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SMT & Inspection | August 20, 2007

Manncorp said to have solution for Xbox woes

A potential low-cost cure for Microsoft's recently publicized billion-dollar Xbox reliability headache is being recommended by an SMT assembly equipment manufacturer in conjunction with its German specialist for rework systems.
The problem, according to these sources, lies in the defective soldering of components to the printed circuit boards at the point of original manufacture. When several Xbox video game boards were subjected to microscopic x-ray inspection, flaws revealed damaged CSP memory chips mounted on each PCB.

These were the conclusions arrived at jointly by Henry Mann, CEO of Manncorp, an Internet-based company that markets rework systems plus pick and place machines, stencil printers, reflow and wave solder systems throughout North America, and colleague Bernhard Martin, a manufacturer and noted authority on rework equipment and surface mount QC issues.



The good news is that these Xbox defects can be easily and inexpensively corrected with rework equipment similar to that used to repair Nokia and Siemens cell phones that also faced service issues. The solution simply involves individually reheating the improperly soldered devices without their removal and resoldering each with carefully controlled above and below-board heat. A nozzle is placed above the component to localize this thermal transfer.

Manncorp offers System 04.6x a rework equipment package that can do all this for under $10,000. It includes with it an ample-sized 10" x 11" (350 x 280mm) underheater, which provides gentle but effective full coverage below-board heat to eliminate the possibility of component overheating or board warpage. Other system components include a hot air soldering unit, nozzles and soldering arm. Using “Solderstar" and “Report" software, management can track each processed board by time, date, serial number and the actual thermal profile for each board in real time. Messrs. Mann and Martin report that process time for preheat, solder, pre-cooling and cooling cycles totals less than 200 seconds.

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