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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I guess first up hello to everyone out there! I am a mechanic from Australia, I also specialise in ecu, module and various electronic repairs as a bit of a side line.
Well anyway rewind a couple of days, I (maybe stupidly ha) bought a 2011 captiva LX, 2.2 diesel. I soon realised during the 300+km drive too get the car home that the multimedia screen is as dead as a dodo. It was rebooting, touchscreen wasn't working, and resetting the unit resulted in it powering up, sometimes freezing at the boot logo, other-times allowing me too view DTE, average fuel consumption, heater settings etc. No other functions were usable due too no touch screen.


The reason I registered this account is because this may help others out there.
I spent hours trawling the net and found that its common to fail, its a ripoff too replace, and no account of anyone successfully repairing this unit, various theories as too the cause, but all speculation.


This is the REAL cause of the trouble. I repaired my unit and it is now perfect!!!


The problem is indeed related too the processor, but it is NOT faulty. It does NOT overheat (it only draws 1w, very low power, made by AMD, designed too operate with no heatsink, more on this shortly)


The CPU is a BGA mounted chip. Basically this means there are a few hundred soldered connections on its underside, each one originally starts as a tiny ball of solder. Now in basic terms, it is then heated too reflow temperature during manufacture which melts every little solder ball forming a connection between the cpu and the board. They then (stupidly, repair sucks, and a possible contributing factor to failure) injected an epoxy adhesive under it too prevent movement/vibration causing an issue.


What is happening is some of these soldered connections near the center of the chip are failing, this is a result of inferior lead-free solder and thermal expansion differences between the printed circuit board and the chip.
The unit obviously due too location experiences a wide fluctuation in temps due too location (sun), also likely from heater etc. Over time the board repeatedly flexes slightly under the chip and some of the solder joints fail.
It is rather likely they used the incorrect PCB material/solder composition/and PCB layout for the purpose. IE. a monumental stuff up.


A heatsink on the chip will NOT prevent this failure, it may however prolong its life, by how much is akin to the length of a piece of string.



Its rather common. Think xbox RROD, ps3 failure etc. When you have BGA components, especially large ones like CPUS, design and materials is critical as well as stress testing and xray analysis



I repaired my unit by carefully removing the CPU (lots and lots of swearing), Cleaning everything up, Re-balling the chip with slightly flexible LEADED solder, preheating the whole pcb too 150degC and resoldering the chip.
All functions are working again, touchscreen is great, powers up everytime, etc etc.


I really hope this post helps others out there, there would be a few companies out there who have the facilities too work with BGA in every part of the world. Ask them too re-ball the CPU and problem fixed :)


I expect the success rate would be around 70percent. Some will be unsuccessful due too damage removing the chip.
It likely will fail again(bad design) but it will last a few years longer than a new unit.



If there was enough interest I could potentially offer a repair service here in AUS, the cost being likely around 200aud + post.


Cheers! :)
 
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ACO, Interesting and very informative post. For those of us with good electrical DIY skills could try this.

My unit always stopped working on a hot day or after the heater warmed up. It was replaced under Warranty.

However, those of us in UK/Europe even if we have a fully functional Multimedia find that the Navigation aspect is useless because Chevrolet withdrew update support back in 2015.


PS: You didnt complete your World Location' in your Sign-up which it would be helpful to complete.
 

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How did you re-ball it? Are re-balling stencils readily available?
 

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ACO, Can you clarify which CPU you are referring to as there are several on the pcb.

See pic attached
 

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Oh welcome Mr. Austrlien, you had the same symptoms in the same circumstances as I did when I bought mine!
And to be honest, I thought I dismantled the interior to clean and I wanted to isolate the processor, because I thought it was heating, but not being in this environment I did not touch it, I have it replaced!
Thank you for this solution, it would not cost much to have this manipulation done in a specialized place!
 

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I have my skeptic's head on and it is telling me "scam" over this one, and for several reasons.

Re-balling for the reasons given, lead free solder, mechanical failure of the balls, use of lead free solder, and crucially, re-use of the failed I.C. etc, has been widely de-bunked ever since it became a supposed "cure" in the graphics card world and the MAC repair world quite a few years ago.

