I bought a very expensive ($500) PC motherboard for ($50) that I am going to try to repair... any suggestions?

Thread Starter

rambomhtri

Joined Nov 9, 2015
574
Hello, I recently bought (still shipping) a very expensive PC motherboard ($500) for "just" $50, and I will try to repair it. I've been soldering and repairing many, many different things for the last 10 years or even more, and I would rate my soldering skills at 8/10 may be, I don't know. The only thing I have not practiced and find still very difficult (in my mind) is soldering with a heat gun something like a chip with ball grid array soldering.

This is the motherboard (ASUS X670E-E):

1711427754823.png

Anyways, the problem with this motherboard, hopefully, is "just" a component that got smacked and ripped from the motherboard. Something like a 6 legs IC little chip. This chip was found and comes with the motherboard, so I should be able to fix it if I properly solder it to the motherboard. The failure looks like this:

1.jpg

This is the main component:

6.jpg
I have no idea about what it does, I can't even find info about it online...

I have fixed these types of things correctly in the past, the toughest one could be an Android tablet USB port with all the 5 legs ripped from the board. I had to solder a tiny enameled cable to each leg of the USB (not very funny to do, quite frustrating) and then that cable to a scratched new spot in a trace somewhere. All went fine and got solid and nice joints. Then protected them with this UV light green paste.

I have never repaired a motherboard, at least like this, and I would love some suggestions and tips, things I might get wrong, or assumptions that could lead me in the wrong direction. May be at which distance the resistance of the soldered cable bridging the leg with the circuit pad alternative affects the chip's behavior? Should that worry me?

Thank you!

EDIT:

First, it looks like these are the correct short circuits, right?

3.jpg
Now.. about the 2 pads on the bottom... I don't know where they are going... may be that shinier parts in the insides of the legs are paths that go inside the PCB to wherever?

Could they just be ground or simply there for holding the component and no use?

I've repaired once a board that had a leg with a little dot inside, and I discovered then that the pads can go inside the PCB and appear at the other side, they don't need the traces on the surface attached to them. However, I don't see any dots or marks to assume this is the case. May be the shinier part is that...

Also... since it has 8 layers, I don't know if one of these pads can go inside the PCB and appear in a completely different spot of the board, like a labyrinth or maze of 3D paths inside the board. That would be a mess...

Sadly, I just discovered another knocked off component:

4.jpg
I have not found that one... so... this is looking pretty bad, I don't know if I can look out which exact component is that one... Anyways, if I had it, it would be enough to scratch those green and red paths and put the component soldered between those, right?

This is how the MoBo looks like if it was OK:

5.jpg

Video stream:
https://mega.nz/file/ZRh1GCJL#hCirqtWflZJr30jUlT0DnCO-mhCWBokV9lV-x4G2Idw
 
Last edited:

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
30,236
The picture looks like a 2-pin switch. The part looks like it has two pins and the reference designator on the board is "SW1", which usually means a switch.

What makes you think it is a 6-pin IC?

What does the switch do? If you never need to switch it and it can be left in the open position, you may already be done. If it has to be in the closed position, but can stay there, you can probably scrape off enough solder mask to expose a bit of the trace and solder a jumper to it and the good pad. If the entire top-layer pad is pulled off (a definite possibility if the vias are part of the pad) you may or may not be able to carefully dig down and expose enough of a via to solder to it.

Why do you think this part being knocked off is the only thing wrong with it? More to the point, even if that were the only thing originally wrong with it, is there any reason to believe that the board has been handled and stored in such a way as to prevent more things from going bad?
 

MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
2,208
There's no use speculating until you have it in your hands. If the pads are still there then it's a super easy fix. If the pads are gone but the traces are still visible, you can use copper tape, a razor knife and a microscope and try to put the pads back, but there has to be enough of the trace there to solder to. Or you may be able to solder directly to the trace if there are at least a couple of pads left to physically hold it there. Anyway, you have to get it in your hands to see what's there before deciding what to do.
 

Thread Starter

rambomhtri

Joined Nov 9, 2015
574
The picture looks like a 2-pin switch. The part looks like it has two pins and the reference designator on the board is "SW1", which usually means a switch.

What makes you think it is a 6-pin IC?

What does the switch do? If you never need to switch it and it can be left in the open position, you may already be done. If it has to be in the closed position, but can stay there, you can probably scrape off enough solder mask to expose a bit of the trace and solder a jumper to it and the good pad. If the entire top-layer pad is pulled off (a definite possibility if the vias are part of the pad) you may or may not be able to carefully dig down and expose enough of a via to solder to it.

