When Ada fruit announced their capacitive touchscreen shield, I knew I had to do something cool with it. I mocked up a design for the Château using an Atmega32u4, but once I saw this post on Hackaday, I quickly changed to the Teensy 3.1. Being able to update the display at a reasonable rate makes for a much more usable interface.
I decided to build the Reflow Château for the undergraduate ECE projects lab at my university because (A) that way I could get funding for it, (B) the existing toaster in the lab has to be manually operated and has literally blown up SMA electrolytic caps on a board of mine due to its poor temperature control, and (C) The Man frowns upon the use of toasters in dorm rooms, so I needed a place to keep this thing anyway. The guy in charge of the lab requested two, so the Reflow Château actually has an identical twin.
f you don’t know what a reflow oven is, it’s a specialized oven which can heat up according to a specific temperature vs. time curve in order to solder surface mount parts to PCBs. It’s how practically every circuit board is assembled in industry, and it’s my preferred method for soldering because in my opinion it’s easier (though not necessarily faster) than hand soldering. Industrial reflow ovens are large and expensive, so many hobbyists decide to hack a toaster to do their reflowing. This is my take on it.
The toaster I decided to get for this project is from Sears. I decided on this one in particular because they call it a “digital toaster”, which I thought meant it would be easy for me to tap into and control its heating elements.
Read More: Reflow Château – Reflow oven controller