some of your PCB coasters with a few cheap parts on that fit the footprints

Offline evb149

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Re: SMD reflow test board - interest?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2017, 02:11:56 am »
It sounds like a very niche application, obviously, catering to people doing process improvements for reflow soldering, but I can see a use.

Going beyond that there are a couple other related purposes I could see for such a "kit":
* Reflow solder process testing (of course)
* Non reflow solder process or rework testing & practice (hot air, iron, skillet, ...)

I think it would be useful to make the kits serve useful purposes though since it would be trivial to make it useful.  Some things I can easily think of that would be little inexpensive boards might be like:

* Capacitive touch switch / slider / wheel / etc. different pad shapes along with the interface IC.
* Inductive sensor.
* Thermistor based temperature sensor with analog or I2C output and a "limit" detection / output
* Thermal controller (thermistor, heater, some way to set a setpoint)
* PCB antenna or antenna connector and preamp / filter for whatever, 2.4GHz, 5.x GHz, 915, 868, AM, FM, whatever.
* Op amp inverting amplifier breakout
* Op amp non inverting amplifier breakout
* Op amp TIA
* Op amp summing amplifier
* Comparator with limits set by fixed resistors or small PCB pot.
* Window comparator
* Thermocouple input.  Temperature controller.  Would it be recursive to use a circuit to control a reflow oven to test the reflow of the reflow oven?
* Magnetic field sensor.
* LDO with I/O capacitors / filters for 12V, 5V, 3.3V, 2.5V, adjustable
* DCDC buck converter with filter and linear post regulator (you certainly don't seem to be able to buy such things cheap and get clean output for analog projects however simple they are)
* Voltage reference
* ESD protection and terminal block to pin header board
* H bridge, terminal block power output, GPIO inputs.
* X MHz crystal oscillator
* Electret / MEMS microphone preamp / PSU.
* Soil moisture detector
* Colpitts oscillator
* Hartley oscillator
* Pierce oscillator
* ESD detector
* SOT-xx breakout
* SOIC / SO-8 breakout
* LED driver
* LED mount for 3mm / 5mm / SMT LEDs with series resistors or current limiters
* CR2032 holder and buck-boost converter
* BLE module breakout
* Ribbon cable to pin header interface
* Terminal block to pin header interface

...I could go on forever.  There are all kinds of simple op-amp, BJT, 555, TTL or similar simple circuits out there from over the years that are nice little projects with just a few components, but which would be much more useful and accessible if they just had little 1cm**2 PCBs for them.  Everything doesn't have to be an "arduino shield" sometimes one just wants a somewhat cheap / clean way to add in a little circuit that can then be connected with jumpers or something.

Probably common enough and useful enough that people would be interested to buy just as little kits whether doing reflow or not.
Maybe standardize on a couple PCB sizes like 2cm * 1cm and make a whole V-scored panel of multi-project useful things, use the 100mm x 100mm sub panel for reflow testing or just have people snap them apart if not doing reflow.
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Offline bit.cyber

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Re: SMD reflow test board - interest?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2017, 10:13:14 pm »
Firstly, thank you for all the suggestions for useful suggestions.  :clap: Secondly, oh crap - where do I start!  :scared:

So basics first: boards that are generally 20 mm x 10 mm or alternatively 40 mm x 20 mm. With headers at the standard pitch of 2.54 mm (100 mil), so suited toward breadboard work.
(While I do a lot of arduino development I agree that not everything has to be a shield. My last project was based on Arduino Minis, so hardly shield material... e.g., check out a front panel board I produce at:

But after this, I'm not sure where to start! I like the sound of the "PCB antenna or antenna connector and preamp / filter" - that should be a challenge, but I should be careful as I don't really have the test gear to adequately test it.

As for a thermocouple board, I like the idea - particularly given my base level multimeter (Fluke 117) and even my Agilent multimeter (33401A) don't have a temperature input. Always the way, a feature missing somewhere and one wishing they'd spent the extra dough. Ah - but maybe there's the idea...

All are tempting...
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