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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:45 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:57 am
Posts: 4
Location: Montreal, Canada
Well, this is interesting... So, I finally crack open the ol' R51, going through the removal of all the screws, FRUs, etc... and... Where the heck is the ATI chip!??

Here's picture of my board (with the wire harness held back by my screwdriver):
Image

Here's a closeup of the chip where the ATI chip ought to be....
Image

I read that sometimes it's not an ATI chip, but rather an Intel one... There is a rather large Intel chip below the above; we can see it in the MoBo picture, and here is a closeup of it:
Image

If it is the GPU, would this be subject to the same fix? The wierd thing is that I am experiencing the same symptoms as described, i.e the computer not wanting to boot properly, unless pressure is applied hear the navpad. Also, it boots spontaneously after a few minutes if the AC is removed (yes, I replaced the battery).

The other thing is that this Intel chip is, as you can see, installed upon some sort of platform...

What to do?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:51 pm 
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You're looking at a loose SouthBridge chip, most likely. That's the one under the wireless card. No reflowing there, reballing only.

Good luck.

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Cheers,

George (your grouchy retired FlexView farmer)

Glorified typewriter collecting SSDI: A31p

Abused daily: R60F, R500F, T43pSF, T60, T61

For sale: T61p (4:3)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:15 am 
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RBS10000
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Location: Mt. Cobb, PA USA
Your R51 has integrated Intel graphics, not ATI.
The big Intel chip (under where the wificard sits) is the infamous Southbridge chip, which needs reballing, as ajkula66 correctly states.
There is NO way you can do this in DIY manner with a heatgun and an IR thermometer.
Either have it reballed professionally or get another mobo.

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Check out The Board Room for:
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:19 am 
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Location: Montreal, Canada
*sigh*... I was afraid of that...
Thanks for your replies, guys.

So, visionviper, and all, do you concur? Nothing more to do, not even DIY reballing of the Southbridge chip? (I've never done it, but I do know my way around a solder station, and I have read up a bit on reballing... what do I have to lose? :??: )

(No offence, RealBlackStuff, but I've seen you give this "give it to a pro" advice before, and I know you may be a tad biased :wink: )


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:58 am 
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RBS10000
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Location: Mt. Cobb, PA USA
Did you see me advertise our website or our services? No.
Am I biased? Not at all.
I couldn't do a reballing if my life depended on it, and I don't think anyone else can without a rework station.

Slightly off topic: with a paint stripper heat gun, I have managed to remove the SATA-PATA bridge from a T43p, but I prepared myself meticulously for that, and took plenty of time for it (10 days to be exact, before I took the 'plunge').
Not exactly reflowing or reballing...
That T43p is now happily 'zooming' along with a SATA hard drive.
I replaced the fixed IDE connector with a modified fixed SATA connector, so you can remove/insert the drive without first having to remove the palmrest to manually remove separate data and power cables, as most people seem to have done.

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Check out The Board Room for:
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:53 am 
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MontrealPaul wrote:
So, visionviper, and all, do you concur? Nothing more to do, not even DIY reballing of the Southbridge chip? (I've never done it, but I do know my way around a solder station, and I have read up a bit on reballing... what do I have to lose? :??: )


The southbridge is just like any other BGA chip, so the reflow trick should still work. Perhaps ajkula66 knows more than I do about the specifics of the R51 southbridge issue and as to why reflow won't work. Placement perhaps? As far as I know the southbridge problems are caused by the same thing as the GPU problems on the T40s.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:28 pm 
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MontrealPaul wrote:
No offence, RealBlackStuff, but I've seen you give this "give it to a pro" advice before, and I know you may be a tad biased

First to state my "professional" relationship with RBS - I'm the UK part of The Board Room, of which he's the USA part, and I do the actual board repairs.

I would like to categorically state that neither of us are saying people shouldn't try repairing their laptops with a hotair gun. There's no doubt that it does work as testified throughout this thread.

