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GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

T4x series specific matters only
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promethean_spark
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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#181 Post by promethean_spark » Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:07 am

I joined just to give you guys props for letting me know how to fix this issue. I happen to have a job in the IC industry and use a heat gun at work regularly to remove surface mount ICs, so this was something I could do at my bench over lunch easily.

I was a bit conservative with the heat, I got it until I read 230 then pulled the heat back and it immediately dropped back to 220, so I think I only got the top surface of the graphics module to 230, but I figured too much was probably worse than too little - and it worked fine. There are two layers of BGA in that module too, one under the ram (and possibly under the other chip) and one under the entire module. That's a lot of junk to heat up, and most likely the bad connections are in the middle of the bugger.

My co-workers were pretty skeptical, so I'm looking forward to their inquiries tomorrow. :thumbs-UP:

Also after that big dismantlement job I'm confident in my ability to work on laptops - as long as I have a service manual! I organized the screws into little cups for each page or two where screws were removed, and put scraps of paper in the cups with the page numbers. Worked great, no extra parts.

Thanks again! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

Matt123
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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix

#182 Post by Matt123 » Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:29 am

Hi, this is just a quick thankyour for the tip - regarding overheating the GPU. I took a more risky approch and its still working. (as of 3 days now)

Thanks,
Matt

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#183 Post by Raceboy » Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:35 am

Having dealt with BGA reflow/unsoldering/resoldering for some years, I didn't have a necessity of doing this on T4x since last week on my friends T42 with Radeon 7500.

I've always used higher temperatures than 230-250 degrees because chip itself lowers the heat significantly. Always pre-heat the board from the bottom for few minutes with at least 250 degrees. On lead-free it won't do anything to resistors and caps. Then heat the GPU from the top for few minutes (like 3-4). Then just let it sit. It worked like a charm. I used heat gun with adjustable temperature and the reading was from its own LCD.

I've used this method for various memory chips on VGA cards, GPU's etc. And if you have no experience in this, it's recommended that you train yourself a bit with some old motherboard or the like to get "the feel".

There is a good method how to get the BGA chip off the board so that balls will stay on the chip. It includes special liquid as a flux, syringe and a clamp that takes the chip itself.
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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#184 Post by Mercyme » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:10 am

Hello,

I have a T42p with the ATI fire gl t2 gpu. It has just failed - the graphic display problem on flexing the laptop.

I have read and re-read the 7 pages with interest, and followed the various links, generously given.

I would like to have ago at the reflow method set out by the Visionviper, but there is one aspect I cannot get a handle on:

What flux are people using ( where they have been successful), and do they clean it off later?

One contributor noted the T42 series, to their knowledge, uses lead free solder.

Can any body nominate the type of flux I should use? Maybe the brand - though I'm in Australia and may have to source an equivalent?

Any answers will be greatly appreciated.

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#185 Post by visionviper » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:19 pm

Mercyme wrote:What flux are people using ( where they have been successful), and do they clean it off later?

One contributor noted the T42 series, to their knowledge, uses lead free solder.

Can any body nominate the type of flux I should use? Maybe the brand - though I'm in Australia and may have to source an equivalent?

Any answers will be greatly appreciated.
No flux was used in the reflow process when I fixed my laptop. When repairs are done that involve removing the chip and replacing the solder, flux is most likely used.
7mm SSD list
Guide to fixing T4x GPU problems via reflow

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#186 Post by Mercyme » Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:36 am

Thanks for the clarification visionviper!

The Youtube contributor Cyberdank shows him reflowing a T41p GPU, and whilst he states (written on video) he includes a reflux stage, the video appears unbroken and no application of flux is shown.

