Hacked Gadgets Forum

January 6, 2013

How to Reflow a Macbook Pro GPU

at 8:14 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks


Dane from Transistor Man had a Macbook Pro with a GPU that wasn’t working. The system would boot but the display output was dead. Similar to the  Xbox 360 BGA  problems there are some Macbook Pro computers that have experienced BGA solder issues. The big issue here is that BGA devices have the solder connections under the device itself. Dane used a heat gun and a variac to blow a measured amount of heat onto the device to reflow the solder in attempts to repair the bad connections. The actual remelting of the solder isn’t a quick application of heat as it is when you solder a through hole solder pad. To prevent thermal shock you need to slowly bring the part up to temperature using the typical temperature profile that is normally used to reflow parts.

Read here How to Reflow a Macbook Pro GPU.



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3 Responses to “How to Reflow a Macbook Pro GPU”

  1. Polytech Says:

    There should be a HUGE banner at the top of the page: “DO THIS AS THE LAST RESORT MEASURE”. It’s so much not guaranteed to work after you baked it, it’s not even funny 🙂 My own success rate it similar reflowing efforts is about 20% at best. I do use a second heat gun from underneath wherever the PCB allows (no other components mounted on the underside) and I use an IR thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature but still, if you don’t re-ball the BGA with new solder, you’re not actually doing much good by just baking it – if some of the balls are larger than others (which is probably the original cause of the problem) – they’ll still stay larger and some of the connections are still going to separate in the future.

  2. Per Jensen Says:

    I’ll agree with Polytech. It’s a viable method of “maybe” bringing the laptop back to life, but it would be wisest to reball the chip. But PLEASE squirt some flux under the chip, otherwise re-melting solder won’t do anything good – there is absolutely no wetting without flux. Also OP did not make it work with OS X so the reflow was not successfull. Running Linux on it, not utilizing the GPU to the max is not a success in my opinion. I made a video of how it _should_ be done http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0t7nkY8-vM

  3. Jose F. Medeiros Says:

    I was given a 2006 Mac Book Pro with a black video screen issue on both the LCD and external display port. I tried the oven method to reflow my ATI 1600 GPU, and although it did temporarily revive the video and the laptop worked again, the repair only lasted for a few months. Do you still have your laptop, and has the reflow held up?

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