SMD preheater, bga preheating, smt preheat, pcb pre-heater, rework pre-heating, lead-free rework
Big Preheaters for PCB Soldering & Rework


Zephyrtronics Equipment is Designed, Engineered  &

Hundreds of ZT-1 AirBaths™ Utilized to Make the ISS.

Solder Paste, No Clean, Tin, Lead, Lead-Free

Pen Vacuum, Station

PCB Rework Pre-heaters   Bottom-Side Preheating   Pre-heat for Heavy Ground Planes    Lead-Free Preheat Rework
We Were First & No One Still Knows More About Preheating PCB's Than Zephyrtronics!
Effective, Bottom-Side Convection Pre-Heating for PCB, Thru Hole, SMD, SMT, QFN & BGA Rework & Repair! 26 Years!
Big 16 Square Inches Preheating Grid (110 Sq. cm) With 1,500 Watt Power, 50 CFM Air Supply (1,415 Liters/Minute)
Zephyrtronics' AirBath “bathes the circuit board in warm air to reduce thermal stresses
to the board and its components.”-- NASA Report, January 9, 2004

Our ZT-1-BGS-DPU BigGrid AirBath features a big 16-square inch (110 sq. cm) preheating grid with 1,500 watts of power, plus 50 CFM (1,415 liters per minute) of air supply for preheating and cooling. Introduced in 1998, this is the second largest AirBath™ from the recognized pioneer and world leader in PCB preheating technology.

This is the same BigGrid AirBath used by NASA and JPL for preheating PCB's for the two Mars Rovers that were so successful on the Red Planet! And in our ever so famous trademark pyramidal design.


Manufactured in Los Angeles: The BigGrid is 100% fabricated and assembled in our state-of-art factory in California. It has a full, one-year limited warranty and is ideal for large PCB's or with high copper content, heat-sinks, large ground or back planes. It's a workhorse!

The patent-protected technology of the BigGrid AirBath is the most effective PCB preheat solution for your needs during prototyping or rework at the bench for thru-hole and surface mount technology including Ball Grid Arrays.


Powerful bottom-side preheat, smd, bga, hot air preheater, smt rework
Selected By Boeing for the
International Space Station Project.
With Our Trademark Pyramidal Design.

Preheat Power: Our BigGrid AirBath with its powerful 50 CFM (1,415 liters/min) of air supply and its 4.13" x 3.81" (12.2cm x 9.7cm) extra-large heating grid delivers its forced-convection preheating power even to those "boards from hell" -- as many engineers like to say. Beware of copycat pre-heaters with less than 14CFM (396 liters/minute) that crudely attempt to compensate for their lack of preheat air volume with higher temp settings. Remember: the glass transition of a FR-4 PCB is only 170°C. Your PCB's don't want higher preheat temperatures with very little air volume, they want higher air volume that is preheated in the range of 100°-170°C.

Loaded With Features: AirBaths get into a PCB's nooks and crannies where hot plates and IR preheaters can't go (see expository videos below). The AirBaths™ are fabricated from steel, not plastic for industrial use and long production life. The AirBaths™ are RoHS Compliant, ESD-safe, exceed U.S. Military Specs, uniquely feature indicator lights (blue for cooling; red for preheat. AirBaths™ have self-contained air supply (no compressed air hookup requirements)...and our big LED lighted digital temperature display for quick "set & read" not tiny, impossible-to-read, and simply horrible LCD's for displays!).

Critical Thermal Ramping: The BigGrid is engineered with the industry standard, built-in temperature ramp of 2° to 4°C per second preventing thermal shock to sensitive chips, ceramic caps and glass diodes.





