We purchased our PS3 on release date around 6 years ago.
It has been faultless. 100% faultless….. Until the other day.
I took it from its rack to upgrade the hard drive (HDD) to 640GB as the original 60GB was full, so carried out my first ever FULL data back up, then swapped in the new drive.
To do this:
- Carry out a system update on your PS3.
- Back up your PS3 onto a removable hard drive or memory stick.
- Remove the old hard drive.
- Put in the new hard drive.
- Follow the on-screen instructions and format the new drive.
- Restore from the back up you made.
You can even buy a case for the removed drive and use it as a stand alone storage drive.
This was no problem…. but…
… a day later and ‘BEEP BEEP BEEP‘… power off. Nothing to do with the new hard drive, but I was lucky to have carried out the back up!
To be honest, I was expecting this to happen at some point. Maybe my moving it around to swap the hard drive didn’t help – but either way, it’s 6 years old and this early model fault was waiting to happen.
It suffered the fate of quite a few other ‘fat‘ PS3’s….Yellow Light of Death (the yellow light only blinks very quickly on then off).
What generally happens is over time the paste that joins the cooling part of the PS3 to the ‘brain’ goes hard over time and the two parts lose contact causing the brain to over heat.
This can cause a problem anyway, and the PS3 will shut down to save itself. The thing is, when the connection between the cooling and the brain (actually two processing units… not really a brain) starts to separate, it puts some strain on tiny soldered connections, and one or more might disconnect…. BEEP BEEP BEEP.
This problem occurs mostly with people who move their PS3’s around a lot, as the continued joggling accelerates the problem.
Anyway, the solution to the problem is to either:
- Pay Sony to repair it – and that generally means they just send you a refurbished unit and you lose all of your data – and it takes weeks.
- You could give it to someone else to repair – and pay them upwards of £40 (from what I have seen)
- You could buy a new PS3….
- You could fix it yourself…. OH NO!!! DIFFICULT!!!
Actually… fixing it yourself is really very easy. Just stay calm, have enough room to lay all the bits out, buy or borrow a heat gun (get one for about £15 on Amazon) and buy some Arctic Silver 5 3.5g Thermal Paste from Amazon.
Simply put: Take PS3 apart. Clean old paste off. Heat up board*. Put on new paste. Put PS3 back together.
*The heating of the board 're-flows' the solder and fixes the broken contacts.
A search on YouTube came up with some great tutorials, but by far the best one that I found was by a guy called DAX79. His video was instructive, not preachy, and not over complicated. As an engineer myself (not electronics!), and having written manuals, I know the importance of making something as simple as possible – and this guy does a fantastic job.
After watching the video through once, I then put it back to the start and slowly worked through the process. There are some top tips to help you out:
- Use the correct tools. Anything else can cause you problems.
- Take your time.
- Lay all the parts out neatly as you take it apart. You’ll appreciate this when it comes to reassembly!
- Don’t Panic.
- Try and keep all of the screws you take out in a bag or tub along with the bit that they secured to the PS3.
- Don’t Panic.
- When you heat the board, keep the heat gun moving. Do it for about 10 minutes. Let it cool for a good 30 minutes before even trying to move it. I recommend repeating this operation as some people find that one heating doesn’t work. So… Heat for 10 minutes, cool for at least 30 minutes, heat for another 10 minutes, let cool for at least 30 minutes.
- Make sure you clean the old paste off thoroughly.
- Don’t Panic.
- Once working, make sure you update your PS3 and fully back it up as soon as possible. Some people say the repair might only hold for a month, two months… a year…. Either way, you almost lost EVERYTHING… so DO A BACK UP this time…. It might not go wrong again… but you’ve just had a lucky break and saved all of your data – and you might not be so lucky next time.