PlayStation® Repair Made Easy
Repairing the GPU, CPU on the PlayStation® Game Console Boards

Understanding the GPU, CPU, Memory Chips and Ball Grid Arrays (BGA's):

Q: What are these chip packages that Microsoft® and Sony® call the GPU, the CPU, and the Memory Chips? And why do they look so different from other components?

A: These are electronic chips that are packaged in what are called Ball Grid Array formats (BGA's). They are a relatively new form of Surface Mount Devices (SMD) and are similar to other components in that they have an integrated circuit (die) within the package and that they have connections to be soldered. However, instead of leads at the side of the chip, the connections are balls underneath the chip (See Below):

XBox 360, BGA, GPU, CPU, Memory Chip

Above Left: Bottom Side of a QFP Surface Mount Chip with the leads at the side for soldering to the PCB.

Above Right: Bottom Side of a Ball Grid Array (BGA) Chip with solder spheres (balls) at the bottom for soldering to the PCB.

Many of the chips on the XBOX 360® and PlayStation® Printed Circuit Boards are packaged in the BGA format shown above including the GPU, CPU and Memory Chips. Indeed, most consumer electronic PCB's today incorporate more and more BGA style chips as they are more robust in construction and have faster gate speed for processing.

Once the BGA is placed and soldered onto the PCB, you can no longer "see" the connections (balls) as they are underneath the chip and no longer visible to the eye.

Finally, the XBOX and PlayStation® PCB's components are all soldered to the pads with lead-free solder, not the traditional solder that everyone is familiar with. Lead-free solder requires higher than traditional temperatures which makes preheating the PCB imperative.

Good News! Believe it or not, BGA's are surprisingly easy to remove and replace with the right gear and proper procedures.  No wonder the ZT-7 has been the number one PCB rework system since 1998 while others have come, gone and obsoleted leaving their owners without spare parts and stuck with useless equipment.


How to repair the PlayStation® Gaming Console PCB? Repairing the wildly popular Sony® PlayStation® printed circuit board (PCB) is now easier than ever with the Zephyrtronics ZT-7 Soldering Benchtop System. The ZT-7 System makes either 1.) just reflowing the chips; or 2.) de-soldering and removing the GPU, CPU and Memory Chips and then replacing and re-soldering them back to the printed circuit boards (PCB's) to correct the error codes a breeze. And best of all, the ZT-7 System is also very affordable and is manufactured by Zephyrtronics in the U.S. and has a two year limited warranty.

First, don't be fooled by IR systems
that might repair the PCB temporarily, but that can actually do more harm than good to the board and chips. You want complete reflow of the entire ball of solder (inside and outside) on every connection, and not what is called "tangential reflow" that will later open up again if the board flexes, especially when the PlayStation
® is being used again. To learn more about the many pitfalls, drawback and limitations with IR systems, please you will want to watch the Video Comparisons & Demonstrations: 4 Methods of Preheating & Solder Reflow which illustrates the advantages of heated air or forced convection and why it has long been the "industry standard" in PCB work worldwide.


Second, make sure that the PCB holding fixture is independent from both the lower pre-heater and from the upper reflow heater. If one is trying to repair or reflow a large quantity of PCB's, then speed is important. So having to wait for a large PCB (like the PlayStation®) to first preheat, and then later to cool down for a long time before moving on to the next PCB wastes a lot of time and money and profit. Check out this short video so you will understand why this is so important. You'll be glad you did: Video: The ABC's of PCB Holding Fixtures.

By the way, the ZT-7 System is equally effective for repairing the PlayStation® which you can learn about at this direct link: XBox 360.

Below on the left, you can see a PlayStation® printed circuit board (PCB) populated with its components including the two, larger critical GPU and CPU chips. These two components, because they are large, because they have full metallic tops on the chips, and because they use lead-free solder alloys, they require effective, forced convection (hot air) preheating from below the PC board in order to achieve a proper reflow of the solder joints on the solder balls underneath the chips (see the yellow highlighted sidebar for further explanation).

