Wednesday, August 20, 2014

He's dead, Jim!

So my development laptop a trustworthy dv6535ep that is anything but robust with plastic all over the place, just had its last rites when the GPU failed for the second time. The symptoms were obvious, the computer booted through the BIOS and was crashing somewhere in the operating system WHILE the screen was off at all times, even with another screen connected to the VGA port.
Since the laptop was never subject of physical abuse, it was obvious that the GPU was needing a reflux. I do not have a reflux oven and using my baking oven was out of question. However, I do have a PID-controlled hot-air station so why not trying to salvage an already dead and old piece of equipment?

Disregarding my lack of a working-table, I disassembled the laptop in a very organized fashion. Then I covered everything in aluminium foil and left the GPU exposed.

After that I slowly started increasing the temperature of the hot-air station until I saw the texture of the solderpads change - I believe this was around 380 deg Celsius. I left it cooking for 10 seconds and then slowly reduced the temperature again. After this operation was complete, the computer stayed cooling by itself for a few hours. Then I assembled the laptop in a minimal fashion just to check if I had video output - YES!

It did not last long though, after a few days there wasn't any video output again. I repeated the steps above but this time it didn't work. I guess this was the end of it.

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