BUT it's a very risky process and should be left to people like Visionviper who understand the issues with it. It's not for beginners, and as has also been stated within the thread first timers often don't succeed, and this can result in more damage to the board than existed beforehand.

RBS (and myself) are coming from the angle that we are a viable and cost effective alternative to "The Heat Gun", or some (dubious) USA-based Reflow companies.
We actually don't mind if you want to try the heatgun, but please don't come to us afterwards because your damaged board is likely to be rejected as a swap out by us.
The reason for this is that in my experience as the Reballing side of the company, such boards will have permanently damaged chips which increases the cost of the repair and will result on us making a loss on that board and affects the long term viability of the Board Room.
visionviper wrote:
The southbridge is just like any other BGA chip, so the reflow trick should still work. Perhaps ajkula66 knows more than I do about the specifics of the R51 southbridge issue and as to why reflow won't work. Placement perhaps? As far as I know the southbridge problems are caused by the same thing as the GPU problems on the T40s.

Southbridge (SB) chips are quite delicate heat-wise and it's quite easy to apply just too much and "blow out" the substrate.
What I mean by this is that the micro solder joints under the raised part of the chip (above the planar which has the solder balls underneath) melt too much and the joints "leak" solder out onto the top of the planar. This can be seen as minute drops of solder and the only place for that chip is the trash.

Because every step of the reballing process from removal of the chip, thru Infrared Reballing, thru final reflow (resoldering) of the chip back onto the mobo again, is closely temperature monitored, we know just how far we can push it temperature-wise. This compares with the sorts of temperature measuring equipment recommended with the heatgun process, which are nowhere near accurate enough, and so is why we've advising people not to heatgun SB chips.

Also I'm interested in what people, who heatgun, do about the coloured dots around the chip (whether GPU or SB).
Honestly, it's a complete waste of time doing any sort of reflowing whilst these are still in place,because the chip must be allowed to "move" freely when the solder balls melt so they can resettle and (hopefully) resolder to all the pads. Keeping the chip "immobile" with the dots prevents this from happening and so the joints will not properly reform - in fact there's a good chance some will separate.

I don't mind sharing how the dots should be removed - just heat the chip up to around 120C to soften them and pick them off, but unfortunately a few bits will always remain under the chip and keep it anchored to the board no matter how thorough you are. This leaves you with only one option - to remove the chip off the board, clean it up (including removing any dot residuals), reball it, and solder it back on again.
Also some chips with orange dots are often IBM refurbished and can have a second set of dots around the centre of the chip, which can only be removed after the chip has been lifted off the motherboard.
This then raises another problem in that such chips have to be gently prised off when the solder balls have melted. This is generally OK for ATI GPU's but with Intel SB chips this lifting usually breaks the internal micro solder joints between the internal layers within the chip so again we throw them away after removal and fit a new one.

Since we are looking at all the pitfalls of heatgunning, another important issue is lead-free (LF) solder balls used on chips made after June 2005 (I think). LF solder is tricky to melt because raising its temperature 3 - 5 deg C above melting point will result in the compounds making up the solder separating out, which in turn results in oxidisation within the ball. Over time this spreads to cover the whole ball and creates an non-conducting open circuit.
To avoid this, close monitoring of the melting point of the solder ball is essential, and again this can never be achieved with a heatgun - or with some cheaper Infrared Reflowing stations for that matter.

So I hope you can see that not only are "we" (RBS and I) NOT biased but we actually have you as forum members interests at heart.
We want you to succeed with the heatgun method. In the hands of VisionViper and others with the skill to do it, it undoubtedly works and I greatly admire anyone who can do it. But I personally wouldn't even dream of trying even with the years of experience in this field because I just don't have that skill, though after trying it on a good number of boards I would probably acquire it.

Apologies for the long post (again) but it's an important issue which needs to be aired in detail.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:46 pm 
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visionviper wrote:

Quote:
Perhaps ajkula66 knows more than I do about the specifics of the R51 southbridge issue and as to why reflow won't work. Placement perhaps?


