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19/03/2012

How to Reflow a Laptop Motherboard in a Household Oven Computer Repair Tips

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How to Reflow a Laptop Motherboard


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What is a Reflow? The term reflow describes a process of briefly melting (reflowing) the solder on an electrical circuit board. Why would you perform a Reflow on a laptop? The solder used in laptop motherboards tends to degrade over time, becoming brittle and weak. It can change from being a solid block of solder into more of a honeycomb structure. This weaker solder joint can fracture causing tiny broken connections in the circuit, invisible to the naked eye. The idea behind performing a reflow is that it melts the solder, allowing it to form a solid block again and joining up the electrical circuit. When would you perform a Reflow? There are a number of scenarios where performing a reflow can be successful. A typical example is a laptop motherboard which is receiving power, lights come on to confirm this, but it just wont power up. It is possible that a crucial connection has been broken by weakened solder. Another common example is a laptop that will appear to power up, but there is no graphics output to the LCD panel or to an external screen. In this case, it is likely that there is a broken solder joint around the graphics chip (GPU). A reflow is a method of last resort. In other words, you would only ever try this on a motherboard that was so completely faulty that it would otherwise need to be replaced. If performed incorrectly, a reflow can damage
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How to Reflow a Laptop Motherboard in a Household Oven Computer Repair Tips

your motherboard even further. But on the other hand, if the motherboard is broken anyway, and would otherwise be replaced, then performing a reflow wont make the problem any worse. Certain makes and models of laptops seem to be more prone to these GPU problems than others. It seems to be particularly common in the NVIDIA chips used in some HP laptops, especially the following models; Pavillion dv2000, dv6000, dv9000, dv9500, dv9600, dv9700 and Compaq Presario V3000, V6000. How do you perform a Reflow?

There are expensive infra-red reflow stations which can be purchased which will do this job for you. However, if you are on a budget, the easiest method of performing a reflow is to bake the laptop motherboard in a household oven. This might sound a bit crazy, baking your laptop in an oven, but if performed correctly, it can achieve the same end result, remaking the solder connections which may have been broken. It is very important that the motherboard is completely stripped down before attempting this procedure. Remove the CPU, heatsink & fan, RAM, BIOS battery, wires, speakers, stickers, plastic sticky guards, foam spacers, absolutely everything that can be removed from the motherboard. Then preheat your household oven to approximately 200C or 385F. If your oven does not have a digital temperature display, perhaps use an internal oven thermometer to make sure the oven is in the right temperature range. Roll up some kitchen foil into balls, between half an inch and an inch wide, and place them on a baking tray. Place your motherboard, with CPU socket and GPU facing upwards, on top of the foil balls. It is a good idea to wrap additional foil around the more sensitive parts of the motherboard, like areas where there are capacitors and the CPU socket. If the reflow is being performed because of a faulty graphics chip (GPU) then perhaps wrap the rest of the motherboard in foil to protect it, leaving just the GPU exposed on both the top and bottom of the motherboard. Then place the baking tray with the motherboard on it into the preheated oven. Make sure your kitchen is well ventilated at this stage, turn on the extractor fan to full power and/or open an outside door and windows. This will help to take away any fumes. Ideally, you should leave the kitchen while any fumes are still present.

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How to Reflow a Laptop Motherboard in a Household Oven Computer Repair Tips

A couple of times during the procedure, have a quick look through the oven door (without opening it) making sure there are no smoke or flames visible. This is unlikely to occur, but can happen if stickers were left on the motherboard. After 8 minutes, turn the oven off and open the oven door. Do not remove the motherboard from the oven at this stage, it could be very hot and it is a better idea to allow it to cool down gradually. Take care not to inhale any fumes that might be present. After 20 minutes to half an hour, remove the cool motherboard from the oven and begin rebuilding your laptop. If all has gone well, it will boot up and the problem will be fixed. If the problem remains, you could try the procedure again, leaving it in the oven for a couple of minutes longer. After performing a reflow in an oven, I recommend cleaning the oven thoroughly, then turn it on and allow any fumes that may have built up to be completely removed. This is especially important before cooking food in the oven again. How long will a Reflowed motherboard last? It is impossible to say for certain how long a repaired motherboard will last. It may be a few weeks or a year, there is no way to know for certain. The problem with the solder fracturing does tend to come back again eventually though. However this technique might at least get your laptop running again for a while, long enough perhaps to save up for a new laptop. Video of a Motherboard Reflow Here is a quick YouTube video I came across of someone performing a motherboard reflow in a household oven. It doesnt cover all the points I describe here but it shows the basic principle.

