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Ram Upgrade


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#1 crusty_punk

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 04:33 PM

I have a dead 1.0 mobo that I have been harvesting parts off of for a while now. I really want to rock a ram upgrade using the ram from the dead mobo. I have seen videos and it 'looks' simple enough...

Who has done it themselves? In all reality, how hard is it?
on a scale of 1 - 10, I would say my soldering skills are an 8 or 8.5

Thanks,
-Crusty

#2 MrMajst3r

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 06:47 PM

If you have seen videos and you think that is simple, you should try smile.gif

Maybe first try do desolder RAM from dead mobo, and solder it again on dead mobo. You will seen how difficult for you is it.



#3 shambles1980

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 09:08 PM

Looks can be deciving...
its actually a horrible job unless your skilled at soldering.
even with flux the solder tends to run, and even if it looks 100% perfect you can still end up with a totaly un explainable Frag.
You have to use a bios that supports it, and the obvious choice would be the ind bios, or a linux one.
you cant do it to a soft mod has to be Tsoped/chipped but as it has to be 1.0-1.5 then it may aswell be tsop flashed.

Its a reall pain in the ass.
all i can recomend is you get a really narrow solder tip, make sure the ram is 100% solder free before you start. yse flux paste not liquid, as the paste will hold the ram better on the solder pads otherwize its a nightmare trying to line it up, and patience.. Lots of patience.. desoldering the old ram is easy enough and i find its easiest to do that with a hot air station.
heat up the back of the board so your heating up the side the ram is not on. then give it a gentle tap with the back of a screw driver or something, the ram will pop off the board no problems.

Any way good luck, and have fun.
but it isnt the easiest of jobs to do. But its definatly easier than soldering on a new tsop.
id say the difficulty is about 7/10 possibly 6,

but then your soldering skills of 8.5 may not be the same as i would call 8.5 ...


Edited by shambles1980, 12 February 2012 - 09:12 PM.


#4 crusty_punk

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 02:19 AM

in the videos that I have seen the guy makes it look SOO easy. I tried a few pins and I can say that it is beyond my skill set to remove the chips.

I'm thinking that I want to at least try find some ram chips and solder them on myself. I tried looking on ebay, maybe I didnt look hard enough... Any suggestions?

inb4 giybf (google is your best friend)

#5 xboxmods2977

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 04:05 AM

The unused chips can't be bought anymore. You will have to remove a set yourself, or pay someone to do it for you.

I have done a few of these, so I'll give my 2 cents.

First, the bad:
It is a lot more difficult than it seems in those youtube videos. It isn't so much the soldering itself that makes this job difficult. It is the billion ways it can go wrong, the troubleshooting after, the heat sensitivity of Xbox boards, etc. I would definitely recommend that you try this upgrade on a spare Xbox. You do not want to try this on your "main" Xbox, because there is a better than average chance that you will kill the board. 98% of people who can do these upgrades will tell you that the first one they did resulted in failure, 1% will lie and say they did it correctly the first time, and the other 1% actually succeeded the first time. It is mentally, physically, and in some cases, emotionally taxing. BUT....

The good:
Conquering this task makes you feel like you can do anything. It feels great, but anyway, on to the tips.

1. First and foremost, you can self-sabotage this whole project before you even start during the process of removing the spare chips from the donor board. If you do it wrong, you're screwed. The best way to remove these chips is obviously a rework station, but for those of us who AREN'T rich, like myself, use a heat gun. Heat the side of the board opposite to the target chip, as shambles stated. Tap the heated board fairly hard and often (either with a foreign object, or by tapping the board itself onto the table, which is what I do) to check if the chip is desoldered and It doesn't hurt to put down a towel or something else soft to catch the chips when they fall. Just be careful with the amount of heat each chip is exposed to. The worst case scenario in this project would be that you've actually performed a perfect, first-time soldering job using cooked chips. That would suck bad. Booting to a failure and then spending hours looking for solder bridges and cold solder joints when there aren't any can almost drive a person mad.

