The Console Maintance and Repair thread

Feel free to add your own care and repair tips and repair stories.
I found crowd sourcing can work well on Tech Talk if you know how to organize information.

I am going to cover some repair tips for various consoles.
How to care for your console and what to do and not to do to make your console last longer.

[]Debunking myths on the PS3 and Xbox 360.
]Cover the wrong way to Repair the Xbox 360. Towel trick, X-clamp, heat gun ect…
[]The right way to repair RROD, YLOD and so on.
]Aftermarket PS3 and Xbox 360 parts
[]Repairs on Retro Consoles
Console Care and preventive measures.
]Never place you console on top of carpet, a towel or any fabric as that can block air flow and the lint can get inside and effect air flow and get into any moving parts.
[]Have your console on top of a clean, dry, flat and hard surface. Like wood, glass, metal or plastic.
]Do not place you console in a enclosed space. I do understand some entertainment hutches have cabinet space with closing doors for electronic appliances. This is a NO. The Enclosed space blocks and restrict air flow.
[]Maintain at least 3 inches of space on the sides and 6 at the rear of your console for air space.
]Do not use console “cooling fans”. It might sound like a good idea at the time, but many of these fans impede or restrict the existing airflow leading to over heating. They can also void your warranty.
[]Clean your console with a lint-free cloth or lint-free paper towel and avoid any cleaning products or solvents. For difficult areas small amounts of rubbing alcohol applies of a cloth or cotton swap is alright. Compressed air, as in low pressure air compressors and Compress air aerosol cans are fine for cleaning up dirt from gaps, vents and crevasses.
]Never place anything over your vents
[]For both disk and cartilage type games, avoid leaving the game in the system when not in use.
]Keep your system Horizontal. Many consoles wear out the CD/DVD drive out too soon in the vertical position. Also some Xbox 360 models are known to scratch disk beyond readability while vertical. This also applies to a lesser extend to some Hard drives.

Xbox 360’s Product support Page and Knowledge base

PS3 Product support Page and Knowledge Base

What is a Xbox 360 RROD?
3 Red lights, the 1st, 3rd and 4th lights are on and red, are known as a general hardware failure. There is no error code display on the screen

Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death Repair Myths

The Towel trick
What is it:
Wrapping the Xbox 360 in a towel and turning the system on for a length of time to intentionally over heat the machine to re-melt solder back into place.
Why it does not work:
The Xbox 360 is most likely heat damaged, forcing more heat into the system will not fix the underling damage inside.

The X-clamp repair
What is it:
Reseatting the heatsink on the Xbox 360 CPU and GPU with a heavier and tighter clamp/bolts.
Why it does not work:
You are forcing more pressure on what easily could be already broke and damage solder joints. Forcing more pressure on broken joins might fix the problem intermediately but ultimately you are forcing the damage to become worst.

Heat Gun to reflow solder
What is it: Using a Heat gun to reflow solder. This should repair broken solder joins or reflow solder back to the components completing there necessary circuits
Why it does not work:
Same as the towel trick, your forcing excessive heat into a heat damaged system. The heating is also uneven thus causing whats called thermal shock, and possibility causing more damage.

Pennies on the Ram chips
What is it: replacing the heat dispense tabs (looks sort of like double sided foam) on the underside chips, so that the pennies act as small heat sinks and force more pressure on the Ran chips.
Why it does not work:
Those thermal pads are there to provide thermal conduction with the bottom half of the Xbox 360 RF shield using the metal as a heat sink and cooling of the ram. Pennies do not touch the contracts they should thus proper heat exchange do not occur. They also put unnecessary pressure on the ram. Also most pennies tricks calls for electric tape which insulates heat not disperses heat.

Just adding new thermal paste to the CPU and GPU.
What is it:
Adding a fresh/ better thermal paste between the CPU, GPU and the heat sinks.
Why it does not work:
If you are preventing a future RROD that has yet to occur, this is fine as long as the system is reassembled correctly and the paste applied correctly. But in a RROD occurrence this is like putting a band-aid on a gun-wound. Proper reapplication of thermal paste should be done after a proper re-flowing of the motherboard.

**Correct way to Repair a **RROD, YLOD and other general hardware error.

A Full Solder re-flow station, the whole board is heated evenly to avoid thermal shock as all the solder is reflowed and allowed to slowly cooled.

This sometimes includes
[]Re-balling: this is the replacement of solder balls followed by a re-flowing.
]Re-applying new fresh thermal paste
[*]Installing better cooling fan. Often a aftermarket fan, the idea is to install a fan that is more efficient/ powerful fan inside the stock fan.
* 12 volt fan hack: The Xbox 360 cooling fan only runs off 5 volts, this hack gets an aftermarket fan running at the potential full speed
There is no full guide posted here on how to reflow a Xbox 360 main board as a professional reflow station cost thousands of dollars , $6000 and up. So its economically cheaper to pay some one else to do the repairs or buy a new console.

If you are still determined to reflow your Xbox 360 here is an Instructible guide on how to do so.

No where on the guide it mentioned the cost of tools, and this is not a beginners project.
This is an advance repair job

PS3 Repair Myths
Petty much same as the above, except the YLOD is not nearly as common as the RROD.
YLOD is a 1 out of 10,000 chance, and mostly occur with older consoles that have it’s thermal paste dry up.

Aftermarket Parts
Where to find aftermarket replacement fans for the PS3 and Xbox 360.
There a few brands I trust, Talismoon is the one I used the most. They have decent Fans and replacement shells for consoles.
You can find Talismoon parts easily on eBay or Amazon. Some online retailers that specialize in console repairs/ mods will also carry Talismoon parts.
I do avoid XCM like the plague, you can read how bad there Converters are on the converters thread.
For parts talismoon don’t carry, most other parts can be found on ebay.

