In this post I explain how you can fix a motherboard with failed NVIDIA graphics chip. This repair might apply to some HP/Compaq laptops and probably some other brands. If this repair works for you, please mention the brand and model number in comments after the post. This will help other readers.
This method should work for the following models: HP Pavilion dv2000, Pavilion dv6000, Pavilion dv9000, Compaq Presario v3000, Presario v6000, HP Pavilion tx1000, Pavilion tx2000.
By the way, I just fixed my son’s Xbox 360 with red ring of death (error 74) using exactly same technique.
MOST COMMON PROBLEM SYMPTOMS
1. Laptop turns on with garbled video on the internal screen and external monitor.
2. Laptop turns on but there is no video on the screen or external monitor.
MY UNDERSTANDING OF THE PROBLEM
The graphics chip soldered to the motherboard. When the laptop runs hot for a long time, the graphics chip separates from the motherboard and video fails.
HOW TO FIX FAILED CHIP
Basically, I’m going to heat up the graphics chip with a heat gun to solder it back to the motherboard (reflow). I think this method is more reliable and the repair should last for a while.
There is no guaranty this method works all the time. While doing this repair you may damage the motherboard and make it unrepairable.
Proceed at your own risk and don’t blame me if after this repair you’ll get a very expensive door stop. 🙂
If you don’t feel comfortable doing this repair, take your laptop to the repair shop.
HOW I FIXED THE MOTHERBOARD
First of all, you’ll have to disassemble the laptop and remove the motherboard.
In my example I’m using a motherboard removed from HP Pavilion tx2000.
In most laptops the graphics chip located under the CPU heatsink (and it has NVIDIA logo on it), so there shouldn’t be a problem locating the chip.
I’ll be using an Ecoheat heat gun EC-100.
In order to figure out how to position the heat gun and for how long, I tested it on a penny with a small piece of solder on the top.
The heat gun has a switch on the handle. There are two positions for the switch. Position 1 – slow. Position 2 – fast.
I used position 1 – slow.
I positioned the heat gun about 1 inch away from the penny and turned it on.
After about 40-45 second the solder started melting. After 50 seconds the solder melted completely.
To protect the motherboard from the heat I used a regular cooking aluminum foil. I cut off a piece of aluminum foil and folded it a few times to make my protection shield thicker. After that I cut off a square opening right in the middle, same size as the NVIDIA chip.
If there is thermal grease on the chip it has to be removed. You can remove thermal grease using alcohol swabs.
It’s not necessary to make it perfectly clean. Just make sure there are no large chunks of the grease on the chip.
UPDATE: Some people mentioned that I should have applied some liquid flux underneath the chip for better results. I’ll definitely do it next time when I have to fix another motherboard.
I found this video explaining how to apply liquid flux under the chip. This video was made for Xbox 360 motherboard but should apply to any laptop motherboard too.
Finally, I positioned the heat gun above the NVIDIA chip about 1 inch away and turned the heat gun into the position 1.
After 50 seconds I turned it off and let the motherboard cool down for about 20 minutes.
Don’t forget to apply new thermal grease on the graphics chip when you install the heat sink.
Some laptops use thermal pads instead of grease. If that’s the case with your laptop, make sure the thermal pad positioned correctly.
After I assembled the laptop back together, the video started properly!
The NVIDIA graphics chip problem fixed!
Will it last for a long time? I don’t know. Still testing.