It’s been a few days since I got the new boards but I finally got a chance to populate my boards. The solder paste I’m using is supposed to work for 6 months without refrigeration. It’s now been just over a year (ordered Feb. 11th of last year as it turns out), so I’m crossing my fingers and hoping it works:
As it turns out, it still works fine! And just because I didn’t document in my previous experiments with the paste, I’ll document it here. The spec for this paste says it melts at 183° C. So, I started the heat gun at 150° C for a couple of minutes to warm the board. Then every 30 seconds, I increased the temp by 10°. Once I hit 190, the solder melted quickly. I did have to go over some areas repeatedly to make sure everything got melted at once, but it all worked fine and the board looks like it worked well!
Unfortunately, now I have to deal with the switches, speaker, mic, and battery before I can test. Looks like it will be a few more days… So far so good though!