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Low-cost, high quality reflow oven for surface-mount PCB assembly at home.  Get professional results consistently and reliably!
Low-cost, high quality reflow oven for surface-mount PCB assembly at home.  Get professional results consistently and reliably!
Low-cost, high quality reflow oven for surface-mount PCB assembly at home. Get professional results consistently and reliably!
96 backers pledged $13,911 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

ControLeo2 Reflow Oven

$13,911

96

Visit whizoo.com to order ControLeo2
Visit whizoo.com to order ControLeo2

Last year we had great success with our ControLeo project, which was delivered on-time and was well received by our backers: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1471240030/controleo-an-arduino-compatible-controller

Since then we've sold hundreds of ControLeo's that are used as reflow oven controllers.  Two sites (that we know of) manufacture $100,000 worth of PCB's every month using ControLeo.  It is also being used by hobbyists, giving them the capability to do surface mount assembly at home.  We've learned a lot from building them, and from customer feedback - so we're introducing ControLeo2.

What makes ControLeo2 the best reflow oven controller?

  • Four outputs - control convection fans and heater elements individually.
  • Better heat distribution - having control over individual heating elements allows you to keep heat away from sensitive components.
  • Hot-spot elimination - intelligent software manages element on-time, reducing hot and cold spots in the oven.
  • Better heat direction - intelligent software controls whether heat comes from the top or bottom, depending on the reflow phase
  • Better current management - elements are turned on and off independently eliminating the current spikes common in single-relay controllers
  • Ready-to-run - no programming needed.  Just configure the fans/elements your oven has and the reflow wizard will do the rest.  No need to connect ControLeo2 to a computer or write any software!
  • Proven hardware - ControLeo2 is based on the original ControLeo, which has been field tested for more than a year.  ControLeo was based on the Arduino Leonardo - another proven design.
  • Open-source - ControLeo2 is fully compatible with the Arduino programming environment, and runs Arduino Leonardo sketches.  A library and 15 sample programs for ControLeo2 has been posted to GitHub already.
  • Reflow Wizard - Intelligent software makes it easy to get your oven up and running.  Ensures consistent results, run after run.
  • Reflow feedback - if you connect ControLeo2 to a computer you can track the reflow progress and get data to plot a reflow temperature graph.
  • J-STD-020 compliance - The Reflow Wizard is aware of the standards governing reflow ovens, and will auto-tune your oven so that it conforms to them.

Build or buy? 

Building your own reflow oven is easy, especially when you follow our comprehensive guide, or select the $299 reward for a ready-to-run oven.

http://whizoo.com/reflowoven

Reflow Wizard software

ControLeo2 ships with the "Reflow Wizard" software installed.  The software has 3 parts:

  • Test the outputs - helps you verify that the heater elements and convection fan (if applicable) work.
  • Oven setup - this part allows you to configure what each output controls.  You also set the maximum reflow temperature here.
  • Reflow - This is where the magic happens!

The Reflow Wizard starts off in "learning mode".  It looks at the configured hardware and maximum temperature, then takes an educated guess at how to achieve the correct reflow profile. It takes a few test runs to tune the duty cycle settings for each phase of the reflow cycle.  Once it conforms to the J-STD-020 reflow standard, it exits learning mode.  From then on, you'll get consistent runs time after time.  The Wizard will continuously monitor the runs and make tiny adjustments if necessary. 

You can follow the Wizard's performance and commentary by connecting ControLeo2 to a computer using USB.

Reflow Wizard menu system

Lead-free reflow from start to finish

ControLeo2 is open

There is no need to program ControLeo2 at all, but if you're a software guru you can tinker to your heart's content.  We've open-sourced all the software we've written for ControLeo2, including the Reflow Wizard.  The software consists of a single Arduino library that controls all of ControLeo2's functions, as well as 15 sample programs. You can find everything on GitHub (https://github.com/engineertype/ControLeo2)

ControLeo2 uses the standard Arduino environment.  The library should be installed into your Arduino environment using the instructions found here: http://arduino.cc/en/Guide/Libraries.  The single ControLeo2 library gives you access to all of ControLeo2's functionality.  Installing the library also installs all the sample code we've written for it.

