How to add/change a memory chip

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Contents

Warning

If your soldering is not precise enough or if you don't feel confident - don't proceed with this project. Solder is hot! Don't touch the soldering iron!

Let's begin

First, note that the pictures in this how-to were taken while adding a memory chip; if you want to replace your main chip just follow the directions, the pictures will most likely not be accurate for that scenario so don't get discouraged; keep trying and go on ;P

Here are the tools used in this project:

Toolkit.JPG

In this project, the target S1mp3 has 512MB of memory, a 4Gbit (Samsung) flash NAND chip.

Mem beginning.JPG

How to get a new chip

You can get an extra memory chip from a dead donor player or from a memory chip sale.

There is a trustable vendor selling memory chips for a very low price. For references, see the forum post.

 These are going to remain here for a small time for the vendor to estabilish an index page 

Extracting flash chip from a donor

If you already have a memory chip it is safe to skip this section and proceed to "Preparing to solder the second chip".

A donor s1mp3 can be used to obtain a new flash memory chip. You can get a donor on internet auctions as damaged ones, for a really low price (sometimes equivalent to about 5 Euro).

Luckily it had the same flash memory chip of the target, a 4Gbit Samsung. What might happen if diffent types of flash chips are used is unknown.

Extracting the flash memory chip

Disassemble the donor and secure it to a table.

Dismount flash 1.JPG

put up one side of chip and gently apply some heat to desolder it.

Another method may be to use a sharp, thin razor blade to cut the pins off. Hold the blade as closely to the board as possible, this keeps the pins long enough for soldering.

Attention!

  • Do not overheat chip with soldering gun/iron.
  • Do not cut chip legs. Almost all of them are necessary :)

Dismount flash 2.JPG

Then, do the same with the other side. Now you can extract the memory chip from the donor.

Dismount flash 3.JPG

Here's the 4Gbit flash chip. Pins will be dirty after removal (tin + rosin).
Clean it so there are no short circuits. It is now ready to use!

Hero clean.JPG

Preparing to solder the second chip

Disassemble the target s1mp3 and secure it to a table, with the free soldering place face up.

The "o" symbol marks position of first pin of memory chip! This is very important! You can't turn chip around during soldering. The chip MUST be correctly aligned! Take a look at the pin 1 marker embossed on the chip.

Clean the free soldering place on the circuit board of the target S1mp3 with alcohol, if necessary.

Soldering 2.JPG


If your board does not have the soldering points for another memory chip, you can still add a second chip following this scheme: 2nd memory.png

NOTE: This piggy-backing method will not allow you to have a player with more than two memory chips! It relies on the fact that both chip enable lines are brought out on pins 9 and 10 of the first memory chip socket/solder pads. So, solder all the pins of the second memory at the top of the first, making the addaptation on the legs 9-10.

Soldering the chip

Apply tin to solder the chip legs to the board. This is the most dangerous and difficult part as the pins are so small and close that it is very easy for solder to bridge across the pins.

Tips:

  • Use as little tin as possible. Soldering areas are just covered - it should be enough.
  • Put the chip very precisely on the soldering places.
  • Solder first and last pin, then check if location of chip is correct. If it's OK, then solder the rest of the pins - side by side.
  • STOP and CHECK with multimeter and magnifying glass (or grandma's "+4" glasses), MAKE SURE that there are no short-circuits between chip legs.

Soldered.JPG

Sometimes flash chip's include two chips in one case. E.g. a 1GB chip could contain 2x 512MB chips. Then the chips second enable signal (CE2) also needs to get connected. The boards usually keep this pin unconnected/floating. This causes the whole bus to break down. Either remove the old chip's CE line and connect to this pin (CE1) or directly connect to VCC and waste the memory. Another option may be to add a switch :)

Testing the chip

Now there are two flash chips on board.

Two chips.JPG

At this point, when powering up, the device could either hang during "Starting..." or still work normally.

If it hangs, put it on recovery mode by TEMPORARILY bridging/shorting memory data pins during startup, as described in the Dead Recovery Guide.

Next, flash your working firmware to your S1mp3, and make a full (not low!) format operation.

If it starts up as normal, the expanded memory won't be detected at first. To make the player see the extra memory, format it with the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool. This tool will detect the total available amount of memory and format the device accordingly.

For a final test, load your s1mp3 with different types of data(such as videos, musics, etc.), and then check the integrity of the files. If everything works fine, you can now reassemble all parts together. If something wrong happens, check for short-circuits on the soldering work you've made.

Final result

Success! Here's the 1GB s1mp3 player.

In light.JPG


Author

Original version made by Pawel Koch aka Loslobos

Wroclaw, Poland 2006.01.11

Skype ID = kochpaw

The s1mp3.org wiki team made a few changes to adapt the contents to formal Wiki formatting.

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