*** Disclaimer: ***


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How to Reflow a Laptop Motherboard in a Household Oven Computer Repair Tips

Putting your laptop in a household oven is dangerous and is a method of last resort when fixing a fault. This method of performing a reflow is well documented across various sites on the internet, and although many people have had success with it, it may not work in every case. We will not be held liable for any damage, either direct or consequential, that you cause to your motherboard, to your oven or to any person or property as a result of attempting this procedure. Be safe and be sensible! Technorati Tags: laptop repair, motherboard, video

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33 Responses to How to Reflow a Laptop Motherboard


1. hp baker Baking you MB really works. My hp dv2535 was driving me off the wall and was about to throw it out the window. Luckily came across this reflow thing and woilaaa. Thanks whoever came up with this, you are legend man.
March 2nd, 2012 at 1:14 am

2. jeicrash Baking works great, I have done hundreds of reflows / reballs, and even though not all work, many do. For those of you getting upset because it didnt work, or broke soon after keep in mind that solder is metal, and the more you heat and re-heat metal the more tempered it becomes. Also Solder will not stick after a while of being heated and cooled and either flux or fresh solder must be applied. This can be done by using a heat gun to heat the chip and remove it, then clean up all the pads on the chip and board, apply new paste with the correct ball size and re-attach the chip through reflow techniques. It is a lot of work, but if your willing to give it a try it can save you money. Otherwise selling it off or trading is a reasonable alternative.
February 23rd, 2012 at 6:27 pm

3. ABIE
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How to Reflow a Laptop Motherboard in a Household Oven Computer Repair Tips

Hi there! I just like your idea baking the motherboard. But knowing this is an dangerous case.But I think it would not be applicable in everybodys case.
February 22nd, 2012 at 6:27 am

4. tintinmilou I used this on my desktop motherboard. The South Bridge had, well, gone south. The PC wouldnt boot anymore. After reflowing it, it now boots fine. I give it two thumbs up. I used wine bottle corks instead of balls of tin foil. The corks got a bit roasted, but held up.
February 20th, 2012 at 6:37 am

5. David I tried heating the graphics chip by placing an iron on the chip placing a thin sheet of paper in between for about 25-30 minutes and guess what my laptop is breathing life once again
February 18th, 2012 at 10:30 am

6. Sven Blidstrand The laptop only lasted about a week after a reflow. Overheated again. Installed some 3d games and it overheated. I will reflow it again just to try one more time.
February 8th, 2012 at 6:29 pm

7. anthgav I can confirm that this worked perfectly using the instructions provided on a HP Pavillion DV2000
February 2nd, 2012 at 6:28 pm

8. Sven Blidstrand Baked it saturday. Now it is a working laptop. Baked it in 9 minutes in 200 degrees and let it cool down.
January 30th, 2012 at 5:15 pm

9. steve
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How to Reflow a Laptop Motherboard in a Household Oven Computer Repair Tips

Oven worked for me. 10 Minutes at 200c sat on 4 balls of tin foil. Let it cool down, connected up and Bingo! Up and Running. Whoever came up with this fix is the Dogs Bollocks. Thanks
January 23rd, 2012 at 10:13 pm

10. Andy I Just did this on a Dell XPS M1210 yesterday morning. Preheated to 385. I put the motherboard on a cookie sheet on top of 3 balls of tinfoil so it was not sitting directly on the cookie sheet. 8 Min in the over after preheat. at the 8 min mark I opened the oven door and turned off the oven. I took it out aprox 5 min later. Put everything back together and BAM IT WORKED!! I left the paotop on for 4 hours lesterday and it worked perfect. Before the fix I would get TONS of colored lines arcoss the screen after 5 min of the laptop being turned on then it would lock up. I didnt think this would work as it was a last resort before purchasing a new motherboard but IT WORKED!!! SEEING IS BELIEVING!
January 3rd, 2012 at 11:14 pm

11. dave i posted previously, and this is a follow up: the laptop (sony) worked fine, for two month and then the screen/graphics when out again, will do this reflow again but at this point want to take a torch to it has any one done that? please post your experience and what you did. but oven works so far temporary i wonder if there are ways of improving it? like different time or temp?
December 22nd, 2011 at 12:22 am

12. SEB Just did the reflow on a toshiba L350D with a bad graphics or southbridge chip. I did 9 minutes in the oven, and let it cool slowly. Assembled it up and BAM works a treat. I recommend this guide to anyone with such a dead laptop!
December 18th, 2011 at 2:56 pm

13. Xero this guide is okay, but one thing to ensure you dont break your boards. when your done with your baking and are ready to turn it off DO NOT open the door. leave it and let it drop to room temperature slowly. if you open the door you will cool it too fast and break things.
December 16th, 2011 at 11:10 am

14.
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How to Reflow a Laptop Motherboard in a Household Oven Computer Repair Tips

