Discover Vapor Phase Soldering

24 May, 2022

author avatar

Open source and open hardware vapor phase soldering by PCB Arts

The vapor phase process can handle assemblies with high thermal mass, fine-pitch structures, and temperature-sensitive components without any risk. Vapor Phase One brings one of the most gentle soldering processes in the industry to prototyping and small productions .

What is vapor phase soldering ?

Vapor phase soldering - also called condensation soldering - is based on similar physical principles to a heat pipe. An inert liquid is brought above its boiling point, causing a vapor phase to form just above the surface. This liquid is a specially developed medium called Galden® that boils between 230 °C and 240 °C, depending on the type. This newly formed vapor transports energy from the heat source to one or more "heat sinks". In this case, these heat sinks are your PCB, your components and the applied solder paste.

The vapor condenses on the cooler surfaces first, so it transports a greater amount of energy to those areas and gently heats your board. The solder paste melts as soon as your PCB reaches the appropriate temperature. Also, the maximum temperature it can reach is limited by the boiling point of the Galden®. As soon as you remove your assembly from the Vapor Phase One, the solder will solidify.

What is important to know about the VPO ?

  • Fast temperature profiles: The design of Vapor Phase One allows the user to run fast temperature profiles using a height-adjustable PCB lift.
  • Custom soldering profiles: The Vapor Phase One can import individual soldering profiles via an SD card. Based on these profiles, heating power and lift position are adapted to different solder pastes and PCB technologies.
  • Quick Cool: This feature shortens the process time and ensures minimal loss of Galden® when the board is removed.
  • Anti Condensation: With the vapor phase technology, the soldered assembly is generally covered with Galden® residues. Our assembly is kept at a temperature of 120 °C after the soldering process, thus leaving hardly any residues.
  • Lifting lid: The lid to the process chamber lifts automatically to simplify the insertion and removal of PCBs. This also helps to preserve the heat transfer medium.
  • Viewing window: In addition to a screen that displays real-time temperature data, the Vapor Phase One features a viewing window with internal lighting that allows you to see into the process chamber.
  • Safety: The Vapor Phase One has a variety of safety mechanisms implemented in both software and hardware to ensure a secure usage and soldering process.
  • Open Source Hardware: We published the source code of the firmware as well as schematics and construction files in our GitHub repository PCB-Arts/vaporphaseone.

More by PCB Arts

We are an Electronics and Software development start-up from Germany. Our Vapor Phase One offers development engineers as well as small to medium sized prototyping service providers one of the most gentle soldering processes in the industry.

Wevolver 2023