Given the extreme situations that BGA chips survive in, and for many years, this failure mode looks unlikely (although thermal and mechanical damage is fairly likely). I'm unable to lend credibility to this one at the moment, especially given that just heating the device to near reflow temperature is know to effect a temporary "fix", and there is no mention of actually replacing the CPU (which will be either a custom device or long since ceased manufacture)

The use of lead solder in a genuine re-balling job (to replace a failed chip) is, I believe, more to keep the reflow temperature down than any supposed mechanical benefit.

Please look up Louis Rossman on YouTube for his thoughts on this type of re-balling, and some actual re-balling videos to get an idea of the process.

If this chap is genuine, then I apologise, but would love to see his re-balling rig, device specific stencil/mask, and perhaps he could tell us the device model and position it is removed from.

I'm not convinced.

As an aside, some vehicles do have these units fitted up with substantial heatsinks and cooling fans, e.g. the Magnetti Marelli units in Peugeot and Citroen, whereas clearly these are not. It would be interesting to fire one up on the bench, run until it started failing and then do some thermal camera analysis and maybe, like we did years ago, spray some cooler spray to see if a temporary repair is effected.
 
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Metro, I'm leaning the same way. Heating the entire board to 150 C is likely to adversely affect the other components or is he implying that he removed every component off the pcb ? There are lots of them - see my previous photo of internals.

.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Metro, wow where too start...


You are quite right, it could be an internal fault in the IC. BGA's are known for various issues like die seperation and failure of internal contacts etc. In fact that is the most common failure for GPU chips etc. They are often constructed differently inside as a result of their huge power dissipation and resulting heat and as such have failure modes associated with that construction.


The CPU used in these displays is an AMD AU1250, it is a very low power device, specs show about a 1w consumption, at those power levels internal heat effects will likely never be an issue, you could **** near power the thing from a couple of AA batteries


Poor process control at manufacture could result in a whole batch of damaged ICs if say there was absorbed moisture in the chips before they were soldered, or maximum temps were exceeded however if this was the case I would expect massive failures from new, not a year or 2 later.


I would be un-inclined too say the chip is faulty for a number of reasons, the main being, everybody reports the exact same symptoms. My repaired unit has been 100% working all day. When I bought the car a few days ago, I had zero touch, a reboot would sometimes power it up (too later black screen) reverse camera froze, sometimes displayed half an image and garbeled the top half. opten it remained black with the distance indicators still visible.



Now it is 100% working. NAV works, touch screen works, audio works and camera works.
Make of that what you wish, I couldn't give a rats posterior really, I only posted here because there was the chance it may help someone else. By all means, if you prefer, pay a few grand for a new one! There is no benefit to me messing around creating an account, posting that post etc other than maybe helping someone else maybe avoid being extorted by a dealer.


The issue with lead free solder is process control has to be so much more exact, it may work well in theory but the reality is that often it does not. I reckon a good 90 percent of modules, ecus, and other devices I repair the problem comes down too dry solder joints, usually around larger components and heavier pins that were not adequately heated during the soldering process. There is also much faster age based degradation of many lead free compositions, since the worldwide switch over to ROHS compliant solder, I reckon through personal experience, reliability has taken a night and day plunge. That's based on my opinion and what ive seen. If you feel different, I couldn't care less :)


BGA's are often quite reliable, I agree, bad design, incompatible materials, poor manufacturing techniques/process will however ensure the opposite. Especially with larger packages.
I am by no means an expert with them, I think it is likely the only BGA ive removed in the last 4 years. Most times they do not give trouble, I agree with you there. Personally I despise them due too not being very nice too work with.



If you have doubts, do this, its really simple...


Unplug a failed unit from a car. Take it apart. orient the 14pin connector so the locking tab is facing up. The first pin, and the 3rd pin from the top row, LH side are 12v + . The centre pin is GND. Do this, and power it up. It will have the usual faults. Power it off and apply slight pressure too the AMD cpu. Power it back up while holding a slight pressure on chip. and hey, it works, make of that what you wish...


When I removed the chip, I could see evidence of a few pins that were poorly soldered...