I wouldn't claim that I know more than you do...since you're the one whose success had inspired many... :thumbs-UP:

That being said, you've pretty much answered your own question: placement of the chip plays a huge part in the overall re-flowing "equation".

Nick's post above mine refers to the more delicate caveats of the SB re-balling process, and explains them better than I ever could.

In the interest of full disclosure: although I've had the pleasure of doing business with both poshgeordie (Nick) and RBS, I'm in no way affiliated with their operations.

My experience has been that most "in-house" re-flowing attempts have led to useless - beyond repair - planars. I'm not saying that the process is flawed, or that satisfactory results can't be accomplished. What I am saying is that this process is beyond the skill level of most people who attempt it.

I choose to have my planars repaired professionally for reasons of my own. My time is way too expensive, as is the likeliness of failure - at least in my book.

My $0.02 only...

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Cheers,

George (your grouchy retired FlexView farmer)

Glorified typewriter collecting SSDI: A31p

Abused daily: R60F, R500F, T43pSF, T60, T61

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:31 am 
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Is there a quick way to diagnose whether a board has damage in the GPU or in the Southbridge?? It seems the symptom is the same (power but no video)..

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:40 pm 
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agarza wrote:
Is there a quick way to diagnose whether a board has damage in the GPU or in the Southbridge?? It seems the symptom is the same (power but no video)..

If you have to press the I/O button down for a few seconds before the laptop turns off, then it's almost certainly (9 times + out of 10) a GPU fault.

If it turns off straight away then it's either chip, however I'd check the Southbridge (SB) before the GPU.

If you have a metal topped ATI GPU (T40p, T41p, T42p, T43 T43p) it's more likely to be an SB.

If you have an Intel GPU on a T43, it's always SB since in all the years I've been repairing these I'm yet to see an Intel GPU failure.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:05 am 
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If im located in Estonia, which could be the cheapest way to repair the T41 with gpu issue? Shipping to UK is way too expensive, maybe buying a second hand mobo has more point? I had a offer for T42 mobo(r9600) +my motherboard in exchange +50€. Maybe is that the best deal...


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 2:56 am 
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Location: Turku, Finland
thanks alot! I tried the method & guess what? it really did worked :o :D
What I did is i programmed the oven to a max temp of 220C with a rise in temp of 10C per minute. And let it at the temp for about few seconds. Then either start cooling it down with reprogramming your oven OR if you dont have some professional oven then you can carefully open the door of the oven slightly!!! NOTE: I mentioned slightly because rapid exposure to cool temp can leave cracks in the soldering and make sure you don't move the system board until it is properly back to normal temp.

Till now I have fixed around 10 system boards of DV6000's & few graphics cards that I had with me as broken one's :mrgreen:

Thank you for posting this because it provided me the exact and technical information :)

Cheerx

Engr. Jawad


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 1:37 am 
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Hi all, new member here but figured I'd join this forum because of the large group of helpful, experienced members/professionals.

I've done a few oven reflows on cheap PCBs with decent success with long lasting results, however, these were items that don't normally see much movement or physical stressing so solder cracking isn't much of an issue. Recently I picked up a few laptops with dedicated GPUs that could use some preventative maintenance.

So the question is, what brand of epoxy should I use to secure a chip to the PCB? I know poshgeordie mentioned trying out some epoxy on a chip but the flexing of the board caused the solder joints to crack anyway. I figured in my case if the GPU is specifically on a separate board then it's not going to flex as much with the movement of the laptop, maybe. I thought about using some Arctic Silver Epoxy but I'm hesitant to use such high electrically conductive material. I'd go to my local hardware store to check out some Loctite but it blew up yesterday...

If I get any recommendations on a product I will definitely upload some eye candy :D


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 8:46 am 
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Putting epoxy on would only make sense AFTER they have been reballed properly.
DIY home baking (which is only a reflow) does not fall in that category.
With a loose GPU, that could maybe kept "alive" for a while with shims or whatever, if you would put epoxy in:
1) the shims would no longer or poorly work because there is not enough flexibility left.
2) Most epoxies are a pig to remove. Any hopes of fixing it again afterward are negligible.