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#187 Post by ABuNeNe » Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:55 am

I'm going to do a reflow on my T43. Wish me luck!
Thinkpad T43 > T400 > X230

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#188 Post by ABuNeNe » Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:51 pm

Update. First try fail! My T43's southbridge still loose, guess I'm not applying sufficient heat to it. But now I get the idea of removing and putting back the motherboard. Will try again and apply more heat and probably use the method as showed here
Thinkpad T43 > T400 > X230

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#189 Post by den_el_vegano » Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:18 pm

Hi,

I found your guide a couple of days ago, because i had just bought a T40 with that problem on it. At first, i wanted to buy all the stuff, but then i realized that it would be very much money just for one time using. So i searched a place where i could rent the stuff and i found this :
http://www.miet24.de/mieten/baumaschine ... -20-554039
and this :
http://www.miet24.de/mieten/elektronik/ ... 566-554002

So that i will only have to pay 11€ !

I thought that this could be interesting for people living in or near germany - but quite sure that this exists in every country (apart maybe from luxembourg where i am from:-)

I have also one question : can i just put everything back like this or do i have to take care of something ? it would be the first time that i dis- and reassemble a laptop.

ThanX again for this great guide - i also love it because it's ecological :Nice:

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#190 Post by RealBlackStuff » Thu Sep 02, 2010 1:35 pm

Very few people - who are not professionally involved with reballing/reflowing - have managed to fix their boards themselves.
Read through the T4x forum about their woes.
It's certainly cheap to most likely ruin your board for €11.-
Also note that if those DIY-repairs go wrong, they cannot be fixed afterward by an expert!
A new motherboard will cost you way more than a professional service!
On that happy note: see my signature.
Lovely day for a Guinness! (The Real Black Stuff)

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#191 Post by visionviper » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:46 am

den_el_vegano wrote:I have also one question : can i just put everything back like this or do i have to take care of something ? it would be the first time that i dis- and reassemble a laptop.
I'm not exactly sure what it is your asking. :(

RealBlackStuff wrote:Very few people - who are not professionally involved with reballing/reflowing - have managed to fix their boards themselves.
Read through the T4x forum about their woes.
It's certainly cheap to most likely ruin your board for €11.-
Also note that if those DIY-repairs go wrong, they cannot be fixed afterward by an expert!
A new motherboard will cost you way more than a professional service!
On that happy note: see my signature.
Working used motherboards can be had for around the same price as getting a motherboard repaired professionally ($50/$60).
7mm SSD list
Guide to fixing T4x GPU problems via reflow

Current: T420s
Former: X301, X61t, T40

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#192 Post by den_el_vegano » Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:22 am

I must say that i find it very curious to have a person that is professionally repairing the flexing problem coming up here and say "be careful with what you do, because you can harm to your material - best you give me (or one of the pros) much more money and we do it good for you". This is not sharing skills - that's just scaring people and keeping one's skills. I would prefer RealBlackStuff telling us how he does it in order to fix the problem (with a little bit of more chances of success). But he won't because he's making money out of it, and so i don't see what he is doing on this thread, if he's not sharing any experience with us! I hate this "professionalism" that wants us to believe that only a professional can do a good job! This is a forum and should not just be a place for advertising!

@visionviper : my question is "once i did the reflowing, do i have to do something special with the pieces or can i just put them back at their place?" - Thanx for sharing your experience with me :thumbs-UP:

I am going on holiday now, so i won't try this out before at least a month, but i'll let you know :-)

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#193 Post by poshgeordie » Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:33 am

Welcome to the forums
den_el_vegano wrote:I must say that i find it very curious to have a person that is professionally repairing the flexing problem coming up here and say "be careful with what you do, because you can harm to your material - best you give me (or one of the pros) much more money and we do it good for you". This is not sharing skills - that's just scaring people and keeping one's skills.
I run a reflowing company in UK with many customers in Europe. More details about myself can be found via the blue banner advert at the top of the page.
You make some good points about "professionals" appearing to put off "amateurs" from having a go themselves.
I would never dissuade anyone from having a go - see my posts throughout this thread - but what you won't have seen are the numbers of boards sent to us by people who have already tried it and failed - boards that have been burnt black and are completely useless.

