In the previous tutorial I showed you the process of taking apart a fat (phat?) PlayStation 3. This time I'll show you how to fix the Yellow Light of Death! Like I said in my previous post, the YLOD is very, very similar to the Xbox 360's Red Ring of Death (RROD). It's also fixed the exact same way!
Once you have the PS3 taken apart, you should clean off all thermal compound on the CPU, GPU, and heat sink. I use 70% Isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) and it works great! If it's really tough to remove, try some Goo Gone and follow it up with some rubbing alcohol.
So now your board is ready to be reflow. But wait! You don't want to apply to much heat to components that do not need to be reflowed. To prevent this, we will make a shield to protect everything except the desired components. What I like to do is cut a piece of bubble wrap the size of the entire board, trace the outline of what I want to reflow (in this case, the CPU and GPU), and cut it out.
Then get a piece of foil slightly larger than your bubble wrap and cut out the same design. Do this 2 times so you can completely surround the bubble wrap! This will create a pocket of air in between the pieces of foil so little heat will get through! This is also reusable... just in case you need to do another reflow in the future!
Place a small baking cooling rack on top of your griddle so your PS3 won't touch the board. You'll notice 2 large prongs that prevent the PlayStation 3 from laying flat on the griddle - the cooling wrap will allow them to either stick through the holes or off the side so the PS3 will lay flat!
Make sure it's flat!
turn your griddle to about 300 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and let it heat for about 5 minutes or until the light goes off (indicating that it reached the desired temperature). Grab your heat gun and turn it on to the lowest setting. The lowest setting mine has is 450 degrees Celsius.
Move the heat gun at all times! Make small circles around each chip - about 15 seconds per chip - then move onto the next one. Do this for about 5 minutes. Turn off your griddle and heat gun and wait at least 40 minutes before touching your board. Any bump or nudge to the board can totally ruin your PS3 here, so LEAVE IT ALONE!
After at least 40 minutes have passed, check to make sure the PS3 is cool to the touch by touching something other than the CPU or GPU - just in case. Remove the foil shield and reapply thermal compound to both chips. A pea sized blob will do it for each chip.
Reassemble your console by following my disassembly tutorial backwards and enjoy your revived PlayStation 3!
Until next time...