BGA reballing is the process of changing all soldered balls on grid array circuits. Why do soldered balls on circuits or chips need to be reballed? There are various reasons. Irrespective of the reasons, BGA chip reballing with the use of reballing kits is the most preferred method for engineers when they have to rectify issues like poor solder joints. Hence, all soldering professionals need to master the art of BGA reballing.
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What are BGAs, and Why Do They Need Reballing?
Engineers produce ball grid array (BGA) circuits to facilitate the process of making accurate connections between the chips and the PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards). Often, older or malfunctioning ball joints trigger the need to recreate all ball solder joints on BGAs. These processes involve the extraction of all out of date solder balls. They’re then replaced with new and updated solder balls.
Reballing processes are mostly carried out on Video Graphic Chips as they’re extremely prone to breakages or dead solder joints. These chips usually require several repairs throughout their lifespans. VGCs used in computers or TVs often suffer from malfunctioning or broken solder joints. For instance, computer screens suddenly turn black because of poor solder joints. Similarly, vertical or horizontal lines on TV screens are results of malfunctioning solder joints. BGA reballing helps fix these common solder joint-related problems.
But, solder reballing isn’t a process that only revives out of date VGCs. Most BGA circuit chips currently being used in the electronics industry will need reballing at some point in their lifespans, mainly due to solder joint breakages. Since changing all soldered balls on-grid array circuits isn’t an easy process, every professional in the electronics manufacturing or electronics assembly professions needs to know about the art of BGA reballing.
Why BGA Chips Require Reballing
There are three key reasons why BGAs need reballing –
- Going Out of Date: BGA chips may turn defective or unusable over time. They either need to be reballed or replaced (a more expensive option). For instance, a PCB motherboard may require BGA chip upgrades to be able to handle new software upgrades. Most BGA circuit chips currently in circulation will at some point go out of date due to technological advances or because of regulatory changes.
- Overuse: Overuse of VGCs makes them fail. Solder joints between the PCB and the BGA may loosen due to overuse. End-users of VGCs suffer from display-related issues when BGAs are overused. Again, replacing or reballing the BGA chips are the only two viable options.
- Overheating: Overheating of the BGA chips causes solder balls to loosen and get misplaced. In some cases, the overheated solder balls form solder bridges, which, when untreated, leads to complete device failures.
BGA Reballing: Why Is it a Necessary Process to Learn?
BGA reballing is a proven process that has been employed successfully countless times across all industries. Since these processes are highly controlled, the professionals performing these processes need to be extremely careful and use the latest and the most effective stencil BGA Reballing kit. They also need to use other tools like fluxes, solder wicks, isopropyl alcohol wipes, etc., to ensure there are no mistakes.
Electronic equipment manufacturers who handle U.S. Defense Department contracts constantly reball BGAs to maintain compliance. The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directives has made it compulsory for electronics manufacturers to recall the BGAs that are used in Tin-lead assembly operations. That’s because the RoHS mandates the use of lead-free assemblies in most operations.
However, electronic assemblers and electronic equipment manufacturers who handle U.S. Defense Department contracts can’t work with only lead-free components. That’s because several U.S. Defense Department contracts specifically require their contractors to use at least 1% lead in the solder used for assembling electronic components. That’s why electronic assemblers reball lead-free BGAs into lead-tin BGAs before placing them onto electronic assemblies.
For such non-RoHS-compliant manufacturers, reballing is the most preferred method of replacing lead-free solder with lead-tin solder balls for various reasons.
BGA Reballing – The Advantages
BGA reballing is a proven tactic. But, that’s not the only reason why OEMs want their professionals to master the art of BGA reballing. BGA reballing is advantageous because –
- Cost-Effective Process – If getting a new BGA will cost $100, reballing will cost just $5 to $10. These 90-95% cost savings make it essential for manufacturers to hire professionals who are masters of BGA reballing processes.
- Waste Reduction – Instead of discarding entire BGAs when there are soldering defects, especially inexpensive components microprocessors, reballing saves manufacturers a lot of money. More importantly, companies get to reduce their material inventories.
- Reliable – BGAs perform very reliably after efficient reballing. A reballed BGA will possess features like electrical conductivity, chemical/metallurgical stability, mechanical strength, etc., that are just as good as a new package of BGA.
Using BGA Stencils
Using BGA stencils for BGA reballing is a reliable and effective process. Given that the BGA Packaging Market is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 4.1% between 2018-2027, the demand for BGA reballing experts is also expected to grow rapidly. All professionals involved in the electronics assembly industry must choose high-quality and heat-resistant BGA stencils and start mastering this important skill.