PS3 Yellow Light of Death (YLOD) - Playstation 3 Repairs
Many owners of Sony Playstation 3 consoles have, like their fellow Xbox 360 counterparts, experienced a death in the family. Owners around the world have witnessed a strange ritual performed by their PS3 consoles: LEDs at the front of the console when attempted to turn on goes green, then yellow, back to green, then beeps three times and blinks red. The time frame in which each light appears may differ between different consoles, however the end result is always the same- it renders your PS3 frustratingly and heartbreakingly un-useable. The problem is often mistaken to be a PS3 power failure, as it does not allow users to effectively switch on their consoles.
With an un-useable console at hand, gamers turn to online research to find out what the problem is, why it has happened and who can help. As with the notorious Red Ring of Death (RROD), there is much confusion surrounding the YLOD (Yellow Light of Death) cause. Suspects, according to online forums, include power surge, excessive internal dust, hard drive failure, inadequate storage, excessive heat and excessive playing periods.
The Yellow Light of Death (YLOD) occurs as a result of a design and manufacturing fault. Like Microsoft’s Xbox 360 where the RROD was attributed to excessive heat stress between CPU, GPU and motherboard; excessive heat also plays a large role with the YLOD. Sony’s Playstation 3 gaming system is equal to that of a high performing gaming PC, yet when you compare the two the first thing you will notice is that the Playstation 3 is tightly packed with its size reduced to that half of the computer. The computer on the other hand, has lots of free space within to assist with heat dissipation.
Without the free space what you’ve got is a high powered system producing lots of heat, which is in fact being conducted along the metal components within the console and hence the heat is intensified. Sony’s problem solving to the heat issue comes in the form of a palm sized fan, inadequate heat shield on the RSX BGA and insufficient thermal compound. The RSX BGA is the graphics and audio rendering chip of the PS3 and is the primary component in which its failure results in the problem of YLOD, or no picture. Excessive heat dries up the lead-free solder joints on the RSX BGA chip and when this happens you have no contact or inadequate contact between the chip itself and the motherboard, resulting in failure.
Sadly for many, the YLOD often occurs shortly after the manufacturer’s warranty has expired, although not always. A further setback for Playstation fans, Sony has not followed suit with Microsoft whom extended their warranty for Xbox360 consoles that experienced the RROD. It is rumoured that only 1% of PS3 consoles experience the YLOD, as opposed to unconfirmed 40% rate of Xbox360 consoles with the equivalent problem, which is perhaps why Sony has not extended their warranty for YLOD cases.
As a reputable repair company Beetronix Solutions have come across what seems to be a fairly high number of YLOD cases, which leads us to believe that the rate could be something between 10-15% rather than 1%. Prevalence of the problem also seems to be most common among the 60gb model, with the 40gb model coming in second and with the problem least prevalent in the 80gb model (whether this be attributed to it being a better console or just because the expiry date has not been reached we cannot say for certain).
Whether or not your PS3 console can be repaired is dependent upon a number of contributing factors: the condition of the RSX chip, the tools and equipment used, a technician’s knowledge, experience and the methods of repair used. Beetronix Solutions have technicians experienced in electronics and electronics manufacturing working on your console. We use a professional BGA rework station to reflow the board of your PS3 console (this is the first stage of repair), before the board/console is tested.
If there has been no response we then proceed with the method of re-balling, which is basically replacing the solder underneath the RSX chip with better solder. The repair process also includes a full internal clean (the accumulation of dust is amazing) and the application of flux and a good quality thermal paste.
Some words of advice that may help (but not prevent the YLOD problem)
Store your Playstation 3 console in a well ventilated area ie not in an entertainment cabinet and especially not with the door closed. Keep it away from dusty areas.
Give the console a well deserved break after every 2 hours max. Let it COOL DOWN. Actually turn off the power at the back.
UPDATED MESSAGE (as of 2018)
We have repaired thousands of PS3 consoles suffering from the YLOD issue over the years. Unfortunately it has come time to bid farewell to this particular repair. Beetronix no longer offer motherboard repairs for PS3 YLOD consoles due to a combination of factors
– Aging console with aging components leading to a decline in success rates
– Increase numbers of RSX failure with the non-availability of new replacement chips
– Time & resources involved with the repair
– Decrease in value of PS3 gaming system
– Consoles with prior repair attempts having an impact on success rates