Wednesday, April 28, 2010

PS3 and the Yellow Light of Death (YLOD)

Sometime last year, Dad went to turn on his Playstation 3 and was greeted by the infamous Yellow Light Of Death. It's tough to find a good description of what the YLOD is, but this forum thread is somewhat comprehensive. Essentially, the PS3 does nothing but show a single LED. Apparently there are a number of possible causes. Dad had just bought a new game it was stuck in the Blue-Ray player and no amount of coaxing was getting it out. With a repair price of about $150CAD (+ shipping) Dad simply bought a new Playstation ($300).

tiny ribbon cables galore
I had some spare time a couple of weeks back and Dad had found a suitable heat-gun to attempt the, by now, common "re-flow" repair. We watched this very good YouTube video (which is in two parts) and took the plunge. If it failed I was planning to at least crack the Blue-Ray drive to get the game which was M.I.A.

Death by a million screws.
One of the biggest challenges in this process is remembering where all the parts go and not having "extra" screws left at the end. I've taken apart quite a bit of tech in my time, and the PS3 ranks up there with a really full lap-top disassembly. My iPhone was invaluable for this reason. The YouTube video was great, but didn't cover re-assembly! Copious pictures of each stage and fingers pointing at the pieces in question really made putting it back together a snap compared to other jobs I've done. After completing the repair, I just started swiping backwards through the pictures and zooming in where I needed. I neglected to take any pictures of the actual "re-flow" process, since I was just hoping to use the pictures to put the damn thing back together again.

It took a couple of hours, but in the end we were successful. It was a lot of fun and some quality bonding time too.

As usual, all the pictures with informative captions can be found below...

PS3 reflow disassembly photos