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I bought a cell phone in China (read chinese iphone), that despite the operational system is awful, when I opened to check the hardware and I found a not so bad hardware. I was able to extract microphone, motor, speaker and other interesting things. However there is an ARM processor that I couldn't remove. I'm a computer scientist (I had basic EE in the univeristy) and hobbyist. I'm able to extract components, when there is a solder to melt, but I never played with SMD. I found this tool, but there is any other way to do it?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The ARM processor is likely to be a BGA package, running at high clock rates, with parallel memory interfaces for both RAM and Flash. It's possible to remove it, but what do you expect to do with it? \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Sep 19 '11 at 10:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ that is another question :-) \$\endgroup\$ – VP. Sep 20 '11 at 9:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Dude, you need to warn people before sending them through that chip quik link, I nearly went blind when the page rendered. Must have been a sale on yellow the day they designed that page :) \$\endgroup\$ – BD at Rivenhill Aug 29 '12 at 21:29
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What you want is a Hot air rework station:

enter image description here

This uses a gentle stream of hot air (soldering iron temperature) to melt the solder and release the components. Also, a "hot plate" can be beneficial when working with such components as BGA chips:

enter image description here

Failing that, put it in the oven face down and let the components fall off. (may not work depending on component size - the surface tension of the solder may well hold them in place).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Roughly, what is the availability and cost of that rework station? dozens, hundreds, or thousands of $ or euros? It may be far beyond the means of a hobbyist and tinkerer. \$\endgroup\$ – DarenW Sep 18 '11 at 19:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have seen them on ebay for around £100, or for sale on places like Farnell for around £300 upwards. \$\endgroup\$ – Majenko Sep 18 '11 at 21:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Daren - Hot-air rework stations run from hundreds of $ up through thousands for name-brand parts. You can get a cheaper hot air gun from, for example, Harbor Freight very cheaply. Sparkfun sells the Heaterizer 3000 XL for $10. (It's underpowered, but works if you're patient.) \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Sep 19 '11 at 10:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KevinVermeer Class... Absolute class! Seldom does a manual make me laugh out loud, but that one certainly did... ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Majenko Sep 19 '11 at 10:57
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You can extract (remove) the components with hot air - Majenko showed a pro tool, a paint-removing hot air gun can be the poor mans tool. Heat the board, give it a whack on the back, and a lot of components will fall of. BUT:

  • survival of the components is not guaranteed (to put it mildly)
  • even if they survided, could you do anything with them?
  • did you check what that component, or something equivalent, would cost new (in other words, could it be worth the trouble?)

If the phone is a well known type there might be a development kit available somewhere on the web - but maybe only in Chinese :(

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  • \$\begingroup\$ na, no dev kit, i looked around already :-( \$\endgroup\$ – VP. Sep 18 '11 at 20:51

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