Received unit in a weeks time delivered efficiently to the door by DHL, and unit in perfect condition.
Some struggling to get the wifi interface up, for 10 minuts ..then up and running with the app and testing the Reflowr!
Significantly improving the speed of soldering prototypes in small series, typically 5 to 10 pcb#s pr. batch. From several hours down to 30 min using stencil and manual component placement in a specific case.
Maybe some improvements could be done on the app, related to general usability. I'll think some more about improvements and posssibly come up with some suggestions.
Maybe improve the interface/API in the unit, and publish the specification for integration? Use a standard wifi/bluetooth unit?
Communcation excellent, rapid response from Lafras on email and nice interactions.
I purchased a ReFlowR back in August, but I did not get around to using it until now.
I mostly live in the Apple/iOS technosphere, so I would appreciate an iOS app to control/monitor the ReFlowR, but since you can use it without the app this isn’t a deal breaker. I also have an Android tablet so I can use the companion app when I want to — a must to be able to take advantage of the external temperature probe add-on.
The documentation available from the website is complete and easy to understand.
I very much appreciated the inclusion of various components and a couple of random PCBs to practice on. I soldered a couple of the resistors to one of the practice PCBs to get my feet wet before moving on to my own project.
I have a set of three PCBs I designed in Eagle and had produced by OSH Park. It was tricky to get the solder paste applied to all the pads, but placing my components with the tweezers and then using the “reflow low” process (4 presses of the button) to “bake” everything into place was very simple.
My next step will be figuring out how to make my own solder stencil using some thin sheet metal and my CNC router.
Lafras communicated about the product very well and promptly. The price is definitely right for what the product does. Finish quality is about as expected for something that is hand tooled and made in smaller runs. My reflowr was missing a couple rivets but it may have been from shipping vibrations (also Customs opened/inspected the package, so they may have taken the rivets out in an attempt to see what was inside the precarious metal box with wires!). My only suggestion to Lafras would be better packing for shipment - bigger box with foam for absorbing impacts - the box was only couple inches bigger than item in all directions which is risky for intercontinental shipments. It is nice Lafras includes some PCB boards and components so you can immediately play around with the Reflowr without using your own prototype boards as guinea pigs.
This tool allowed me to move beyond through-hole components in my projects. It is very simple to use and clearly documented. Works well both standalone and with an android app. Nice addition was a mini-tutorial with sample PCB boards and components to try things out. Shipping time was as advertised, not too long. Packing was a bit tight, but the unit arrived in a good condition.
Having used this for a couple of weeks I have really grown to appreciate it, the review by "Manuel" is pretty balanced and summarises the product well, except I would say I have grown to like the simple lines of the construction.
Does it reflow boards - Yes it does and with the Android app it is easy to pick profiles or build a custom one.
When my unit arrived it was actually configured for 110 Volts when I needed 240, I took a peek inside and could see it was probably just a case of reconfiguring the heater winding via the connector and no big deal (i.e. The unit was designed to ship as either 110 or 230/240 volts). I sent Lafras an email and he replied within few hours confirming this and with a diagram showing how to move the heater connector - Great service.
Looking inside the construction seems very sound and to be frank both the operating temperature and the volts bite, so I am happy that someone else has made a working unit. The cool down is a bit slow but nothing to worry about.
I was worried about delivery, having read some of the other reviews so I paid for the EMS tracking, I was able to track the parcel all the way to our office and it only took about seven working days. This website http://www.track-trace.com/post is better than the standard EMS site as it follows the parcel when it is handed over to other carriers
TLDR; Easy to use, not very nice, works well. After using it for some weeks, here are the Pros: + Easy usage (Push N times the red button to select th Nth profile, and let the magic happen) + Works without android phone (Out of the box, I could start using it) + Without external thermocouple QFN with thermal pad parts as well as fine pitch connectors (<0.5mm) where reflowed successfully. + Tested with: SOT23, 0603, QFN, various connectors, TSSOP + Easy to mount and dismount, also very compact form factor. + Shipping using EMS express was ok (1 Week including customs to Europe) + No burnt solder masks, my PCB still had the beautiful classic mat green solder mask we all love. + The seller responded very fast on my questions. Cons: - Metal case feels unfinished and rough, but is solid. 3D printed cover of wireless module breaks easily (my bad, but does not affect results) - Loud buzzer (I have been told that you can disable it using the app, but I haven't used the app) - Cools down slowly, it might require you to remove the PCB from the hot plate depending on the required reflow profile. - No desktop client/app/script. Only android right now. I was not able to find any protocol specifications to quickly write a PC client.
General usage remarks: - Sometimes ordering a stencil with your boards let's you reach the "free shipping" threshold, and therefore you get a stencil at quite the same price than without. - LED's require a more precise placement. They tend to not put themselves straight during reflow like other passives. Resistors can be placed miserably and still will put themselves right during reflow. - When putting solder paste with a stencil for very small parts, try to use one (not the old one you had laying around since the beginning of recorded history). - When reflowing multiple times (should be avoided) the PCB may starts to warp. But it didn't affect too much the process in my case. This might be an issue depending on your layout. Try to put all components at once. - Put a "Hot surface" sticker on the box, it really not a toy.
I am satisfied with the results. The product not the nicest one, but it don't mind. It does the job quite well even without external thermocouple in my case. I would have appreciated a PC client or any open documentation about the protocol. I feel like this tool is a good value if you have small parts or high density prototypes and dont want to spend two more weeks waiting for a company to populate your board. I feel like the price is appropriate for this tool.
Review: I was looking for a small reflow oven/hot plate. I am making microcontroller based circuits and planning to do very low volume production for some of them. I couldn't find a suitable reflow oven/hot plate, they were simply too big. Then I saw this one on Tindie. There were no reviews, so I was hesitant a bit. But the idea was great, just what I was looking for. The indigogo campaign apparently did well. Here is my experience: - It arrived in 7 days from South Africa to San Franciso/USA for $44 express shipping. - The reflow unit worked well as a standalone unit. The Android alpha application did not start the reflow at first. Few days later, it was upgraded and asked me to upgrade the firmware. It then worked fine. I initially had problems joining wifi. It turned out a network issue. It is happy with 801n only network at 2.2Ghz, but not 801ac 5Ghz. - The youtube video and doc was easy to follow. I was able to build the sample circuit and it worked. But the doc is only a paper copy. I couldn't locate it on the web page. So, if you use IOS and keep your paper copy around. - The paper doc reads 10uF but the provided capacitors measured 3.7uF. I've used 10uF from my stock. - The cooling is little slower than the profile, as expressed by the maker, but it should be fine. - The webpage can use a facelift, there are easy to use tools/services like wordpress, weebly, wix etc.