At SparkFun, we’ve always felt the need for products that fit somewhere between prototype and production. That’s exactly what À la Carte (ALC) was made for – businesses and individuals who have the need for multiple fully populated, demo-ready boards by simply choosing your own controller, components, connectors and power source.
That’s all well and good, but we may have initially overlooked the possibility of simply getting some “function-specific” boards into the hands of those who could benefit from them. Knowing that we can now do this without tying up our engineering resources, we’ve launched our first of (hopefully) many function-specific boards: the SparkFun Toaster Oven Reflow Control Board. With so many resources online on how to turn your toaster oven into a reflow oven, we decided this standalone board was a good place to start for our audience.
The Toaster Oven Reflow Control Board is just that – a single, fully populated board for DIY temperature measurement and load control. Specifically, the board was designed for:
- Controlling up to two heating coils rated up to 5 A/120 V AC (common for most toaster ovens)
- Measuring up to two temperature inputs via K-Type thermocouples
- Displaying current status via a backlit 16×2 character LCD
- Reading an encoder with button select to create a simple user interface and menu navigation
- Utilizing the Artemis controller module with built-in BLE for wireless controlling and monitoring
In addition, the I2C bus is available via the on-board Qwiic, and the second UART and SPI pins are brought out to empty PTH solder points.
The Toaster Oven Reflow Control Board is not intended to be a final product, and that’s what we think is beautiful about it! Including a Qwiic connector to easily add additional sensors or other components will help this board fit your DIY monitoring and reflow needs.
Note: Thermocouples are not included but we carry the popular K-Type 0-400C thermocouple listed below.
We provide an example sketch demonstrating all the hardware, but a full reflow controller is not implemented. You can read this blog post for more information about creating your own controller. Knowledge of programming with the Arduino IDE is highly recommended for purchasers of this board.
Also of note: although the appearance of the board in the post is different, the same components are present. We decided group the connections to a single side for the short run of this board.
Act fast! We are only doing an initial short run of this board to determine how we move forward with function-specific boards in the future. Once they are gone, they may be gone for good!
We’d love to hear from you in the comments about what you think would be a useful, function-specific board the community might be interested in. Below are a few of the ideas we are thinking about:
- An indoor greenhouse controller board that could monitor and automate the watering and lighting process while controlling the humidity and temperature.
- A workshop air quality monitor and controller board that would trigger a relay to kick on an air filtration system or exhaust fan based on VOC or air particle readings.
- Chicken coop controller board to monitor food and water levels, as well open and close your coop door based on the level of daylight.