Why do you think this part being knocked off is the only thing wrong with it? More to the point, even if that were the only thing originally wrong with it, is there any reason to believe that the board has been handled and stored in such a way as to prevent more things from going bad?
Oh no... sorry for the confusion, I think it's pretty clear though. That picture of the ripped component is an EXAMPLE to show something similar to what I have to face. That green board in the pic is clearly not a PC motherboard.

About the motherboard having other failures, I don't know, it shouldn't, the seller told me it was working nice last November, he then sold the PC in parts, and then noticed this damaged component. He must have knocked it off with a screw driver accidentally or something like that. Once I get the MoBo I will post some actual pictures.
 

Thread Starter

rambomhtri

Joined Nov 9, 2015
574
There's no use speculating until you have it in your hands. If the pads are still there then it's a super easy fix. If the pads are gone but the traces are still visible, you can use copper tape, a razor knife and a microscope and try to put the pads back, but there has to be enough of the trace there to solder to. Or you may be able to solder directly to the trace if there are at least a couple of pads left to physically hold it there. Anyway, you have to get it in your hands to see what's there before deciding what to do.
Yes, once I receive it I will post some actual pictures of the MoBo.

By the way, with these 8 layer boards... could it be that if you rip off a pad that then goes vertically inside the motherboard (no trace to solder to next to it) then the connection to that pad trace is inside the PCB layers and there's no way to solder an alternative route?

Or it is indeed a fact that for every pad in the motherboard, there's at least another pad short circuited to it somewhere? (where I could solder a cable from the leg to that spot)
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
16,988
Anyways, the problem with this motherboard, hopefully, is "just" a component that got smacked and ripped from the motherboard.
I'd rate your chances of repair at slim to none.

Even if you replace any obviously defective components, you still have no way of exercising all of the circuitry on the board to make sure it is 100% functional. If you need to remove/replace any components with blind ground connections, you need professional soldering equipment.
 

MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
2,208
Yes, once I receive it I will post some actual pictures of the MoBo.

By the way, with these 8 layer boards... could it be that if you rip off a pad that then goes vertically inside the motherboard (no trace to solder to next to it) then the connection to that pad trace is inside the PCB layers and there's no way to solder an alternative route?

Or it is indeed a fact that for every pad in the motherboard, there's at least another pad short circuited to it somewhere? (where I could solder a cable from the leg to that spot)
Wait to see what you have, there's no way to speculate from here. Being able to run wires across the board to complete the connection will complete the connection yes, but whether it will be a successful fix will depend on what chip that is and what it does. If it's a simple voltage regulator then that type of fix should work, but if it runs with any sort of frequency or clock then the answer just got more complicated. The higher the frequency the less your odds of success. Don't jump the gun, wait to see what you have.
 

Thread Starter

rambomhtri

Joined Nov 9, 2015
574
I'd rate your chances of repair at slim to none.

Even if you replace any obviously defective components, you still have no way of exercising all of the circuitry on the board to make sure it is 100% functional. If you need to remove/replace any components with blind ground connections, you need professional soldering equipment.
As far as the seller told me, the motherboard was working fine this last November, then he started to sold the PC by parts, and when checked the MoBo taking pictures to sell it, he noticed that smacked component. The component should work, it's not damaged, at least physically, and hopefully I would only need to solder it to its pads to fix it. The problem is, some pads are ripped off from the board, so I might need to solder to traces of the pads or other short circuit spots of the pads.
 
Last edited:

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
11,564
Hello, I recently bought (still shipping) a very expensive PC motherboard ($500) for "just" $50, and I will try to repair it. I've been soldering and repairing many, many different things for the last 10 years or even more, and I would rate my soldering skills at 8/10 may be, I don't know. The only thing I have not practiced and find still very difficult (in my mind) is soldering with a heat gun something like a chip with ball grid array soldering.

This is the motherboard (ASUS X670E-E):

View attachment 318458

Anyways, the problem with this motherboard, hopefully, is "just" a component that got smacked and ripped from the motherboard. Something like a 6 legs IC little chip. This chip was found and comes with the motherboard, so I should be able to fix it if I properly solder it to the motherboard. The failure looks like this (this pic is an example, no the actual component, this green board is not even a PC motherboard):
View attachment 318456

But with this 6 legs component (well not this, similar):
View attachment 318457

If it was a simple board with all the traces on the top or the back, I would simply look for an empty spot I could solder to for each leg, find a good nice cable and start soldering wires, but the problem is PC motherboards have freaking 8 layers, so it could be a mess to try to find a direct short circuit for each pad.

