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Success! N5 now has 3 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage!

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By ilciumbia, Senior Member on 30th March 2019, 12:59 AM
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Hi everyone!

After months and months, and countless hours spent (and a good deal of destroyed Nexus 5 motherboards...) ,I have succeeded in expanding both RAM and storage of a Nexus 5!

The RAM:

I have been thinking about it for quite some time, then I decided to go for it, so I bought a 24Gb LPDDR3 memory chip from Aliexpress and attempted a replacement to my spare Nexus 5. Well, believe it or not, it worked!!! My N5 has 3 GB of RAM, and the difference, with my 242 apps installed, is very evident! It has been hard work, not easy at all, but if there is anyone who has the necessary skill/equipment and is wondering if it can be done, well, the answer is YES!

The memory chip I purchased is the K3QF7F70DM-QGCF.

Replacement requires removing the ePOP memory from the top of the Snapdragon chip, then cleaning carefully the BGA land pads from any resin/glue residue, then re-soldering the new chip. I am not going into details (unless requested) because those who know about BGA reworking know what it is all about and those who don't... Well, don't try it! Anyway, I am available to provide any further explanation.

The Flash:

Then... I could not stop there. RAM is nice, but I was running out of storage space... Plus, it seems it had been done before, even if not many details had been provided... Well, there is all sort of documentation and software one can desire for the Nexus 5... So let's go for it! Let's buy a 64 GB eMMC chip from Aliexpress and let's try to transplant it!

The operation has proven more complex than I could have imagined: I collected 13 (!) dead Nexus 5s so that I could experiment with them, I fixed some of them and then I destroyed them again in the attempt to transplant the chip! The endline is: "Don't try this at home unless you are willing to end up with a broken phone"! And, believe me, it is VERY likely this is going to happen!

But the screenshots speak for themselves:

https://photos.google.com/album/AF1Q...nZXHusHW18PsRu
https://photos.google.com/album/AF1Q...rbxZqTU0ZGumd4

If anyone is interested (be careful if you want to attempt the mod) I will provide all details of hardware equipment used, how to desolder chips, how to solder the new ones (but if you need to read my instructions then the operation is clearly out of your reach!) and how to flash the new chip with bootloader, recovery, ROM and everything. Just let me know!


Regards!
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30th March 2019, 04:46 PM |#2  
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Hello, can you show in more detail and with screenshots where you soldered the memory. how long did it take you
30th March 2019, 11:08 PM |#3  
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Did you take any pictures through the process?
31st March 2019, 01:54 AM |#4  
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Hi guys,

unfortunately I have not taken any pictures, because I had not the slightest confidence in the outcome! However, I can summarize the process with pictures found online:

1- the memory chip (which is on top of the processor) is the one with the red dot on it; you must also remove the metal shield around it, which is fitted with just clips, so a small screwdriver and some care is enough to remove it;
2. you must heat up the chip with a hot air rework station; I also recommend to cover the rest of the board with kapton tape (or, at worst, with some aluminium foil);
3- use a thermocouple if possible; if you don't have it, monitor carefully the melting of the memory chip. Keep in mind you have to remove the memory only, not the entire chip (but the memory chip, being on top, is the first thing to come off);
4- using a needle or a thin razor blade, gently leverage one corner of the chip until you feel it softening and finally coming off;
5- after removing it, you must very carefully clean the pads from any glue left on them (yes, the memory is also glued!). The pads are not too delicate, however exert maximum care, you do not want to rip any of them off; I personally used the scalpel tip of my soldering iron to clean and level the pads;
6- use isopropyl alcohol, acetone and some sandpaper or a pencil rubber to clean the pads from any dirt and oxidation; you must end with some very clean pads, as in the picture (of course pads will not be gold but silver);
7- spread some gel flux on the pads and place the new chip on them, carefully aligning it with the processor underneath (careful about pin 1!);
8- heat up the chip again with the hot air gun; look at it from the side, until you see the balls melting and the whole chip settling down in the correct position;
9- remove hot air and let it cool nice and slow;
10- enjoy!

Please note that the process is extremely risky and complex; if you need to read the above steps, probably you should not attempt it; but if you succeed, results are worth the effort! The whole process took about 1-1.5 hours (I do not know exactly).

Next step will be to upgrade storage space (someone has already done it, if I remember correctly)!
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31st March 2019, 03:10 PM |#5  
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If only i had rework station. I have broken display connector. 8 or 9 pins came off. I need to solder them and i do not have equipment. What is the cheapest hot air rework station i can get?
2nd April 2019, 04:53 PM |#6  
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make youtube video, you will be a legend, really, my phone was stolen while leaving work, xiaomi mi6 6gb ram (powerful) and unfortunately I had to buy a lg g2, do you think you can add more ram to g6 ?, I'm very used to the speed of my once loved mi6: /, do the process please, it would be great!
2nd April 2019, 07:14 PM |#7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matusala

If only i had rework station. I have broken display connector. 8 or 9 pins came off. I need to solder them and i do not have equipment. What is the cheapest hot air rework station i can get?

I do not recommend hot air on that connector. It is very prone to desoldering, but your best bet would be a very thin soldering tip, like the Weller LT1S, for example.

As for a cheap hot air reworl station, this is a pretty standard one:

https://it.aliexpress.com/item/220V-...AbTest=ae803_5

or even cheaper:

https://it.aliexpress.com/item/High-...AbTest=ae803_5

you will have to build your own stand, because it is impractical to hold it in your hand (you will need both at a certain point!). I attached it to a desktop spring loaded lamp, "Pixar style" to be clear.
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2nd April 2019, 07:16 PM |#8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgm_mixtoon

make youtube video, you will be a legend, really, my phone was stolen while leaving work, xiaomi mi6 6gb ram (powerful) and unfortunately I had to buy a lg g2, do you think you can add more ram to g6 ?, I'm very used to the speed of my once loved mi6: /, do the process please, it would be great!

I have ordered a new 4 GB memory chip, this time I will make a video when I attempt the mod!

can you please clarify to which device you would like to add RAM?
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29th April 2019, 07:44 AM |#9  
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how about geekbench result?
1st May 2019, 08:53 AM |#10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackyGundam

how about geekbench result?

Hope this works:

https://browser.geekbench.com/v4/cpu/12973897

https://browser.geekbench.com/v4/compute/3984170
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15th May 2019, 10:31 PM |#11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilciumbia

I have ordered a new 4 GB memory chip, this time I will make a video when I attempt the mod!

can you please clarify to which device you would like to add RAM?

Amazing! Waiting for that!
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