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Me Welcome to my site richardshub.com, this is where you'll find all my little projects, stuff i've collected and any other related stuff i've done, I built this site all myself, right from scratch, using PHP, HTML, a little JavaScript and some CSS, i might not be that good at web design, but i do find it fun, If you have any comments or questions (good or bad) then do feel free to send me a Message or Sign My Guest Book


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My PS3 YLOD fix
i bought this Playstation 3 off eBay (02/08/2011) for about £52+P&P, with the YLOD (Yellow Light Of Death) that also came with a wireless controller, everything else was working fine like the Blu-Ray drive, Hard drive etc.

i went about fixing the YLOD in much the same way as with my xBox 360, but this time i wanted to put a bit more time into it to try and get it right, the first thing i did was to look for some king of guide to help with taking apart the PS3 and how to go about fixing the YLOD, after a bit of searching i came across this great PDF, not only did the PDF give a good step by step guide for taking apart the PS3 but also some handy tips on testing the PS3 and removing the heat separator from the GPU prior to the re-flowing process, but one thing i would say about the PDF and other guides i have seen on how to re-flow the PS3 and the xBox 360, is that they talk about using a heat gun to heat the GPU for a particular amount of time in order to melt (Re-Flow) the balls of solder under the GPU, but i found that doing it that way was a bit hit and miss, then found out that the melting point of the solder used, was about 220-230°c, so i thought that it would be a much better idea to just monitor the temperature as i go.



The Re-Flow process that i came up with, that i first used on my xBox 360 and now my PS3:

after removing the heat separator from the GPU and removing all the thermal paste/glue (as shown in the PDF), i then dripped some liquid flux under the GPU (not shown in the PDF but still a good idea to do), then tilted the board so that the flux can flow under the GPU (the flux will help to clean the solder joints under the GPU), i then put the board on a flat surface and then put the thermometer probe near the GPU (but not on it, as it could move the GPU when re-flowing), i put some pennies on the probe to stop it from moving, i then started the re-flow process by first heating up the hole board on a low heat, in a left to right, up and down motion, about 3 inches from the board, i did this for about 2-3 minuets until the temperature of the board was about 60-75°c, i then started to focus the heat on the GPU, but this time in a more circular motion, still about 3 inches from the board and still with the heat gun on low heat, i continued to do that until i was getting the max temperature for the low heat setting (about 120°c), i then switched my heat gun to high and continued as before, but speeding up the circular motion a little, when i could see the temperature rise, i slowed down a bit, until the temperature was up to about 230°c, i then started to count to about 30-40, at the same time trying to keep the temperature around 220-230°c, then when i got to 30 i started to pull back the heat gun a bit to about 5 or 6 inches from the board, i did that for about 5-8 seconds, then i switched the heat gun to low, i did this to make sure that to board did not cool down to fast, so as to stop it from warping, then i just left it to cool down to room temperature before moving it.


you might be able to see some rubber i put on the board near the top (third pic above), this was just to replace some of the thermal pads that were no good to reuse.

one thing i noticed when putting the heat separator back on, was a tiny gap between the RAM chips and the heat separator, the gap looked like it was only less then 0.05 of a mm, but still that's big when your talking about thermal conductivity, that would explain the thermal glue on the RAM that i had to remove, this is the same problem i found with the xBox 360, but the gap was smaller, the solution i came up with for the PS3 and the xBox 360, was to fold some thick kitchen foil in two and make a kind of thermal paste sandwich, but really i should try and find some kind of good thermal glue or adhesive.



one more thing i did do before i put it all pack together (just like what i did with my xBox 360) was to speed up the fan a bit, to keep the PS3 a bit cooler, i did a bit of searching and found some simple mods to speed up the fan, i did change it a bit, because i wanted it to just take the power from the fan and not from the power supply and that i did not have all the right components.

****** Update (14/11/2011) *****
i have bought some thermal "heatsink plaster" off eBay for about £1.45 that looks like it might be the same thing that Sony used on the GPU RAM, it seems to be doing a good job, but we will see how long it lasts.

***** Update (11/11/2012) *****
about a week ago, my PS3 died again (but has done wall to last this long), it started to shut it's self down a number of times when in the middle of a game, then finally died of the YLOD, i've done the normal re-flow as before, but this time i've removed my little fan mod because of A) it meant i couldn't hear the fan speeding up as the PS3 was over heating and B) i found out that the fan uses PWM (Pulse-width modulation) to control it's speed, so using plain DC may not of been so good for the fan, i've also used the heatsink plaster (as mentioned above) on the GPU die as well as on the GPU RAM, just to see if it might be able to stand a higher temperature then the thermal paste i used last time.