PCB Preheating, SMD Preheat, BGA Preheater


 50 CFM Air Power
(1,415 Liter/Min)
1,500 Watt Power

(120 Volt for the U.S., Canada & Mexico)


(230 Volt For All
Int'l Customers)


smt preheater



 50 CFM Air Power
(1,415 Liter/Min)
1,500 Watt Power

(120 Volt for the U.S., Canada & Mexico)


(230 Volt For All
Int'l Customers)


* We manufacture many other sizes of AirBaths.  Note that The BigGrid™
is one of our larger AirBath Preheaters in our extensive AirBath Catalog.
We have an AirBath Preheater tailored to your company's PCB needs.




pcb holding fixture ADJUSTABLE BOARD CRADLE™
3-RAIL (10” X 18” MAX)
ABC-1 $345

3-RAIL (20” X 18” MAX)
ABC-2 $395

QUATRO (10” X 18” MAX)
ABC-1-Q $395

QUATRO (20” X 18” MAX)
ABC-2-Q $425

More Details

For Thru-Hole, SMT & BGA Preheating Tasks: The BGS Series AirBath Preheating Systems is ideal for all PCB challenges from low-volume production runs, prototyping during design or during rework with all SMD packages such as BGA, CSP, QFP, QFN, TSOP, PLCC, SOIC, SOL, LCC, Flip Chip and Glob Top components. Still, the AirBath  is not limited to only SMD devices: Don't overlook the superb benefit the AirBath  preheating boost brings to your tough through-hole (PTH) soldering and de-soldering tasks! Plus, it easily handles all substrates including FR-4, polyimide, composites, flex circuits and ceramic boards.


The Many Benefits of Preheating Your PCB: The benefits of preheat are multiple and compounding. 1.) Preheating or "soaking" the assembly before reflow activates the flux that removes oxides and surface films thereby enhancing the wetting process and solder joint quality. 2.) Preheat permits lower soldering reflow temperatures. 3.) Preheat reduces "dwell time" at the final reflow stage. 4.) Preheat reduces thermal stresses to the PC substrate and components if localized reflow is made with soldering irons, de-soldering tools or hot air tools. 5.) Preheat gives a thermal boost for  RoHS lead-free solders without damaging the work!


Two BigGrid Models: Our BigGrid AirBath is available in two models: analog and digital. Both models feature variable temp selection from ambient up to 205°C.

Both models feature closed-loop feedback temperature sensing control.

The ZT-1-BGS-DPU Digital model incorporates a digital set/read lighted display that permits single digit/degree incremental temperature selection in the "set" mode and tracks real time temp at the air exit point

The ZT-1-BGS-MIL Analog model has a dial for temp selection on the front panel.


lead-free preheaterThe Best Lead-Free Solution: Lead-free or RoHS compliant solder alloys all have higher melting points and this makes preheat more essential to PCB work. But, don't raise the temperatures higher on your soldering irons, desoldering tools, hot air nozzles, thermal tweezers or hot air pencils! Just briefly preheat the PCB's bottom  before reflow and perform your soldering or desoldering on the top side at lower temps.

  All Pre-heaters Are Not Created Equal

1.  Achieve Superb Thermal Profiles at the Bench with industry standard 2°-4°C ramping to preheat! This critical ramp is "built in" to all AirBaths™ preventing thermal shock to ceramic capacitors, glass diodes and temp sensitive chips. Ramping helps prevent "pop-corning" of moisture within I.C.'s. Preheat allows flux activation and lower temps on the  topside of the PCB with your soldering tools. Effective preheat prevents scorched substrates, damaged pads and chips in rework or prototyping.

2. DeSolder &  Remove SMD's under 150°C (300°F) with only  AirBath preheat and LowMelt® DeSolder by the co-metalization process. No nozzles! No lifted pads! No burned PCB's! Video: SMD Removal With LowMelt®.

3. Non-Contact!: The AirBath preheat permits using solder "paste" (not just solder wire) with a Hot AirPencil. NASA calls it "non-touch" soldering. Video: How To Solder SMD's With Solder Paste.


4. Thru-Hole Rework! Heavy ground planes? High copper content? Big heat sinks? No problem! Your AirBath™ makes de-soldering thru-hole chips a breeze! Place your PCB over the AirBath, lower the temps on your desoldering tools. Stop lifting pads. You'll never de-solder thru-hole without preheat again.

5. Ideal for Shrink Tubing, the AirBath is temperature controlled unlike heat guns that burn and tear insulation and shrink tubing.

