Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Five Most Common PS3 Problems and How to Fix Them Safely and Easily

I've been repairing the PS3 independently and locally in Los Angeles for the past year, since most people tend to have the same five issues with their PS3's I decided to write just a general troubleshooting guide and warning to all PS3 users. I'm not a PS3 Overlord so if any of this information is wrong or off, confusing, boring, etc.... please let me know and I'll correct it / add to it / take away from it, etc. etc.

First, If you're having trouble with your PS3 DO NOT OPEN YOUR PS3 UNLESS YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE DOING. If you do decide to open your PS3 you will VOID YOUR WARRANTY immediately. Your warranty is only good for 1 year from the purchase date on the HARD COPY RECEIPT you must have it in order to get it "repaired" for free.

If you don't have the receipt or it's past one year then you're at a crossroads. You can try and repair the PS3 yourself, but then you'll void the warranty once you remove the warranty seal. The upside is that you could potentially save yourself a good deal of time bypassing Sony's tech support line, waiting for a box to arrive, mailing out the box and then paying $150+ dollars for something you could have fixed for much much less or better yet, FREE.



The Five Most Common PS3 Problems:


1. Won't read games or blu-ray movies. Or dvd, or cd, etc., freezing, choppiness, sometimes it works / sometimes it doesn't, etc.

2. No audio or video, distorted video, lines, weird colors, no hdmi, only hdmi, etc. USUALLY users with this problem will get the Yellow Light of Death

3. The XMB bar / Menu freezes, any kind of freezing.

4. Overheating. (PS3 works longer when you first turn it on, then shuts off when it gets too hot.)

5. No Power, red blinking lights, three beeps, etc.



1. Not Reading Discs, etc.


If you're experiencing the first problem, chances are you're the victim of a Sony defect. The drives only last on average 1-3 years with average use, sometimes less. MAJORITY of you with this problem will unfortunately have to replace the blu-ray laser in order to get your machine back in working order.

Here's what I suggest you try just in case it's something else causing the problem.Clean the lens with a dvd / cd laser cd. It won't harm the laser. Lots of people think they're super sensitive, they're not. The advantage of using one of these is that you won't have to open the PS3, which for some can be a pain.

If that didn't work, Sony has always suggested a firmware update / and or a System Restore. I've NEVER seen a PS3 laser come back to life after either one of these operations, but that's not to say you'll be the first. It won't harm the system and Sony suggests it so you might as well try.

When you've given up your foolish dream of fixing your PS3 with just a push of a button or if you can't afford to pay Sony to fix their mistake you could as a last resort open your PS3 and try cleaning the lens inside.

If you don't know how to open a PS3 check out some of the videos on youtube. It's pretty self-explanatory the only problem most people run into immediately is that they don't have a T10 Security Hex screwdriver readily available. You can buy them at speciality electronic shops and sometimes at RadioShack but I suggest calling to see if they have one before trekking over. You could always just slam the top cover over to the left too. The only thing holding it on is a tiny piece of plastic. Afterwards your lid will never be 100% secure but it's not that big of a deal so don't fret.

Depending on what you've read or watched don't waste money on a stupid cleaning kit. All you need to do at this point is a quick scrub of the laser with a q-tip with some cleaning solvent (cd /dvd cleaner or distilled water or even windex) DO NOT USE nail polish / acetone. Make sure you just use 1-2 drops only. Any more than that isn't safe. Put the drops on the q-tip, NOT the laser. Clean it in a circular motion and then if there are any fibers of cotton, give it a little blow or if you happen to have a eyeglass cloth or micro-fiber cloth clean the lens with it. Just use care and clean it like the sensitive piece of electronics that it is.

Now when that doesn't work now's the time to go ahead and order a replacement drive. You can get them on the internet so I'm leaving that up to you. There are only two kinds. The KES-400A and KES-410A. If you've got a shiny silver bottom on the bottom of your blu-ray drive then you've got the KES-410A. If you don't, then it's the other one of course. Most of you will have the KES-400A. Once you've replaced the laser the PS3 will work just like before. NOTHING besides playing your discs correctly will change.


2: Video Problems:

If you're got ANY video problem. The very first thing you should try is a manual display reset. You can perform this by holding down the power button when starting the PS3 until your hear two beeps, quickly release the button and the PS3 will attempt to reset the video.

If that didn't work you can try using some of the tips from a PS3 user named Kaivarri. It can be found here:
Yellow Light of Death Fixes

Most of his suggestions are great, but unfortunately for most of you, they won't fix the problem because it's a defect similar to the Xbox RROD problem. For most the problem lies in the Graphics Processor Unit or RSX chip. Heat causes the chip to come off the board a tiny-tiny bit and that's all it takes. The PS3 detects this and depending on how bad it is will boot with no video / audio or will give you a green, yellow, red light deal.


