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X61 still relevant in 2020?

X60/X61 series specific matters only.
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Kingair
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#31 Post by Kingair » Thu Jun 04, 2020 1:25 am

And than if you read lower in the same Reddit thread there's another member reballing with a T9300
Last edited by Kingair on Thu Jun 04, 2020 8:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

iamdmc
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#32 Post by iamdmc » Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:00 am

atagunov wrote:
Wed Jun 03, 2020 9:42 am
axur-delmeria wrote:
Tue Jun 02, 2020 11:15 pm
Someone on the Thinkpad subreddit soldered a T9500 into his X61
Plain crazy but good kind of crazy innit? Of course we don't know what rework station he used..
It took 4 tries and 5 hours to finish it
..but probably not a professional one! No surprise then it took 4 tries! I wish there was such a crazy person in the vicinity of London :)
ditto - if you ever run into one I'd like to know too
ThinkPad T480s
i7-8550u | 16+8GB RAM | 500GB Samsung 970 2280 M.2 M-key PCIe x4 | FHDtoQHD upgrade | 2242 M.2 B-key PCIe x2 @WWAN slot | Intel AX200

The X61 is dead... long live the X61

Past IBM ThinkPads: T450s, X250, X230, X220, X300, T410, X61s, T60p, T41, X31, T23, A21m

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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#33 Post by atagunov » Thu Jun 04, 2020 1:52 pm

iamdmc wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:00 am
ditto - if you ever run into one I'd like to know too
He he, what would we even practice on?.. Yeah sure I wouldn't mind making a 4 core X230t or moving nVidia chip between T61 boards but there's 0 chance of getting it right the 1st time!
X220, 2 *T520

Kingair
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#34 Post by Kingair » Thu Jun 04, 2020 9:07 pm

atagunov wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 1:52 pm
He he, what would we even practice on?..
Probably enough to practice on but the cost of the reballing machine itself ?
I see posts mentioning to buy a $ 500.00+ model on Ali or Ebay
But what to expect from a reballing machine like that ?
I see the nicer machines ranging from $ 7,500.00 and way up
Guess there might or definitely will be a huge difference between them

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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#35 Post by iamdmc » Fri Jun 05, 2020 6:16 am

atagunov wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 1:52 pm
iamdmc wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:00 am
ditto - if you ever run into one I'd like to know too
He he, what would we even practice on?.. Yeah sure I wouldn't mind making a 4 core X230t or moving nVidia chip between T61 boards but there's 0 chance of getting it right the 1st time!
I have 3 X61s boards but if we needed more they are just about a tenner on ebay
ThinkPad T480s
i7-8550u | 16+8GB RAM | 500GB Samsung 970 2280 M.2 M-key PCIe x4 | FHDtoQHD upgrade | 2242 M.2 B-key PCIe x2 @WWAN slot | Intel AX200

The X61 is dead... long live the X61

Past IBM ThinkPads: T450s, X250, X230, X220, X300, T410, X61s, T60p, T41, X31, T23, A21m

atagunov
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#36 Post by atagunov » Fri Jun 05, 2020 6:42 am

I have a tendency to look deeply into random stuff.. Turned out it's not such a sophisticated piece of equipment. First you heat the mobo up from the bottom (to 170-190C) then you start heating the chip from the top. It's better to use a suction pen to lift the chip from the mobo once the solder has melted. That's all these machines do. When you put the chip back on you similarly heat the mobo up from the bottom and then heat up from the top according to the usual reflow "profile" - first go just bellow solder melting - allow the flux (rosin + stuff) do its thing - it's "soaking" then briefly go above solder melting - and you use leaded solder this time - then slowly cool down the motherboard.

