I recently acquired another 60 gig, backwards-compatible PS3 on craigslist for a mere $30. Only catch? It has the "Yellow Light of Death" (YLOD). This is basically the PlayStation 3 equivalent of the Xbox 360's Red Ring of Death (RROD). It's caused by the solder joints under one of the microchips on the board (usually the GPU - just like the 360) breaking or pulling away from the board.
In this tutorial I will guide you through the steps needed to disassemble your PS3 (fat model) so you can then later fix your YLOD. Another reason to disassemble your PS3 would be to dust it! This is the main cause of excess heat in these systems that leads to the Yellow Light of Death!
First thing you'll want to do is pop off the small plastic cover over your hard drive (HDD).
There will be a small blue screw in place - remove it and grade the little handle on the HDD. Pull it to the right and then away from the console.
Just above the HDD compartment is a small rubber cover. Remove it along with the screw!
Now you can slide the top of the PS3 off of it. Slide it towards the HDD end of the console and then lift.
There are quite a few screws here! Remove them all with a standard Philips head screw driver.
Once they are all out, CAREFULLY lift the top of the PS3 towards the front using the same motion you'd use to open a briefcase. Do this very carefully as there is a small, fragile ribbon cable attaching this piece to the console.
Take a good look at the small clip attaching the ribbon cable to the console. Lift the clip and slide the ribbon cable out. Please remember to undo the clip before pulling the cable out - there should be very little resistance once it's undone.
The top cover of your PS3 should be completely detached now. Unplug the small power cord right next to where the ribbon cable was attached. This goes to the blu-ray drive!
Lift the blu-ray drive from the front - being careful of the ribbon cable underneath it. Just like before - undo the clip and then slip the cable away from the board.
Unscrew the small screw near the back of the PS3 that was previously covered by your blu-ray drive. This holds the WiFi antenna in place. It will also have a thin, long wire attached near the front of the PlayStation, pull the connector on that end out as well.
After taking more screws out, you should be able to lift this small daughter board away from the console. It's the one that had the antenna attached to it.
Now we're going to remove the power supply. It's attached to the console by several screws and 2 power cords. Remove them all!
Lift the power supply straight up and away from the console.
Carefully unclip and remove the small ribbon cable from the front touch-pad assembly. Then unscrew the 4 screws holding the board in place and remove it along with it's little metal plate under it. You could also remove the ribbon cable from the motherboard instead of the smaller board side if you wish.
Now carefully flip you PS3 upside-down. (Like the Superman sticker the previous owner put on it? Lol!)
Life the bottom of the case away from the console. The back port covers will left behind.
There are a few plastic clips holding the black port cover on. Undue them and pull the cover off. The power button will come with it after you unscrew the last remaining screw holding it on.
Unplug the large fan's power cord.
Now unscrew the 3 screws holding the fan in place.
Lift the fan and dust it! This thing was extremely dusty when I took it out! A can of compressed air took care of that.
Remove the little power cable attached to the small, round battery. You can leave the battery in place - no need to take it out.
With a smaller Philips screwdriver, remove the 2 small screws on the HDD compartment.
Flip the console over again and remove the 2 long, parallel metal plates by first unscrewing them. These are the PS3's equivalent to the Xbox 360's X-clamp. They apply the pressure needed to hold the heat sink onto the GPU and CPU.
Back on the other side, you should be able to remove the heat sink from the console. Look at all the dust! No wonder this thing has the Yellow Light of Death!
You should be able to take the metal shielding off of the motherboard by lifting the pieces out of their hinges.
Use some rubber alcohol and remove the thermal compound from the GPU, CPU, and heat sink.
Make sure everything is thoroughly dusted and cleaned before you reassemble your PS3! Also remember to reapply more thermal compound - NEVER put it back together without it!
My next tutorial will go over 1 method of fixing the YLOD, so stay tuned!
Until next time...