Question NVMe SSD has some melted substance on the PCB ---- Can it be saved ?

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murph187

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Jan 5, 2022
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Hey there guys, new to the forum here.

I have a 1TB NVME drive, and as you can see in the comparison photo between mine, and a functioning one, there appears to be some kind of black melted substance covering a small portion of the PCB. The subtance is hard to the touch. It was sent to me by a friend who repairs PC's and Laptop's, who admittedly forgot to test the drive before sending it my way. I suspect it likely came out of a device that could have possibly overheated and caused something to melt at some point and coming in to contact with it? It's difficult to say, I'm not exactly an expert. I plugged it in, and after the BIOS failed to recognize, I checked to see if it was seated correctly and it was beyond too hot to touch with my bare fingers.

I'm wondering if there are any experts out there, familiar with PCB's, that may know whether I could heat this substance with a heat-gun and/or use some kind of special solvent to clear it from the PCB and test to see if it would function correctly once it's gone? Or if that substance may be some of the actual chips themselves that were once on the PCB and have melted to take that shape/form that you see now, and the drive is completely ruined?

Original functioning drive.

My drive with the melted substance.

Thanks for any help guys!
 

murph187

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Jan 5, 2022
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That is dead.
Looks like it may have melted something else, which is now those black blobs.

Is it still under warranty?

Negative. It was just a spare part he had laying around, he was sending to me as a gesture. Nothing else was damaged on the motherboard when plugging this in. It was plugged in for possibly a minute or two before I shut the system off to diagnose -- which is when I noticed it was overheating. I immediately pulled it out using a cloth to hold the edges. The black substance was already hard to the touch. It's possible the black blob came from another motherboard it was plugged into previously?

It makes me curious though, whether that's possible to remove from the PCB. When comparing the photos of the new drive, all of the small chips appear to be in place, just with the black blobs melted around them.

Do you figure once it reaches this point, or overheats to the degree it was, it's irrecoverable?
 

murph187

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Jan 5, 2022
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That's a bummer, I'll possibly try bringing it to a local IT shop and see if someone can indentify what it is. It may be useless, but I hate the thought of throwing out a $500+ drive.
 

USAFRet

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There also looks to be some melted goo around the main IC.

dY1Pihx.png
 
The "melted goo around the main IC" is epoxy glue. It is often used for securing BGA chips.

Those blobs also appear to be epoxy glue. They appear to be securing 4 tiny rectangular BGA ICs. I can't see the markings on these chips, but I suspect that they are load switches.

In short, it looks odd, but I believe it's OK.

There are some better photos in this review:

https://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/7676/toshiba-xg3-1tb-2-nvme-pcie-ssd-review/index.html
 
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USAFRet

Titan
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A manufacturer would not use glue unless it was subsequently deemed necessary. Manufacturing often implements ECOs (Engineering Change Orders) during the life cycle of a product.

BTW, I did edit my post since your reply.
Maybe it was a design change, maybe not.
I can probably come around to seeing that epoxy glue highlighted in my pic.

Those other blobs? No.
In addition to the thing getting WAY too hot, and not working.
 
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murph187

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Jan 5, 2022
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The labeling looks "off" to me.

Counterfeit perhaps?

Compare, for example, to "Original functioning drive" image.

Just a thought.....

I don't believe it's counterfeit. It came out of a genuine Dell laptop. The smudged print appears to be from misuse or being poorly handled. That being said, it could it why it's disfunctional.

I've looked over the chip again, a bit more meticulously, and have spotted more blemishes on the unit itself.

Those average $160 now btw

Considering this, I'm leaning more and more towards tossing it entirely.
 
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