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Hello from Iowa!


matt31415
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Howdy, folks, Just wanted to pop in and say hi, and introduce myself.

 

I work at a small literal arts college in northwest Iowa, in the IT department. Several factors came together to lead me to this site...the first of which was Nvidia's infamous notebook graphics problem...We've got a fleet of about 80 620's and 630's around here, and over the last year, as they've aged, we noticed more and more fo them coming in due to bad graphics. Since they're almost to retirement age (we already upgraded our D620 users last summer, and the D630s cycle out of use this summer) and they're out of warranty, when we got a bad D630 in, we've just been swapping the HDD into a working D620 and then stripping the system out for parts. I recently started reading about how you can reflow the BGA graphics chip and resurrect the dead, "Bad graphics" laptops by baking the motherboard in the oven. I've been able to get all three back to life that I've tried so far, and reassembled them back into working, spare units. Installed copper shims to reduce the heat on the chip (and it does so, to the tune of about 40 degrees cooler under constant full load)...didn't use flux on these three, but should have, and I have some on the way to help make the fix more permanent on future laptops I 'reflow'

 

So how did all that lead me here? I'm the main computer technician for the campus, but my boss, the helpdesk manager, is the resident Mac expert. I've worked at this job for 15 monhts and pretty much learned nothing about macs, because I didn't have to. Now she's leaving in May, and I'm in training to take over her position. I needed to get up to speed on macs fairly quickly, but don't have the money to spend on real apple hardware, so I swung a deal to get a couple of these fixed latitudes from work for free, since they had been written off as dead and pulled out of inventory anyway. So now I'm the proud owner of a D620 and D630 laptop. The D630 is running Snow Leopard 10.6.8 with 3GB ram, and the D620 is running Lion 10.7.3 on 2GB Ram (the 620, in addition to needing reflowed, has a bad SODIMM slot, so 2GB is the max it can ever handle).

 

Now I've got the two major apple platforms we see come through the department that I can monkey around with, with only very minor software cost outlay since i got the hardware for free. It seems to be running quite well at this point, so I'm thrilled with the setup, turning junk laptops into OSX machines. Fun stuff.

 

Be well, folks, and thanks for the help you provided in getting set up on my first unit. Now that I have the method down, It's a piece of cake.

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interested read! And we are glad to have you here. I'm still learning something new every day as well. What's the hack is "flux" for example? :unsure:

 

And you might be my angel from above. Cause just today I got a Dell D630 in that's ain't starting, and I know a lot about supporting software, but my hardware skills are historic really.

 

I had to look up flux the first time I heard it mentioned.

 

let me back it up a bit (did I mention I'm long-winded?) The graphics issue these laptops have (D620, 630, lot of HP DV series notebooks, that all use the Nvidia graphics) is due to the extreme fluctuations in temperature....their cooling is relatively inadequate, so they get really really hot in use, then cool back down when the computer is off. This swinging back and forth in temperature, over time, causes the solder joints under the BGA graphics chip to get a little brittle...at the molecular level, the structure becomes something of a honeycomb structure, and can have micro-fractures...This leads to weird graphics issues that can range from certain items on the screen appearing to shimmer or wiggle, to horizontal, vertical lines, specs all over the place, or no video at all, depending on its severity. The way to fix this is to 'reflow" the solder, cause it to melt in-place and restore its original solid connection. This is where the oven comes in. You take out the board, strip all the plastic labels and such off of it, and partially screw several screws into the holes on the bottom of the board so that it is evenly supported on 'stands' with some room for air underneath. Pre-heat the oven to 390 deg. Fahrenheit, and put the motherboard on a cookie sheet and put into the oven. After ten minutes, turn the oven off and crack the door open just a tad, and let it slowly cool over 30-45 minutes. Then reassemble. It has worked on all three units I've tried so far. Enter flux. Turns out, I should have been using this the whole time. It's a liquid you put around the edges of the chip and let roll around beneath the chip, which conditions the solder so that after it reflows, it's more supple...or at least no longer brittle....it makes it more of a stronger, more permanent fix. The three I've done so far could go out again, but they would be less likely to do so if I had used flux.

 

When I first read about this, I thought it sounded completely crazy, but figured, "they're dead anyhow, couldn't make it any worse" and sure enough, I'm three-for-three in fixing them!

 

This could be the issue you're having, if, and only if, it has nvidia graphics. Since I support all the ones at work still, if you describe your symptoms in detail, I may be able to help point you in the right direction drawing from some of my experience.

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Hey matt,

 

I have used the same method, with a bit less luck - but i do know it works :)

 

If you are up for writting a good (allthough) you just did - step by step guide with some good pictures and mail it to [email protected] - we can add it to the wiki - that way, your work may help the next guy comming by - like the guides have helped you today.

 

Again, glad to hear you got a working setup.

 

 

//Leon

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That was fun. Reflowing!.

 

 

Now that you'll be a Mac expert soon you should know that BGA reflow is the reciepe for old iBooks and Powerbooks also.

My daughters Mac had this problem and i tried with a hair dryer but....... She got a new one ending High School.

 

Good Luck helping the kids out.

(Elektor magazine has a reflow oven and also had a rebuild article for some common USA owen with new controller)

 

Anders

 

 

 

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I have old D630 from my office. Is there any guide "How to install Mac OS X on D630 for dummies"? I can be even 10.5. I just would like to give a try but I don't know where to start. Is it very complicated?

 

Try the wiki's "How to install OSX on your computer" - http://www.osxlatitude.com/howto-install-osx/

 

You need 2gb RAM for Lion install

 

All the wiki's are worth a good read and then as always not everything is always 100% clear or 100% successful when you try - but a good browse of the D630 support forum will yield most answers - just be specific and detailed as possible when asking - all here are very helpful :-)

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