I've said this before but will repeat it again, the sort of heat gun you're wanting to use produces massive amounts of heat which can ruin boards in an instant, even with the sort of remote temperature sensor you're also wanting to use.
I do also need to say that those sensors are in fact quite inaccurate - we have them on our Reflowing Stations but use thermocouple probes which are much more accurate.

So we don't want to put you off but for you to be aware of the real dangers of permanent damage to your board - it this scaring people I wonder?
den_el_vegano wrote:I would prefer RealBlackStuff telling us how he does it in order to fix the problem (with a little bit of more chances of success). But he won't because he's making money out of it, and so i don't see what he is doing on this thread, if he's not sharing any experience with us! I hate this "professionalism" that wants us to believe that only a professional can do a good job! This is a forum and should not just be a place for advertising!
I'll answer this on behalf of RealBlackStuff (RBS) since we are working together on a new venture to supply refurbished boards to US forum members (see here), and I'm doing the repairing side of it.

The process we use is called is called Infrared Reflowing using very expensive equipment from Ersa. It's quite a complex process but using it we can both resolder the chips and also reball them if necessary - that is we remove the chip completely, replace the old solder balls with a new set (very difficult to do) and then resolder the chip back onto the board again.
We do a lot of reballing on T4x chips, especially the Southbridges because we're finding that the unleaded solder used on them is no longer any good (again it's a big subject) and has to be replaced.

Maybe this does sound like "professionalism" but neither RBS or myself are out to make money by scaring people! All we want to do is to help people and this has extended to offering a couple of services to members who I think find them useful.

Do please keep in touch and let us know how you get on, and if you do have any questions about using the hot air gun please ask.

And have a good holiday too!

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#194 Post by visionviper » Sat Sep 04, 2010 10:44 pm

den_el_vegano wrote:@visionviper : my question is "once i did the reflowing, do i have to do something special with the pieces or can i just put them back at their place?" - Thanx for sharing your experience with me :thumbs-UP:

I am going on holiday now, so i won't try this out before at least a month, but i'll let you know :-)
No, nothing special needs to be done. You can just reassemble the laptop like normal.

poshgeordie wrote: So we don't want to put you off but for you to be aware of the real dangers of permanent damage to your board - it this scaring people I wonder?!
I just want to agree with you here that you can cause permanent damage to your motherboard and that is why I make that very clear at the beginning of the guide. Truth be told, this method is best for those who already have the equipment needed to attempt the fix themselves. Otherwise, it may be a better option to simply replace the board or (if you are so inclined) have it repaired professionally.
7mm SSD list
Guide to fixing T4x GPU problems via reflow

Current: T420s
Former: X301, X61t, T40

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#195 Post by manteiv » Sun Sep 05, 2010 7:41 am

Hi all,

I want to thank you all because I successfully reflowed a T42 and a T41 that I recently acquired in the local classified adds as non-working units for about $30 each. They are both working rock solid for the last 2 days, no more video problems and freezing no matter if I flex the laptop or move it.

I had a minor incident though, I left the CMOS backup battery connected. Despite it was hidden and inside the alunimum wrapping, it exploded during the reflow, causing a loud noise and smoke. There was no damage done to the board, I was lucky.

Yes, you need an Infrared Thermometer! I was able to pick one for $10 at my TheSource store (former RadioShack in Canada). As a precaution during the reflow, I also deposited small pieces of tin-lead solder on the surface of the chip being heated with the heat gun and when I see that it starts to melt, I how the surface temp has reached about 180C, that gives an indication to confirm the IR thermometer.

Do it slowly and wrap things well.

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#196 Post by ragger » Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:46 pm

I've just joined this very interesting thread.

I have an assortment of T40 -T42 with classic GPU symptoms. Fortunately, my employer has a professional BGA rework station and a trained tech to operate. I would like to know if all Thinkpad T40-T43 with ATI GPU's use lead-free solder and what temperatures (top and bottom) the MB can be safely tolerate. Can we use the same heating profile for all?

