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. @ Klevin,

    I tried cleaning the heatsink and everything but still the problem persists. I suspect there’s problem with the graphics card, i removed the old thermal compound(it’s dried out hard as a chunk of play-dough!) and applied some new thermal paste and things got worse. I can’t boot into windows anymore(shuts down at welcome screen).

    Take a closer look at the cooling fan. Does it start spinning at all? I’m thinking maybe the fan failed and the laptop shuts down because of overheating.

  2. Hi, My laptop is Acer Aspire 4937G, using Nvidia G105M graphics chipset. It started to shutdown suddenly whenever i run some memory dependent software (movie player, 3D games, multi-tabbing on Chrome).

    I tried cleaning the heatsink and everything but still the problem persists. I suspect there’s problem with the graphics card, i removed the old thermal compound(it’s dried out hard as a chunk of play-dough!) and applied some new thermal paste and things got worse. I can’t boot into windows anymore(shuts down at welcome screen).

    I’ve been using ubuntu(didn’t install drivers for the graphics card, shuts down halfway during installation when i try) and runs fine but would still shutdown if i run any of the software stated above.

    I don’t think its because of separated graphics chip.
    I haven’t tried your way with the oven or the heat gun since i’m afraid of frying the whole board, so it there any alternatives?

  3. @ Stephen Piper,

    I have an HP 6735B laptop that lasted just over a year before overheating. It was showing a start-up light sequence of 1 flash 5 times. I want to thank you for your post because I have just followed your method using a Fermi FHG2000 heat gun and the laptop lives!

    I’m glad this method worked for you.

    I heated the AMD Radeon GPU and southbridge chips for about 50-55 seconds each after timing this using solder on a penny.

    I guess this trick works not only on NVIDIA chips.
    Please report after a while if your laptop still working fine.

  4. Stephen Piper

    I have an HP 6735B laptop that lasted just over a year before overheating. It was showing a start-up light sequence of 1 flash 5 times. I want to thank you for your post because I have just followed your method using a Fermi FHG2000 heat gun and the laptop lives! I heated the AMD Radeon GPU and southbridge chips for about 50-55 seconds each after timing this using solder on a penny.
    I will report back if I notice anything strange happen…
    Regards

  5. Worked like a charm, you da man!!!!!

  6. my compaq presario v3000 is running propely sudden it stop working and switch off and now it start until ……….so what i do repair shop told me about the nvidia problem so is this can i apply or do something else…………

  7. one at the left is onboard but the 2 at the right is attached one of the attached is working fine but the other is not……just as the left

  8. @ Anietie,

    my laptop just shut down on me and refused to boot up again. The caps lock light blinks when i turn it on but nothing shows on the screen.

    Did it happen just recently? Try this. Unplug the AC adapter, remove the battery, push on the power button for a few second. Now plug in the battery and adapter and try again.
    Also, it’s possible the laptop shut down because of overheating. Did it feel hot on the bottom before shutting down? Wait for a while, let the processor to cool down and try again. Does it start after a while?

  9. Guys; i dont know if i have the same problem, my laptop just shut down on me and refused to boot up again. The caps lock light blinks when i turn it on but nothing shows on the screen. according to hp website, my motherboard is dead, but here i am hearing you guys talk about gpu; my laptop is out of warranty; my warranty expired just his august which is sad but i want to confirm if i am having the same problem so that i can try this method; thanks

  10. Well it can’t get any worse, plus a new laptop has already been bought, because this one has been to 2 repair shops and both of them said it’s toast. So I’ve pretty much accepted that. I can’t heat only one chip since, like I said before, I don’t know where exactly the problem is and there is no way to find out for sure. I belive it is the GPU causing it because before dying, the graphics got worse and worse. So what would you suggest? Should I heat only the GPU or all the chips (there is 4 counting the CPU) or the entire board?

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