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.

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200 Comments

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  1. 30
    Zippy Da Great Says:

    It work great! Thank you for posting this.. I got a heat gun from Harbor Freight… Cheap… Covered the mother board with foil except the GPU… Ran the heat gun on low setting for 60 seconds… And the laptop works… It was a good idea to test the solder on the penny first to get the time (seconds) needed for your heat gun to melt the solder properly… Just for fun i took off the heat sink pad from the GPU and used good high silver heatsink compound and a penny for a spacer… put compound on both sides of the penny and stuck it to the GPU… It fit great and oozed out the compound from both sides… so nice and tight… Thanks again!

  2. 29
    Zippy Da Great Says:

    Going to try this now… Thanks for the process… I will let you know if it works… off to get a heat gun.

  3. 28
    Hero Technologies Says:

    Cool! Thanks a million. Used that method on a client’s dv2000.

  4. 27
    Gibby4 Says:

    the fix will last longer if you ensure a good contact between the gpu core and the heat sink, i suggest adding some therrmal paste and some come copper or prefereably thermal pad to ensure proper conection with the heat sink..

  5. 26
    cj2600 Says:

    Don King, Jr.

    Just fixed my wife HP dv9812us using the heat gun trick. It appears to be working fine now. She had photos on her computer that had not been backed up.

    Congratulations!
    I would strongly advice to backup all data as soon as possible because the laptop might fail again. Hopefully this repair will work for a long time for you.

  6. 25
    teacher Says:

    If you’re patient, you might be able to back up your “no-video” computer before tearing into it –

    My Dell D830 w/Nvidia Quatro 135 sometimes starts flickering the video, won’t respond to keyboard or pointing device, so I have to shut it down using the power switch. At other times, the Blue Screen Of Death (showing the generic hardware failure code) might occur. The most-often observed failure symptom is a black screen (no video) during and after booting.

    In each of many instances of such failures over the past 3 months, I’ve been able to get the computer to boot normally by persisting in the following three steps:
    1. Using the power button, shut the failed machine down, then immediately power on.
    2. Wait three seconds for something (such as the manufacturer’s logo) to show on the screen.
    3. If nothing appears on the screen within three seconds of power on, repeat this procedure from step 1.

    Persist. It can take dozens of iterations and several minutes of patience before you are rewarded by seeing your dead screen resurrected. (So much for the popular “definition” of stupidity, which derides trying the same thing over and over while expecting a different outcome. This instance of “stupidity” allowed me to recover use of my computer so I could back it to USB drive before trying other solutions to the problem.)

    I tried re-installing Nvidia driver from Dell site and the generic driver from Nvidia’s site, but although each worked for a while, the problem returned. I uninstalled the Nvidia driver software (using Add/Remove Programs) and the computer ran for a few weeks. The video performance was reduced as expected, but it was acceptable, so I thought the problem was solved. But last evening, after pressing the power-on button on the cold computer, there was no video even though no Nvidia driver was installed.

    This morning, after several dozen iterations of the above 3-step procedure, I got the computer to “come back” once again, but it could fail again without warning..

    I’m ready to try re-flowing. Thanks for the helpful post!

    2011may13(14:34)-teacher

  7. 24
    Don King, Jr. Says:

    Just fixed my wife HP dv9812us using the heat gun trick. It appears to be working fine now. She had photos on her computer that had not been backed up. Just follow the instructions. If I can do this anyone can. Good Luck.

  8. 23
    espen Says:

    also works on packard bell mb series.
    thnx for sweet article

  9. 22
    Priority Technology Solutions Says:

    That worked great. My client took his computer in for repair to a bunch of other shops and none of them could fix it. Thanks.

  10. 21
    Falana taiwo Says:

    God bless you,i stil need to know more about computer.thanks

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