Thanks again for this informative post.
A31/P, R51, all FlexView; X20(2), 390E, 240X(2), 600E/X, 570E(2) ,765D, 760ED, more docks than Norfolk & more on the way

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#197 Post by beeblebrox » Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:40 am

I too agree with the statements that probably the vast majority of reflow ventures failed, just seeing some youtube videos, that were referenced in the forum, make me shiver. (Saying this as an engineer).
On the other hand, most notebooks that have this problem without a working GPU or southbridge are a worthless piece of junk (not Thinkpads :-) but I am talking about FSC Amilo, HP Pavilion etc.). So folks have nothing to lose if they try. The only unfair idea is to send the already heat damaged mainboard to a professional for repair. That is a huge waste of time and effort for the professional.

I have successfully reflowed maybe 30-40 Thinkpads and as far as I know they all used leaded solder up to T43. Later on I don't know, because I have not had any tests yet, but startin T60 they should have lead-free solder which needs at least 217°C.
The major problem are glue underfill (no chance to reflow, needs to be replaced with fresh chip) or the infamous side armours (red/brown epoxy dots), which can be tricky.

Since I have successfully reflowed a few nVidias on HP, can someone give me advice on the nVidia problem on T61 machines? is that fixable as well?
Is it possible to reflow the internal solder joints, at what temperature profile (°C)?

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#198 Post by tecneeq » Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:00 pm

den_el_vegano wrote:Hi,

I found your guide a couple of days ago, because i had just bought a T40 with that problem on it. At first, i wanted to buy all the stuff, but then i realized that it would be very much money just for one time using. So i searched a place where i could rent the stuff and i found this :
http://www.miet24.de/
Price went up to 18 euros, all of a sudden. High demand? ;)

I have a heat gun and a flexed T40, i think i'll skip the measurements and just heat it up till it's about ... very hot! The hardware is sitting there for several month, i allready have a new rig, so i have nothing to lose.

Risky? Maybe, but the professional service isn't exactly cheap. Let's see, 58 euros for the repair, 12 euros shipping to the repair and 27 euros shipping back. Thats 97 euros. Or $127. A lot of money for an old T40.

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#199 Post by baz06 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:35 am

I completed the reflow with heat gun and thermometer, but now the t41 won't power up...with the power cord in It does light up the green battery LED for a couple of seconds, and then goes orange. But does not turn on, beep, react at all when power button is pressed.

Any suggestions?

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#200 Post by poshgeordie » Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:11 am

baz06 wrote:I completed the reflow with heat gun and thermometer, but now the t41 won't power up...with the power cord in It does light up the green battery LED for a couple of seconds, and then goes orange. But does not turn on, beep, react at all when power button is pressed.

Any suggestions?
G'day Baz06 and welcome to the forums

And sorry to hear the process didnt' work for you. Unfortunately it's probably a case of your chip now needing reballing.

I don't even know of anyone in your neck of the woods either.

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#201 Post by nhergert » Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:55 pm

I attempted the reflow, and now my T40 (well, actually it was given to me for free) won't boot up at all (lights turn on, but no action from screen or CD/HD)! I tried to get it right to 230C, but it fluctuated a lot around that point, so it could have gotten a little hotter? Also, I didn't heat up the bottom, like some other tutorials suggested doing. It seemed to get "warm" and smell a little different around 150C. Not sure what went wrong, but I might be interested in trying a refurbished board. Would I still qualify for one? (it seems mine would need reballing)

Thanks!

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#202 Post by poshgeordie » Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:08 pm

nhergert wrote:Not sure what went wrong, but I might be interested in trying a refurbished board. Would I still qualify for one? (it seems mine would need reballing)
Hi and welcome to the forums and sorry to hear that the reflow attempt went wrong.

To be honest if you're thinking about now sending the board to the Board Room for an exchange one, we wouldn't be able to accept it because there may well be other damage to the board.

Sorry about that, but as I've said many times, unless you really know what you're doing with a hot air gun, it's unlikely to work, and when it doesn't work it can end up being an expensive mistake.

