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Having problems while replacing iPhone 7 audio IC

For a little background, I am fairly experienced with board-level repairs on iPhones. I’ve successfully replaced countless tristars, touch ics, etc. there is one problem I seem to continually fail to fix, however, and that is iPhone 7 and 7 plus audio ic fault.

today, I have spent a good few hours working on one. I’ve replaced the ic about 6 times, each time checking my jumpers in diode mode to make sure they aren’t the problem. I have also checked any components around the chip that may have been nudged. The phone still boots, but slowly and with audio problems. I do notice that, unlike the tristar and touch ics I’ve replaced, I never see the chip “wiggle” and set itself into place when replacing the ic, it seems to just stick and not move, even when I gently poke it with a tweezers, which I think may be related to why my attempts have been unsuccessful. Initially I thought this may be because my hot air station isn’t set high enough, but I’ve already got it set to 390C at about 40 airflow on my Quick 861d and I didn’t want to set it too high and kill the board. any tips or possible solutions are greatly appreciated!

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It’s been a while since I asked this question, but I figured out what my problem is, and if anyone else comes across this post I figured they might like to know what fixed it.

As another user suggested, I started using a board heater, which allowed me to complete the repair successfully, though still with some minor difficulties from time to time getting the ic up and when reseating a new one.

Within the last week, however, I re-calibrated my hot air station and I found that it was too low by about 80 degrees Celsius! After calibration, the repair has become an order of magnitude easier.

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It is possible the issue isn’t with the Audio IC. A torn home button flex or issues with the FCAM/Sensor flex can also cause boot issues…and the audio issues may be caused by the AMP IC’s or any other number of issues on the logic board.

Have you reballed the Audio IC 6 times as well or are you using new ones? If you have reballed it many times, I would try a new and fresh IC as these glass (silicon) IC’s are quite fragile. Put the underside underneath the microscope and inspect it closely. You should notice that it has a “circuit-board” look to it. It’s more than a look though, the IC is an actual multi-layered circuit board “etched” via photolithography and traces run pretty much right up to the edges of the silicon wafer. If even one of those traces is damaged (usually by tweezers), the chip will fail in some way.

If you are already trying new ones, you may have a bad batch.

The risk now is that the number of times you have done this could have caused other issues just due to the sheer amount of heat applied. The Audio IC repair looks really straightforward but IMHO it is one of the more terrifying repairs out there, mainly because the phone already mostly works and the expectation is a simple fix. A dead phone may require extensive repairs but the owner and tech inherently know the phone is already dead. Anything you achieve will be celebrated. Not so with a “working” phone with Audio issues.

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Consider using a board pre heater while doing this, it shortens the time required to heat up BGA chips and reduces risk of damaging other components such as on the other side of board near audio IC.

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I find the lack of wiggle on any repair whether its audio ic or anything else is due to the chip not being heated properly and evenly the audio ic is a fairly big ic compared to tristar so tristar no matter what nozzle u use it will still be able to heat up the entire ic… the Audio ic requires more heat or a preheater or a bigger nozzle, however I've done hundreds just by making sure I reball new ics with a good stencil or reball the old ic with a good stencil and make sure the pads on the board have leaded solder on them, theres a big patch of heat sucking ground pads on the audio ic :)

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