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reflow?


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#1 millipede

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 03:56 PM

About to look at a computer for a friend.  It's a Dell Inspiron m5010

She said nothing would display and it gave 7 beeps.  Doing some quick searches I have found this to be a very common problem with that model.  I HATE how there have been different brands and models with similar issues where it was quite common and the companies never take any responsibility for it.  :/

Anyway...  I told my friend that it may just need a new motherboard(so much easier to just swap things) but it might cost anywhere to $150.  She said she'd be fine with that if that's what it takes. 
While searching I found MANY discussions and youtube videos about using reflow on the gpu to fix this issue.  I worked on another computer with a similar issue once and after watching directions about reflow, I was nervous and opted not to do it... not to mention, I just didn't have the tools.  Ended up finding them another used laptop for $10 and it was a newer/better model so that worked out fine.
But here I am looking at this issue again and I'm debating giving it a try.  I'm pretty good at figuring things out and following directions... So, I have a fair amount of confidence in myself.
I'm curios what others think... should I give it a try?  I mean, it doesn't work as it is so the worst that can happen is it still wont work.
My other and bigger question is...  how do you recommend doing it?  Basically... in the videos I watched, some people used a heat gun(which I could probably pick up locally) and others simply put the motherboard in the oven and baked it.  That method seems quite a bit more simple but, rather than watch a million more youtube videos to see what who knows who suggests, I thought I'd get some opinions here.
Any thoughts?



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#2 dpunisher

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 10:12 AM

They are problem children.

 

Easiest way to reflow is to get a heat gun, and an IR thermometer.  Get some aluminum foil and mask off the entire board except for the chip/package in question.  Main thing is to concentrate heat on the bad component and spare everything else on the board.  High heat, low fan speed, hit it until you get to the 220C/430F mark.  Hold it there for about a minute-90 seconds and let it cool.  Don't ramp up the heat too quickly.  Keep board flat and level, no bumping it while hot.

 

You can also reflow in an oven.  Gotta be careful as any capacitors (not solid caps), and plastic components can suffer.  Usually 10 minutes or so at ~400F suffices..... in either fixing it, or killing it.

 

A lot of times, a reflow is a temporary fix.  Just the nature of the beast.  When "RoHS" compliance solder became standard, sometimes the formulations were not up to the former lead/tin/silver solder standards.  Even plumbers went through some hassles when working with copper pipe.


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#3 millipede

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 01:07 PM

Thanks for your input.  Sounds like it would be advisable to try the heat gun rather than the oven.  I can get a heat gun today at Walmart or Lowes(they're next door to each other) but I'm not sure about the IR thermometer.  Neither had any listed online but I can check the stores while I'm out. 
It's definitely worth a try as it doesn't work now.  Although, I may want to try and remember to check the thermal paste first.  I doubt this is the issue but in one conversation I saw someone else just reapplied some thermal paste and all was good.  I'll clean it up and see how everything goes.
Would it be advisable to try the relfow if I cannot find an IR thermometer today?



#4 rotor123

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 02:00 PM

Hi,

I did find this message http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3518/t/19464785.aspx

Posted by psfrie
Verified Answer
Verified by mkm_US
 

Hello all,

I contacted Dell (Dell-Royan S) via friend request, and he got right back to me. He sent out a box for my laptop with instructions and postage via Fed Ex.

I just got my M5010 laptop back. Dell replaced the motherboard, audio board, heat sink, and bottom chassis. So far the laptop is working well.

My warranty was out, but Dell is standing behind their product. So far, I'm very impressed with  Dell's responsiveness and willingness to correct this problem.

 

Worth a try

 

 

It isn't the Thermal Paste as that would cause a overheat and shutdown problem.

 

Putting on my guessing hat. When the changed the Thermal paste they made a broken connection contact. It will be a temporary fix at best for them.

 

Having had experience with Reflows on HPs and Thinkpads. It is rare that it works long term. If you decide to reflow warn that it can kill the motherboard or that result may not last.

 

A proper reflow is not really a reflow. It involves removing the chip, Reballing it and then putting it back and to do it properly uses a expensive machine.

 

As I see it the heart of the problem is the Solder involved in the manufacturing process as mentioned by dpunisher.

When they lowered the lead content they raised the melting point of the solder as well as making it more brittle. Hence less durable.

 

Also laptop new laptop Motherboards tend to be more expensive than desktop boards. I saw prices in the $300 to $600 range on the Toshiba parts website when I had access for example. Fortunately I wasn't paying for them, Toshiba was supplying them for warranty repairs.

 

Good Luck

Roger


Edited by rotor123, 04 September 2013 - 02:01 PM.

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#5 millipede

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 02:32 PM

Thanks for that rotar.  It's possible I browsed through one of those topics and didn't see the success with Dell Support.  I will say that out of the few companies I've used support from, Dell has been the most helpful.  I messaged my friend and discussed the options, including that one.  We'll see what she wants to do.
I will likely still go out and buy a heat gun today.  I actually have another laptop sitting around(I THINK all the parts are there, ha) that had the same type of issue and I could practice on it.  :)  Who knows, maybe I'll have an extra working laptop around after that.  HA. 

So, I'll see if she wants to try and contact Dell.  If not, or if that doesn't work... I understand that it might not work at all, and even if it does, it could be temporary.  Outside of Dell taking care of it for free, it doesn't matter if I damage the board or if it doesn't last because the next step would be replacement anyway. 
On ebay I saw some "new" for around $130 to $150.  She was okay with that if that is what we go with.
I'll see what she wants to do and go from there.



#6 dpunisher

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 02:34 PM

Agree with above- If you haven't contacted Dell, give it a try.  You might be surprised about secret extended warranties on some known problem problems.

 

As far as doing it without a thermometer- risky.  I bought an IR thermometer 15 years ago for ~$320, now you can walk out of Harbor Freight with one for $30.  Heatguns ~$15. 


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#7 millipede

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 02:40 PM

hmm... there's a harbor freight about 30 to 40 minutes or so from here... and I might have coupons laying around.  I'll have to look.  :) 
Thanks.



#8 rotor123

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 02:53 PM


Warning! Please read this first.
I suggest doing nothing to the computer unless Dell refuses to do anything, Opening and trying a Reflow will result in them sending it back due to tampering

 

I had to fight With HP due to the Boss opening a laptop and then sending it for warranty. The Thermal compound was different and that was all it took for them to call tampering.

 

If they take it for repair, back up the data as they may do a reload of the OS as part of the repair.

 

Good Luck

Roger


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#9 millipede

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 03:25 PM

Thanks Roger.  I'll have to take the hard drive out to back up the data but I can do that...   I'll pass this on to my friend and suggest she try contacting Dell first.
My wife is suggesting that I contact Dell.  I'm not sure, would Dell respond to me not being the actual owner?  I still haven't heard back from my friend and, the sooner we decide what to do the better.



#10 millipede

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 06:29 PM

Just an update...  Dell sent her a box so she can ship it to them.  :)
We'll see what happens from there.



#11 rotor123

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 08:25 AM

That sounds promising. Thank You for the Update.

 

Cheers

Roger


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