I would try to use the thickest copper wires I could, of course, properly insulated.

I need to get a clear visual of the area, but I believe some pads are going vertical. Basically I think might need help finding some spots...

I have fixed these types of things correctly in the past, the toughest one could be an Android tablet USB port with all the 5 legs ripped from the board. I had to solder a tiny enameled cable to each leg of the USB (not very funny to do, quite frustrating) and then that cable to a scratched new spot in a trace somewhere. All went fine and got solid and nice joints. Then protected them with this UV light green paste.

I have never repaired a motherboard, at least like this, and I would love some suggestions and tips, things I might get wrong, or assumptions that could lead me in the wrong direction. May be at which distance the resistance of the soldered cable bridging the leg with the circuit pad alternative affects the chip's behavior? Should that worry me?

Thank you!
Hi,

I have a recommendation:
Send it back and get your money back :)

Ok, so you've repaired things that need soldering to small areas of a circuit board. That's a big plus. That means you may be able to pull this off.

I just have one question though. Because it was $50 (I assume USD) and not just $5, did you get a guarantee that you could get your money back if soldering the part back on did not fix the board? That would be a minimum for me unless it was just $5.

I understand what you are saying about soldering small things though, I had fixed some things like that I never thought would be successful, yet with a very steady hand and a careful approach and a good magnifier, I ended up saving the device which would then go on to work for years to come.
What else I found though is sometimes you run into some unexpected situations. One time I was going to solder wires to a board mounted connector which previously had a mating connector that broke. As I started soldering, the entire connector came right off the board due to the heat of the soldering iron. It melted the solder underneath the connector (SMD part). I was shocked for a few seconds, but then noticed that the underside of the board still had the traces that led to the connector, so I was then able to solder directly to the traces. This was tiny tiny too and I used a regular soldering iron, so it was partly luck that it worked at all.

So, there are success stories out there, but with something like a $50 motherboard I don't know. I would not chance that unless I could get my money back, and I would probably not even attempt it because there could be something else wrong with it too that doesn't show up right away. I buy almost all of my computer parts as brand new so that the guarantee is always there and I have ample time to test it myself. I'd pay $500 I think rather than try to restore a motherboard, and I've had the experience of creating two different motherboards from scratch so I have the experience I think.

I also have to wonder if the MB would work WITHOUT that one component. There are so many components it could even be a buss type chip that just acts as an interface bewteen the computer and the software to tell you the voltages and temperature and stuff like that. If that was missing, the only thing that would not work (probably) is you would not be able to read the voltages and temperatures ... not a very big deal really.
So, a question would be, did the seller run it up as is or do you think you could run it up as is without damaging anything?

There's always a chance it could work out well though, so good luck with it. I just hope you have a backup plan if it does not work out.

Hey, I hope you can report back here with your success soon it would be good to see. Before and after pics too please :)
 
Last edited:

Thread Starter

rambomhtri

Joined Nov 9, 2015
574
Hi,

I have a recommendation:
Send it back and get your money back :)

Ok, so you've repaired things that need soldering to small areas of a circuit board. That's a big plus. That means you may be able to pull this off.

I just have one question though. Because it was $50 (I assume USD) and not just $5, did you get a guarantee that you could get your money back if soldering the part back on did not fix the board? That would be a minimum for me unless it was just $5.

I understand what you are saying about soldering small things though, I had fixed some things like that I never thought would be successful, yet with a very steady hand and a careful approach and a good magnifier, I ended up saving the device which would then go on to work for years to come.
What else I found though is sometimes you run into some unexpected situations. One time I was going to solder wires to a board mounted connector which previously had a mating connector that broke. As I started soldering, the entire connector came right off the board due to the heat of the soldering iron. It melted the solder underneath the connector (SMD part). I was shocked for a few seconds, but then noticed that the underside of the board still had the traces that led to the connector, so I was then able to solder directly to the traces. This was tiny tiny too and I used a regular soldering iron, so it was partly luck that it worked at all.

So, there are success stories out there, but with something like a $50 motherboard I don't know. I would not chance that unless I could get my money back, and I would probably not even attempt it because there could be something else wrong with it too that doesn't show up right away. I buy almost all of my computer parts as brand new so that the guarantee is always there and I have ample time to test it myself. I'd pay $500 I think rather than try to restore a motherboard, and I've had the experience of creating two different motherboards from scratch so I have the experience I think.