If you're experience this problem I highly recommend you get your unit repaired through Sony and not trying to repair it yourself. I won't even bother describing how you could even attempt to do it since the chances of you being successful without the proper equipment is almost zero.

3. Menu freezing, Can't load XMB, etc.

This is also a very common problem but luckily for you one of the easiest to fix. The simplest thing to do is a System Restore. Just go to Settings->System Restore.

If you can't perform the System Restore and you know someone else with a PS3 the easiest way to fix the problem is to remove your hard drive from your system and place it into another PS3. IT WILL NOT CHANGE OR DAMAGE the working PS3 so don't worry, we're just swapping them temporarily. When you've done this the PS3 will detect the hard drive as a "new" drive and will format it with all the correct settings. Once this is done, swap them back and the PS3 will perform the same process again. The hard drive becomes married to the PS3 after being formated which is why we have to do it twice.

Doing this will fix MOST consoles experiencing this problem.
Afterwards a firmware update is probably a good idea once you've given the PS3 a thorough testing.


If keep getting a drive corrupted message or the PS3 keeps looping you into the same process there's a strong possibility your hard drive is failing. You can replace the hard drive with virtually any SATA drive under 500 Gigs. I recommend NewEgg.com since they usually have the best deals.


4. Overheating / Freezing:


Dust is an electronics killer and the PS3 is no different. The first thing to try would be just taking your PS3 outside and blowing some compressed air through the bottom vents and around the PS3. If you have a PS3 that supports the fan trick then you can try using that. I'll leave this on here for now but I've heard from a few different people that it can potentially damage your PS3. I doubt that but I've never used it myself. I always clean the PS3's I work on the old fashioned way.

If this only improves and doesn't eliminate the problem you'll have to open your PS3 and clean the Thermal Compound off the CPU and GPU and then re-apply. This process is relatively safe but you've got to be careful nonetheless. Try searching youtube for guides on this.



5. No Power, no lights, red blinking lights, three beeps, etc.



Oh No, you've got trouble. Usually the presence or absence of lights indicates a definite hardware problem. If you got no lights there's a good chance your power supply has bit the dust. Luckily for you you can swap this part out easily and for relatively very little money. Once you've opened your PS3 check to see which version of the power supply you have. When you purchase a replacement make sure it looks relatively the same.


If you've got blinking red lights you can try using the same tips above for the YLOD problem. Majority of the time I see this problem happening to PS3's that have overheated. I've always suspected that Sony has a heat trigger which stops the PS3 from working again once it has reached a certain temperature. If you know more about this problem please feel free to share any insight. I haven't devoted much time into finding the cause, but if you already have then by all means I'd love to hear your input.


And finally the dreaded Yellow Light of Death or YLOD. If you've got this problem then you've got a general hardware failure. You can try using some of the tips I posted above in the link, but almost every single PS3 that I've come into contact with had this problem because of a video error. Try the methods above but be prepared it's likely your PS3 will have to be serviced by Sony.


As of now I've yet to find a precise and reliable method of fixing this problem. Unlike the "lucky" 360 users there is no kit. Some have claimed that they were able to heat the chip back onto the board correctly or that they added thin strips of metal in order to increase the pressure between the chip and the board. Until there is something a bit more solid out there I would highly recommend you NOT try to fix this problem yourself.


Again if you've got any insight into this problem feel free to share with me privately or publicly. Thanks!


What to do if your PS3 is still under warranty or if you're going to send it into Sony for repair.


If your PS3 is still under warranty make sure you use some compressed air to clear any and all dust out of the system. If Sony gets your machine and there is too much dust they'll say sorry and void your warranty.

If you can or want to, back up your files through the PS3's backup feature. You'll need to hook up a usb thumb drive or external hard drive. The drive must be formated as FAT. If you have no idea what I'm talking about don't worry, go ahead and try just sticking your device into the usb. Most of the drives that are sold are already formated correctly. If yours isn't you'll have to convert the disk. There are a number of ways but to keep this guide from becoming unnecessarily long I'll leave it up to you to figure out how.

When you send your PS3 in for service Sony will restore the hard drive back to default. Now I'm not sure if they send you back your original unit or just swap yours out for a refurb. If you know, let me know. I've always been curious.

How to contact Sony

You can reach them direct @ 1-800-345-SONY

Tips to keep your PS3 in good working condition.

Whenever you see a new firmware update, give it a day or two if you can before updating your PS3. Sometimes Sony is a little too quick to release an update which isn't entirely safe.

