Category Archives: Soldering

Electronics SMD Soldering

A very ugly Chip Quik cooler

My wife is kicking all non-food items out of the Frig… time to find a new place for the Chip Quik!

Chip Quik is a brand of solder paste used often in hobbyist reflow; this is the product I used to solder SMD parts to printed circuit boards. The product can work six months (or longer in reality) if you keep it cooled.

What to do? Well I started by looking into small frigs.. too much power and they cost too much. Next was the obvious choice: A peltier cooling device and a box. It took me a while to find *anything* that was small and seemed like it would work on my bench as well as be able to be insulated. I went to Lowes and picked up a roll of foil bubble-wrap looking insulation, a trip to a hobby store scored me this wooden box. A little hot glue and a start with two surplus heat sinks (seen rejected and removed to the right in the photo)

A simple chip quick cooler and his failed cousin.
A simple chip quick cooler and his failed cousin.


The inner heat sink had a fan, exterior heat sink didn’t but didn’t get uncomfortably warm. It didn’t work as I had hoped though; I couldn’t pull off more than about 10 deg F delta T from the ambient temp in the room…. not going to be good enough. My workshop hovers around 78-85 deg F due to heat load of the items… Chip Quik isn’t going to last more than the six months rating in those temps.

The search for a solution continued, I picked up a little peltier kit off eBay to see if I could do better; easy enough I guess. Put it all together and now I’m getting about 25-30 deg F delta T from ambient. My little box settles out fairly quickly at about 58 deg F (15 deg C) which is good enough. Next I’ll do some clean up and power this with a PC power supply. I’ll use a spare PC power supply because I don’t want to use up a bench supply and like it or not these devices to draw some current. It’ll take about 25%-50% of the power of the smallest frig I could find to keep this thing cooling .. though the frig would be great for some beer pop, unfortunately I don’t have the room.

Alternative ideas to this problem are welcome.

I have a ton of projects right now and zero parts… wait wait wait.. I hate waiting for parts 🙂 … come on slow boat from China! I also have a board in OSHPARK I’m super excited about, but no sneak peaks…. it’ll be here soon enough. Wait wait wait wait…

Electronics SMD Soldering

First try at reflow soldering with an 858D hot air station.

This is my first try at reflow soldering. It took four attempts to get it right… so you learn 3 ways not to do it 😉 I just got this 858D station in the mail the other day, it cost me about $70 on eBay.


In this video I referenced Jayson Tautic’s reflow example.