There are videos of such machines on youtube. Here's one. There's another from the same guy using it. I like the guy and I like his machine but the controls on his machine just look a bit crazy to me. He's using a controller and software which were not designed for the purpose. They were designed for a "reflow" oven, not a rework station with top and bottom heaters. It seems he's using "profile" on bottom heater. Why??!! See my next paragraph for a controller that makes sense. And I think it's because the guy is using a "wrong" controller that he has so many knobs and switches on his device. They are to apply controls manually where to controller doesn't provide the necessary functionality. One really doesn't need that many.. One Arduino board should be all you need.. And almost no manual switches :)

It's all doable, here the guys have used Arduino as a controller. The forum is in Russian so not that accessible to most readers here, but I'm Russian, so no problem for me :) What they've done is they put IR heater lamps at the bottom - you can as well use a food heater but lamps are better because of their quick reaction - on/off - so easier to control. Lamps don't have "inertia" unlike a food heater hob which does. On top you can have a £5 ceramic heater from AliExpress or another IR lamp. The heat sensor is a K-type thermal pair with its end floating in melted flux near the chip. They probably use 1 more thermopair attached somewhere close to top heater.. That page in Russian I linked to earlier has a link to youtube videos of this "Watashi" guy from the forum. It shows this machine in action. I understand a number of people on that forum built similar machines. The algorithm they use makes sense to me: first bottom heater switches on and somewhat slowly (not to crook the mobo) raises temp. Once the K-type thermopair on top of the board near your chip picks up around 170C the bottom heater is adjusted into such a mode that temp no longer raises. They basically figure out how much power the bottom heater needs for the temp to stay flat. Once they've done it they switch on the top heater. The bottom is kept at constant power output. The top is controlled in such a way so that to follow the "profile". "Profile" is part of software put on that Arduion at compile time I think. There's one for leaded solder and one for lead-free. Different profiles for removing a chip and soldering a chip back on.

It's an active forum topic too - people have been experimenting for a few years and are doing so still. Questions can be asked. Last post is yesterday I think. The website is a website for Arduino lovers btw it seems. One downside is that these guys don't use proper source control for their software. They attach .zip files with sources to forum posts rather than using something like github. Another issue is that the licensing of this software is not clear at all. The intention is clearly for it to be open-source but it's not declared anywhere it seems... So fine for DIY projects but can't be used to drive a commercial machine. As a software developer I don't like either of these but they are not show-stoppers. BTW that's probably the best and most developed software project for a DIY rework station. There are lots of projects for reflow ovens - when you put a new board with some solder paste on it into a toaster and drive it in such a way that it follows temp profile for making new boards. This Russian-language forum topic is the only viable/active software/hardware project I've found for an open source rework station with top and bottom heaters.

The UI of the Arudino board is in Russian too but it shouldn't be such a big problem to have it translated into English I guess.

I figured I could probably build such a machine for around £150-200. Arduino + display - what around £60-70? A couple of bathroom heaters to give me 4 IR lamps for the bottom - £40 in total. Then I need some contraption to put the moto onto, something to hold the top heater above it, the top heater itself, "solid stay relays" to control the heaters - Arduino only gives a low voltage signal and we need to toggle large power devices, like 800Wt or more.. Thermocouples, power supply, some extra parts.. It's all doable.. This kit to make a suction pen to lift the chip costs £18. Here's a $6 "stensil" - another thing you need to rework a BGA chip. Naturally you need one for each layout of soldering pads.

So building the station is not a problem. Even learning to use it is probably not such a big problem, though I'd expect to botch first few jobs. The problem is elsewhere. This guy on youtube sounds darn right. It's a rabbit hole. It's impossible to purchase high quality replacement chips. As much as I'd love an i7-3612QE on an X230t motherboard I couldn't find where to buy a i7-3612QE or i7-3615QE. Same with nVidia cards for T61-s: you can only get one from another T61 board. There just isn't enough use for such a station.. And if it's just for bragging - well maybe I can find other things to brag about :) Re 4-core X230t it makes more sense for me to contact 51nb, possibly via master Xueyao (xytech on this forum) to make one for me. Or to try to contact the guys selling i7-3612QE/i7-3615QE X230 (not tablet) boards on Taobao.. For T61 motherboards I probably have to agree that a 15.4" widescreen motherboard with a new nVidia chip is an okay solution for my Frankenpad. Yes I didn't want to buy a 4:3 14" one from TuuS and so I will loose the ultrabay when I fit this 15.4" wide board into a 4:3 15" T60 but that's okay (I keep telling myself).. I should also be getting a 14.1" 4:3 T61 mobo with an old nVidia chip too, but rather than taking the risk/spending time to re-plant the chip I will probably just leave the 14.1" board unused.. The BGA re-work station probably just isn't worth the effort.. Nor is it worth its money (for me).. Not even £200.. Heh if somebody in my area already had the station and experience we could have had some fun.. but building it.. on my own.. Probably not worth it.. I sort of hoped Richmond Maker Labs might have had such a machine - they got lots of crazy tech on-site - but no, they don't yet have it.
X220, 2 *T520

iamdmc
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#37 Post by iamdmc » Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:11 am

That's a load of great research. I doff my cap to you!