PlayStation, PCB, Printed Circuit Board, Repair, Rework
Image of PlayStation Console's Printed Circuit Board Ready for Rework & Repair


#1 One PCB Repair Station
 Since 1998

At left, you can see one of two large chips used for the PlayStation®. The high metal content on the chip's top makes it difficult to remove, re-ball, replace and re-solder without damaging the chip. It is imperative that both the PCB and chip be carefully preheated first, preferably with hot air to achieve solder melt, but not at excessively high temps. Preheat temps should never exceed 170°C.

Effective, preheat is required for successful rework of PlayStation
® chips. And this is where IR systems fail.

PlayStation Chip, Metal Topped BGA on GPU & CPPU
One of the PlayStation® BGA's Shown Above


Beware! Some "repair stations" have very ineffective upper heaters requiring the entire PCB be preheated underneath to over 200°C for over twenty minutes! Worse, the manufacturers of these "machines" advise users to cover chips with foil when using them. Are they crazy? This nonsense is prohibited by reputable PCB labs and repair companies.

PCB repair done on the cheap or with high temperatures will fail, if not immediately, not long afterwards. Semiconductors begin to degrade at 260°C and they degrade permanently.

Helpful Rework Guide: Good enough for NASA and easy enough for  PlayStation® repair! Click for more details on the ZT-7 Hot Air Station. Each ZT-7 ships with a helpful, detailed owners manual plus a 39-page report by NASA with nearly 300 photographs filled with technical tips and techniques, and a step-by-step illustrated process guide.  Easy to operate with digital closed-loop programmable (31 storable profiles) temperature control, digital countdown timing, bottom-side preheat and thermal ramping for high quality.


Used by NASA to place and solde high-reliability I.C.'s on the two successful Mars Rovers and Curiosity missions,  the ZT-7 is used by Fortune 500 electronic campuses around the world since 1998.Why is this important? Because our so-called competitors have introduced machine after machine only to obsolete them and then re-introduce another machine leaving their poor customers without service or replacement parts!  The ZT-7, on the market for 16 years has a 2-year limited warranty.

A Warning from NASA About IR Rework Systems: "Hot plates and infrared pre-heaters are not recommended...The reason that they should not be used is that the thermal reaction times, energy transfer rates and efficiency are never consistent."

For more specs, technical info and product details about our popular XBox® or PlayStation® hot air repair stations, click the full webpage for the ZT-7 Hot Air BGA & SMT PCB Center. Or call us at our Los Angeles factory Mon-Fri 8-6PM (Pacific) at (909) 865-2595 or e-mail Let us help.






The ZT-7-PSR System Comprehensive BGA & SMT 
Hot Air Bench Top Reflow System

The ZT-7-MIL (shown above) and
The ZT-1-BGS-DPU AirBath
The ABC-1 Adjustable Board Cradle
ZT-7-PSK Benchtop Supply Kit Includes
the 42.5mm X 42.5mm BGA Nozzle for the GPU & CPU
Plus Your Soldering & DeSoldering Supplies





Playstation Rework System

The ZT-7-PSR-ZF System Comprehensive BGA & SMT 
Hot Air Bench Top Reflow System

The ZT-7-MIL (shown above) and
The ZT-1-BGS-DPU AirBath
The ABC-XYZ Adjustable Board Cradle
ZT-7-PSK Benchtop Supply Kit Includes the 
42.5mm X 42.5mm BGA Nozzle for the GPU & CPU
Plus Your Soldering & DeSoldering Supplies





Playstation ZeroFlex
PlayStation ZeroFlex™ Template

Thick, Machined Metal Plate
With Reciprocal Studs for PCB Holes
Thick Metal Plate Prevents PC Board Flexing During Rework
Openings Permit PCB Faster & More Uniform Bottom Preheat
Works With ABC-XYZ Board Cradle
(Note: ZeroFlex™ Template is Included In ZT-7-PSK Kit)



©1996 - 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 Ameritronics®. All rights reserved. The information and all images you receive online from Ameritronics® is protected by the copyright laws of the United States. The copyright laws prohibit any copying, redistributing, retransmitting, or repurposing of any copyright-protected material. Ameritronics® is the registered trademark property of JTI, Inc. "Zephyrtronics" and  "Zephlux" and "ZeroLead" and "Zero Balling" and "Zero Residue" and "Post Cooling" and "PostCooler" and "AirBath" and "Quatro" and "Full Metal Jacket" are the protected trademark property of JTI, Inc.

Revised for April 18, 2016

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