Accessing the PlayStation 3 Recovery Menu
This is copied from the official PlayStation Community forums

How to Access Playstation Recovery Menu

  1. Turn off Playstation®3.
  2. Hold The power button down; The system will turn on and turn off once again.
  3. Once the System has been shutdown, re-press you finger until you hear 2 consecutive beeps
  4. When you hear the 2 beeps take finger off power button.
  5. You will be promted to plug in your controller via usb and then hit the PS button
  6. The Recovery menu will pop up.

Please keep in mind this will ONLY work with an Official Sony Six Axis or Dual Shock 3 game pads, no 3rd party controllers, adapters or PCBs will work. The Sony Six Axis or Dual Shock 3 pad has to be connected via usb cable.

Will Update when new/ more information come available.

Retro Console repair tricks

NES (US/ European Front loader Models Only)

Power Light Blinking/ Screen Flashing but nothing else.
You have a 72 pin cart connector that is worn out.

Step 1
After you unplug your system power and video cables and remove you game
Flip the unit over, Find the screws on the button of your console and remove the screws

Step 2
Remove the top cover and remove the screws toping the top of the RF shield in place.

Step 3
Un-screw the screws holding the motherboard in place.
Disconnect the Controller wire harness and power/reset harness

The Green circles hold down the pin connector while the red only holds the Motherboard and bottom RF shield.

Do not forget these 2 screws near the power and area.

Step 4
Pull out your board and pull back on the pin connector removing it from the board

Step 5
Install a new 72 pin connector. You can find new 72 pin connectors on eBay.

Step 6
Reassemble your console, doing the reverse of the above

Here is me doing a test run of a game before full re-assembly.

Refusing to power up when switched on. It most likely the Pico Switch
Protip: Check the adapter first before going for the fuse.

Sega Genesis
Did you know a disconnected Power LED from the Sega Genesis model 1 (MK-1601)
The system will fail to power up if the LED is not connected.

Here is a quick guide on how to tear down the Model 1 Sega Genesis and replace the LED
(I am too lazy to write my own).

Here is a recent repair I did to a Model 1 Sega Genesis where the wires from the motherboard became disconnected, thus the system failed to start up. I felt it was easier to first solder some scrap wire to the mother board first.

The lower roll of Electric tape hides some shrink tubing and the wire splicing I made.
Top half the image is the console’s RF shielding and the bottom half is the flipped over hot half of the consoles shell. That white connector on the LED gives a solderless friction fit.

Sega Saturn
Constant resetting Clock. Replace the bios battery.
Just get a normal 2032 coin battery, the battery is stored in a spot behind the console behind a snap in plastic door.


Work in progress.

External Links

MMMONKEY Game Console Modifications

NFG Games + GameSX Console Repair

NFG Games + GameSX Console Cleaning

Reserved Space

Out of curiosity, do you have any input on the E74 error on Xbox 360? Also, do you have a link on a tutorial to properly repair a RROD’d Xbox 360? I did Google it but a lot of them were myth repairs as listed in OP. Any help in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.

I have a first model 360, it needs to be reflowed pretty badly (I have a friend who does it for a living), but while I have it open I’d like to replace the fan. Any suggestions as to which after market fans are worth my time?

I know this is corny and not super technical but my SNES that would not boot had a bad power supply. I replaced it and all was well. Just before you go for the fuse…

An actual RROD as I stated has to have the solder re-flowed on the motherboard. A solder reflow station would be required.
It isn’t as simple of a repair as getting a soldering iron or heat gun out, I suggest finding a local repair shop, finding someone online (I heard Blk Lighting do console repairs) and finally you can ship to Microsoft for repairs. Same thing goes with the PS3 YLOD (except you ship the unit to Sony not MS).

Talismoon makes very good aftermarket Xbox 360 parts, there replacement fan is a drop in replacement for the stock fan. Bonus all there fans have really cool LED lights. You can find them easily enough on eBay and Amazon. I have a blue led Talismoon fan in my Xbox 360.

Of course you should check the adapter first, thanks for pointing that one out kyle.

My PS3 (60GB) went YLOD last year… actually, it was in February, just the weekend prior to MvC3 launch… and since then it has been boxed…

I’m planing to send it for reballing and I’ve checked the fans from Talismoon, I want to change the fan for one of those with 19-blades, but there’s something that bothers me:

“Please note that while this fan will physically fit into Playstation 3s with the 17 blade fan, those fans operate at 1.7A”

Does this means that their fans are not a drop in replacement?

it will physically fit correctly, but due to variations in PS3 console models the 17 blade fans operate at a lower power than
the 19 blade ones. As long as the voltage is right I think your fine, I double check just in case

The 60 GB CECHAxx PS3s have ether 19 or 15 blade fans

Any guides to reflowing x360 boards? I have done the xclamp removal method and it did not work for long. Good thread btw, srk tech talk section always on point with everything else electronic, why not console repair and care?

I didn’t give instructions on how to using the correct reflow station to FIX a Xbox 360 main board because they cost upwards of $6000 not including accessories. Its far cheaper to ether buy a new console or pay someone else to do the work. This isn’t a D.I.Y. project to save some cash, were talking repair that most PC technicians would rather purchase a new motherboard rather than trying to fix it.

I found a Reflow guide for the Xbox 360. Keep in mind nowhere it mentions the cost of the tools in question.

Here is a guide for normal use of a reflow station