I'd also once considered to do this but haven't had the time or gumption to begin yet another project on my already too-long list (definitely my weakness) so I may have to content myself with watching from the sidelines
ThinkPad T480s
i7-8550u | 16+8GB RAM | 500GB Samsung 970 2280 M.2 M-key PCIe x4 | FHDtoQHD upgrade | 2242 M.2 B-key PCIe x2 @WWAN slot | Intel AX200

The X61 is dead... long live the X61

Past IBM ThinkPads: T450s, X250, X230, X220, X300, T410, X61s, T60p, T41, X31, T23, A21m

Kingair
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#38 Post by Kingair » Sun Jun 07, 2020 1:41 pm

atagunov wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 6:42 am
The BGA re-work station probably just isn't worth the effort..
Definitely another big project next to the reballing project itself if you want to build one from scrap like the Russians did
Than you still need to figure out all temperatures
As you mentioned is it worth all the hassle to invest all this time and effort in the BGA workstation itself ?
Now do you think IR is better than hot air since I see most using hot air ?

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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#39 Post by atagunov » Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:04 am

Kingair wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 1:41 pm
As you mentioned is it worth all the hassle to invest all this time and effort in the BGA workstation itself ?
Only for the fun of it :) Definitely not worth the effort if all you want is an upgraded Thinkpad
Kingair wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 1:41 pm
Now do you think IR is better than hot air since I see most using hot air ?
I think IR may be easier to control. You attach a thermocouple to the mobo to control the temp and you want to follow a temp "profile", especially when re-attaching the chip. IR can easily be switched on/off multiple times a second by an SSR. It's probably a little more tricky with hot air.. I suppose hot air may work if you manage to control it properly.. I've actually read somebody saying for him hot air was giving a more even distribution of temps.

Shouldn't be difficult to control the heater in the hot air gun. But what about the fan? You probably got to keep it running always.. Then once you switch the heater off instead of heating you start cooling.. hmm.. it will probably work.. Another advantage is that it's easier to mount a ceramic or IR tube heater on top of the motherboard. It's a lot lighter.

Then again BGA rework stations sold commercially typically don't have hot air on the top rather a ceramic heater. But then ceramic heaters from China are suspect of being a bit skewed to one side in temp distribution. More importantly ceramic heaters have more inertia compared to quartz IR bulbs/tubes so require more careful control in software. If I want less fiddling with software bulbs/tubes may be easier than ceramic plates.

My motivation here is to make it as easy for me as possible. There is already Arduion software in existence and that software has been tested with IR. Okay I take IR :)
Kingair wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 1:41 pm
Than you still need to figure out all temperatures
Temperatures on the top side are no mystery. To take a chip off you basically need to go over solder melting point (lead-free probably). To put it back on you got to follow soldering profile which are well known and are all over the net. The top hump on the profile is slightly above solder melting point too. For bottom heater - yeah - better ask people with experience, those who've been repairing motherboards for years. There might be some leeway here.. What is strictly important is how hot the top side of the motherboard gets under the chip
X220, 2 *T520

Kingair
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#40 Post by Kingair » Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:26 pm

atagunov wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:04 am

Only for the fun of it :) Definitely not worth the effort if all you want is an upgraded Thinkpad
If you want to upgrade and do different stuff you don't have many options
I would just go for a 'commercially' build BGA station
Not sure if I can get one build from scrap and don't want to spend all the time / effort into it to get it running perfectly
Maybe it all is less complex than it looks but ...

And as you say Quartz / IR is probably the way to go to control the heat
Probably like many things it's a bumpy ride with tons of failures until that moment ... YES !

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