2. The second main thing here is alignment. I cannot stress this enough. If your chips are aligned properly from the start, you have a much smaller chance for solder bridges. When you think have a chip lined up and you think it looks centered, tack 2 corners of the chip and then ask someone else to look and concur, even if you have to run outside and ask a stranger to verify that it is centered, lol.

3. Use flux. Lots of it, and make sure it is rosin paste flux (I get mine at Radio Shack) which is brown and has the consistency of Vaseline. This is the best as liquid flux evaporates too fast. If you use enough paste flux, this makes the soldering part exponentially easier. Flux the chips pins and the boards pads.

4. Iron of choice, should be one that is temp controlled. If all you have is a one temp pencil iron, at least make sure it is a lower wattage iron. I can't tell you how many pads I have lifted from motherboards due to overheating them. It is very easy to do and if that happens, you're screwed.

5. This one is optional. Some people like to have a modchip flashed with cromwell handy. They use it to check each ram chip as they go. The cromwell bios can actually confirm, through various modchip/xbox behaviors, whether or not a given ram chip has been installed correctly. I used to do this, but I don't have to anymore. It is kinda like the training wheels on a bike. When you master this process, you'll find you don't need this anymore.

Good luck.

#6 shambles1980

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 03:48 PM

just to add
I failed my 1st 3 attempts..
I was able to remove the ram and get a working box again though, but one of them lifted a pad.

you can also remove the ram in the following manner BUT the following manner makes resoldering them more difficult. And thats the hardest part so its not the best idea..

here we go then..

you can get some thin wire and your desoldering braid. Feed the wire through the gap between the ram and the little legs. tape down the side that pops out the other end (use kapton tape "resistand up to 200C or better" )
Place the de soldering braid along the legs, and add some flux ( i use liquid no clean flux for desoldering)
Press the soldering iron to the braid so its pressed up against some legs (1 at a time would be prefered) at the same time holding the wire you fed through the legs in your other hand (not the taped down end) And as you see the solder get absorbed in to the braid gently pull the wire towards you so the leg comes off the pad.
This is a much longer process than the heating process.. It also means that some of the legs wont be properly aligned any more so your going to spend quite a lot of time straightening them to the position they should be in..

like i said though easiest way it to heat up the board and give it a tap. Just clean off the legs before you try to solder them back on. The pads have enough solder to do the job when it comes to soldering them on the new board.
if you do have a rework station You can always line it up and heat the area with that to reflow the solder, but you are going to need to run over it leg by leg to make 100% sure that you have all your joins correct.

Usualy I recomend the Biggest soldering tip that you can use for the job when it comes to soldering. But for this job you really do need the smallest one you can find.

I think that all these posts in here "although only a few" have all the information you could hope for when it comes to this particular mod..

and in sumary at the verry least you need.
Flux "paste not liquid"
Desoldering Braid, "solder pump will not work here"
Low power soldering iron or variable temperature one.
Magnifying glass.
An extra light source "bright torch"
Patience.
A steady hand.
and Even more patience. "i know i mentioned it 1ce but its a really big part of the process"

Edited by shambles1980, 13 February 2012 - 03:52 PM.


#7 crusty_punk

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 04:08 PM

I think ill leave it alone for now and try to save up to buy one in BST.
Thanks for all of the info.

Appreciated!
-Crusty

#8 kopperlis123

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 11:12 AM

its actually a horrible job unless your skilled at soldering.
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#9 cricri_pingouin

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 04:04 PM

QUOTE(crusty_punk @ Feb 13 2012, 02:19 AM) View Post

I tried a few pins and I can say that it is beyond my skill set to remove the chips


When I have a dead mobo and I want to scavenge chips, I don't bother with the soldering iron! I just heat up the board with a heat gun, then quickly shake/tap the mobo over a container.
Now if for some reason you ONLY want to scavenge one chip, of course you won't want to do that jester.gif

#10 jaygriggs

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 05:50 AM

You can look up Run066 or it could be Run66 He did atleast half a dozen for me. Just send him your xbox and a extra board. I don't know if he's still doing them but if he is I doubt anybody would be cheaper. In fact I'm going to try to get another 2 done since I bought a bigger house biggrin.gif He taught me a ton when I first started doing TB+ xbox's, really good guy. I still don't have the balls to go at the ram upgrade even though I can JTAG a 360 and TSOP a xbox no problem. I give anybody ALOT of credit that can do it or even attempts it. Ive sat down a few times with the iron and the boards in front of me, but for the small amount of money and no headache I always sent them to Run.