Yes indeed, it would be better too completely replace the CPU. If you can find a supplier for a 10+ year old obsolete chip, let me know and ill buy you a beer... ;)


I don't really do much with BGA chips, I have some pretty basic equipment here that would make most folks cringe but it gets me by for the few times I have too deal with them.
The stencil I used was from a chinese pack of 75ish stencils I think I picked up from aliexpress. It was not the correct one, simply a square universal grid. quite a few balls were unneeded and therefore wasted. I simply compared them to the chip until I found a suitable one. I think it was .80mm pitch. About 25mm square. I don't have a special fixture. I simply used a mini PCB bench vise too hold the chip, secured the stencil in place after applying flux too the chip, and yes balls went everywhere. I have had no reason too invest in proper kit for the job as I rarely work with them. To refit chip, I cleaned every pad and removed all epoxy from the PCB, shielded other components with al foil and kapton tape, pre-heated, applied flux, sat chip back according too the alignment marks I made prior too removing and heated it with a hand held hot air rework station.



I have a Chinese made IR pre-heater I used for preheating the board, PID thermocouple control and pretty even heat, I use it for most of my surface mount work. Not specifically for BGA, its just what I have so its what I used.
I used A combination of resin softening agents, manual scraping, heat and very careful prying to remove the epoxy under-bonding from the chip.



Aussie ed: 150 Degrees short term wont hurt much, most components are designed too tolerate far higher temps during initial soldering. The only thing that will be affected at those temps are electrolytic caps, not an issue here. (im talking the printed circuit board!!! not the TFT display, ribbon cables etc :O )


I would have video recorded the repair process had I thought it would be successful. I did the job with the 'well its stuffed anyway, cant make it much worse' attitude.


The processor is a, AMD Alchemy series AU1250. The two chips above, side by side are RAM and the one too the right is flash memory. (Where program is stored) Its the largest chip on the board. It is a 372 pin package utilising .4mm balls.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Couple of pics, not great quality, they are screen-shots taken from a video on phone of final testing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Aussie ED: Yes the maps are atrocious :( I tried the GPS today and I was on roads that were 20+years old and not on the map. The speed limit indicators were often inaccurate, and really, 5x or something voice prompts for a turn 500m away, jeez, I hit the mute button to shut it up! :D


Tho, I never fixed it for the navigation, I fixed it because of the heater information etc, that I dont think an aftermarket unit will give me. Its guesswork otherwise if the AC is on, etc etc.
Also the other trip info, fuel consumption etc is handy :)


If someone is prepared to potentially sacrifice a potentially junk unit, I am happy too remove the flash, dump it, and maybe some computer genuis out there could modify the code to run a 3rd party mapping program. Plenty of nice apps out there for WinCE that utilise Navteq mapping. :)


Edit: I did however realise my speedo shows 12km lower than the indicated GPS speed at 100kmh, GPS told me I was doing 112kmh :O No idea whats going on there, will check the tyre sizes in the morning, sure wander how many tickets ive got coming my way :/ They love their revenue raising here in AUS...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Bit of an update, another 220ish KM's today and the screen never missed a beat. Including after being parked closed up in the sun with the internal temp likely reaching 60+ deg C. Its hot as **** here in AUS atm. Reached in, started car and turned on AC. Display powered up fine :) A few more days and ill call it a success :)
 
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Mine even bugged cold, the first start of the car in the morning it was already broken!
It lit with difficulty, several functions (at least 8 out of 10) did not work and after 5 minutes of operation a small white tab appeared in the upper left with marked "the memory is insufficient"!
I pressed two buttons below the screen and it would restart to do the same!
 

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One of ACO's posts set me thinking:

https://www.gpspower.net/other-cars-gps-systems/354761-chevrolet-captiva-igo-8-3-2-a-2.html

Background, "most" WINCE based SatNav units are fairly easy to "upgrade" to alternate software/maps, just done a batch 2006-2012 GoPal and Navman units and use a 2007 Snooper and V7 daily running IGO Primo 2 with 2019 maps, generally it being a matter of pointing the CE system to a different executable and maps on SD card to get over the lack of space, and only using single country maps, even very old units work quite well with IGO (or Mapfactor Navigator with free maps, or both if preferred).

Just curious if the built in system can be "bumped" into the CE UI by the key presses as described, as I don't have a Captiva.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Metro, yes it is easy to access the WinCE operating system, and changing the programs linked to the factory "Launcher" is very easy. In fact I have now loaded mine with a whole range of applications whilst messing about with it.


Upgrading the flash for more storage space is also a possibility, and it would likely be relatively simple in terms of the hardware, it would however likely require a few software changes. Hardware wise, whilst rather old, they are quite a powerful system for what they do.