***** Update (11/03/2013) *****
well that's it now for my PS3 (it's dead), about a week or so ago it started to shut it's self down in the middle of a game, but when i turned it back on it would stay on for longer then i expected (before shuting it's self down again), so instead of waiting for it to get the YLOD again, i thought i would do the same as i've done before and re-flow the GPU and re-do the thermal paste etc., but this time after i put it all back together, it now has the YLOD when i turn it on, even though it was working before i did the re-flow on the GPU, so i think that this last re-flow, i might of damaged the GPU or maybe some of the solder balls may of shorted out with the others one's, even though i always use plenty of flux.

but what this tells me is that the heatsink plaster i used on the GPU die (see last update above), did stand up to the heat a bit better than i thought it would, so it does do the job on the GPU's RAM chips, but just not so suitable for the GPU die.
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My xBox 360 RROD

i bought this xbox 360 arcade (first version) of eBay (08/08/2010) for about £26 +P&P, that had the E74 error (i.e the one red light), with power supply and AV cable, when it came i opened it up  and i found that the microsoft seal was still intact, but it still looked like it had been opened before, so it must of been repaired by microsoft at some point, but i could not see what had been done (i.e no X-Clamp fix etc.).

so after opening it up, i removed the X-Clamps and gave the GPU a heat-up with my old hot air gun , just for a minute or so, but didn’t do it at a hight enough temperature, but just enough for it to work for testing, after that i put the GPU heat sink back on, with out the X-Clamp (did the X-Clamp fix, i.e using bolts and washers), i hooked up the 360 main-board up to the power supply and AV cable, it started up fine, i then set about fixing some of the other problems that the 360 has (mostly over heating).

first i stuck a old PC CPU fan on the end of the GPU heat-sink (see picture below), then i soldered a molex connector on to the main-board (see picture below) to power the fan i put on the GPU heat-sink, after doing that i still found that the 360 was still not running as cool as i would of liked, i knew that the fans in the 360 were rated at 12 volts, so i checked to see just how much voltage was going to the fans, it was only 5 volts (i.e to keep the 360 quite), i needed to pump a bit more voltage into the fans, but enough to move more air, but try not to make it too noisy, i remembered that i had some PC fan reducers, for slowing down a fan inside a PC, i knew that they reduced the voltage from 12 to about 7 or 8 volts, so i took the plug off the end of one of them and soldered on a molex socket (to the 12 volt side of the molex socket) and removed the red wire from the plug on the 360′s fan, i.e the positive wire going to the first fan, in-line with the GPU (see picture below), basically bypassing the voltage going to the first fan coming from the main-board, but still letting the 360 control the second fan that is in-line with the CPU, as a result the GPU fan spins a bit faster then the CPU fan and therefor cools the GPU down a bit more, were the CPU is still cool enough, doing this has made the 360 a bit more noisy then i might of liked, but it is much much cooler now, i also decided to re-flow the GPU properly this time, by heating it up again with my hot air gun, but this time to the right temperature (round 220°c) and using some liquid flux to do the job right.

you can’t see it in the picture, but i stuck a small bit of card inside the fan shroud to help separate the air flow from the two fans, i.e so more of the air flow from the fan on the left (the GPU side) moves over the GPU heat-sink and the CPU does not hog all the cool air.

you might be wondering why i have stuck a two pence on one of the chips and a cooper pipe fitting on the other one, there really just cheep heat-sinks i made from things i found round the house, that might help with cooling the chips down a bit, all i did was smooth them down using a oil stone (for sharping knives), then put some heat compound on the bottom and used some bathroom silicone to hold them on the board.

i also bought a used/untested 20Gig xbox 360 hard drive of eBay for just £6 and a used/faulty controller for about £10 that i fixed and is working fine too.

Costs

  • xBox 360 Arcade with PSU & AV cable £26
  • Faulty Controller £10
  • 20 Gig Hard Drive £6
  • X-Clamp fix kit £1
  • Liquid Flux £2

in total i spent £45

so far all seems to be working fine.

+++Update+++

i’ve removed most of the mods that i did, like the extra fan on the GPU heat sink and my home made copper heat sinks, because i found that they didn’t really do much, where the higher air flow over the GPU heat sink and the better thermal contact between the GPU and the heat sink were the two mods that seemed to have the most effect in cooling down the xbox 360.

+++Update (12/09/2011) +++

about a week or so ago , i get the RROD and did a re-flow of the GPU again, i think it might of been when i re-applied the thermal paste on the GPU (some days before), i noticed that one of the washers (that i used as spacers) was a bit thinner then all the others, so i replaced it with one of the same size as the other, but i think doing so might of caused the GPU to be not as flush with the heat sink (as i think the main-board might of warped a bit over time) than it was before, i have now re-fitted the X-Clamps, to see if they might do a better job at keeping the GPU flush with the heat sink.

