It is common knowledge that there are many ways to achive a goal.
Not so well known is that for every successful technique there are just about 50 ways to get it wrong… There is not one reputable blog or DIY SMT reflow guide that recommends using a heat-gun as a way to reflow your freshly pick and placed SMT PC board. I tried it early this Saturday. It was surprisingly successful right up to the point where the Electrolytic capacitors started going off like popcorn, leaving little trails of smoke as it whizzed past my face… Quite entertaining…
After I had my thrills, I went to look for my trusty reflow skillet. The electric frying pan method always worked for me, and this time – it still did. Heat guns are for stripping paint, and other DESTRUCTIVE tasks!
I applied the solder paste using a hobby knife blade, and the mask. Worked well.
I think my solder paste is a bit old. It did not go completely shiny like it once did. May be a good time to order a new tube. (Mine has a sell by date of Oct 2007. Go figure…)
So, in stead of building a couple of RAMPS, I built one, and it still needs to be tested. At least the LEDs seems to behave in a predictable way – A good sign!