JFBP im gonna try this tomorrow, i just bought a laptop on a pawn shop, after a week and ha half the problem started, i was playing a game and then werid grey and RGB colors in the screen showed up, i tried with a hairdryer and didnt work, weather wasnt helping. i dont have money for a heat gun so this is my last shot, hope it works, at leas for selling to another pawn shop, the werid thing is when i turn on the laptop, while pressing the WSDFVC keys (where the graphic chip and the screen cable, the screen shows backlight with no color, ther turns in red, green, blue, grey, black and then blank (sorry for my bad english, i speak spanish)
December 15th, 2011 at 6:59 am

15. PC Repairs Watford Fascinating video! I have seen this done numerous times with GPUs (8 series Nvidia mainly) but havent seen this successfully performed on a MB before good work!
December 11th, 2011 at 7:59 pm

16. anoninspain Patience is a virtue!! This procedure does work eventually. I tried an 8 minute bake the board worked for about 3 hours. So I redid it going for 210 degrees this time and an intention to leave it for 10 minutes. Regretably the phone rang and I ended up with a 12 minute bake. However when I refitted board it all worked and so far has for a week. This is probably not a long time solution but it will give me enough time to sell the wretched machine and buy a new one!!
December 5th, 2011 at 1:09 pm

17. Computer Repair Tips Im sorry this guide didnt work for you, but as it says, this procedure is not a guaranteed fix and just something to try as a method of last resort. I know its frustrating when it doesnt work, but perhaps your laptop was just beyond repair.
November 29th, 2011 at 10:56 am

18. Erven Aragon unfortunately it didnt work! this guide sucks! witnessing (again!) the blinking light from this laptop crashed my hopes.
November 28th, 2011 at 4:06 pm
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How to Reflow a Laptop Motherboard in a Household Oven Computer Repair Tips

19. Advent 5612 black screen dosnt boot up. [...] How to Reflow a Laptop Motherboard in a Household Oven | Computer Repair Tips looks like 200c for 8 mins is the way to go you must strip it down to nothing on the board and just bake the board on its own [...]
November 27th, 2011 at 6:20 pm

20. Warren I just did my second reflow on a Compaq F730US mobo. First lasted almost 2 years. This time I researched the engineering and process for wave soldering and reflow soldering machines. They expose the board to the heat for 60 to 120 seconds. Also, there is a ramp-up to target heat and a cool down cycle. Its dangerous to put a board in a 385 F oven as it might crack it. The fine foil circuit(s) that crack finish the board. This time, I stripped the board, put it in a cold oven, set the temp at 360 F. It took 8 minutes to get there. As soon as it hit temp, I turned off the oven, opened the door and let it cool. Residual heat was plenty to keep the reflow going as long as it needed. It works fine. Also, I put the board on pencil sized wood strips, chip side up, with nothing underneath it in the center of the oven, so it got a good amount of heat where it needed it. I doubt the tin foil under it helps anything, just prolongs the required time which is not good for caps. Various solders are used on the boards60/40 melts at 371F, 63/37 at 362F, 63/36/2 at 355F. Lead free melts about 40F-50F higher. I suspect lead free has been phasing in since the early 2000 s, depending on where the board was made, but I did not research that aspect. Good luck on your bake. Throw some cookies in there alongside the board and celebrate when its done and working. If the cookies burn, youre overdoing it.
October 25th, 2011 at 3:36 am

21. Enrico Hi guys! Just wanna let you know me too succedeed in baking my motherboard. Pavillion DV9500 w/ NVidia GEForce 8600 GS with Nvidia defect. Everything works fine. Just to tell, I replaced cooling paste on GPU and CPU Thanks everybody
September 27th, 2011 at 6:05 pm

22. dave People, if you are smart enough to fix the computer by this method, or at least to attempt it, then you should also state the obvious- you do not need to do this in order to back up your data. the data is stored on the hard drive or its equvivalent (flash drive) either way they are removable, and all you have to do is get the usb adapter for it and you can use it as portable drive/back up your other stuff from it. but as far as this method i used it and fixed the laptop, though broke it again on the final lap asembly, that means first
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How to Reflow a Laptop Motherboard in a Household Oven Computer Repair Tips

time i assembled it to see if it starts up, then second time i wanted to do proper assembly with all the screws in and tightened properly, so then it didnt work and the reason is this: when you put things back together, you have to remember not to flex the board, mine got flexed cause i had to press the screw driver tighter to the screws so that i have a better torque on it. if i cared lesser then who knows it may have still been working. but now i ordered some flux and thermal paste, and will try this method again, and hopefully the flux will make better connections. sorry for my spelling. hopefully my reflow abilities are not reflected by my spelling LOL
September 27th, 2011 at 12:31 am

