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Fix for Loose Chip on Motherboard

Posted on 2004-04-02
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I've got a loose video chip on my laptop motherboard. One corner of the chip is coming up of the board very slightly. When I press down on the loose corner, it works.

I'm looking for a fix without having to spend $600 for a new motherboard. I'm looking for a fix that I can do myself or a place that will repair chips on a motherboard without replacing the board itself.

Thanks.
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Question by:collinbd
8 Comments
 
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by:Callandor
ID: 10742568
If it's got a socket holder, try firmly reseating by pressing down on the whole chip.  If it's a surface mount, that will require resoldering with a very fine tip, and even that might be a long shot.
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by:collinbd
ID: 10742721
It's not a socket... Wish it were.

Any tips on soldering? Should I try a complete removal or just to seal down that loose corner?
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 10742801
If you can do the ends on that corner, you may get lucky and get all the loose connections.  The more you solder, the higher the likelihood of a bad joint, in this situation.
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Expert Comment

by:juliangkeller
ID: 10743200
Make sure you use a desoldering braid to remove the old solder.  If you don't it could cause problems.  You would need a very fine tip and you can get those and Radio Shack. Use small non-flux solder, it will make it easier.
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by:buckeyes33
ID: 10743413
This may be one of those things that you don't want to do by yourself.  The reason for this is that you don't have the tools that are needed.  I would look into some of your local computer stores, some of them might be able to do it.  However, I think that it would be more wise to have the manufacturer of the board do it for you.  

just my 2 cents
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Accepted Solution

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JohnBPrice earned 50 total points
ID: 10744592
resoldering surface mounts is not that hard if it is just a couple pins, make sure you have a low wattage, fine tip iron.  I would not remove the whole thing, it's really hard to de-solder a surface mount device cleanly because there are so many pins there is almost no way to get them all loose.  

To fix a few pins,
wiggle it first to get an idea of which pins are loose.
Make sure you use a jig or clip or something to hold it in the right place and the pins are in contact with their mount pads.  You don't want it to jiggle while the solder is hot.
Heat each pin you suspect just until the existing solder melts, make sure you don't heat it more than a second.  You probably don't need to add new solder.
Wait several seconds betweeen each pin so you don't overheat it.
Make sure you didn't bridge two pins together, if so make a swipe with the soldering iron to separate them.

Some people do de-solder surface mounts, and I have seen a special solder that lowers the melting point of the existing solder to make it easier.  I think radio shack has it.

If you want someone else to do it. I doubt too many computer shops will have experience with soldering, they are mostly plug-in type of folk.  Find an electronic repair shop  (there are still a few left in existence).  Or find a friend who does a lot of soldering.
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Assisted Solution

by:TheGaffer
TheGaffer earned 25 total points
ID: 10747138
(Follow Up to above)

Please note: that surface mount soldering is not something to be taken lightly. Yes, some may say use a low wattage iron with a fine tip, etc, but if you leave the tip on the joint too long (as many experienced operators can do from time to time) you stand a big risk of removing the track and repairing that is a huge task.

I suggest that if you are not confident; which I doubt you are or you would not be asking on here, I would take it to a local repair shop as many have said, as they should use a hot air gun to flow the joints.
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Assisted Solution

by:ahoydave
ahoydave earned 50 total points
ID: 10789252
I assume the part is fine pitch. This makes the idea of individually soldering single pins a gamble at best. Plan on soldering the whole area of pins with a good quality, NOT underpowered, but high power iron! The solder will end up connecting all the pins in the area soldered. Follow up using solder braid to remove the excess solder leaving only the solder wicked between the pad and the pin. The braid will remove the solder between the pins.

As a hardware designer, I routinely solder parts with over 100 pins this way for prototypes and debugging. I use a hot air gun that resembles a hair dryer with a small nozzel to remove such parts as well. I have successfully removed and then put back the same part after modifying traces under the part. Trying to minimize the solder with a very small iron often does not work because such small amounts of solder oxidize and will not bond. The makers of soldering irons make special tips with a large shovel shape just for soldering such parts using the technique I describe. If you wish to solder individual pins, it is best done using a shielding gas to slow oxidation. Not a practice for a hobby budget.

In manufacturing, the parts are soldered with IR heat lamps to melt a past of solder and flux. This paste was applied to specific pads with a silk screen at the end of the printed circuit board fabrication. The parts are glued in place to hold them until heated. If the paste is missing from a pad, then it will not solder but could have enough bonding to last a short while.



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