6.  BGA, QFN Soldering & DeSoldering.  The AirBath™ is a stand-alone, yet also a modular part of the ZT-7BGA Hot Air System. The AirBath™ has the essential features for BGA processing: industry standard ramp rate; "post-cooling" rapid cool-down (required for BGA's; and 25CFM (710 Liters/Minute) of preheat power permitting lower final reflow temps. Video: BGA & SMD De-Soldering in 3 Minutes.

chip quick removal and preheat


heavy ground plane preheater

Preheating at the Bench Duplicates the Quality
 Thermal Profiles of
High Volume Production

Remove Chip Quickly Below 150°C with  AirBath & LOWMELT® "Never Lift A Pad"

  hot air rework

preheat desoldering


100% Non Contact SMT Hot Air Soldering With the AirBath &
Hot AirPencil.
 Highest Quality Joints.

Thru-Hole Desoldering
Is Easier & At Lower Temps With AirBath
Preheat. Heavy Ground Planes? No Problem!

  bga pad redressing hot air rework station

  Ideal For Heat Shrink Tubing Applications.
Superior To Non-Regulated Heat Guns!

AirBath Preheat
Compliments the
ZT-7-MIL SMD/BGA Station Perfectly.

  Comparing the Four Methods of Preheating

Preheating PCB assemblies falls into four categories: 1.) hot plates, 2.) ovens, 3.)  IR systems, and 4.) forced convection (warm air) under a PCB: The short video at the right breaks down these four methods with comparative demonstrations. While any PCB preheat prior to soldering is better than none, an objective analysis of the various methods of preheating reveals that all preheating methods are not equally effective or beneficial:

1.) Ovens:
Using ovens to preheat before rework and soldering for either removal and/or replacement of components can yield the most uniform temperature profile as it warms both the top and bottom of the PCB as ovens also do in high volume production equipment such as conveyor ovens and wave solder machines. It's just a little problematic to crawl inside an oven with your PCB to preheat while you perform selective soldering or desoldering tasks on one side of the board. Of course, one can preheat with an oven, and then rush the PCB back to your bench, but it's hardly practical solution.


Hundreds of Zephyrtronics AirBaths™ Utilized to
Build the International Space Station (ISS)

39-Page Rework Guide
by NASA with Zephyrtronics AirBaths™

Zephyrtronics AirBaths™ Used on the Mars Rover & Phoenix Programs.
Photo Credit: NASA

3.) Hot Plates: The obvious limitation to the hot plate is that not all PCB assemblies are single sided. In today's world of hybrid and mixed technologies, the PCB that is entirely flat or plane on one side is an exotic and rare creature indeed.  PC board assemblies are never the same from one to another. They can be populated with many disparate devices such as heat-sinks, connectors, relays,  and transformers on both sides. These uneven surfaces on PCB' present an indirect path of heat conduction from hot plates to the board.

"Hot air is more versatile than a hot plate due to
non-uniform parts on the bottom of the PC Board."
Glen Dody,  Motorola Lab National Journal of SMT, '96

4.) Superior AirBath Forced Convection Preheat The PC board assembly market has long spoken with regards to the distinct advantages and superiority of a warm air bath in the pre-heating process. It is why most all high reliability governmental and quality commercial PCB production, design and rework/repair groups stick to and with forced convection preheating: it is superior.

Forced convection completely disregards the topography (or bottomography) of a PCB, allowing immediate, direct access of the warm air into all of the nooks and crannies of the PCB assembly. And much like the newer, popular forced convection commercial ovens, the circulating warmed air is far more effective than static warm air.

Unlike IR "systems", there's another tremendous advantage with Zephyrtronics AirBaths™ -- temp control is "built-in". No small distinction! No fumbling with taping thermocouples on top of PCB's. AirBath™ preheat has temp control by dial or push button with accuracy and repeatability saving time, hassle, scrap and money.

Finally, forced convection preheaters multi-task for cooling down PCB's after soldering which is critical to solder joint integrity as the next section explains.

2.) IR: There are many drawbacks with infrared and why it really never completely caught on.  Some of the drawbacks (enumerated in articles and white papers) are the difficulty in ramping temps, darker surfaces heating more than lighter ones ('albedo' effect), shadowing caused by high profile devices on PCB's. IR preheaters can warp PCB's and some chips require IR shielding with aluminum foil! If an IR preheater is very large, working on small PCB's can be very uncomfortable for techs (a common complaint).

