How to fix motherboard with failed NVIDIA chip

posted in: Motherboard | 220

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

Before I tried baking the motherboard in an oven or use bubble-wrap. But today I’m going to fix it using a heat gun.

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.

WARNING!

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.



220 Responses

  1. Stephen Piper

    HP-6735b update… The laptop I fixed with a heat gun failed after about a month. Its startup was intermittent until one day it failed as before with startup lights. I have just re-done (heater) the GPU and applied some pressure after 55 seconds to see if I could force the chip back on. It is now working again and will update again when it fails!

  2. This goes without saying usally, but make sure the motherboard is plumb when you heat it up, and make sure there is plenty of Kester’s flux on the solder balls and cups. The best rig is infrared reflux, but short of that, a heat gun will do. Last, make sure you put back the heat sinks with a good quality heat transfer paste – not too much. Clean the surface of the chips real good with alcohol or mild solvent. Then put on the paste, and pull a razor blade over it to you have a uniform layer of thermal compound, and button it up. Do make sure the house dust and fibers are all out of the radiator/heat exchanger and that the fan is working well. If it does not work now, it is because it has been cooked before. Bad air flow in the heat exchanger or hair fibers of hypereutectic solder that shorted it out. Dang tree huggers and their foolish laws!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. @ Rayhan,

    I tried it for my Compaq presario f500.
    It works for 2/3 days then again same problem….
    I used hot gun method…i did it for 5 times..then after 2/3 days same issue….

    I guess it’s time for a new laptop.

  4. Aikins Henry

    I tried to heating it and it worked once. I tried again but couldn’t work again. Can I get any other way to fix a intel board which does not display and also Amd board which doesn’t display either. Is there any way to repair Harddrive or processor?

  5. I tried it for my Compaq presario f500.
    It works for 2/3 days then again same problem….
    I used hot gun method…i did it for 5 times..then after 2/3 days same issue….
    One thing i did not used liquid flux…

    Now what can i do…
    i become bored …

    Pls help me…

  6. Hi!!!

    Thanks for this!!! Yesterday I revived my graphics chip on my laptop!!!

    I use flux, and less temperature; 300ºC 30 secs 400ºC 10 secs.

    Thanks one more time for the idea!

  7. @ Santi,

    i was wondering… with the flux.. at what point do you apply it,

    You apply flux right before heating up the chip.

    why would there be a gap for the flux to seep through?? isnt the chip soldered on firmly?

    Yes, the chip is soldered to the motherboard but there should be a gap between the chip and motherboard. It’s not like a huge gap but should be enough for flux to the under the chip.

    Im guessing i lift it up a little first or something?

    No!!! Don’t lift up anything. Just apply some flux (a drop or two) between the chip and motherboard and let it get under the chip.

  8. Scientific Anomaly

    Sir,

    I want to thank you for publishing this extremely helpful information.

    I was able to fix a Macbook Pro A1229 model suffering from a known NVIDIA Geforce 8600m GT issue using this method, but failed outside the 4 year window for FOC manufacturer fix.

    Thank you again.

  9. Hi, great post, i was wondering… with the flux.. at what point do you apply it, and if its when you mention it in your post… why would there be a gap for the flux to seep through?? isnt the chip soldered on firmly?

    Im guessing i lift it up a little first or something?

    Thanks a lot i can see your answering a lot of people!

    Take care!

  10. @ sylven Black,

    I have a HP Pavillion DV6000 series limited edition laptop. The problem is when you press the power button to turn it on, it comes on for a second and shut right off.

    Take a look at the blue light around the power socket. Does it stay on after the laptop shuts off?

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