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Lovely day for a Guinness! (The Real Black Stuff)

Check out The Board Room for:
- LED-mods for the 15" T60/R60/R61
- SATA-mods for any T43/R52 with ATI GPU
- other Services


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 11:52 pm 
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Well then,

LET'S assume that I professionally reballed a chip. What brand of epoxy should I use? I figured I'd make it a little simpler to answer this time. If there are applications where epoxy is needed, I would like to know the kind/brand I would need to use.


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 11:57 pm 
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You can not re-ball a chip without a proper equipment, worth tens of thousands...

And *if* you have a properly re-balled chip, epoxy is really not needed.

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Cheers,

George (your grouchy retired FlexView farmer)

Glorified typewriter collecting SSDI: A31p

Abused daily: R60F, R500F, T43pSF, T60, T61

For sale: T61p (4:3)


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 12:46 pm 
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C_nist3r wrote:
Well then,

LET'S assume that I professionally reballed a chip. What brand of epoxy should I use? I figured I'd make it a little simpler to answer this time. If there are applications where epoxy is needed, I would like to know the kind/brand I would need to use.


Personally I just think epoxy is a bad idea. It doesn't really help and just causes more problems down the road.

Now that I have said that an epoxy I would recommend is 3M Scotch-Weld. They have certain formulas available specifically for electronics so you can just search for it (like DP4XLEG).

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:16 am 
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Hey visionviper,

thanks for the howto! I did the reflow on both the GPU and the Southbridge today, put everything back together and my old T40 works again.

I used a FLUKE 289 with temp sensor right next to the GPU. Got it up to 250 C and kept it there for about 30 sec.

BTW: the screen came on when I pushed on the Southbridge and I had to push the power button for about 5 sec to turn it off.

Don

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:28 am 
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Location: Medellin, Colombia
:bow: :banana: :bow: Thanks for all your help. Maybe I was lucky or I did it based on science I don't know haha :mrgreen: I did a re-flow on a T41. ATI mobility radeon 7500 m7-csp32. first problem was garbled display, then it became worse until one day the display did not turn on at all. only worked when applying pressure between the space bar and mouse scroll button. I did it the shameful way with a kitchen thermometer :mrgreen: (try it at your own risk) i had nothing to lose. I used a cheap harbor freight 1500 watt dual temp. Drillmaster 96289 heat gun. that thing gets really hot so I used low heat setting. To test the melting time of this heat gun I pointed the heat gun on a little piece of flo temp silver bearing solder which has a 430F melting point. I wanted to see how long it took to melt. I did that test on low heat setting about 1 inch from the solder it took 10 seconds to melt. so I did some time calculations which I don't remember now :roll: based on your instructions.

Stripped the motherboard of everything I could, I peeled off 3 plastic tapes that were closer to the chip, extra layer of aluminum foil around plastic connectors. I did preheat and re-flow on low heat setting. the preheat was done around 10 inches away for about 2 minutes. immediately put 2 small coins around the exposed chip so the aluminum foil does not move with the hot air flow. pointed the heat gun at the Ati chip about 1 inch high for less than 20 seconds then started the cooling down step heating 5 inches away then 10 inches away for 1 minute, turned off heat gun and left it there until it was cold. Put everything back together press power button and wow the beast came back from death. I was Steve Wozniak for a second. 8)
It was my cousin's T41 thinkpad he didn't have money so I fixed it for him anyway. I don't use thinkpads anymore. I used X20, T20, T30, T42, I still have the R52 as a backup laptop. I'm waiting for an IBM quantum laptop I hope to be alive to see that. :thumbs-UP: THANK YOU AND FORUM MEMBERS FOR ALL THE HELP.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:04 am 
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Ajorg wrote:
:thumbs-UP: THANK YOU AND FORUM MEMBERS FOR ALL THE HELP.


you are welcome.. :)
it's what we do around here..

now click on some of the advertisers and make them happy.. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:54 pm 
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Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
I have Sinned, I did...
I Cooked it!!!

