Source: Hack a Day
[EEforEveryone] is trying to find a good hot plate for reflow soldering. After trying one cheap unit, he got another one. He was a bit underwhelmed. The grounding was suspect and the bed wasn’t totally flat. He tore it apart and was surprised that there was very little inside. While the construction wasn’t perfect, it was better than the previous unit. You can see a video of the teardown and review below.
Before powering it up, the first order of business was to rewire the ground system. After that, it was time to try it. However, by confusing Fahrenheit and Centigrade, he set the temperature much higher than necessary which creating a little smoke. Fixing the temperature helped, but there was still a bit of a smoky smell that eventually subsided.
The verdict? The hot plate worked well enough, but you probably do want to check the ground wiring before using it. That’s often a good idea where cheap equipment is concerned, anyway. But the real takeaway is that it looks like you could homebrew something equivalent without much trouble. The controller is an off-the-shelf module. A switch and a plug aren’t hard to figure out. The heating element could be a silicone heater or PCB heater meant for a 3D printer.