My adventures in fixing a YLOD PS3

When Naked_Snake1995 posted a way of reviving YLOD PS3s on PSX-Place, I knew I had to try it out.

Note: standard sized tantalum capacitors (7.3×4.3×3.8 mm) are taller than the Proadlizers and will push against the motherboard’s aluminum shield on the bottom side (the top side where the chips are has more clearance, because other components right next to it are larger). But it will still fit together.

Removing the NEC/Tokin Proadlizer Capacitors

The hardest part by far. I’ve tried, and my advice is don’t use a hot air station. Most of the heat will go towards melting the plastic instead of heating up the solder underneath. By the time you’ve heated up the pads (takes several minutes if you’re lucky), the board is hot in one place but cold in others, which is obviously very bad for it. Not to mention, many electronic components are meant to endure only a few seconds of heat while reflow soldering.

Just use a sharp paper cutter like this Pakistani – he takes it off in a minute. The sharper it is, the less force you have to use, which means less chances of you knocking something off or scratching the board.

The trick is to not be afraid to dig the blade deep underneath the NEC’s pads. If you can get the blade mostly horizontal, it won’t dig into the board.

This is how mine looked like in the end. I chose a thick gauge wire to connect the + terminals of the capacitors because I assume a lot of current will be flowing through. Make sure it is not too long so it doesn’t obstruct the heatsink screw. Also, it is best to put it on the back side of the motherboard, not the front, so that it stays away from the RAM traces and other hot components.
Front of COK-002
Back of COK-002

Unfortunately, that still didn’t work. The YLOD timing is now different – the fan does spin up, but after a few more seconds, and I get 1 group of 3 beeps, not 2 groups of 3 beeps. Still no idea what that means.

I sent the mainboard off for a RSX reballing, but had no luck.

Troubleshooting using syscon

With the recent release of syscon’s firmware encryption key, one can now talk to the syscon over UART and hopefully figure out what the exact error is. Unfortunately it looks like the syscon only reports errors in codenames, but darknesmonk has shorted a few pins on the RSX to simulate hardware errors and reported what the syscon says.

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