Playstation 3 Ventilation Mod

Introduction: Playstation 3 Ventilation Mod

The most common problem with all PS3 consoles is know as YLOD (Yellow light of death), and this mainly occurs because your PlayStation 3 was not made to properly dissipate all the heat inside. People say that this way Sony can make your Playstation last the whole warranty time but not too much after that, it's like your console has a period of time to live, it kinda makes sense.

Step 1: Why Does My Playstation 3 Doesn't Last Longer (thermal Paste)?

Bellow and on top of each IHS of your PlayStation 3 there is Thermal Paste.

Thermal paste was created to do a specific job, helping the heat transfer all across the cooling elements, and it does a great job while it's still liquid and thick, but after time, thermal paste tends to dry out, becoming like dust, and this makes it not do it's specific job because thermal paste only works when it's still liquid and thick.

There are great thermal pastes and bad ones, the good ones can last from 8 years up to your whole life, bad ones can last a couple of months or days depending on it's bad quality.

Playstation 3 Thermal Paste doesn't last longer, and more you use your console, more your thermal paste dries out, why? Because your system heats up a lot and the air flow are not quite enough, baking your solder paste, making it dry time after time.

Step 2: Why Does My Playstation 3 Doesn't Last Longer (Solder)?

Your GPU and CPU is a BGA chip, this means that this chip is soldered in contact with your motherboard - this contact is made with solder balls.
Solder use to have lead before on its structure, but because of environmental concerns it was banned from the market, so your electronics are not soldered with Lead Solder, they are Lead-Free Solder.

Lead was added to solder for a couple of reasons, mainly: It can sustain thermal changes more easily, it makes solder more flexible, melts with lower temperatures (220º approximately).

Lead-free solder on the other hand: doesn't like thermal changes, makes solder harder, melts at 260º approximately.

So, you already know why your console heats up after time (thermal paste quality), and you already know that your console has lead-free solder.


Now lets look on what is happening inside:

- Your console is brand new, working just fine with thick and liquid thermal paste, after time, thermal paste stars to dry out, so you notice your console fan lauder (trying to compensate the thermal paste bad heat spreading), you don't care because you think that its normal, so you keep using your console as usual. After time the fan becomes lauder and lauder, but you don't care, you think it's because of the hot weather, but it's not, your thermal paste is dried out, so at this point your console internals are into heat stress, so that's when the problem starts.

Heat doesn't come out properly, your GPU and CPU heats up themselves and the motherboard as well, and you already know what happens when something heats up, it begins to dilate, so your your GPU and CPU dilates to one side and you motherboard dilates to the other side, and you already know that your solder is lead-free, so your solder will do it's best to keep it together until it can't handle it anymore, so it breaks. By breaking i mean, your GPU or CPU lose some connections, connections that are important to make your system work.

This is when your heart starts to beat up along your YLOD blinking lights.

Step 3: How to Prevent YLOD

You know that your system doesn't properly spreads the heat correctly, so you need to allow the air to flow correctly making your thermal paste last at least longer.


Note:This is not a permanent solution, you'll still have your bad thermal paste and your bad solder balls inside, but that's not something you can do easily without consulting a professional.


This attached file (PDF) is a 14x14xm hole pattern for your Playstation 3, it should be aligned with your fan before drilling it.

If you fell it would look more cool, you can ignore the middle holes, allowing the only 5 circular holes from the outside to be made.

Step 4: How to Drill It

I recommend wood drill bits because it has a spice that you can easily align with this pattern.

So you print this PDF (step before), you cut around, you align it and you tape it with double sided tape to the inside of your bottom case (i recommend you double sided tape because you can easily rip the paper with your driller if you don't pay attention). On the outside of your bottom cover, i recommend you to use paper tape to avoid scratching the bottom cover while drilling.

I also recommend you to drill the holes from inside, so you don't damage your cover by scratching it or putting too much strength while drilling.

If you want to drill all the holes perfectly, i also recommend you to use a nail to mark each inside hole by applying some strength to the middle of each individual hole, then you align your drill bit with it.

Be patient because there are a lot of holes.

Step 5: Can I Add a Fan Dust Filter?

You can but that will limit the air flow so avoid it :)

Step 6: Recomendations for Permanent YLOD Avoidance

1) Use an external cooling pad (like the ones you use on laptops)

1.2) If you don't want to spend money on external cooling, at least use your console vertically so the air can flow throw the new holes

1.3) If you want o use your console horizontally at least rise your console a bit so the air can flow throw your new holes.

2) Change all your thermal paste:

(Recommended thermal paste: Arctic Silver mx4 - 8years durability)

3) Change your internal IHS thermal paste (TOO DANGEROUS!)

(Recommended thermal paste: Arctic Silver mx4 - 8years durability)

4) Remove your bluray drive if you are not using it

5) Remove your power supply top cover and lift it a little from the board (newer models already have it lifted it)

More great tips here:

Step 7: What If I Already Have YLOD?

Well if you already have YLOD this is not a solution for you, this only avoids it.

But you can search for someone for a rework on your PlayStation.

1) Make sure they rework your PlayStation and use leaded solder balls

2) Make sure they use Arctic Silver MX4 thermal paste (or similar, search online for the top ones)

3) If you already have an YLOD never go for a reflow (it consists on melting the solder, creating the broken connections once again), because the problem will get back one time

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    1 day ago

    It has been proven the the cause of the Yellow Light of Death is not the solder connections breaking. The reason why this isn’t a problem on the PS3 is because the motherboard PCB is thick and does not flex. Where as with the Xbox 360. The motherboard is thin and tends to flex when it gets hot. The main cause of the Yellow Light of Death is the NEC Tokin capacitors failing. Replacing them with something more reliable like 32 470UF Tantalum Capacitors with the positive lines bridged is going to get it up and running again for good.

    As for delidding which does improve cooling i do not recommend delidding the PS3 mainly the CELL since it is very easy to mess. And the glue is heat resistant.