Another quality disadvantage of IR preheaters is they are not "temperature controlled" without taping an external thermocouple onto each PCB before working on it...a hassle/headache for techs and filled with quality pitfalls, and inconsistent results. There are more drawbacks, but these are some of the worst.

NASA & JPL: 'IR Preheaters Are Risky': Addressing the preheating process for heat sensitive chips in a 49-page published report, two JPL engineers, Dr. Rajenshuni Ramesham and Dr. R. David Gerke, wrote "Hot plates and infrared preheaters are not recommended for this type of rework. The reason that they should not be used is that the thermal reaction times, energy transfer rates and efficiency are never consistent. However, they can be used for large metal and ground-plane boards in limited applications, e.g., where the size of the board matches that of the preheater in area."

Citing the late William Scheu, the authors point to the superiority of bottom-side preheating with forced convection systems. The JPL/NASA Survey spotlighted still more of the deficiencies of IR preheating devices: "They have little capacity to ramp and soak to perform properly engineered repair scenarios or to support the creation and application of complicated thermal profiles. They also are limited in their ability to preheat beyond the physical dimensions of the heating surface. Hot-air preheating can be ramped, soaked and, on some systems, synchronized with the reflow process, permitting duplication of the actual profile used in manufacturing the assemblies. BGAs and photoelectrical parts are sensitive to higher temperatures and any attempt to preheat with marginally controllable sources is risky."-- NASA & JPL: Survey of Rework Methods & Equipment for Various Packaging Technologies"


BGA, Preheat, Rework
Post-Cooling™ Mode Cools Down BGA's After Reflow Within 8 Seconds Allowing Quicker Lifting Hot Air Nozzles Preventing Bridging

 Post-Cooling™ Feature Built Into The AirBaths™ 

Another real AirBath™ advantage is with flipping a switch the unit transforms into a post-cooler™ cooling down your PCB, chips and solder joints. Post-Cooling™ is essential to soldering of BGA's because hot air nozzles must not be lifted from above the BGA until all the balled joints have cooled so as not to cause unwanted bridging. It's important to point out the obvious: hot plates, static ovens and IR plates do not provide the critical post-cooling™ feature standard on every Zephyrtronics AirBath™.


Again, our engineers introduced the concept of post-cooling™ to the benchtop clear back in 1994.  Our AirBaths™ can cool BGA's enough within only 8 second permitting the hot air nozzle to be lifted without fear of bridging. Without post-cooling™ a technician must wait for the ball/pad interface to solidify completely before lifting the nozzle to inspect. The Post-Cooling™ feature remedies this problem allowing rapid lifting of your hot air nozzles from over the BGA after soldering.

Zephyrtronics: First in the World for Preheating PCB's: Judged "Best New Product of the Year" and winner of the prestigious "Vision Award" at the Surface Mount International Expo in Silicon Valley in 1996 for its milestone contribution to the global production of printed circuit boards. Zephyrtronics AirBath was recognized and spotlighted by SMT Magazine in 1997 as a "safer and simpler method for removing and repairing sensitive devices."

Zephyrtronics is still the original pioneer. We understand the thermodynamics of preheating better than anyone else.


Our AirBaths are the intelligent solution to stop burning up your printed circuit board assemblies by preventing thermal shock and degradation, lifting pads or traces, substrate delamination, measling, and warping your boards.

t is no wonder for over twenty years now, Zephyrtronics AirBaths have become the pre-heater of choice of nearly every major aerospace and semiconductor manufacturer. It truly is the one single tool that belongs on every bench.  This is the "Science of Zephyrtronics." We have your AirBathneeds covered.


