The "Yellow Light of Death" (YLoD) is a major hardware failure of the older models of the PlayStation 3 that is caused by overheating of the console 90% of the time.
I decided to fix my PS3 that had the YLoD as I had tried contacting Sony, and they wanted me to pay £128 for them to fix it as it was not under warranty. It would have been difficult to go to the retailer to get it repaired because I bought it off Amazon.
But before you carry out this repair, I suggest that you don't go to Sony unless you have a warranty. Instead, you should go to the retailer that sold you your PS3 and see if you can enforce the Sale of Goods Act 1979. Read this for more details on how you can enforce the Sale of Goods Act.
For more information on the YLoD, use the following links:
If you still want to contact Sony, here are their contact details. If you're going to ring them up, ring the following number instead as it will be much cheaper:
I used a couple of videos on YouTube to help me repair my console from the YLoD. It's essential that you use these videos to help you repair your console.
This process involves heating up the CPU and GPU located on the motherboard so that the solder melts. This "resets" all the connections that involves the solder and so makes everything work again. Thermal compound needs to be applied to the CPU and GPU after this in order for it to dissipate heat better to the heat sink. Be aware that this is only a short term fix, and the same problem will likely arise again a few months down the line.
To repair you PS3 from the YLoD, you will need:
- Torx screwdriver T10
- Phillips screwdriver PH00
- Phillips screwdriver PH1
- Phillips screwdriver PH2
- Heat gun
- Thermal compound
- White Spirit
The heat gun should ideally reach a temperature of 400 degrees Celsius or 750 degrees Fahrenheit, but as long as your heat gun is able to reach a temperature that melts solder, you'll be fine. I bought my heat gun for £17.98 from B&Q (it was the cheapest heat gun I could find in-store). You cannot use a hairdryer as it does not get hot enough.
I bought the thermal compound from Maplin for £7.99, but you can get it cheaper from Amazon.
I bought a bottle of white spirit for £1.48 from B&Q.
You may also need the following items when repairing your PS3:
- Compass - used to carefully remove small pieces of thermal compound from the motherboard.
- Pliers - used to remove screws that are difficult to remove from their slot after unscrewing.
- Compressed air - used to remove dust that has built up inside the PS3.
In this guide, I will go through each part of the videos step by step so that you know what needs to be done when you carry out the repair. I recommend that you take pictures as you go along so that you can use them should you get confused when repairing your console.
To repair your console, rip off a piece of paper and assign it to a particular step of the process that requires you to remove something small (screws in most cases). When removing the larger pieces of the PS3, lay them out in order on something like a bed so that you know which order to put them back in. Each step below will have a reference to a particular part of the videos.
Here are a few diagrams that show you the screw sizes and locations for steps that involve taking out many screws The circles numbers represent the relevant steps in this guide:
Repairing the PS3:
1. Remove the hard drive by removing a blue screw (2:02).
2. Remove warranty sticker and rubber foot (2:28). Be careful when removing the rubber foot, as it breaks very easily. Mine broke, but fortunately I was able to put it back in place without too much trouble once I had finished the repairs.
3. Remove torx head screw (3:00).
4. Remove screws with arrows pointing at them (3:30). There are nine screws that need to removed in this step, and the location of the screws can be seen in one of the pictures above.
5. Remove memory card reader cable (3:53).
6. Blu-ray drive connector (4:14).
7. Remove ribbon cable (4:23).
8. Remove screw (4:43).
9. Remove four screws (4:58).
10. Remove ribbon cable (5:23).
11. Remove ribbon cable (5:31).
12. Connector (5:46).
13. Remove six screws (6:01). One screw has a washer on it. The location of the screws can be seen in one of the pictures above.
14. Remove power supply (6:20).
15. Remove the cable for the switch for the power/eject buttons (6:32).
16. Remove four screws (6:42) and remove the power switch.
17/18. Remove eight screws which have arrows pointing at them (6:58). The location of the screws can be seen in one of the pictures above, as well as the sizes of the screws.
19. Remove the plastic tabs (7:58). There are three on the bottom, and two on the top.
20. Remove the fan connector (8:35).
21. Remove three screws (8:40).
22. Disconnect the battery (9:20).
23. Remove two screws for the hard drive bay (9:33).
-End of first video-
24. Remove four screws (0:05).
25. Wipe off the old thermal compound from the heat sink with white spirit (0:36).
26. Separation (1:02).
27. Tabs (1:10).
28. Separation (1:34).
29. Clean off old thermal compound from the CPU and GPU using white spirit (1:50). Carefully use a compass to remove any thermal compound that drops onto the motherboard.
30. You will be heating the CPU and GPU for around 2-3 minutes. Heat both sides of the motherboard (3:02).
31. Start the reflow process and make sure you do not move the motherboard (3:42). Concentrate the heat on the CPU and GPU.
32. Slowly cool the board down (6:02).
33. Don't touch the board, and leave it to cool down for 20 minutes (7:16).
34. Apply thermal compound (7:29). You want to spread the thermal compound evenly. You do not want to put too much or too little. Do not get the thermal compound on anything else apart from the CPU and GPU. If you do, wipe it off.
35. Put everything back together (8:34). To do this, just reverse all the steps starting from step 28. Connect the PS3 to the mains and a TV, and hope for the best!
The solder reflow process worked perfectly for me, and I immediately removed the game that was stuck in my PS3. I then copied all my save files from my PS3 to a flash drive, and also used the backup utility on the PS3 to backup everything to an external HDD.
I traded in my PS3 at GameStation for store credit. On the phone, they offered me £120, but said if I found a better deal elsewhere, they would beat it by a pound. I then went to the CeX website, and found that I could get £168 in an exchange for my 60GB PS3. So Gamestation would have given me £169 store credit. Sadly, my PS3 was scratched, as you can see in the first picture, so they could only offer me £90 for it as they wouldn't be able to sell it at the price they would be able to normally (£230). So make sure you don't scratch your PS3 as it cost me £79 in the exchange! I went ahead and got the exchange anyway because there was not much point holding onto PS3 that would breakdown again in the future. So once they had checked everything was working, including the controller, they gave me £90 store credit.
They had a good deal for the 250GB PS3 Slim in-store. They were selling the Uncharted 2 250GB PS3 bundle with FIFA '10 for £285. So I purchased this along with a three year warranty which cost £35. So using my £90 store credit, I was able to purchase all of this for £230. When breaking down the figures, Gamestation were selling Uncharted 2 and FIFA '10 for £40 each, so the cost of the 250GB PS3 by itself (with my store credit) was 285 - 40 - 40 - 90 = £115. It's just a shame that my original PS3 was scratched, because I could have got another £79 off!
So I went home and replaced the 250GB HDD with a 500GB HDD that I had bought a few months earlier. Before my PS3 worked, I had to install the latest firmware update (3.01) from the Internet to the PS3, so I just used a flash drive to do this and followed the on-screen instructions. Using the backup restoration utility on the PS3, I didn't lose my save files as they were all transferred to the new 500GB HDD (apart from one or two files). I also had to use my flash drive to transfer my PS1 game saves to my new PS3 as for some reason it did not transfer when I restored the system from my external HDD. I am now enjoying my new PS3 Slim and glad that all the hassle with my 60GB PS3 is over!