23. ah_burn! Did it once to an Nvidia 8600 gt portable and worked for a month or so.. went bad today, gonna try it again lets hope it works again (sadly i broke a cable of my wirelles card so the portable is probably gonna end in the trash, damn it..
September 12th, 2011 at 6:16 pm

24. Tom I tried this today on my Dell XPS M1530 and it worked! Massive thanks!
September 7th, 2011 at 10:01 pm

25. Sonny Hi, I have done this and in fact it worked! First my Laptop (dv2945se) wouldnt recognize my dvd drive properly, then one day it wouldnt turn on at all found instructions similar to these online and followed them to a tee, and sure enough.. Shes up and running again! I was so impressed that i wanted to post my results (which i never do). Thanks!
September 3rd, 2011 at 11:53 pm

26. Computer Repair Tips In response to the question could someone tell me if new thermal compound is completely necessary? I will assume you refer to the thermal compound between the graphics chip and its heatsink. The answer to that is it depends. On most laptops I have done this on, they tend to have a thermal pad attached to the graphics heatsink. As such, there is rarely any thermal compound on the chip itself. Under the heat of the baking procedure, there is no doubt that if thermal compound is present on the chip it will dry up and crack/crumble, rendering it ineffective as a heat transfer medium.
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How to Reflow a Laptop Motherboard in a Household Oven Computer Repair Tips

So if after disassembly, your graphics ship still has an amount of thermal compound on it, I would recommend removing it prior to the baking process using something like isopropyl alcohol. Then after the baking process apply fresh thermal compound before reassembling. Standard thermal paste is inexpensive and may help with ensuring heat transfer in the long term. However, if all you are wanting to do is get your laptop up and running again long enough to retrieve data files, etc, it will probably make very little difference whether you apply fresh thermal compound or not. Hope this helps!
August 23rd, 2011 at 3:55 pm

27. Mulligan I have a bricked HP Pavilion dv9700 and thought Id give the oven a try. Its been mentioned a couple times in comments, but could someone tell me if new thermal compound is completely necessary? Im not sure if I should wait for some to be delivered or go ahead and try without? And, if the oven method doesnt work itll be a waste of money on the thermal compound. Thanks for the guide!
August 21st, 2011 at 11:06 pm

28. Victoria I tried baking my the motherboard on my old acer last night and have just re-assembled it (with a few spare screws left over oops) and it works. I can rescue my files before it dies again Thanks!
August 11th, 2011 at 1:27 pm

29. Sharon My laptop (Gateway P-6860fx) GPU died in November 2010. I replaced the laptop right away. Since the old one was shot anyway, I figure I had nothing to lose besides a couple bucks for some new thermal compound. I removed the MoBo and baked it at 385 for 7.5 minutes. A figure gathered from several websites on the subject. So far it works. I dont know for how long though. The bake was performed last night. Things Id do differently: Remove the black plastic covering. Id read that it wasnt necessary. Much of it melted onto the board, but can still be pealed off, so no major issues with it. Some edges curled. Not sure if they will ever be an issue. Be a little more careful about removing everything. I forgot the little plastic piece in the SD card slot, so its pretty much fused in there now. No SD card for that laptop now, but no big loss considering the
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nature of the repair. This was a last ditch effort before paying $250 to replace it. I fear that the replacement parts were fixed in a similar manner (albeit a more professional and controlled method one would hope), so I would hate to waste $250 on something thats going to break in a year or less anyway.
August 8th, 2011 at 3:14 pm

30. PC repair manchester Re flowing a Laptop Motherboard definitely works, but the problem is how long it works, some work a week others more than a year. For a stress free life cut your losses and sell your laptop on ebay for parts.
July 27th, 2011 at 1:42 pm

31. Mike Searle Liked the `bake hp motherboard in the oven` method it does work! Clean the chip with Articclean thermal material remover and add a copper square & artic silver 5 paste. This is vital to resolve original overheating problem. My guinea pig HP lasted for over a year and is still going! Regards, Mike
June 23rd, 2011 at 2:49 am

32. Greg Tried the heatgun technique. Lasted for a week. Now I baked the motherboard for 30 minutes at 300 degrees F and its working fine. Now I can transfer everything to my new notebook.
January 16th, 2011 at 2:19 am

33. Danno 2001 Nah, if it is just the graphics chip or main processor chip you can more directly control the reflow with a heat gun or if you are very carefull a butane torch on its lowest setting. No need to bake the entire thing Just an option to consider anyways. Like the article says, it is a last ditch attempt to add life to your system. Most likely if the fix works, you will have to do it again after some time. So even if you are able to repair, it is a diffinitive sign that it is time to start looking for a new motherboard or a new computer or at the very least, get all your important data backed up.
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January 6th, 2011 at 5:18 pm

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