I was suppose to get a heat gun tomorrow but the laptop was really buggering me, freezing, slow start and all :(
Then I decide to go now for the oven... First I heat it with a hair dryer, relly hot, then It went in the oven wrapped like a turkey for about 5 minutes at 250 degres, I turn off the heat and open the door, then as I wasn't sure, I close the door and left it another 3 minute while the heat was rising up again at around 220. The door was opened for a wee while then it took a wee while to re-heat the oven...
Now its all back in one piece and all OK so far. I have been testing it for about few hours...
The USB2 that was stuck to USB1 started to be OK as well,untill I strted typing this, when I got a message teling me this USB could work faster :(
Strangely, if I plug it in and out , its all good? I guess the solder is a wee weak there?

THank you to all about the info :) :bow:
I was asking about my USB a wee while ago and some replied" do you know your laptop is on its last leg" or something similar :roll: but its all about the solder.
Tomoroow will tell... :D or :cry:
To be continures ;)
All the best :)
Olivier


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:03 pm 
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Sorry I didn't reply earlier to your messages but pleased that the oven trick worked.

What will be interesting is how long it continues to work for - hopefully a while / for ever!

I'll reply to you in the next couple of days.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:11 pm 
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Hi Nick,
This is OK, thank you for the help you offer :)
Also I'll be now carefull on how I carry the beast, close lid and all, like you explained.
I saw your video on reballing. I was really impressed. Top class.
The only buggers is that I am really broke and the machine is obsolete, then all together there is no point spending on it ( which again I couldn't anyway) This is why I cooked it.
I still have troubles playing videos on yahoo, dunno why, but internet explorer once I am there take 100% CPU and even if I play the video on low quality the sound and picture do not always match :(

Anyway, c'est la vie I guess...
Cheers,
Olivier


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:07 am 
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Hi guys,

Thanks for this very interesting thread.
After reading most of the messages, I still do have a few questions.

1) Firstly, temperature measurement doesn't seem easy:
Quote:
I must admit that I was very afraid not to overheat the GPU and measuring the temp was quite hard because it was influenced by the hot air from the gun.

Do you think useful to ask the help of some friend when reflowing ?
Or do you have the heat gun in one hand and the IR thermometer in the other one ?
I can figure out it's not easy to simultaneously perform the measurements correctly and check that the heating speed is correct...

2) Are the low-cost IR thermometers good enough ?
There are some at ~40$ claiming an accuracy about 2° C, but I read somewhere that the specifications of such instruments can be wrong. Also, the optical factor appears important, but maybe less in our case as the distance is short.
I could see some IR thermometer by Bosch costing about 180$.
Does this mean that 40$ ones are "crapware" ?

3) I read that IR thermometers are done to measure hot points in a colder "ambient" temperature. Else, their measurements are biased by nearby heat sources.
So, they seem well suited for reflow. But should the nozzle of the heat gun be put far away from the motherboard when measuring, so that is doesn't influence the measurements ?

4) What about using thermocouples or other probe thermometers?
I can see two benefits of such ones:
a) they don't require holding an IR thermometer (so they let one hand free)
b) they probably allow continuous measurements
So, what are the pro and cons of ir- vs probe- thermometers for electronic repair ?

5) When reflowing, what about slightly pressing down the GPU with a metal plate.
Would this help ensure better contact of the solder ?

Thanks sharing your good and bad experiences.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:42 am 
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It's most likely cheaper to buy another board (or even a beat-up one with broken LCD), rather than invest in a heat gun and IR-thermometer and experimenting.
I've never done a reflow or a 'bake' in the oven, and never will.
I just stick to removing SATA chips from T43/T43p/R52 boards.
I'm using this exact IR-thermometer: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 0734139414
If you buy one, the D/S ratio is most important. The above thermometer has the ideal 12:1 ratio.
I know you Swiss always want the best, but $180.- for a thermometer? Over my dead body!

BTW: if the reflow fails, you need to get another board anyway.