When you do a firmware update make sure you don't have any discs in the blu-ray drive. I've noticed a higher rate of blu-ray's failing after being updated with a disc in the drive.

Keep your PS3 cool and away from dust. Don't leave in on the floor where it will suck up dust like a vacuum. Clean out the vents with compressed air once a month or as needed. This will save you a lot of heartache.

If you're not using the disc that is in the PS3 drive, eject it. Having a disc in there just adds to the wear and tear.

FAQ's

-
How do you know so much about the PS3?

Most of my experience is hands on. I've repaired LOTS of PS3's. The rest is just tidbits I've picked up here and there. Hopefully while helping you I'll learn even more.

- Can you repair my PS3?

Sure! If you're in the Los Angeles area or if you have a paypal account and you want to ship it to me I can repair it. If you're local I repair while you wait. Most of my repairs take 15-30 minutes to complete and I give a 3 month warranty on all parts.

-
Can you mod my PS3?

Yes, but I won't. At this point in time it's not worth the time and effort to mod it just so you can play old PS2 games. Wait a bit more hackers are getting closer and closer to something worth doing.

- My disc is stuck inside the PS3 will Sony return the game to me if I send it in for repair?

I honestly don't know. I've never actually spoken with Sony before. If you know, let me know.

- How long and how much will Sony charge me to repair my unit?

Again I've never spoken with Sony direct but the general concensus is $150 plus tax and I've heard they charge for shipping now so for some it's close to $200 depending on their location. I've heard getting your PS3 back takes 3 weeks to 3 months in some cases.

- How much do you charge for repair?

I charge ONLY $40-120 for every one of my repairs. This includes all parts, labor and warranty. It never goes higher than $120 period.

- How can I contact you?

If you have any questions, suggestions, etc just email me @ RescueTechLA@gmail.com

Thanks!


Guide Version 1.0

23 comments:

  1. I have heard that if you purchase a new laser it may still not work due to the original laser is is coded along with the motherboard - is this true.
    I know you have stated "The KES-400A and KES-410A. If you've got a shiny silver bottom on the bottom of your blu-ray drive then you've got the KES-410A. If you don't, then it's the other one of course. Most of you will have the KES-400A." but can you easly tell if you dont have them to compare?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not True, I've fixed my own personally

      Delete
  2. Mattster, you heard wrong.

    ANY laser will work as long as it's the same kind.

    You just have to match them up.

    The part where the motherboard matters is with the blu-ray drive controller found on the bottom of the blu-ray drive itself. (where all the cables go).

    I'll be updating the site soon with pics, vids, and simplified instructions. stay tuned.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Really cool of you to make this guide. Sony keeps PS3 troubleshooting locked up really tight.

    I have a strange problem with my PS3, and I'm wondering if you've seen anything like it before.

    About a month ago my ps3 just shut off during use. It shut off completly no lights at all not even the red standby light. Flipping the switch on the back off and then on got the red standby light back on. Then when you attempt to turn it on, the light turns green for a second then the machine clicks completely off again no lights. It stayed this way for about 2 days, I tried to turn it one throughout those two days. Then on the third day it powered up like everything was normal and worked for about a month of heavy use before the same thing happened again. Again, a couple of days later it works fine.

    So now I'm sitting here with a box to return it to sony and 160 dollar hold on my credit card. Wondering if I should send them what is, for the moment, a perfectly functional ps3.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh and for your FAQ:

    Sony will return a disc stuck in the unit. There is a space on the repair order form to tell them if anything is in there and what it is

    The repair charge is $149.99 plus tax if applicable. It includes two day air shipping of the empty box to you, the ps3 to them and then back to you

    The repair time varies, a Sony rep can tell you the current times. At the time of this post it is 8 - 12 business days not including shipping time. I was told by a sony rep that the total time including shipping is always between 2 and 4 weeks, and that basically the whole process will never be more or less then that

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi guys, i live in brazil. My Ps3 gave problem in read BD, etc(sometimes he read a disc and sometimes not, when read in little time freezing); so i did the change of my blue ray laser, and only work one month, and gave the same problem again, so i replace again, and only worked only for one month again. What i do??? Why the same problem back after certainly time. The ps3 is not much used, so i don´t understand. Anyone can help me??? thanks. Cemy

    ReplyDelete
  7. I got the blinking RLOD can I pop the HDD in a diffrent PS3 and back up the data

    ReplyDelete
  8. To F3R4:

    My drive completely went out. I replaced it in June 09, and just last week (on 11/27/09) the replacement drive went out again, and this is less than 5 hours of usage per week. Looks like I'll have to do it again, but if it fails, I'm not sure I'll keep doing it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's nice to be recognized.
    In my endeavor to find the latest PS3 tech support info (and tracing my own name :D) I found your site. Wondering if you have any fixes for the slim, or any fixes I'm missing on the good ol' guide.... Haven't been able to update lately.
    Feel free to PM me on the Playstation boards :D

    ReplyDelete
  10. okay im n los angeles you dnt have a address so i just bring it to u with the money

    ReplyDelete
  11. Please help, I think I'm having a hardware failure.

