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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Should I Put My Sony Computer in the Oven?

In a recent podcast I asked for help with my wife's ailing Sony Vaios computer. The graphics card has gone toes up. Sony acknowledges that they had BIG problems with the NVIDIA graphics cards, but even though our computer has an NVIDIA graphics card and has all the symptoms that come with the NVIDIA graphics card problem, because our particular model is not on their list of affected computers, they won't fix it. (Mental note: Don't buy any more Sony computers!)

Anyway, KB1SNG recommends putting the mother board in the oven:

As crazy as it may sound, you could try putting the motherboard in the oven.
Many people (including myself) have tried this with success.
I did it a while ago, and I can't remember if this ( http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=606658 ) was the guide I used or not, but it should suffice. If I find the other link, I'll post it here.73,Nick LaPointe, KB1SNG

Rogier provides this useful info:

NVIDIA lost a lawsuit with regards to a faulty graphics Chip. Caused by the fact that when they started using lead free solder.
This new solder turned out not as heat resistant as thought and tends to break loose causing the chip to fail.
He continues:
Hmm that's a bold move to put the board in the oven.
On the other hand there is little to be lost and you might give it a try.
Thinking of it I rather apply the heat locally. Isolate the Graphics chip from the rest and apply a short blast of heat to the chip.
Perhaps with a hot air paint stripper....

So what do you guys think? Should I pop it in the oven? Or apply some heat? I kind of like the idea of fixing a problem caused by lead-free solder (yuck).


  1. I had the same problem with my wife's HP Pavillion notebook. Only on hers first the onboard sound card went, then the CPU itself came loose.

    I went with Rogier's solution, rather than baking the entire board in the oven, I removed the heat sink from the board, applied heat with a heat gun (wish I had a hot air reflow station in the shack!) put on new heat paste and reassembled. It worked like a charm.

    After the fix, make sure to get one of those cheap cooling pads to make sure it doesn't happen again. The same cheap solder is still there after all.

  2. Well, since you "have nothing to loose", I would give it some heat. I don't think I would heat the whole thing, but as suggested, an embossing heat gun, such as used by some home brewers to solder surface mount devices. (This might be a way to get you started on solder paste SMD building!) At the midwest Homebrewers/QRP group we use some heat guns purchased for about $15.00 at hobby lobby.

    73 - KA0NCR

  3. I have a laptop that I am currently working on with the same NVIDIA Graphics Problem. I found a YouTube video of a guy the use a 150-200 watt light bulb to heat the board locally and reflow the solder just to the graphics chip. Here is a link to the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctHTF3oNdxI

    I tried this with a smaller bulb the laptop did turn and booted into vista one time so I am hopefull that when I get a bigger bulb it will work.

    Good Luck, 73's


  4. First, welcome to the world of disassembling notebook computers. You'll love it. Yes, I'm being facetious. I've done it a few times and it about drove me nuttier.

    What I'd try first is, if you can get at it without disturbing any heat sinks, is to operate the computer with the graphics I.C. exposed. If it has leads, i.e. not a Ball Grid Array chip, go around the chip pushing on each lead with a spudger to see if loose leads are the problem. Poke around any other I.C.s in the near area, just in case the graphics chip isn't it.

    I like the re-flow idea. Pre-warm with a big light bulb (remember those?) or heat lamp placed not too close. Then hit just the I.C. with the flow from an embossing tool (they're low flow and relatively low temp.). If you need to, using some scrap tin make a nozzle for the end of the embossing tool to narrow direct the flow. This will result in a higher flow velocity so a 'waste gate' (small cutout of the tin on the side of the nozzle) is also a good idea. That way you won't disturb the teeny-weeny parts near the chip.

    Note: No rosin will be harmed during this procedure.

    73.......Steve Smith WB6TNL
    "Snort Rosin"

  5. Short answer: Yes

    Longer answer: See above


  6. Bill, I think No-lead solder is a BIG disaster waiting to happen.

    I buy used Wall-Worts for my QRP HB Projects, every single wall-wort has failed due to no-lead solder. After fixing them, they are great for projects.

    Go for it! You have nothing-to-loose and all-to-gain, heat them up, add some new good old 63-37, and smell the SMOKE! :-)

    Note: the implementation may be more difficult than the theory.

    Eldon - WA0UWH

  7. Do you know if your laptop is using a separate video card? It might be easier to just remove it and default to the built-in chipset. On my 3 year old Acer, if I remove the Nvidia 8600GT mxm board, it will revert to the GMA4100 Intel built-in video controller.

  8. Bill, to my knowledge the failed connection is inside the chip and not the solder-joint to the motherboard.

    Smiles across the wires,


    Next time I pull a board that has been identified as a NVIDIA problem I will pull out the 10X magnifier and inspect the connections to the board.


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