Re: Inexpensive hot-air tools (was: Re: [QRPLabs] looking for technics to replacing the IC4 FST3253

Shirley Dulcey KE1L

That works just fine for the parts it's designed for, and a METCAL is the top of the line for conventional soldering equipment. It's more than most ham builders need, but use it if you've got it!

But it's useless for soldering BGA parts unless METCAL has a plate that covers the entire top surface of a chip. Even then, hot spots might be an issue. The solder points are UNDER the chip, so there is no way to get to them with conventional soldering iron techniques.

My understanding is that if reflowing the entire board is not possible, as it is not if the board has components on both sides or heat-sensitive parts such as plastic-body trimmers have been added after the original primary soldering, the best technique for handling BGA parts is a hot air station combined with a preheater for the underside of the board. I haven't attempted it -- too challenging for me!

Fortunately for us, QRP Labs kits do not contain any BGA components or any other similarly impossible packages.

On Mon, Nov 9, 2020 at 4:35 PM Mel Farrer via <> wrote:
Well, I don't use a hot air system, I use the METCAL station with tips for each part size including flatpack gate arrays.  Of course their 30 + years old, the tips that is.  And the smallest SMT size is 0603.  Works fine and a 1/64 bend tip for the smaller ones.

Mel, K6KBE

On Monday, November 9, 2020, 01:22:42 PM PST, Mont Pierce KM6WT <de.km6wt@...> wrote:

On Mon, Nov 9, 2020 at 07:54 AM, Brad Thompson wrote:
Your might investigate using an inexpensive  hot-air embossing tool such as...
That is what I have and use for SMD construction.  But it only has a broad nozzle, no attachments.

To work with a single component, without heating up all the surrounding parts, it would be better to use a tool better designed for that purpose.  Like the 858D Rework Station.

These come with different size nozzles, and have controls for temperature and air flow.

When working on several parts on a section of a PCB, the wide nozzle works fine, and you can vary the distance between the heat gun and the PCB to control the air flow.

But when working on a single part, a small nozzle and low air flow would work much better.


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