My PS3 died recently (YLOD) and I am planning on getting a new one. However, there is a lot of data on it that I do not want to lose and I hear that the transfer process would go more smoothly if my PS3 still worked.

Is there any way possible to (at the very least, momentarily) get my bulky PS3 to work again? I really don't want to lose my data, so any way to power it back up for just small amount of time would be great.


Most likely, reapplying the thermal paste will not help. The issue is not that the PS3 is overheating - at least, not any more. The issue most bulky PS3's are having that causes YLOD is that the solder connecting the BGA CPU/GPU sockets to the motherboard becomes cracked or warped. Many XBox 360's are having the same problem - the issue is the lower melting-point of the lead-free solder used in modern electronics (leaded solder is now illegal in some European countries).

How can you tell if this is your issue? If your PS3 can play games for a while before shutting off, it's likely overheating, and as @aslum said, reapplying the thermal paste should help. However, if your PS3 seems to start for a second, but then shuts down, and never displays anything on the screen, this is the dreaded YLOD, caused most likely by the issue I mentioned above.

There is still hope to bring your PS3 back, though, at least long enough to get your data off. You need to do exactly what the circuit-board manufacturers do: remelt the solder-joints to form solder-balls, then re-cool them to reform the connections - this is called reflowing. Ideally, you'd like to use a professional reflow-oven; however, these cost tens-of-thousands of dollars, so unless you know someone who works for a circuit board manufacturer and can get you some time in their reflow oven, you'll either have to send it in to a professional, or do it the less reliable way: in your home oven. (though this is still much more reliable than the method others recommend: using a heat-gun. That will be much faster, but do a much poorer job and probably cost more)

The above link gives detailed instructions on reflowing a PS3 board in a home-oven. However, before you do that, some caveats:

  • Follow the directions very carefully! I cannot stress this enough!
    • Reflowing is a very finicky process, and if you heat your board even a few degrees too hot or cold, or cool it down too fast or too slow, it won't work and could even wreck your board. Also, if you don't properly protect some of the components, they will melt.
    • Many home ovens do not display accurate temperatures, so getting a separate thermometer (as recommended in the article) is a must.
    • Even small amounts of moisture on the board can cause it to warp and wreck the board when reflowing, so do not skip the pre-bake step. This step takes 4-8 hours, so allot yourself some time. But remember, you should never keep your oven on over night while you are sleeping (for any reason).
  • Make sure your kitchen is well-ventilated, and you have a self-cleaning oven. Both solder-flux and the putty mentioned in that article release toxic-fumes. It's nothing that's going to kill you, but it's also not something you want lingering in your kitchen, or especially your oven. Keep your kitchen well-ventilated for the whole process (and probably several hours afterwards), and flash-clean your oven immediately after you are done.

You'll need about $10-20 worth of tools, your home oven, and a full day's worth of time (most of which is spent in the pre-bake step; again, don't skip this step!). Good luck!!

  • 1
    I did exactly this and the PS3 I baked is still running happily a year later, although the LAN port hasn't worked since it came out of the oven. – ToxicFrog Nov 28 '13 at 1:27

I've had this happen, and fixed it (at least long enough to transfer the data). Doing so may not be for the faint of heart, but really the only way at this point is to re-apply thermal paste to the main CPU.

I found This Youtube video (and the following two parts) quite helpful. I also read through this iFixit guide before hand.

If you do attempt this, you'll need thermal paste, a special screwdriver (T10 Torx), a heat gun (a hair dryer will NOT cut it). You'll also need patience and and some hand eye-coordination.

You might also want to check your local hard-ware geek community, there's a decent chance you can find someone willing to do it for $20, though of course there's no guarantee it'll work.

  • I'm curious why it wouldn't help? I have had this EXACT issue happen to me, and used it to successfully back up the info from the hard drive of my old PS3 which I then inserted into my new PS3 and restored the information onto. – aslum Jun 21 '12 at 5:37
  • Ah, I missed the part about the heat-gun; that is the key, not reapplying the thermal paste. However, as I mentioned in my answer, using a straight-up heat gun on a motherboard is very dangerous for it: small amounts of moisture or differences in temperature on different parts will cause the board to warp and crack; heating too much or too little or too long or too short can make the solder brittle, and more likely to break again sooner. Using a controlled oven, the board will be more likely to work, and last much longer if it does. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Jun 21 '12 at 6:03
  • can't you just replace the new PS3's hard drive with the old one's? – Rodolfo Jun 21 '12 at 17:47
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    You'd think that you could but no. The hard drive is tied to the motherboard of the PS3. You can certainly take the HD out and put in the new ps3, but it'll wipe all the data. In fact this is what I did, backed up my data, put the drive into the new ps3 and then restored the data. – aslum Jun 22 '12 at 2:31

I have a 40 gb PS3, and when it died the first time I tried letting it sit for a while and trying it again. That didn't help, so I fixed it with a blowdryer (didn't change the thermal paste), which worked for about a week.

After it died again I looked up how to fix it and had a friend use his soldering gun and put new thermal paste on it, it worked for about 3 months.

When it broke again I threw it in the oven and put Arctic Silver 5 on it. It made it last almost a year this time.

  • What part of this is meant to answer the original question...? – obskyr Nov 28 '13 at 0:05
  • I see this as a legitamit answer. It's pretty low quality, but it 'passes'. – Ender Nov 28 '13 at 0:25

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