+++Update (14/03/2012) +++

i got the E74 error again, last night, so i did the re-flow as before, after i noticed that the small die on the GPU was a tiny bit lower than the GPU chip, (just like the same kind of problem i found with my PS3), so that might be why that side of the GPU fails first, so i used the same stuff i used on the RAM chips on my PS3 (heatsink plaster), on the RAM chip on the GPU, i'll see if it holds up or not, but so far so good.

+++ Upade (9/6/2012) +++

well it turns out that the X-clamps really are a load of ****, not that long after putting the X-clamps back on (see above) my Xbox red ringed again, so i decided to remove the X-clamps and go for the first solution that seemed to work, i.e like the above but using bolts and washers instead of the X-clamps to hold the heat sinks in place, i also stuck some little rubber feet to the bottom of the board,under the GPU and the CPU to push the board up more firmly to the heat sinks, all seems to be ok
 

+++ Update (15/8/20/12) +++

about a week ago, i turn on my xbox, all seemed fine, then after about 20 - 25 mins, it just froze, it would not respond to button presses, nothing, so i turned it off (by holding down the power button on the console) and when i turned it back on, i got the 3 red lights of death (RROD) and no display this time, this was the first time i had this error (before it was 1 red light with a E74 error on screen), but i didn't think to much of it and just did another re-flow on the GPU, same as i've done many times before, but that didn't do anything this time, after looking up the error light codes (by holding down the Sync button and pressing the eject button on the console, see this site http://www.llamma.com/xbox360/repair/Xbox-360-error-codes.htm for what the error codes mean), i found the error code for my xbox was 0110, meaning a memory problem, so i re-flowed the RAM chips too, NOTHING, i then re-flowed the CPU just to make sure, still nothing, i still got the same memory error (error code 0110), so basically i think thats it now, it's dead!
i think what might of happened was that all the times the GPU has been heated up doring the many re-flows, that may of shorted it's life so much it just died, but on the plus side, i but now i know that my method of using the heatsink plaster on the small die on the GPU seemed to of worked.

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Macintosh PowerBook 165c (1993)
i bought this MAC laptop for £30 about 12 odd years ago, it also came with a HP Desk Writer 310 inkjet printer, that should still work, (if i can find a new ink cartridge for it), the Mac still works ok (as you can see from the picturs), the battery however, was totally dead when i got it, but for it's age, it's still all in good shape.



HP Desk Writer 310

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My Backup Solution (using FreeNAS)

i’m the kind of person who thinks about backing up a lot, but i only do it every now and then, so i thought its time to work out some kind of solution, what i use to do was to just copy and paste the files i wanted to backup from each computer over FTP to my FreeNAS server, that worked ok for me, but the only problem was that i would have copy the files from each computer into a separate folder on my server and world be easy to lose track of my backups and was a bit of a pain to have to do each time.

so i thought about using some kind of syncing solution like RSync that FreeNAS offers, i’ve used RSync before but only to copy a large number of files, but not for syncing, i looked into how to setup RSync on my FreeNAS server and found it not to hard to do (see link below), the way i have set it up, is to sync each of my computers to a separate folder on my FreeNAS server, (i.e the name of each computer) and use a separate RSync Module linked to each folder (see link below), so for example on the hard drive on my server i would have a folder named say “/backup/computer1″ a folder named “/backup/computer2″ and so on, then i would add a module to the RSync server (see link below) named say “Computer One” and i would then link that to the folder “/backup/computer1″ (on the hard drive on the server) and so on, i would then select the name of the module i wanted to sync to in the RSync client on each of my computers, so i would be backing up/syncing, say the “My Documents” folder on my computer to the folder “/backup/computer1″ on my server and so on for each of my computers.

Link to setting up RSync on a FreeNAS server: http://homeserver.wikidot.com/rsync

the RSync clients i use to sync my computers are, for Linux i use LuckyBackup and for windows i use QtdSync

i do also use some Online backup/syncing apps like Dropbox and SugarSync, but thats more for smaller stuff like documents etc.

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My Temp Scan (Scan and Delete Temp Files)

Temp Scan is a little .NET program i made using Microsoft’s Visual Basic 2010, i made Temp Scan because i wanted a basic temp cleaner and just thought why don’t i try and make one myself, the first Temp Scan i made was in Visual Basic 6, for Windows 98 (also worked in XP), it worked fine but it did take a bit of time to do the scan, so when i found that Microsoft released Visual Basic .NET for free i thought i might try starting Temp Scan again in .NET, i didn’t really change Temp Scan that much because i wanted to keep it simple, now the .NET version seems to scan a lot faster, Visual Basic 2010 .NET also made it easy to add auto updating to .NET apps, that makes it easier to update my Temp Scan .NET without having to re-download or re-install it.

here are some screen-shots of my Temp Scan .NET

to download my Temp Scan, just click on Files (at the top of the page) and click on Temp_Scan_dotNET.zip for the .NET version (tested in XP, Vista and should work in Win7 too) or Temp_Scan.zip for the old version

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