How to Repair Laptop GPU, CPU, Memory Chips. Repair Laptop Motherboards.
PCB Repair for Smartphones, Tablets,
Laptops & Flat Screens


All Zephyrtronics Equipment is Designed, Engineered, and Manufactured in the United States of America.

The "early days" of the company as David Jacks & Randy Walston lay ground work, engineer, R&D, test & evaluate & apply for patents on their new, milestone low temp approach to benchtop soldering & rework.

The Company introduces world’s first stand-alone, bottom-side preheating system, The AirBath™. 

Zephyrtronics awarded the "Vision Award" for Best New Product of the Year at the Surface Mount Int'l Expo in Silicon Valley.

SMT Magazine's editorial staff calls Zephyrtronics one of the three most innovative companies  that year. Boeing chooses our AirBaths for the International Space Station Project.

 U.S. Department of Defense selects Zephyrtronics as supplier. Boeing tests & approves Zephyrtronics AirBath™ & DeSolder for
SMD removal

Raytheon recommends Zephyrtronics in written report. National Semiconductor recommends  Zephyrtronics
in published paper for
BGA rework

Zephyrtronics continues
 3-year string as fastest growing soldering equipment manufacturer in the U.S.A. Also: Introduction of   dispensing product line.

  Zephyrtronics saves Raytheon
$1 Million in rework scrap after Six Sigma Study.

Our ZT-7-MIL is selected by The J.P.L. Mars Rover Project for BGA tasks.

 International Rectifier recommends
for BGA rework.

After smashing success of the Mars Rovers, NASA issues 39-page touting Zephyrtronics for making "mounting & removal of thru-hole and SMT/BGA easier than routine bench methods"

Zephyrtronics expands its global leadership in PCB
preheating with our
™ AirBath.

Introduction of ZeroLead® branded lead-free solder paste and ZeroLead® LowMelt® DeSolder Wire.  both are RoHS Compliant.

Zephyrtronics launches
 e-commerce site for the convenience of our global customers.


Zephyrtronics Expands Its International Distribution With New Partners & Agents in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Australia and Middle East.

Zephyrtronics Again Successfully Defends A Patent Against Infringement By An Unimaginative & Cheesy Competitor. And the Patented ZT-7 is Still the #1 BGA & SMD Hot Air Station
on Earth

In the midst of global recession, Zephyrtronics increases, yet again, its manufacturing operations, capacity and expands its factory space by over 50% in Los Angeles, thereby keeping its "Made in the USA" commitment for all Zephyrtronics equipment.

Zephyrtronics introduces its new highly active pre-fluxed solder wick and a fluxless solder wick for PCB de-soldering tasks.

Zephyrtronics is #1 with Repair Depots with the New SmartPhones & Tablets.



The Basics of Laptop, Smartphone, Tablets and Cell Phone Repair



| Overview | | Conductive vs Convective Reflow | | Contact vs Non-Contact Reflow |



Repairing circuit boards (PCB's) of Smartphones, Tablets and Cell Phone is a rapidly growing industry.  Many repair depots can address common failures with easily replaceable parts, but when it comes to SMT chips like BGA's and QFN's, they are not equipped to handle them.

Having the ability to address these repairs is going to be crucial to any repair shop that is serious about expanding their business and wants to provide full service to their customers.  This is also why repair facilities need a bench top station that can handle these jobs correctly.

The high mass and lead-free nature of these PCB's require a station with high energy at a low temperature to simulate the energy levels of the original manufacturing process.

Technicians find IR stations problematic with "browning" and warping substrates, lacking sufficient energy levels for big devices and damaging their chips. IR stations require using tin foil to shield components; worse, they lack true temperature control and require a technician to install their own thermocouples (T/C) onto the PCB over and over causing inconsistent results. Such inferior repair systems cannot transfer enough energy to the innermost soldered area without damaging the outer substrate and chip.


How to Repair & Solder Smartphones PC Boards
The Smartphone Revolution Along With Tablets Has Opened Up a Whole New Repair Market for Electronic Technicians.

This is where the Zephyrtronics ZT-7 is just so terrific. I happen to know a lot about this subject. I've been soldering, desoldering and repairing PCB's since the 1980's and I've trained thousands of repair technicians including U.S. Military personnel.


A Common Smartphone, Tablet or Laptop Repair


Smartphone, Tablet, Laptop, Repair, Station, SMD ReworkThe system (left) is a super efficient method of reflow that uses top and bottom-side heat with running profiles that deliver energy levels like those in industrial solder reflow ovens, but in a smaller, easy to use benchtop station. It also has all the "extras" like fume extraction, a precision hot air soldering pencil for micro-devices and chip pins/leads, a vacuum chip handling/lifting pen, a PCB holder and essential soldering supplies and tools to get you started. All in one package.

One of the common problems many shops see is intermittent connection on a BGA or other device with bottom side connections.  With Smartphones, Tablets and Laptops the chips located under your hands where you type are the very ones prone having solder joints crack or open at the chip.

This is very common with video chips and (game consoles) and in many cases and can sometimes be diagnosed by pressing on the top of the device while in a test bed to see if the video display comes up.


This is very common with video chips and (game consoles) and in many cases and can sometimes be diagnosed by pressing on the top of the device while in a test bed to see if the video display comes up. If the video display does appear under pressure, then a basic reflow of the component will usually solve this issue. In many shops they see that 40-50% of the problems they encounter with intermittent video chips can be cured with a basic reflow of the cracked solder joints.