The main issue RE: Other navigation apps & decent maps, whilst plentiful for WinCE, most are designed and compiled for ARM processors.


The processor in the unit is an AMD Alchemy AU1250 unit. Whilst a very capable and powerful CPU it runs a rare and pretty much obsolete MIPS architecture. Applications that run under MIPS are far and few between. Those that do are likely not compatible with the latest mapping packages.


It is likely someone out there can recompile something that will run, coding and related stuff is out of my league.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Mine even bugged cold, the first start of the car in the morning it was already broken!
It lit with difficulty, several functions (at least 8 out of 10) did not work and after 5 minutes of operation a small white tab appeared in the upper left with marked "the memory is insufficient"!
I pressed two buttons below the screen and it would restart to do the same!

Different symptoms to what mine had although I would almost bet my left nut the cause is the same. I expect a few intermittent connections on the memory address lines will cause some rather strange faults
 

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ACO,

Thanks for that, very informative since this is not my field either and most of the devices I deal with are indeed ARM. Reading around, it does seem that iGo was compiled for MIPS, but only up to iGO 8.3.2.89704_MIPS, not Primo, not that that matters. Seems there are a few other (old) ones too, that were originally compiled for PDA's rather than ARM PNA's

Can't find a live link for it at the moment but if I do, could you test it?
 

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ACO,

There is a copy of iGO 8.3.2.89704_MIPS at this address:

https://www.gpsurl.com/igo-models-listing/246381-igo8-v8-3-2-89704-wince-mips.html

You will have to register, couple of mins work.......

The zippyshare links are dead, but the 3 part rar file is live, and downloads fine, it's the app and folders minus the maps etc, but those are easy to find. It's been renamed "NaviOne" as the members seem to be loading it on the built in Dacia/Renault units....So they must be MIPS too I guess.

If you get time, I'm sure Captiva owners would like to know if it runs....

I don't have the hardware to test it myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Metro, ill try and give it a whirl in a week or so, only time i have got is in the evenings at the moment and its a bit of a prick messing around outside in the car in the dark.


Ive got a fella sending another unit up to me for repair so when it arrives I shall repair it and use it as a guinea pig whilst its hooked up on bench :)


Saves me multiple trips between car and PC adding and changing things on sdcard!


Cheers, hopefully it will run! 2012ish maps are garbage!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Metro, slightly off-topic but the other day we were discussing lead free solder and I stated my displeasure with it in a mass-production environment. I had a little job tonight so I thought id throw a couple of pics up here.

It is a display module from a Honda Civic Type R.
Pretty much the same deal as the captiva units, they are doomed too fail, they have a large connector that powers the various elements in the display, about 80 something pins at a guess. 99 Percent of the soldering is *cough* ok, however the connector, having larger thermal mass than the other surface mount devices does not have ample time too reach an ideal temperature whilst undergoing the soldering process at the factory. It may well eventually reach temp, however by then all the flux has burnt away and is effectively useless. Exactly the problem with the captivas. 99percent of the board is ok, however the huge BGA chip is left behind.


I would hate too think of a replacement price for the civic display, maybe not as frightening as the captiva multimedia unit, but still not economical to replace, and new ones will have the exact same issue! Again, it should have been recalled, however as long as it outlasts the warranty, the manufacturer simply wipes there hands of it.



The first photo is of the connector before repair, literally every solder joint has failed. The display sometimes worked cold, but more often than not did weird stuff.
The second photo is after all the old lead free crap has been removed, cleaned, and re-soldered properly. The result I would happily guarantee for 5yrs. It will never fail again for the same issue. Should have been done properly from factory. :\


Seeing the same issues in 90percent of the mass produced rubbish these days :( The old leaded solder was quite a bit more forgiving with automated assembly processes. Quality control, accountability and pride of workmanship is non-existent it would seem :\
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Not just cars either, across the board, This is a Sony receiver Power Amp board during repair. Same issues. Not very old. maybe 05ish. Most will fail and end up as landfill. About 6 hours too repair, nearly every solder joint on the whole board had too be redone. Was soldered to a reasonable standard in factory, however lead-free + heat is a recipe for short term disaster :\ Only repaired as it had a sentimental value to the client. Absolute junk :(
 

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