Repairing/Replacing capacitors on a Xeon E5?

Asad

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Aug 7, 2017
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Hello,

I am missing/damaged some capacitors that are on my Xeon E5 chip and wanted to know if there are companies that repair them or if it is possible to do it myself???
 

Terry Kennedy

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Jun 25, 2015
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I am missing/damaged some capacitors that are on my Xeon E5 chip and wanted to know if there are companies that repair them or if it is possible to do it myself???
If the solder pads haven't been damaged, it should be possible to repair the processor. Whether or not it makes economic sense is another issue entirely. What would it cost you to replace that exact processor, and do you want to "trade up" to a faster processor that works in your system at the same time?

It is finicky work and I wouldn't suggest doing it yourself. I have all the tools necessary - hot air rework station, magnifier, etc. and I still don't like doing it. I'll only do it if the value to be gained is > $1000 (roughly). This is a Cisco ASR1001 that I replaced 3 of the SFP sockets on (cages not reinstalled yet):



[Picture taken after tacking down the left socket but before reflow.]
 

Lennong

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Jun 8, 2017
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You need at least a good quality solder iron with a thin tip and a magnifier / microskop. I have done a few of same size but it really is finicky.. If you have good magnifier, stable hands, pincette and a good tip it's possible though. Sometimes it's better to keep the residue on the pads than clean it but it depends on how it looks ofcourse..
 

Asad

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Aug 7, 2017
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Capture.JPG
You need at least a good quality solder iron with a thin tip and a magnifier / microskop. I have done a few of same size but it really is finicky.. If you have good magnifier, stable hands, pincette and a good tip it's possible though. Sometimes it's better to keep the residue on the pads than clean it but it depends on how it looks ofcourse..
Hi All,

Thank you for your feedback!!! It is very helpful.

@Terry Kennedy and @Lennong - Do you know if your described method is applicable on the capacitors on a Xeon E5 as in the image I have attached?

I have two E5-2686 v4 that have some tiny missing capacitors as you can see on the bottom of CPU 1 and 2. If you could please advise me if

1. It is possible to replace these capacitors as they are small?
2. How much you would be willing to do this for @Terry Kennedy $1000 is too much for me to afford :-(
3.

Please PM me if you prefer. I am very grateful for any help or advice.
 

Terry Kennedy

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Jun 25, 2015
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I have two E5-2686 v4 that have some tiny missing capacitors as you can see on the bottom of CPU 1 and 2.
Are you bidding on those to try and get them cheap? (eBay listing here)

Otherwise, it seems rather suspicious that your CPUs have the exact same damage.
1. It is possible to replace these capacitors as they are small?
It looks like the pads are still attached to the substrate, so it is probably possible. The second CPU looks like it has a capacitor shorting out to one of the other ones, so it depends on whether the CPU was ever powered up in that condition or not. If those pins are internally connected, it doesn't matter.
2. How much you would be willing to do this for @Terry Kennedy $1000 is too much for me to afford :-(
I don't do that sort of repair work for other people, just within my company. And it has to be something we'd take a large loss on (that's what I meant by > $1000) if we just scrapped it instead of fixing it.
 
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Lennong

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A word of advice (if it IS the eBay items we discussing); It has been heard that lesser honest sellers sometimes 'disguise' bigger fault behind a seemingly smaller one.. Just the fact that you already accept it is not working when buying it and no returns possible should alert you. Also, they both seems to be 'conveniently' damaged both for the damaging action as well as for the repair one.
 

Asad

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Aug 7, 2017
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@Lennong - I asked the seller if there is other problems and he informed me that "many on eBay buy CPUs in such condition, repair and resell them. We did not test these CPUs and not sure whether they are working without the capacitors as we did not want to risk damaging the motherboard I believe these can be carefully reworked." What is your opinion on this response ?

@Terry Kennedy - you are right it is the same eBay item put into 1 image for simplicity. Do you think it's worth buying and trying to repair?

@Terry Kennedy -Since I can't pay you for fixing this, can I buy any cheaper equipment than a $1-2000 hot air rework to repair this ?
 

Lennong

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Jun 8, 2017
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Well, look at the cost for a cheap socket 2011-3 board vs. the added value if the CPU's turns out to be 'working'. Should give you a hint.. Also, if they remove the hinged capacitors before dropping them in the risk of damaging the motherboard is minimal..
 
Last edited:

Terry Kennedy

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Jun 25, 2015
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@Lennong - I asked the seller if there is other problems and he informed me that "many on eBay buy CPUs in such condition, repair and resell them. We did not test these CPUs and not sure whether they are working without the capacitors as we did not want to risk damaging the motherboard I believe these can be carefully reworked." What is your opinion on this response ?

@Terry Kennedy - you are right it is the same eBay item put into 1 image for simplicity. Do you think it's worth buying and trying to repair?
Both of these questions depend on what the pair finally sells for - I've seen people bid things like this all the way up to (and sometimes beyond) what un-damaged CPUs would cost.

Regarding an earlier post about some sellers doing this sort of damage intentionally to sell dud chips, that is certainly possible. Or the chip could be some much lower-end part re-marked as a more expensive chip - in that case, the seller hopes you don't get it working, because if you do, you can open a complaint w/ eBay about "item not as described", since it has both pictures and text showing the model number and S-spec.

@Terry Kennedy -Since I can't pay you for fixing this, can I buy any cheaper equipment than a $1-2000 hot air rework to repair this ?
You really don't want to practice on these. If you're going to do it, buy some cheap processor and practice taking the caps off and putting them back on. It may also serve as a source for the parts you need.

You could probably get by with:
  • Aoyue 937+ soldering iron [advertising link] ($59.99 from SRA [real link])
  • Aoyue AOT-SI (also SRA) - you'll probably do better with this conical tip than a chisel / bevel [advertising link] type as those can lift the pads if you're not careful
  • Thin 63/37 solder - if you decide to proceed with this and are in the US, let me know and I'll put a small piece in an envelope and mail it to you - you certainly don't need to buy a 1-pound spool
  • Fine tip tweezers to position the capacitors - probably the smallest tip from the local drugstore will work
  • Magnifier - I like the large one with a swivel arm and built-in lights, but it depends on how your vision is
  • Something to hold the CPU - I use a hobby vise with grooved plastic jaws
 
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Evan

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Jan 6, 2016
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I would think if you have never worked anything less critical than this then I would not touch it at all !
I don’t want to really discourage people from having a go but it’s something your work your way up to.
 
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Nanotech

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Aug 1, 2016
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I would think if you have never worked anything less critical than this then I would not touch it at all !
I don’t want to really discourage people from having a go but it’s something your work your way up to.
I also agree with this. I wouldn't recommend replacing those small SMT components on the processor either. If it works then leave it as-is.
 

MrBabs

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Jun 20, 2017
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Hi there, similar problem here.
With one diference I already have the CPU.
It is a Xeon E5 2698 v3 and is missing a capacitor I think, the one on the pic.
How can I find out the specs for it?
I tried without the cap and jumpered on an AsRock X99 extreme4 and no post.
Any ideas?
2698v3.jpg
 

Tha_14

Server Newbie
Mar 9, 2017
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Hi there, similar problem here.
With one diference I already have the CPU.
It is a Xeon E5 2698 v3 and is missing a capacitor I think, the one on the pic.
How can I find out the specs for it?
I tried without the cap and jumpered on an AsRock X99 extreme4 and no post.
Any ideas?
View attachment 6911
You're lucky cause that cap isn't surrounded by other capacitors so it should be as hard to solder it back on. I hope you kept the original capacitor.