How to Properly Preheat PCB's

The BigGrid™ AirBath, One of Our Larger, More Powerful AirBaths™ is Surprisingly Compact in Size & Delivers 50CFM (1,415 Liters/Minute) & 1,500 Watts of Preheat Power


  ZT-1-BGS-DPU-120 120 VAC (US, Canada & Mexico) Digital Model 
  ZT-1-BGS-DPU-230 230 VAC International Digital Model
  ZT-1-BGS-MIL-120  120 VAC (US, Canada & Mexico) Digital Model
  ZT-1-BGS-MIL-230  230 VAC International Digital Model
 Other: (All Models)
  Power:  1,500 Watts
  Electrical Construction:  3-Wire Input with Earth Safety Ground
  W x H x D:  12" x 4.5" x 7.2" (30 cm x 11 cm x 18 cm)
  Weight:   5.3 lbs (2.41 Kg)
  Air Volume:   50CFM or 1,415 Liters per Minute
  Preheating & Cooling Air Grid:   16 sq. inches (110 Sq. Cm)
  Temperature Modes:   Preheating & Cooling
  Preheat Temp Range: Ambient (Room Temp) to 205°C (400°F)
  Preheat Ramp Rate:   2-4° C per second
  Cooling Temp:  Ambient (Room Temp) 
  Temperature Stability:   ± 3°C (± 5 °F) at Idle.
  Absolute Temperature Stability:   Meets or Exceeds ANSI-J-STD
  Air Supply:  Self-Contained Internal Supply (No Air Hookups)
  Construction:   All Metal ESD Safe Construction
  Warranty:   One Year Limited Warranty Parts & Labor
  Recommended:   Use With ABC Series of Board Cradles / Fixtures


Our BigGrid™ AirBath Used by NASA on Both Mars Rovers

Prevents Thermal Shock of Components
Permits Lower Soldering & DeSoldering Reflow Temperatures
Ideal for the Heaviest PCB's & Lead-Free Applications
Helps Prevent Warping Substrates & Damaging Pads
Superior Forced Convection Preheating
1,500 Watts of Preheat Power
16 Square Inch (110 sq. cm) Preheat Grid
Powerful 50 CFM (1,415 Liters/Minute) Air Volume
Digital & Analog Models
Preheating Mode With Red Lighted Indicator
Preheating Mode: Ambient (Room Temp) to 205°C
Post-Cooling™ Mode with Blue Lighted Indicator
Preheating Ramp Rate at Industry Standard 2°-4°C Per Second
Self-Contained (No Air Hook-Ups Required)
Small, Compact Construction Respects Benchtop Space
ESD Safe
One Year Limited Warranty Parts & Labor
Every Unit is Individually Calibrated at the Zephyrtronics Factory


Model Buy Now
smd preheater

 50 CFM Air Power
(1,415 Liter/Min)
1,500 Watt Power


(120 Volt for the U.S., Canada & Mexico)


(230 Volt For All Int'l Customers)


smt preheater

 50 CFM Air Power
(1,415 Liter/Min)
1,500 Watt Power

(120 Volt for the U.S., Canada & Mexico)


(230 Volt For All Int'l Customers


* We manufacture many other sizes of AirBaths.  Please note that The BigGrid™ is one of our larger AirBath Preheaters and  you may
 want to check out our entire AirBath Catalog Directory where we are certain that we have an AirBath Preheater tailored to your
 company's PCB needs.


Model Buy Now
3-RAIL (10” X 18” MAX)
ABC-1 $345

3-RAIL (20” X 18” MAX)
ABC-2 $395

QUATRO (10” X 18” MAX)
ABC-1-Q $395

QUATRO (20” X 18” MAX)
ABC-2-Q $425



Model Buy Now


ABC-LG $69.00

 (SET OF 4)





©1996 - 2023 by Zephyrtronics®. All rights reserved. The information, text, images, photographs, charts, graphs you receive online from Zephyrtronics® are protected by the copyright laws of the United States. The copyright laws prohibit any copying, redistributing, retransmitting, or repurposing of any copyright-protected material. Zephyrtronics is the registered trademark property of JTI, Inc. "The Science of Zephyrtronics" and "Simplicity Through Innovation" and "Zephlux" and "ZeroLead" and "Zero Balling" and "Zero Residue" and "Post Cooling" and "Post Cooler" and "AirBath" and "SolderGlide" and "SolderMill"  and  "Just So Superior" are the protected trademark property of JTI, Inc. "Zephyrtronics" and "Low Melt" and "Air Fountain" and "Fountainhead" are the registered trademark properties of JTI Inc. *The above names are the registered property of their respective owners.

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Updated for September 26, 2023