In Arduino, select the board as "Arduino Leonardo".  Your sketches can then be sent to ControLeo2 using its micro-USB port.

ControLeo2 is expandable

ControLeo provides both 5V and 3.3V (max 80mA) to power additional components.  There are 4 pins available for digital I/O (D3 supports PWM). 

ControLeo2 enclosure

ControLeo2 uses a quality off-the-shelf flame-retardant ABS plastic enclosure with a textured finish.  The holes are CNC machined to perfectly fit ControLeo2.  The result is a high quality, tight fitting case that looks very good.  We are thrilled with this enclosure.  Only the lid has holes; you'll need to make a hole to route your wires through the case. 

ControLeo enclosure
ControLeo enclosure

The enclosures are made in Ohio, USA.  They have UL94-5VA flame rating and the dimensions are 4.55 x 3.29 x 1.25 in. (115.57 x 83.57 x 31.75 mm).

ControLeo2 specifications and features

  • ATmega32u4 microcontroller with Arduino Leonardo boot loader - 32Kb Flash memory, 2.5Kb SRAM and 1Kb EEPROM.
  • LCD display - 2 lines x 16 characters.
  • 4 relay outputs - relays are connected using screw terminals or the 6-pin relay header (4 outputs, +5V, GND).  The outputs provide up to 220mA at 5V.  The outputs support connections to solid-state relays (SSRs) or mechanical relays
  • Buzzer - 90db at 10cm
  • 2 momentary switches - for user input.
  • ABS plastic case - custom fit,  flame-retardant  (UL94-5VA)
  • MAX31855 thermocouple - capable of reading temperatures from -200°C to 1350°C using a k-type thermocouple.
  • Input voltage: 5V (USB or screw terminals) - For reliability and longevity, the screw terminals should be used to power ControLeo2.  For solid-state relays, the 500mA provided by USB is sufficient to power ControLeo2 and the relays.  For mechanical relays please use a 1000mA 5V power supply connected to the screw terminals.
  • Pre-loaded software - Reflow Wizard

Rewards

1. ControLeo2 Reflow Oven controller and thermocouple

  • ControLeo2 with Reflow Wizard software pre-installed
  • ABS enclosure with UL94-5VA flame rating
  • Low-mass K-type thermocouple
  • Standoffs, enclosure screws and button covers
  • 20" of 1/4" red braided sleeving
  • Rubber grommet (3/8" ID, 5/8" OD)

2. ControLeo2 oven build kit

  • ControLeo2 with Reflow Wizard software pre-installed
  • ABS enclosure with UL94-5VA flame rating
  • Low-mass K-type thermocouple
  • Standoffs, enclosure screws and button covers
  • Reflect-A-Gold insulation (2" x 15 feet) - expensive, but well worth it!
  • Boom Mat insulation (6" x 9")
  • Three 20A 240VAC Solid-state relays
  • 6" x 6" x 1/16" 5052 aluminum sheet
  • 1 1/2" x 3" x 1/32" 5052 aluminum sheet for attaching ControLeo2 to oven
  • 100mm x 100mm x 0.5mm thermal silicone pad
  • Two 3/16" x 1 1/2" eye bolts with locking nuts
  • Two 20" of 1/4" braided sleeving (red and black - you decide which to use)
  • 30" of 8-conductor wire
  • Five 8" zip ties
  • Rubber grommet (3/8" ID, 5/8" OD)
  • 3" of 10mm black heat shrink tubing

USA shipments also include:

  • 5V 1000mA power supply
  • 300W 110V stainless steel heating element 

220V heating element: http://www.ebay.com/itm/251243992186 

110V heating element: http://www.ebay.com/itm/310568399588

3. Complete reflow oven ready-to-run

You'll receive the J-STD-020 compliant reflow oven as documented at whizoo.com/reflowoven.