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Check out The Board Room for:
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:26 am 
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for what its worth:
I have done "one" selfmade reflow in the kitchen oven.
It is a lot of work, dis- and re-assembling, whereby the outlook is uncertain.
By chance I got to borrow a high spec laser gun from a nearby company, but while the board is in the oven everything is has to happen quickly and opening the lid to test the temperature reduces it in the oven. (Heisenberg calling).
I would stick with RBS' advice and get a used board or contact a professional reflow company.
HTH

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:01 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:26 pm
Posts: 67
Location: Carouge, Genève, Suisse
@RealBlackStuff and lophiomis:

Thanks mentioning the importance of the D/S ratio and that cheap thermometers can suffice.
(definition of the D/S ratio: http://www.zytemp.com/infrared/faq_ds.asp)
Do you think a 8:1 D/S factor can suffice ?

I believe the price to invest in a thermometer depends what you want to do with.
When measuring cold temperatures, the thermometer insulation is important, as your heat of your hand can biase the measurement. But for electronic repair, this aspect is probably neglectible, as your hand is not the hot point.

I already have a heat gun and several motherboards to repair.
I'll first try on some "AntikPads". The cost of a reballing as well as the shipping costs would be too expensive compared to the intrinsic value of those old laptops.
They're good to experiment.

My idea using a kitchen oven was just to pre-heat the motherboard uniformly (maybe ~150°) before adding the last touch with the heat gun.
One benefit I can see is that it's probably easier to increase the temperature progressively with a kitchen oven and it can help avoiding local overheating.

But I'm not sure wether it's risky for the motherboard, especially when taking it out from the oven for the reflow.

Cheers.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:19 am 
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Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 3:50 am
Posts: 485
Location: Austria, EU
it is definitly risky, you could be lucky, as happend to be with my board.
But you never know, if it was a good job, and when it will fail again.
The next boards I will have to reball, I will send to PoshGordi in UK. The peace of mind will be worth the money for me.

For the kitchen oven: IIRC and as far as a learned from a professional, who works in a "mobo"-producing company.
When reballing in the kitchen oven, it is the temperature profile, which is supposed to be important.
Do not touch the Mobo, while it is hot, because you taking the risk that the chip is moving/swimming away on the molten solder!

Test your kitchen oven, how it behaves over time when heating and cooling. To get the desired temperature profile with
my oven, it turned out to preheating it, put the mobo inside, turn on full power until desired max temp (oven thermometer) was reached,
then open the lid and let it cool down quickly. I have described it in this or the German forum in more detail.
Do not touch it for 30 mins. Beware the unpleasant smells, coming out of the mobo. I was lucky to have a ktichen vent with an exhaust to the outside.

HTH

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:37 am 
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RBS10000
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Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2006 5:17 am
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Location: Mt. Cobb, PA USA
Sad news: poshgeordie/Nick has closed down his reflow/reball business.

poshgeordie wrote:
Hi to everyone as I've not been here for months - and to Ken too. I just happened to check out the forum answering some messages, and came across this.

This seems very typical of an unsoldered GPU, but I'm no longer reballing so unfortunately can't help you.

Also there's so many cowboys around and I'm not aware of any other company that's actually capable of of doing the work.

BTW all the reflowing and reballing equipment is up for sale for a silly price so there'a a bargain to be had..... might try it on Marketplace soon but if anyone's interested PM me.

Hope you're all well and keep in touch.

Best wishes Nick

Posted on Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:44 pm
viewtopic.php?p=702899#p702899

I have looked around for ever and a day, but have not found anybody to do the reballing here in the US.
But someone here should contact Nick and buy his gear off him!
There's definitely a market for it here, if your prices are reasonable, and your work done is as good as Nick's!
(medessec comes to mind...)

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:12 pm 
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ThinkPadder
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Location: Chico, California
Oh wow... heh, I may have some experience in reflowing, but reballing... :eek:

It is something I could try though... I may have to consider it. Making it a thing though-where I could help out with reballs, would be dependent on my situation with college (oh joy... :) )

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