PS3 Yellow Light Of Death Repaired
Ok. So I can hear a lot of you saying, “That’s not the best way to carry out a repair. It’ll never last!” And you know what? You are probably right! But, I got given this Play Station 3 for nothing regardless of whether I fixed it or not. So if it lasts for a while, then I have a few games and have had another excellent electronic repair experience.
So, let’s get down to the repair…..
My son-in-law gave me 2 PS3’s that both suffered from the dreaded YLOD (Yellow light Of Death) and it is a fairly common problem, especially with the older styles, known as the Fat Boy (er, coz it’s fatter than the later slim styles!)
As usual, I did some research using my best friend (sad I know) the internet! After some time I found an excellent article and video that walks you through the repair steps.
However, I did find the steps provided were very basic, with no real specifics. I also found in the comments below, this method didn’t seem to last too long or damaged the board beyond repair. I figured that some of the people that attempted the repair perhaps didn’t have the skills needed.
The main problem with the YLOD with the PS3 (gotta love acronyms!) is that with the many hours of gaming done by the user and accumulation of dust around the fan and other components, a lack of cooling allows the solder on the CPU (Central Processing Unit) and the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) becomes brittle and cracks, creating cold solder joints and therefore the unit will not operate.
So I decided to do some extra research on reflowing circuit boards. As I didn’t have a reflow station, I figured that I would just use what I had and see how things turned out.
By using the method shown in the picture here, I was able to use a combination of a kitchen oven (while my wife wasn’t home – of course), an air heat gun and an infrared thermometer.
So let’s start at the beginning.
By following the disassembly instructions, I was easily able to get the mainboard from the unit. As I did so, I could see why the unit had failed – dust was everywhere and in the time my son-in-law had used it, it had certainly had a good workout!
The fan showed clear signs of lack of cooling and airflow. The two metal pads shown here sit directly on the CPU and GPU, allowing heat transfer.
After removing the mainboard, I was ready for the next step. I had never done a repair like this before, so I was a little apprehensive. It sat in my lab for a few months before I gained confidence to tackle it.
Even the mainboard shows how much dust had accumulated over the years.
It was necessary to remove all the thermal pads and thermal paste before applying any heat. According to the instructions, you should just preheat the board with a heat gun. I felt that would not provide consistent heat coverage and could increase the rate of failure. So, that’s where the oven comes in.
After carefully reading the reflow chart at the beginning of the article and organising all my tools and equipment, then turned on the oven to get that ready. Timing is everything! Too much and you end up with a circuit board in a puddle of solder. Too little and you have spent several hours doing absolutely nothing!
I had a stop watch on standby. I placed the circuit board in the oven at 130°C on a bread board to keep it level. I checked the board regularly with the thermometer to see when it was ‘done’.
Next it was into the lab with the heat gun, stop watch and thermometer. Once again I followed the chart above carefully, just adding a few seconds to allow for ambient temperature.
Starting with the CPU and GPU, heating should be done in a zig zag or circular motion to stop localised heat. After the correct time has passed, move on to the smaller chips below, using the same method. Remember, the solder will be in a liquid state, so any movement of the board at this stage could be disastrous! After the correct heating method correctly timed, the next step is critical – walk away and don’t touch it. Remember that you have reflowed the solder and have to allow time for it to harden properly. I decided to be on the safe side and let it sit overnight. Then it was just a matter of getting it back together in the reverse order – right?
After reassembly, with my fingers and toes crossed, I pressed the standby button. No more YLOD and the light turned a solid green colour. I was on a winner and confidence was high! All I had to do now was put in a game and see how everything worked. I slowly pushed in the disc and found nothing happened. So naturally I started going through all the work I had done, thinking there was something I had missed! I decided to do further research…..
I found an article on misaligned Blu Ray players. In my case, this was a result of the PS3 shutting down before the Blu Ray had a chance to eject the disc correctly.
This article was prepared for you by Mark Rabone from Australia.
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