Money-back guarantee

We are confident that you'll like ControLeo2.  If for some reason you don't like ControLeo2 just send it back to us within 30 days and we'll refund 100% of the money you paid to Kickstarter.  We'll happily eat the fees Kickstarter and Amazon charge us for your transaction.  Hmmm, no - we won't be happy paying those fees, but we'll be happy that you're happy.  That's what is really important to us. 

Shipping

Shipping to USA addresses will be done using USPS Priority mail.  International shipping will be done using USPS First Class International Package.  Tracking numbers will be provided.

Canadians get twice the love, and pay half the International shipping cost!

Production Plan

During the Kickstarter campaign we'll be closely monitoring pledges to determine production quantities.  We're very familiar with delivering products like this and don't expect any problems.

The two components with long lead times are the microcontroller and the MAX31855KASA thermocouple IC.  We have hundreds of these on hand right now.  We buy directly from the manufacturer or approved distributors to avoid problems with fake components.

We'll be doing the bulk of the assembly in our garage using components sourced from Digi-Key, Mouser and others.  We'll be using robotics students from the local high school to help with assembly, testing, packaging and shipping.  We use Kester EM907 lead-free solder paste, and source ROHS components where possible.

If quantities exceed what we think we're capable of assembling ourselves, we'll most likely outsource our assembly to a fab house based in Silicon Valley.  It is important to us to keep an eye on quality, and to ensure a predictable shipping schedule.

The team behind ControLeo

Peter (left) and Gary
Peter (left) and Gary

Peter and Gary are neighbors, living in Cupertino, California.  Gary is the hardware guru while Peter comes up with crazy ideas, handles board layout and production and writes software.  We're both semi-retired after long careers in Silicon Valley but can't stay away from electronics.  Peter wrote software for routers for 3Com, smartphones for Palm and tablets for HP.  Gary managed a number of integrated circuit design groups at National Semiconductor. He was responsible for the development of multiple digital logic families. He directed the design, application, business development and production of numerous high volume mixed signal integrated circuits during the 1980's and 1990's.

We love what we do.  We hope you support this project because it will give us greater incentive to push forward with some of our other ideas - which we think are really cool!

Risks and challenges

Peter has supported more than 70 Kickstarter projects to date, and has learned a lot from them.

There are a number of risks in this project:
1. Component lead times
We've been building ControLeo for a while, so we've been able to identify components with long lead times. We have ordered (and taken delivery of) all of the components we thought might be problematic. In fact, we've already spent $14,000 on components.
2. Component specification
There may be a need to re-spin the PCB as components become unavailable from one manufacturer and we need to switch to another part. To this end we have based our designs on common parts. Where this is large price/quality variation in a part (for example, the buzzer) we have pre-ordered large quantities to make sure we have the materials needed for production.
3. Assembly
The initial assembly will be done in a garage in Cupertino (how cool is that?). That way we can keep a close eye on quality and performance and have a predictable production timeline. We have already built a large number of boards this way, and feel confident about doing this. If the demand for ControLeo2 is huge, we expect to outsource assembly most likely to a production house based in Silicon Valley.
4. ABS plastic enclosure
We love the feel of this box! We are using an off-the-shelf enclosure with the holes cut out using a CNC machine. The company we use is based in Ohio, USA and they ship millions of enclosures every year. We have 100 enclosures on hand and don't expect any issues when ordering the remainder.

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    Complete reflow oven ready-to-run. The oven will use ControLeo2 reflow oven controller and will be built as described in the guide found at http://whizoo.com/reflowoven. Includes shipping to USA. Sorry, no international shipping.

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    Pledge $309 or more About $309

    Complete reflow oven ready-to-run. The oven will use ControLeo2 reflow oven controller and will be built as described in the guide found at http://whizoo.com/reflowoven. Includes shipping to USA. Sorry, no international shipping.

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    Pledge $349 or more About $349

    Complete reflow oven ready-to-run. The oven will use ControLeo2 reflow oven controller and will be built as described in the guide found at http://whizoo.com/reflowoven. Includes shipping to USA. Sorry, no international shipping.

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Funding period

- (40 days)