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#203 Post by nhergert » Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:00 am

Okey doke. It was fun trying though! Maybe it'll work next time :)

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#204 Post by nhergert » Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:48 am

Would anyone be interested in this one then? It is in great condition and comes with a power charger and docking station. I have no more use for it, as I got it for free myself. I can send some pictures of specific parts of the board if you'd like.

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#205 Post by agarza » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:56 pm

I purchased a cheap T42 with leds on but no video and fan constantly on. I thought it was the GPU but now after some failed attempt of reflowing it still the machine does not display video but still powers onn.
I am concerned if I did the reflow correctly or is most likely a Northbridge or Southbridge problem.

Could anyone troubleshoot this issue?
Current
T440p:
Core i7-4710MQ|16GB RAM|Intel 200GB SSD| 14.1" AUO IPS FHD|Win 7 Pro|T450 Trackpad|Backlit keyboard|2nd Caddy

T460p:
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Past: T420 HD+, X61s XGA, T61 14" SXGA+, T42p 14.1 SXGA+, T30, A22e

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#206 Post by ajkula66 » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:59 pm

agarza wrote:
Could anyone troubleshoot this issue?
Not after it got reflown with no positive results...think about it as a ThinkPad version of "chicken and egg" story... :roll:
...Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules...(King Crimson)

Cheers,

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PMs requesting personal tech support will be ignored.

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#207 Post by agarza » Sat Mar 12, 2011 5:03 pm

Bummer. Machine still powers on but no video.
Current
T440p:
Core i7-4710MQ|16GB RAM|Intel 200GB SSD| 14.1" AUO IPS FHD|Win 7 Pro|T450 Trackpad|Backlit keyboard|2nd Caddy

T460p:
Core i5-6300HQ|16GB RAM|lPNY 256GB SSD| 14.1" Panasonic IPS WQHD|Win 7 Pro
Past: T420 HD+, X61s XGA, T61 14" SXGA+, T42p 14.1 SXGA+, T30, A22e

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#208 Post by MontrealPaul » Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:28 pm

I know that this post begins way back in 2008, but I see some recent replies, so hopefully someone can answer this question:

Is it really 230 degrees Celcius?

It seems pretty clear in the instructions, but I've been testing on some old PC boards, and when I apply heat with a heatgun (650C on low, 1000C on high), heating gradually, monitoring with an IR thermometer, the surface-mounted components slide off at much lower temperatures - more like 180C...

Of course, these are older boards, and the components have the "legs" on the side, not points underneath... perhaps the extra heat is required to get underneath?

I just don't want to overheat, risk separating the IC traces, melt other components, etc....

Oh, one more thing: I'm going to try this on an R51, not a T41... But, I've been told, this fix can work for the R51 too... Correct?

Thanks!

-Paul

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#209 Post by visionviper » Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:45 pm

MontrealPaul wrote:Is it really 230 degrees Celcius?
[...]
Oh, one more thing: I'm going to try this on an R51, not a T41... But, I've been told, this fix can work for the R51 too... Correct?
Yes it is really 230 Celcius. If you do some research on lead free solder reflow profiles you will see this yourself. The foil is there to protect the other soldered SMT components from having their solder reflow as well.

And assuming the problem is the same on the R51 (broken solder joints) then yes this could work.
7mm SSD list
Guide to fixing T4x GPU problems via reflow

Current: T420s
Former: X301, X61t, T40

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Re: GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56K WARNING!!!

#210 Post by MontrealPaul » Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:54 pm

Thanks, visionviper - happy 2 c u r still around! :D

Thanks, too, for that additional link. I'll definitely read it, even though you've confirmed the temp, 'coz i like to know more about what I'm doing! :idea:

I'll do that reading, and perhaps a bit more testin/training/experimenting, before diving into the Real Deal. I just got my IR Thermometer (a Kintrex IRT0421), and heat gun (Wagner 1220), and though I'm experienced in soldering, this procedure is new to me.

Cheers!

(Wish me luck!! :thumbs-UP: )

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