What is BGA Reballing? Why does Ball Grid Array require Reballing?

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Introduction to BGA Reballing

BGA (Ball Grid Array) reballing is a process of replacing the solder balls on a BGA chip or package. It is a crucial repair technique used in the electronics industry to fix various issues related to BGA components. BGA packages are widely used in modern electronic devices due to their compact size, high pin count, and excellent electrical performance. However, these packages are prone to damage due to thermal stress, mechanical stress, or manufacturing defects, which can lead to device malfunction. In such cases, BGA reballing is performed to restore the functionality of the device.

What is a Ball Grid Array (BGA)?

A Ball Grid Array (BGA) is a type of surface-mount packaging used for integrated circuits (ICs). It consists of a rectangular package with a grid of solder balls on the bottom surface. These solder balls act as the connection points between the BGA package and the printed circuit board (PCB). BGA packages offer several advantages over other packaging techniques, such as:

  1. High pin count: BGA packages can accommodate a large number of pins, making them suitable for complex ICs with numerous inputs and outputs.
  2. Compact size: The grid arrangement of solder balls allows for a smaller package size compared to other packaging methods, saving valuable PCB space.
  3. Excellent electrical performance: BGA packages provide shorter signal paths and lower inductance, resulting in improved electrical performance and higher signal integrity.

Despite these advantages, BGA packages are susceptible to various issues that may require reballing.

Reasons for BGA Reballing

There are several reasons why a BGA package may require reballing. Some of the most common reasons include:

1. Thermal Stress

Electronic devices generate heat during operation, which can cause thermal expansion and contraction of the components. BGA packages are particularly vulnerable to thermal stress due to the difference in the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) between the package and the PCB. Over time, repeated thermal cycling can lead to solder joint fatigue, causing cracks or complete separation of the solder balls from the package or PCB. This can result in intermittent connections or complete failure of the device.

2. Mechanical Stress

BGA packages can also be damaged by mechanical stress, such as:

  • Flexing of the PCB during handling or installation
  • Impact or shock during transportation or use
  • Excessive pressure applied to the package during assembly or rework

Mechanical stress can cause the solder balls to deform, crack, or detach from the package or PCB, leading to device malfunction.

3. Manufacturing Defects

In some cases, BGA packages may have manufacturing defects that require reballing. These defects can include:

  • Incomplete or inconsistent solder ball attachment
  • Solder ball contamination or oxidation
  • Warpage or deformation of the package substrate

Manufacturing defects can cause poor connections between the BGA package and the PCB, resulting in device failure or reduced performance.

4. Rework or Repair

BGA reballing may also be necessary during rework or repair processes. For example, if a BGA component needs to be replaced due to damage or upgrades, the original solder balls must be removed, and new ones must be attached to the package before it can be soldered back onto the PCB.

The BGA Reballing Process

The BGA reballing process involves several steps to remove the old solder balls and attach new ones to the package. The following is a general overview of the reballing process:

1. Removal of the Old Solder Balls

The first step in BGA reballing is to remove the old solder balls from the package. This is typically done using a specialized heating tool, such as a hot air station or an infrared heater. The heat is applied to the solder balls until they melt, allowing them to be easily removed from the package.

2. Cleaning the Package

After removing the old solder balls, the BGA package must be thoroughly cleaned to remove any residual solder or contaminants. This is typically done using a solvent and a cleaning brush or a specialized cleaning solution. Proper cleaning ensures that the new solder balls will adhere properly to the package.

3. Applying Flux

Once the package is clean, a thin layer of flux is applied to the solder ball pads. Flux is a chemical compound that helps to remove oxides and promote solder wetting during the reflow process. It also helps to hold the new solder balls in place during the attachment process.

4. Placing New Solder Balls

New solder balls are then placed onto the fluxed pads using a stencil or a specialized ball placement machine. The solder balls must be accurately positioned to ensure proper connection between the package and the PCB.

5. Reflowing the Solder Balls

After the new solder balls are in place, the package is subjected to a reflow process. This involves heating the package and solder balls to a specific temperature profile, causing the solder to melt and form a strong bond with the package pads. The reflow process is typically performed using a reflow oven or a hot air station.

