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Reballing is a process when we lift off the defective chip and repair it by applying lead based solder (higher reliability) on the chip and placing it back on the board or replacing the component with a new one while also applying lead based solder on it before soldering it back on the circuit board. The BGA usually consists of hundreds of connection densely packed together in rows or patterns to save space on the circuit.
What is BGA reballing?
Also known as Rework, reballing is a term used in electronic printed circuit board industry to describe de-soldering, refurbishing and re-attaching the component, usually BGA, back on to a circuit board. This in turn restores the connection between PCB and component. Once the procedure is finished the device becomes fully functional again, meaning there is no need to replace the whole board. Sometimes it is not possible to source a board to be replaced within the failed device and all it takes is to reball or replace a single BGA to bring a laptop back to life. Our aim is to recycle as many electronic devices as we can, which reduces wastage and saves environment.
What issues can it resolve?
Nowadays nearly every single board within electronic device has a number of BGA components inside. They all prone to failure, especially within high density boards, such as within laptops and computers. BGA connections usually fail due to heat cycles, age, exposure to heat and bad PCB or Cooling design. Problems such as power failure, freezing graphics, scrambled screen are known problems. nVidia GPUs are known to have overheating problems, which can usually be resolved by either reballing or replacing GPU. At TFix we rework all kind of boards, from iPhone audio IC, HP laptop motherboards, Macbook Pro Logic Boards to high cost telecom equipment PCBs.
Can I reball at home?
The internet is full of articles and videos of people trying to repair graphic cards, laptops, mobile phones by exposing BGAs to direct heat. Some are as ridicolous as cooking the board in the oven, attacking it with fire or leaving device running while covered in towels ('towel trick'). While some of these methods might have work for some lucky people they are highly risky and hazardous to the 'engineer' and device itself. The Truth is that reballing requires professional equipment, which operates at temperatures above 400C, it requires highly skilled engineer and various techniques and environment to carry it out successfully. Leave it to professionals!
TFix Process of BGA ReballingWe operate from Laboratories in South London, United Kingdom and take great care in our operations. Being within rework and repair industry for over 10 years our in-house developed techniques have never failed us.
Our BGA reballing process is as follows:
- Board Inspection - all PCBs are inspected to make sure no damages occurred during transit.
- Preparation - sensitive components and connectors are covered using temperature resistant tapes.
- Prebaking - boards have to be prebaked in controlled environment to make sure all moisture is evaporated.
- BGA Removal - identified component is removed, PCB cleaned of residual solder and prepared to be refurbished.
- BGA Reballing - new high reliability solder is applied on the component using selection of fluxes.
- PCB Reflow - only targeted area on the board is re-flown to avoid damage to surrounding components.
- BGA Inspection - once the post-rework cleaning is finished all boards are inspected using BGA microscopes.
TFix BGA Inspection
We operate lots of specialised equipment to make sure all of our services are carried out professionally and to a highest standard. We pride in our optical BGA inspection equipment, which allows us to investigate solder joints underneath component. We look for solder-ability issues, cracked lead free joints, misaligned bga pads and other imperfections. Our ESD safe labs employs MicroSquare and ErsaScope microscopes to manage our quality of work.
Mostly Affected Devices
nVidia had a notorious failure of BGA Graphics Processing Units (GPU). All devices manufactured prior to 2008 have been affected and would most likely need to be reballed. However in some cases the component has to be replaced for an upgraded unit, such a case is G84-601-A2 has and updated version released, which is G84-603-A2. Most of HP models are prone to graphics failure. HP was able to provide cheap high spec laptops, while skimping on PCB material and cheap cooling solutions. Unfortunately most of HP boards warped due to high temperature operation of nVidia GPU and lead free solder cracked losing connection between board and graphics processor.