#11 GoTeamScotch

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 05:50 AM

After attempting and failing in my first try at it, I became a little discouraged and I must say I advocate xboxmods2977's advice in not attempting this on your main Xbox if its your first time. I'm sorry to say I was too confident in my abilities and ended up removing two small capacitors and ruining a 1.4 mo'bo in the process. My failure was the result of accidentally removing two small capacitors near the transplant area.

To anyone attempting this, I'd advise as others have stated to have patience and take extreme attention towards the alignment of the RAM pins onto the Xbox mo'bo. If you happen to have extra boards, just get your feet wet and practice on a chip or two aligning everything and seeing how the everything behaves.

I would slate my experience level to be fairly high, maybe not as high as others in this thread but I have worked professionally in console repair in a local shop that does dozens of repairs per week. I actually got to use high end equipment (automated rework station, $400 soldering iron etc...) during the process and still failed.

I plan on trying again with a 1.1 board as soon as I get a day to work on it, but is there a way to test each RAM chip as you go? Is it as simple as powering on the Xbox after each chip is attached or will that cause any damage?
Bios is compatible - TSOP flashed with iND-BIOS / Cromwell + GentooX - split 256kb banks

#12 xboxmods2977

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:04 PM

QUOTE(GoTeamScotch @ Nov 7 2012, 05:50 AM) View Post

I plan on trying again with a 1.1 board as soon as I get a day to work on it, but is there a way to test each RAM chip as you go?

Yes. Simply boot your Xbox to your Cromwell bios after each chip install. If the chip is installed properly, the console will boot like a "coma console", meaning the front led will be green, but you will get no sound or picture on TV. Take note tho that no matter what, the console will FRAO after the third chip is installed (it's normal) and will do so until the 4th chip is installed properly, at which time, the console will boot normally.

Good luck.

#13 GoTeamScotch

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 02:05 PM

QUOTE(xboxmods2977 @ Feb 17 2013, 11:04 AM) View Post

Yes. Simply boot your Xbox to your Cromwell bios after each chip install. If the chip is installed properly, the console will boot like a "coma console", meaning the front led will be green, but you will get no sound or picture on TV. Take note tho that no matter what, the console will FRAO after the third chip is installed (it's normal) and will do so until the 4th chip is installed properly, at which time, the console will boot normally.

Good luck.


Thx for the advice. But what do you mean by coma console?

So not seeing audio/video would be a good thing while testing (except for the 3rd). What will it do if the connection was not secure?

#14 xboxmods2977

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 07:06 AM

Well, assuming you get the first 2 chips soldered in place and they check out good (green LED, no sound or video), from here install 3rd chip.

If it acts the same way it did before you put on the third chip (green LED, no sound or video), then there is a leg that isn't down all the way so the console still thinks it only has 2 added chips. Carefully go around third chip with iron once more gently pushing down each leg.

If you get FRAO, then odds are the third chip is good. Move to 4th chip.

If you get a FRAG after you install third chip, you have a solder bridge between 2 neighboring pins somewhere on the third chip. Suck up excess solder with solder wick/braid.

FORTH CHIP: Assuming you have got all of the above good and you are at FRAO after 3rd chip install, move to 4th chip.

If you get FRAO after forth chip install, first go once more around 4th chip. If not fixed, go once more around 3rd chip. REPEAT alternating between 3rd and 4th chip till the console boots normal.

If you get FRAG after 4th chip install, you have a solder bridge between 2 neighboring pins somewhere on the 4th chip. Suck up excess solder with solder wick/braid.

#15 GoTeamScotch

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 10:06 PM

Awesome, thank you for the tips xboxmods! I'll be giving this another go soon to try and complete an ollllld project.




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