The ZT-7 will properly reflow these devices without damaging their body or the board, because of its superior all forced air convection heating design.  IR and High Flow heating stations do not replicate the environment of manufacture and can cause damage when applied to Smartphone, Tablet and Laptop boards IR in particular is dangerous as it heats through the component body in order to achieve reflow at the bottom of the chip, causing brittle inner connects and failures down the road.

So, if your chip does need replacing, this is also where the ZT-7's superior design really comes through.  Just simply "reheat" the chip with top and bottom side heating. 


Replacing Components


How to Repair & Solder Laptop & Tablet PC Boards
Tablets, Laptops & Flat Screen Televisions Are Also a
Growing Repair Market for Electronic Technicians.

If the chip does need replacing, this is also where the ZT-7's superior design really comes through.  Just simply "reheat" the chip with top and bottom side heating.  If the chip needs to be removed, the ZT-7's automatic chip lift-off feature is useful as it is informative as to the replacement and re-soldering thermal profile:  you can note the time and temp you used to remove the part and re-use that as the basis for your reattachment profile, in essence this is a real time thermal probe.  The ZT-7 has multiple thermal profiling settings that can be stored for repetitive use.

Many expensive rework stations state the need for multiple T/C readouts etc. Unless you are going to install a T/C into the center sphere and substrate of every board you do the first time, and in some cases every time, that method is a very hard way to get the information you need to define a profile. A correctly designed repair station should not need a new profile every time you use it. You do your homework on the first one and that should take care of that application from then on. It sounds simple, but that is because the design allows it.


Why Zephyrtronics?


When looking at bench top repair stations you will see quite an array of technologies and methods.  Zephyrtronics has been the pioneer in advanced heating stations since the early 90's and has been a leader in Lead Free and High Mass applications ever since.  There are many stations out there that cost 20-40k out there that cannot provide the same heat energy as the ZT-7 station despite having (seemingly) large preheaters, and alignment sections.  These stations seem to address the problems you will face but when the curtain is pulled back, you wonder why you spent the extra money.


Adding a large IR panel preheater to an inefficient "closed nozzle" top side heat design has been the norm for many companies building SMT repair stations.  The lack of a high amount of joules of energy per degree in these designs is the big reason why they are ineffective in a repair environment for Smartphones, Tablets and Laptops.  If youi add to that the distance they are from the board, and the need for special profiles for the bottom side in some cases, you get a very involved set up that doesn't work well on High Mass boards.  For Laptop repairs this is very important as the added mass is enough to make an inefficient station struggle with even the most basic device, let alone a large BGA.


IR Not Adequate For Rework


Take a look at a IR panel preheater equipped station that has been used for a while, in many cases you will see dark areas on the surface of the grill that show were they actually heat that resembles a large "bulls eye" target.  The fact is few of these IR stations actually heat effectively over the whole visible panel area.  In 110V stations this is especially true as it allows for a very large perceived preheater "look" while keeping under the standard 20 amp draw of a typical shop circuit when combined with the top side heater and other accessories.  This keeps the need for special shop electrical hookups to a minimum while giving the illusion of a full size repair station.  The illusion of a large IR panel preheater is sold to people every day in order to sell large expensive stations, it doesn't mean it is the best design out there, it means it is easy to produce and helps justify a perceived need or checklist requirement.  Sounds bad but it is a fact.


Forced Air Convection Preheaters tend to be smaller but the heat they provide contains much more joules of energy and spreads out under the board and heats it more effectively, negating the ground layers inside the substrate resisting our top side heat.  This is something that Zephyrtronics pioneered years ago and is why NASA as well as many other top OEMs and repair facilities use the ZT-7 on their applications.  Also, many large repair stations feature alignment/placement devices to align the new part before placement.  Ask anyone who has used these stations how often  that feature is actually used.  The fact is in most cases these devices tend to have issues staying aligned and are seldom used in every day use.  Even if the unit is calibrated, the operator still has too manually make the part fit the site.  This leaves out many other factors like component to part focal length issues caused by part thickness as well as parallax issues or distortion on large parts.



There are many ways to align a part without spending tens of thousands of dollars to do it.  You can manually use the boards own fiducial marks as people do every day (even those with alignment machines!!) or Zephyrtronics can provide you with component specific Pad to Ball Interface Tape or our patented BGA Alignment Template Cube.  Either of these methods are a very effective, economical solution that will give you the results want without having to spend money on something you don't need.  Again, sounds simple but it is a fact.

For shops looking to take the next step in their repair evolution, getting a station that can properly handle Smartphone, Tablet and Laptop applications is a very important decision.


We hope you consider our products and take a look at what we have to offer.  We are confidant you will like what you see.  We also invite your questions in regards to rework and repairs with Smartphones, Tablets and Laptops or any other application you have.  If you would like a representative to look at your board and make recommendations or create procedure documents or videos, this can be arranged.  We have helped thousands of shops get going and hope to help you too.



©1996 - 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014-2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 by Zephyrtronics®. All rights reserved. The information, text, images, photographs, charts, graphs you receive online from Zephyrtronics® are protected by the copyright laws of the United States. The copyright laws prohibit any copying, redistributing, retransmitting, or repurposing of any copyright-protected material. Zephyrtronics is the registered trademark property of JTI, Inc. "The Science of Zephyrtronics" and "Simplicity Through Innovation" and "Zephlux" and "ZeroLead" and "Zero Balling" and "Zero Residue" and "Post Cooling" and "Post Cooler" and "AirBath" and "SolderGlide" and "SolderMill"  and  "Just So Superior" are the protected trademark property of JTI, Inc. "Zephyrtronics" and "Low Melt" and "Air Fountain" and "Fountainhead" are the registered trademark properties of JTI Inc. *The above names are the registered property of their respective owners.


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Updated for June 13, 2019