|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.