Reflow soldering with a frying pan

Here’s a quick post on how to use a frying pan to solder SMD components.

Here’s what you need:
– A populated PCB with SMD components on one side only (components on two sides does not work with this method)
– A frying pan
– A hob to heat the pan (not induction, see note below)
– A temperature sensor (like a thermocouple), this is not required, but better if you want to keep an eye on your board’s temperature.

The frying pan I used is quite cheap, I got it from Ikea for 2.50€. Any pan would do the job, just make sure the surface is flat. Also, once you used a pan to do some soldering, don’t plan on cooking with it anymore, solder paste can contain lead and other poisonous materials, so keep this one for your DIY stuff only.

Note: do NOT try this with an induction plate. I haven’t tried but the EM field used to heat the pan can be bad for your components. You need preferably a diecast iron hob, I haven’t tried with a gas hob, but I guess it could heat up faster (and would be easier to control).

Once everything is ready, just put the board in the middle of the frying pan, turn the heat to the maximum, and wait.

Keep your eyes on the board, to check when the solder paste starts to melt.

On my experiment, the fusion point occurred at 180°C, starting by the centre of the pan, and quickly moving to the edge. Once you reach that point (you can see the solder paste melting and become shiny), it’s time to remove the pan from the heat (as you don’t want to fry the components).

Leave it to cool in ambient temperature, and there you go!