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Component level board repair. Watch me fail here!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Vince, Jan 31, 2019.

  1. Vince

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 30, 2003

    Posts: 7,562

    Location: Essex

    Hi All, It occurred to me the other day that I come across a silly amount of broken devices in what I do. Sometimes its a broken phone or a broken laptop, other times people come to me with broken monitors and TV's which in the past I have fixed, soldered new caps onto etc but when it comes to things like failed surface mount components on devices such as phones or motherboards I have always just thrown it away and given up.

    In this month alone I have come across at least 3 or 4 devices that are in otherwise perfect order bar some odd fault that renders them useless, that got me thinking, why don't I just go and buy the rest of the kit that I need and start attempting to repair some of these things? So when on Tuesday somebody handed me an iPhone 7 which is in otherwise good condition apart from the fact that they cant hear anything anybody is saying on a call or use other audio functions on the device I set about my plan.

    To be clear here I replaced this broken iphone 7 with a new xr or whatever the new iphone is called now. This is basically a brick so with the phone being broken anyway why not attempt a repair?

    Realising that my butane iron wasn't going to do the job here I ordered the most likely component that can cause this issue in an iphone as well as a whole load of new (but really cheap) kit that I think I will need to carry out this repair then I forgot about it until today when I got home and stuff started turning up.

    The idea here is not just this first repair but I might buy some random broken electronics like really old computers as well and see if I can repair them but first i'm going to share with my first attempt at a repair which is going to be this:

    [​IMG]

    A bga audio ic for an iphone 7 which turned up at my door today and cost less than £6, this little thing is tiny but I counted and there are 144 connections between this tiny little chip and the board. This is probably a silly thing to start with but you have to start somewhere right? Even if replacing this thing is silly hard I am still going to give it a try. Over the next few days I will also share the cheap gear I bought as it gets delivered, I might even do a little video of each repair so you can all mock me for my total failures (of which there will be many) and also for the fact that I have pretty much no idea what I am doing.

    So what you recon to this one, this iPhone? Success of failure?
     
  2. Brizzles

    Soldato

    Joined: Mar 16, 2005

    Posts: 6,577

    Location: Clevedon , Bristol

    [​IMG]

    Good Luck
     
  3. Rroff

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 13, 2006

    Posts: 62,643

    I assume you bought a hot air rework station?

    Been thinking of getting one for some projects I have on the side but put it off with an impending house move on the table.
     
  4. Efour

    Capodecina

    Joined: Sep 8, 2005

    Posts: 24,475

    Location: Norrbotten, Sweden.

    I've been watching videos of some guy in New York fixing apple stuff. Can't remember who he is but he has a little catch phrase about being more productive that he repeats when putting flux on.

    It's fascinating stuff and all I can say is good luck.
     
  5. Hades

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 22,443

    Location: Surrey and London

    Louis Rossman?
     
  6. Vince

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 30, 2003

    Posts: 7,562

    Location: Essex

    Must be! That fella knows his stuff though. Me... I know nothing but I am sure it will be interesting to learn a bit!
     
  7. Hades

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 22,443

    Location: Surrey and London

    Yes he's great. I can sit and watch him fix a board and have no idea why I am even watching it.

    I think he started the same you are, realising he should be able to fix something. So he taught himself and then expanded from there. He really hates the build quality of Apple products and their practice of preventing official or unofficial spares being made available to people to fix their own stuff though.

    Good luck and I'd love to hear how successful you are.
     
  8. robgmun

    Capodecina

    Joined: Apr 30, 2006

    Posts: 14,637

    I'm a bit addicted to watching youtube videos of old computers like the C64/Amiga being repaired and refurbished to a like-new condition. They make it look so easy but i bet if i tried the same i'd make a real hash of it
     
  9. Efour

    Capodecina

    Joined: Sep 8, 2005

    Posts: 24,475

    Location: Norrbotten, Sweden.

    Yes that's him. I spent hours one evening watching him trying different ways to fix some motherboard.

    I admire anyone with the knowledge, logic and skills to systematically repair something that complicated.
     