    At first, my PS3 constantly freezes in-game and then at one time, when I turned on my system, it said that my hard disk was corrupted and that I need to restore it. So that's exactly what I did but it seems that it didn't work. Out of desperation, I tried almost all the options on Safe Mode, but still, to no avail. I even tried pulling out the HDD to clean of some dust but it didn't work either. Now my PS3 can't even start normally. I'll wait for around 30 seconds staring at a black screen and a text will finally appear saying that the system cannot read the disk.

    Please help me, I've already been having this problem for 2 weeks. I only had my PS3 for less than a year and barely even touched it for the past few months. I hope this is not too much to ask but any help or tips is greatly appreciated. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am soon to receive a complete set of hardware for reworking and reballing (rework stations, BGA stencils, etc.) I think the stencil batch has ones for PS3, 360, Wii, etc. Have done this before but it has been eight years since then.

    I was wondering what is ideal temp and airflow for reflowing / reballing the large chips, how much hot air exposure time, preheat needed, and solder ball diameters (any diameter / ball size is ok?)

    ReplyDelete
  13. When we turn out system on we get this message "Cannot start. The appropriate system storage was not found".

    is there an easy fix for this? Have you seen this before?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your firmware file is too large for the PS3's flash prom. Download the latest version firmware (ps3update.pup) and save it to a flashdrive under x:\PS3\UPDATE\ folders. The folder names must be capitalized. Plug the flashdrive into the ps3, reboot and voila, you're done and updated to boot!

      Delete
    2. when i turn my ps3 on it say connect the controller using a USB cable what is wrong with it

      Delete
  14. Hey everytime i turn on my ps3 it shows the green light but no signel but when i want to turn it off it doesnt turn off it just stay green then half of min or two min it shut off plz help

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi just about a week ago i tried to upgrade from 80 gb to 320gb and got error when trying to power on.So i swtch back to the old one and got the same problem,however after a few tries the system came on but whenever i try to load any game or try to login to playstation store the screen goes blank and stays blank.plz help i'm stuck here

    ReplyDelete

  16. Hi Everyone,
    My first post.....I've had my PS3 for nearly five years, never had a problem, and always looked after it.
    In the last couple of days, it won't go to stand by mode when I shut it down.

    The red light goes off, and the unit is completely off. I have to turn off the main switch (on the PS3) and then turn it back on for the red light to come back on.

    Apart from this, the PS3 works just fine in all modes.
    Is this the beginning of a bigger problem.



    I sent the unit to a repairer, that said the GPU needed replacing, this was carried out. For one month no problems, then it started again, I took it back to be told there was nothing wrong with it..Two days at home and the problem surfaced 8 times.

    HELP

    Thanks, John.

    ReplyDelete
  17. very nice guide, if anyone want a manual you can get it here http://j.gs/3xcq

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hello my ps3 has a problem. I can't ay any discs on it. Other than the Playstation works fine with the games I have installed on it. Whenever I put in a disc I hear a loud clicking sound and I try listen for the sound of the disc spinning but I don't hear anything

    If someone can explain what's wrong with it I'd really appreciate it thanks

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hello, I have had my playstation for almost four years now, and recently it has been acting weird. I mostly play skyrim, and it will take a while to show tje press start button, but then work fine, for about half an hour, before it starts getting REALLY loud, freezing, and showing a DATA IS CORRUPT message asking me if I want to retry and if I press yes, it loops me in that cycle unless I press no, and it acts normally until it freezes and the system shuts off, no red light or anything. It will turn back on by itself after a few minutes, or the red light will xome on again. I have been told by friends that my fan went out, among a couple other things. I am wondering how I could fix it, if possible? I dont want to have to buy a new system or send it to sony, but I freaking love my ps3. Help?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi I have had my ps3 super slim for almost 3 years. Now my fans keeps blasting like a jet engine, after 30 mins of gameplay with The Last of Us. I did play that game before, but no issue during that time. So far no other game caused this. My disk appears to be fine. Also did vacuum all the vents and reapplied thermal pasting. I still can't find the cause. Is the game or the system?Any advice?

    ReplyDelete