Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fixed My First PS3 and the Owner Let Me Have It

Hey there.  I've been tinkering with electronics my whole life.  Back in the day, when my Super Nintendo or my Sega Genesis stopped working, I would open them up and see what made them tick.  More often than not, I was able to get it work again.  A loose wire here, re-solder here, dirty circuit board there.  I mean, I was young and would pretty much open up my stuff just for the hell of it.  I guess that's where my love of "fixing" stuff comes from.  Something wrong with your computer?  No prob, let me fix it.  XBOX 360 showing RRoD (Red Ring of Death), let me fix.  Now...  PS3 showing the YLoD (Yellow Light of Death), let me fix that too.  Here's the story.
I fixed 2 XBOX's for a coworker of mine some time ago.  They both were showing the RRoD figured that he would let me take a stab at fixing them.  I managed to get them both to work and handed them back.  Another satisfied customer.  Several months later, he happens to score a free PS3 console.  He's never owned one so he's giddy, the problem is that it doesn't turn on.  He then decides to bring it to me and gives me a rundown of what's wrong, "I turn on the PS3.  It beeps a few times, then turns off".  He asks that I take all the time in the world since it's not urgent and he didn't pay anything so he has the mentality of "If you can fix it, great.  If not, oh well."  I've never really worked on one before so I was eager to crack that baby open and take a look inside.

Right away, I noticed that someone else has messed with it.  Some of the wires look a little off and some screws are missing.  Still, I pressed forward and go the core of the problem.  I noticed that the heatsinks have some white thermal paste on them but it's overflowing from the edges.  I figure that's the problem.  Thermal paste should not be hard and brittle.  This stuff definitely was.  I scraped the crap off and cleaned it up.  I reheated the motherboard to connect any bad soldering and then applied some fresh thermal paste (artic silver 5 all the way!).  I put the sucker back together and voila!  It turned on!  But what's this...  "Cannot start. The correct hard drive was not found"  Hmmm....

I don't remember seeing a hard drive inside the PS3... maybe it's straight out missing.  So I call my bro and ask if his PS3 has a hard drive.  Yup, he says, and that's it's easily accessible from one of the sides.  I take a look and BAM!  There's no drive.  Oh man.  So I can't test it out 100% but at least I got it to turn on.

So as I'm getting ready to take it back to the owner, the owner says to me, "You know what... I'm just gonna get a new one.  Just keep the PS3."  What?!?!?!  Just like that, I'm now the owner of a PS3.  lol  So I end up getting a hard disk for the PS3 along with a controller to give it a good test run.  Everything seems to be working ok.  DVD check, Audio CDs check, PS2 games check, PS3 games....  PS3 games...  Hello....  where's the check on Ps3 games!?!?!?  I have a problem with the blu ray disc drive... Oh man...

So now, that's where I stand.  I have a new PS3 with a busted blu ray drive.  Well...  I'm hoping that it's not busted and it's just a matter of cleaning the lens or updating the blu ray drivers.  I've read across the internet that I need to do a system file restore to assure that every thing is in order.  I haven't tried that yet.  But I'm hoping that it's not dead and the fact that I can still play DVDs, PS2, and Audio discs is a good sign of life! 

I'll try the system recovery when I get home tonight and hope that seals the deal on my new and free PS3.  Pretty damn awesome turn of events if you ask me... and it all started with my curiosity as a child.  Later!

PS:  I can use the PS3 and I have figured that if it comes down to it, I'd have to play downloadable content only.  Nevertheless, if you're a PS3 owner, add me to your list of friends and we'll get our gaming on!  PSN Tag:  M3TLLMNX


  1. i have a ps3 but the hard drive is corrupt (as per the message i get) so i restored it but it just keeps on going to the same process, i'm planning to get a new hard drive, was it difficult to change to a new one?

  2. Hey there Alf,

    It was pretty easy to install the new hard drive, actually. It's pretty much a matter of taking the old one out and putting in a new one. The PS3 will detect it and install the firmware for use. Just make sure that it's a 2.5 inch hard drive and it's a SATA drive.


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