6. Inspection and Testing

Once the reballing process is complete, the BGA package is inspected visually and electrically to ensure that the new solder balls are properly attached and that the package functions as intended. This may involve using X-ray imaging, boundary scan testing, or functional testing, depending on the specific application and requirements.

Step Description
1 Removal of the old solder balls
2 Cleaning the package
3 Applying flux
4 Placing new solder balls
5 Reflowing the solder balls
6 Inspection and testing

Advantages of BGA Reballing

BGA reballing offers several advantages over other repair methods, such as:

  1. Cost-effective: Reballing is often more cost-effective than replacing the entire BGA component or PCB assembly, especially for high-value or hard-to-find components.
  2. Improved reliability: By replacing damaged or defective solder balls, reballing can restore the electrical and mechanical integrity of the BGA connection, improving the overall reliability of the device.
  3. Extended device lifespan: Successful reballing can extend the lifespan of electronic devices, reducing the need for frequent replacements and minimizing electronic waste.
  4. Versatility: BGA reballing can be performed on a wide range of BGA packages and devices, from small consumer electronics to large industrial equipment.

Challenges and Considerations in BGA Reballing

While BGA reballing is a valuable repair technique, it also presents some challenges and considerations, such as:

  1. Precision and skill: Reballing requires a high level of precision and skill to ensure proper solder ball placement and reflow. Technicians must be trained and experienced in the reballing process to achieve consistent, high-quality results.
  2. Equipment and materials: Reballing requires specialized equipment, such as stencils, ball placement machines, and reflow ovens, as well as high-quality solder balls and flux. Investing in the proper equipment and materials is essential for successful reballing.
  3. Package and PCB compatibility: The reballing process must take into account the specific requirements of the BGA package and PCB, such as the solder ball size, pitch, and composition. Incompatible materials or processes can lead to poor connections or damage to the package or PCB.
  4. Thermal management: Proper thermal management is crucial during the reballing process to avoid damage to the package or PCB. Technicians must carefully control the temperature profile and duration of the reflow process to ensure optimal results.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Q: Can all BGA packages be reballed?
    A: Most BGA packages can be reballed, provided that the package substrate and pads are not severely damaged. However, some packages may have unique design features or materials that make reballing more challenging or impossible.

  2. Q: How long does the BGA reballing process take?
    A: The duration of the reballing process depends on factors such as the package size, the number of solder balls, and the complexity of the device. A typical reballing job can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.

  3. Q: Can I perform BGA reballing myself?
    A: While it is possible to perform BGA reballing with the proper equipment and training, it is generally recommended to have the process done by a qualified professional. Reballing requires a high level of skill and precision, and mistakes can result in further damage to the device.

  4. Q: How much does BGA reballing cost?
    A: The cost of BGA reballing varies depending on factors such as the package size, the complexity of the device, and the service provider. On average, reballing services can range from $50 to $200 per component, but prices may be higher for large or complex devices.

  5. Q: What are the risks associated with BGA reballing?
    A: The main risks associated with BGA reballing include damaging the package substrate or pads during the removal of old solder balls, improper solder ball placement or reflow, and thermal damage to the package or PCB. These risks can be minimized by using the proper equipment, materials, and techniques, and by having the process performed by a skilled technician.


BGA reballing is a critical repair technique for addressing various issues related to Ball Grid Array packages. By replacing damaged or defective solder balls, reballing can restore the functionality and reliability of electronic devices, extending their lifespan and reducing the need for costly replacements. While reballing presents some challenges and requires specialized equipment and skills, it remains a cost-effective and versatile solution for many BGA-related problems.

As electronic devices continue to evolve and become more complex, the importance of BGA reballing will likely increase. By understanding the reasons for reballing, the process involved, and the advantages and challenges associated with this technique, electronics manufacturers, repair professionals, and end-users can make informed decisions about when and how to perform BGA reballing to ensure the optimal performance and longevity of their devices.