I also have to wonder if the MB would work WITHOUT that one component. There are so many components it could even be a buss type chip that just acts as an interface between the computer and the software to tell you the voltages and temperature and stuff like that. If that was missing, the only thing that would not work (probably) is you would not be able to read the voltages and temperatures… not a very big deal really.
So, a question would be, did the seller run it up as is or do you think you could run it up as is without damaging anything?

There's always a chance it could work out well though, so good luck with it. I just hope you have a backup plan if it does not work out.

Hey, I hope you can report back here with your success soon it would be good to see. Before and after pics too please :)
The MoBo should arrive in 2 weeks, I'll keep this post updated with pictures and maybe questions before proceeding, unless I see things very clear.

The MoBo is almost $500, I am willing to "lose" $50 trying to fix it, besides, if I can't, I will sell it as broken for $30-49 easily, it comes with all the accessories and box and everything. Notice motherboards come with a lot of cables and stuff, and high end motherboards like this one come with even more things, WiFi antenna, stickers and many things.

So no, I don't have a plan B if I can't fix it besides selling it.
 
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MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
11,564
The MoBo should arrive in 2 weeks, I'll keep this post updated with pictures and maybe questions before proceeding, unless I see things very clear.

The MoBo is almost $500, I am willing to "lose" $50 trying to fix it, besides, if I can't, I will sell it as broken for $30-49 easily, it comes with all the accessories and box and everything. Notice motherboards come with a lot of cables and stuff, and high end motherboards come with WiFi antenas and many things.

So no, I don't have a plan B if I can't fix it besides selling it.
Oh great, and I would say that's a plan B because you get some of your money back. I hope you can get it going though.
 

Thread Starter

rambomhtri

Joined Nov 9, 2015
574
Oh great, and I would say that's a plan B because you get some of your money back. I hope you can get it going though.
Yes, also... I forgot to answer one question of yours:

It could be that the MoBo works fine even without that component soldered. I was gonna ask you all:

"Is it possible to damage a circuit if you simply remove one component?"
At first I thought it's not possible, you just added an open circuit somewhere and the worst thing that can happen is something simply not working, but nothing gets damaged. Then I started to think about this, simple circuits, and came to the conclusion that if you have 3 things in parallel, if you remove one of those maybe the other 2 get more current than designed, so yeah, you can definitely break something.

That's why before turning it on, I will try to repair this first. It's tempting to try it with the component out to check how it behaves, but I think I could damage something.
 
Last edited:

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
11,564
Yes, also... I forgot to answer one question of yours:

It could be that the MoBo works fine even without that component soldered. I was gonna ask you all:

"Is it possible to damage a circuit if you simply remove one component?"
At first I thought it's not possible, you just added an open circuit somewhere and the worst thing that can happen is something simply not working, but nothing gets damaged. Then I started to think about this, simple circuits, and came to the conclusion that of you have 3 things in parallel, if you remove one of those maybe the other 2 get more current than designed, so yeah, you can definitely break something.

That's why before turning it on, I will try to repair this first. It's tempting to try it with the component out to check how it behaves, but I think I could damage something.
Oh yeah, if you do not know what that component does then you can't run it up without that component.
One nasty example is a circuit with an inductor. If the inductor is involved with the power for the missing chip, the inductor voltage could go very high and then damage something else.
You really must know what that chip does before you run it without that chip. That way you can make a decision to run or not to run.
 

Thread Starter

rambomhtri

Joined Nov 9, 2015
574
Oh Wow, I already got the MoBo, way sooner than expected, I am going to upload soon some pictures and video to show the damage. Here it is:

1.jpg
Very bad news... I just realized there's another component back there, looks like a resistor or capacitor, that's been also hit by whatever knocked off the main component. I attached a video in the main first post.
 
Last edited:

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
11,564
Oh Wow, I already got the MoBo, way sooner than expected, I am going to upload soon some pictures and video to show the damage. Here it is:

View attachment 318936
Very bad news... I just realized there's another component back there, looks like a resistor or capacitor, that's been also hit by whatever knocked off the main component. I attached a video in the main first post.
Oh yes terrible news. Is there any way you can figure out what part is has to be?
The 6 pin IC chip looks easy to replace.
 

Thread Starter

rambomhtri

Joined Nov 9, 2015
574
Oh yes terrible news. Is there any way you can figure out what part is has to be?
The 6 pin IC chip looks easy to replace.
Yeah, without that unknown component I can't really do anything... what a sad scenario... I have no idea how to find what that lost component is.

About the 6 pin chip, I was going to solder the one knocked off, it looks fine as you can see in the pictures, I could attach some wires to the broken legs.
 
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