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Old 04-03-2012, 11:55 AM
Pamtseo Vitra
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Default An epic journey begins; A solemn test of might and thermal paste.

Yeah, so I have decided to reflow my PS3 after it YLODed on me a few days ago, after 3 or 4 years good service (during which time it suffered some abuses out of anger due to being "less-than-average" on unnamed online FPSs)

Anyway, I thought I would just let people know how I get on as a person with a -3,452% knowledge of anything electrial just to say how easy/difficult it is in case anyone else finds themself in the same boat in the near future, and also wanted to ask to see if anyone has reflowed theirs before and if so, how long it lasted before it gave up the ghost again. I have seen reports of anywhere between a month and more than 1 and a half years.

I really want to save it as it is a 7A model (EU Launch day) and I still play PS2 games on it, so want the BC that the new models lack. It's been a love/hate relationship at times, but I love you. I see that now. And all those things I ever did or sai--

Alright, i'll stop talking to my console now.
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:56 PM
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Good luck with the George Foreman. Hope it's not dead.
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Old 04-05-2012, 01:00 AM
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Good luck... I don't know anything PS3-specific, but for hardware in general, it's usually relatively intuitive.
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:54 AM
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Do you have the proper equipment to do this? (A hot air rework station with a BGA spread tip, lead-free solder paste, syringe or stencil, water soluble flux, solder wick, patience) If you don't, you're going to have a bad time.

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Good luck with the George Foreman. Hope it's not dead.
You know, I just now noticed the resemblance.

Last edited by Sight Unseen; 04-05-2012 at 06:03 AM.
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Old 04-05-2012, 11:56 AM
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Do you have the proper equipment to do this? (A hot air rework station with a BGA spread tip, lead-free solder paste, syringe or stencil, water soluble flux, solder wick, patience) If you don't, you're going to have a bad time.
I'm going for the ghetto approach that I have seen reported as working many-a-time in other places, and that has a full-length tutorial online for - you basically use a heat gun set at 350degC on the chip for a short amount of time to re-melt the solder and reform the connection. Then, apply thermal paste to the chips and reassemble. I believe what you're talking about there is reballing the BGA, which I won't be doing, because I don't have 3000 lying around.

Yes, I know it is a *huge* gamble using such a primitive technique on complex equipment like this, but seeing as I can't really afford any other solution right now, let alone the 180 for a new PS3, I thought it would be good to have a go - I only need to buy thermal paste for this as I already have the heat gun, and the tutorial only recommends flux on the second or third reflow, if needed. And if it's widely reported as a semi long-term fix, i'm willing to give it a stab.

That said, it could go horribly wrong and I might kill the PS3 even more - which seeing as it's already dead - doesn't really matter too much.
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:38 AM
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BGA reballing isn't too expensive. You can get all the supplies for under $100 if you know where to look. (Much more economical if you buy a little extra solder paste and advertise that you fix consoles on craigslist to recoup the cost) Also, get some decent thermal paste like Arctic Silver 5, the tube of white goop that came with that PIII you have laying around won't cut it.

Last edited by Sight Unseen; 04-06-2012 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:04 AM
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BGA reballing isn't too expensive. You can get all the supplies for under $100 if you know where to look. (Much more economical if you buy a little extra solder paste and advertise that you fix consoles on craigslist to recoup the cost) Also, get some decent thermal paste like Arctic Silver 5, the tube of white goop that came with that PIII you have laying around won't cut it.
I did read up on Arctic Silver 5 and I heard it was a risk using it due to it's slight conductivity. If it gets on the board and bridges a connection, it has the potential to short it. It also apparently has a cure time of 200 hours meaning I would only be able to play the console 1-2 hours a at a time before I would have to let it rest again for 10-15 minutes, for the first 200 hours of play. I'm not sure if this is true, it's only what I read, but I went for Arctic MX-4 instead which has virtually no cure time and no risk of shorting.

I'm not really looking into making a big hobby out of this, this is just to fix personally. It's the first time i've ever opened up... well... virtually any piece of electrical equipment and i'm not open to playing about with other people's or making a big investment yet. I wouldn't even know where to start with reballing, and my solder skills are HORRENDOUS.
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Old 04-07-2012, 04:52 PM
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I always use AS5 on CPUs and have never needed to power them down specifically for its benefit; it's not that much of a difference anyway. On the other hand, I don't know what the cell processor is like thermally, in terms of TDP or heat tolerance.

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You know, I just now noticed the resemblance.

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Old 04-08-2012, 07:47 AM
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I did read up on Arctic Silver 5 and I heard it was a risk using it due to it's slight conductivity. If it gets on the board and bridges a connection, it has the potential to short it. It also apparently has a cure time of 200 hours meaning I would only be able to play the console 1-2 hours a at a time before I would have to let it rest again for 10-15 minutes, for the first 200 hours of play. I'm not sure if this is true, it's only what I read, but I went for Arctic MX-4 instead which has virtually no cure time and no risk of shorting.
Not true. AS5's conductivity isn't an issue, and if you get it on anything you can wipe it off with 91%< Isporopanol soaked swabs. As for the "burn in" time, it's not a big deal. I run F@H 24/7 on a Phenom II X6 with a 210W TDP, and noticed a ~1C drop over a year. As far as I know AS5 is the best readily available thermal paste.

If you want to reflow your chip, you probably will need some flux. Most of it probably got burned or washed off in manufacturing so there won't be enough left to allow the solder to flow well onto the pads. Fun fact: Assembly factories sometimes use common household dishwashers to clean flux off the boards after soldering.
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Old 04-08-2012, 11:20 AM
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So what is it exactly that flux does? I was just under the impression that it was to prevent the board from warping. (I know this might be the simplest and most well-known thing in the world to someone who knows even a little about electronics, but i'm a super-hyper-mega-ultra-noob.)
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:46 AM
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As I understand, it prepares the surfaces for the solder to join by excluding air and cleaning the surface.
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:37 AM
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As I understand, it prepares the surfaces for the solder to join by excluding air and cleaning the surface.
It's main function is to help solder flow to and "stick" onto the metal surfaces being soldered. It does this by improving the wetting ability of the solder and dissolving any dirt or oxidation on the metal.

http://alpha.cooksonelectronics.com/...Pillow-Defects

This is what is wrong with your PS3, the subtle warp of the board when heated pulls apart the already-bad-from-factory joints. The solution is basically to flood it with flux and hope it causes the solder to get "wet" enough it joins in one bead. Just heating it up would melt the solder balls back together but there would still be a crack in the middle.

Last edited by Sight Unseen; 04-09-2012 at 05:43 AM.
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