  10. Vince

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 30, 2003

    Posts: 7,562

    Location: Essex

    I did but this was a proper cheap one just to get me going! We are talking less than £40. I'll post some pics when it turns up.
     
  11. paradigm

    Caporegime

    Joined: Aug 26, 2003

    Posts: 34,719

    Location: Staffordshire

    I’d been watching Louis Rossmann for about 6 months before buying a cheap hot air station (can’t remember the brand, cheap junk off eBay), cost me around £90 as I wanted one that pumped air from the base rather than had a fan in the handle.

    I’ve since repaired a fair few devices for either myself (purposely buying broken MacBooks from eBay) or friends and family.

    Even with janky tools (though my TS100 soldering iron is pretty nice) I’ve had a 100% hit rate so far.
     
  12. Funky-Melon

    Hitman

    Joined: Jan 26, 2018

    Posts: 519

    Location: Southampton

    That BGA is fairly big for 144 pins. I've designed with smaller before :D

    A hot air gun will get that off fine, if your gun has some square IC adapters, even better.

    Quick tip - When you've got it off, use some solder wick and a large iron tip carefully to get any left over solder off the pads, then wipe well using some isopropyl alcohol, that'll remove all the flux and leave nice smooth tinned pads for the new chip. Don't press too hard with the iron/wick though as I've had pads lift from the PCB before.

    The BGA will have very small balls of solder on it so once you've cleaned up the board putting the new one on should be fairly easy if you've got a steady hand and a good eye for keeping it centered.

    Good luck :)
     
  13. 233

    Capodecina

    Joined: Nov 21, 2004

    Posts: 12,537

    Location: Glasgow

    wish you the very best of luck with this, could be a very lucrative market to get into given the quality we're seeing in phones motherboards and other electronics lately
     
  14. Vince

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 30, 2003

    Posts: 7,562

    Location: Essex

    Then you will be happy as project 2 for this thread is an old Atari ST. :D I'm also on the look out for an old zx speccy 48k.
     
  15. Terminal_Boy

    Soldato

    Joined: Apr 13, 2013

    Posts: 6,516

    Location: La France

    Not a chance. One or more of the following will happen:

    - PCB will warp due to uneven/excessive heating
    - “Gnat poo” size components will be displaced by heat source/IC removal tool/unsteady hands
    - Solder pads will lift due to excessive heat
    - Solder bridges on replacement chip due to misalignment
     
  16. Vince

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 30, 2003

    Posts: 7,562

    Location: Essex

    Well I'm not going to hide my failures so we will see! Personally I'm on the fence and give it something like a 50/50 chance of success, full disclosure, i've been watching board repair videos (mostly Louis Rossman) for about a year which I think has given me a little bit of misplaced confidence, perhaps what I think my ability is vs what it actually is will be way off. If it breaks it will be because of my total incompetence!
     
  17. Maccy

    Commissario

    Joined: Nov 23, 2004

    Posts: 35,154

    Location: Back in Blighty

    Good luck mate, intrigued to see how you get on with this :)
     
  18. Terminal_Boy

    Soldato

    Joined: Apr 13, 2013

    Posts: 6,516

    Location: La France

    I don’t mean to be Debbie Downer, but I used to repair mobile phones for Nokia back in the days of ETACS (UK 1G) and they wouldn’t even entertain engineers trying to replace surface mount ICs.

    I worked for Apple and the soldering equipment needed just to attach flying leads to enable the monitoring of the various antenna tuning switches cost thousands of dollars and we eventually had to get this done at the factory as we wrecked too many devices trying to do it in the remote offices.

    Good luck!
     
  19. Vince

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 30, 2003

    Posts: 7,562

    Location: Essex

    Not at all dude, a bit of reality is essential :) Should make for some interesting conversation in here as well. I am open to total failure and will fully embrace it!
     
  20. ic1male

    Caporegime

    Joined: Oct 28, 2003

    Posts: 25,510

    Location: Westchestershire

    I've just been checking him out. Fascinating stuff. But where does he get all those Apple schematics from? They can't be in the public domain surely, so has someone gone through the hardware and painstakingly reproduced all the documentation?