Recovery of data from BGA 100 chips

Recovery of data from BGA 100 chips

We have recently seen a large rise in the number of failed USB flash memory devices as well as SD cards, employing memory chips that no longer use the TSOP and TLGA form factors. One increasingly common type is BGA 100. As with all flash memory chips the key to being able to offer a fast, efficient data recovery service is to streamline the process of removal and reading of the flash memory chip or chips.

Having noted the upward trend we have now developed a solution to recover data from these chips quickly and effectively, through a process consisting of:

  • Removal of the memory chips from the faulty device
  • Removal of remaining (unusable) solder from the chip and cleaning
  • Reballing the chip (see images below)
  • Using a specially adapted top clamping reader to create an image of the chip contents

Once we have completed the above the image is good for data examination and retrieval of the once lost contents. Our success rate for this type of flash memory chip is very high, currently over 95%.

Below you can see an image of the first, fairly crude attempt that was made to reball a BGA 100 chip. This particular attempt was conducted entirely by hand, each ball was individually positioned by one of our engineers. Since this early attempt we have now been able to replace the manual reballing (which was never intended to be a permanent solution), with stainless steel stencils. These stencils allow for almost immediate and perfectly accurate positioning of the solder balls over the chip contacts:


A reballed BGA100 chip in the TRC Data Recovery lab

The image below shows the seating of the solder balls using a carefully monitored infra-red heat source. This step forms the last part of the process of preparing the NAND memory chip(s) for reading:

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