Repair VGA card by re-flowing solder on the board

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Sometimes a fault can be caused by a bad solder joint on a circuit board. cards such as Graphics cards that are exposed to repeated heat/cool cycles may suffer fractured solder joints leading to intermittent or hard faults. Symptoms : lines on screen

  • Author: Gaspard Leon
  • Time required: 30-40 min
  • Difficulty: Moderate

This guide provides detail on how anyone can attempt this at home, trying to simplify the process which might sound complicated at start but it isnt

if done correctly there is 75-99% chances of success

Relevant Parts

Edit Step 1 Faulty VGA card due to fractured or cold / dry solder joint  ¶ 

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Edit Step 1 Faulty VGA card due to fractured or cold / dry solder joint  ¶ 

  • Remove the video card (if it's installed in the system)

Edit Step 2 CHECK YOUR WARRANTY  ¶ 

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Edit Step 2 CHECK YOUR WARRANTY  ¶ 

  • If the card is still under warranty, get it repaired by the manufacturer. Otherwise, continue with this guide.

Edit Step 3 You will need  ¶ 

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Edit Step 3 You will need  ¶ 

  • precision screwdriver for the fan and anything else screwed onto gfx card

  • Aluminium foil to cover heat sensitive components

  • Some thermal paste to extend reflow life (personal favourite - ARCTIC MX4)

  • Paper towel to rub any excess of old heatsink compound from the components

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Preheat the oven to 385F (195C).

  • If you've already finished this guide once and are baking again, increase the temperature slightly -- 395F (200C) or 400F (205C).

  • Solder melts at different temperatures depending on the type, so if you're squeamish, you might start at 375.

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • While the oven is pre-heating:

    • Remove the screws or clips holding your fan and heatsink and any ductwork from the video card.

    • Gently take the fan/heatsink off

    • remove any old heatsink compound from the chips (paper towel)

    • Place the screws in a safe place

Edit Step 6 melting point  ¶ 

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Edit Step 6 melting point  ¶ 

  • be patient

  • you want to heat the GPU SLOWLY.

  • 5 -10 mins at 200-220C

  • my experience: ps3 - 6min, xbox - 4-6 min, desktop boards -12 min , laptop baords - 8-12 min, GFX - 8-15min

  • use this as help only - not a golden rule , apply some changes when feel like you need to and find best way for yourself, only experience and knowing your equipment can take you to 100% succes rate.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Once the oven is at required temperature set a timer for 8-12 minutes.

  • Place the baking sheet or dish in the middle of the oven.

  • Do not leave the oven unattended for any reason!

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • when ready open the oven door - let fumes out , keep opening and closing like 5 - 10 times. this equalizes temaprure difference

  • hold your tray firmly. carefully try not to touch anything or make sudden moves as components can be dislodged while the solder is still soft.

  • You may notice a smell from the molten solder/flux.

  • Leave it on the side to cool whatever time is needed to do so - let it do by itself. using fans might result in weaker joints or unsuccessfull reflow

Edit Step 9 Make sure the card has cooled enough to touch it before continuing.  ¶ 

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Edit Step 9 Make sure the card has cooled enough to touch it before continuing.  ¶ 

  • You have 2 options:

    • 1. Test the card quickly without reinstalling the fan/heatsink.

    • 2. Reinstall the fan/heatsink, then test the card.

  • Most people will want to test the card to see if it powers on and passes the POST.

  • If you are trying it without the heatsink/fan, DO NOT run it for longer than 30 seconds.

  • If the card still doesn't work after baking, you may repeat the process and might need to increase its time

Edit Step 10 Installing the heat sink  ¶ 

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Edit Step 10 Installing the heat sink  ¶ 

  • Apply some thermal grease (thermal compound etc) onto the GPU, RAM, and any other place that is required.

  • Use only a small amount of thermal paste and spread evenly over the surface using a piece of cardboard, a credit card

  • If re using thermal tape or pads that were saved during the disassembly, place these back in their original position

  • REMEMBER - heatsink paste is there to make space between chip and heatsink airtight so most of the heat finds its way - away

Edit Step 11  ¶ 

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Place the heat-sink over the GPU carefully, lining up any screws or clips.

  • Insert and tighten all the screws carefully! They are usually quite small, and the PCB may be damaged if the screws are over tightened.

  • Tighten the screws in an alternating pattern. E.G. Top left, Bottom right, Top right, Bottom left. With more than 4 screws, use a "Star" pattern when tightening the screws ensuring all screws are evenly tightened

  • if noticed any dust - make sure that has been cleaned too

Edit Step 12 Final checks  ¶ 

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Edit Step 12 Final checks  ¶ 

  • Verify that the fan was reconnected (if there is one).

  • Verify that the fan spins when the PC is powered up.

  • Make sure the GPU works when loading up in Windows, etc.

  • A good program to get is GPU-Z. it can display the GPU temperature on supported cards.

  • GOOD LUCK

For more information, check out the Video Card device page.

Required Tools

Arctic Silver Thermal Paste

$8.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #0 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Recommended Tools

54 Bit Driver Kit

$24.95 · 50+ In stock

Magnetic Project Mat

$19.95 · 50+ In stock

Pro Tech Screwdriver Set

$59.95 · 50+ In stock

Anti-Static Project Tray

$4.95 · 50+ In stock

Comments Comments are onturn off

I fixed my friends dead out-of-warranty Leadtek Geforce 8800 GTS 640MB card using this procedure

That was 3 weeks ago, and he's still using it daily since then

We forgot to plug in the fan connector and his temperatures reached 124C while playing a game

Since then he reconnected his fan and it's working fine

Thanks for reading, hope it helps someone

Gaspard Leon, · Reply

Hi everyone,

I also fixed a almost dead NVIDIA 512mb MXM II card, at the first point I put the card 8 min to 190ºC aprox, it improved the performance but not yet to run.

Then i repeated the operation with 205ºC and 10 min and the card ran perfectly, add some thermal paste and it's solved.

Thanks for this manual it's very usefull!!!

javier, · Reply

I just finished doing this with an evga gtx460 i got from a friend of mine. It was throwing up artifacts and crashing constantly before. Now it's stable for over 10 minutes. It looks like it's fixed but only time will tell. Wish me luck and thanks for the guide!

Chris S, · Reply

It is such a nice way you have done it but the process need too much care and there is a big threat of PCB damage due to manual working so you need to be more careful and if someone is worried about the PCB he need to get a better auto pick and place BGA rework station this is specially made for these types of reworking. Here I have seen some blogs that have so many machines and process you can choose according to the type of reworking you want. I am sure you will like it.

http://bgareworkstations.wordpress.com/

Harry Potter, · Reply

i was very worried about my oven because it not heating well now i have learn a lot from here ...

http://www.ransomspares.co.uk/cooker-rep...

Andre Matthew, · Reply

Final note: it might or might not work depending on the problem with your card, and the type of card, however if the card is a paperweight already, it's worth a shot! ;)

Gaspard Leon, · Reply

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