Overheated PS3 Original (Phat) Debugging

During one of my Fallout New Vegas playthrough, my PS3 decided to get the Red Light of Death (RLOD) and so I went online to investigate. After an hour-ish playthrough the system over-heated and stopped working.

Overheating is unfortunately common for the original "Phat" models of the PS3 (before Slim and Super Slim). My one specifically, was the CECHM03. This one had an improved motherboard design, however the heating systems are still not sufficient to cool the system properly. Often the RSX (GPU) and BE (CPU) chips get solder ball issues like cracking, as the PS3 was one of the first consumer electronics to have switched to lead-free solder (which was not fully worked out).

Often one of the bodge fixes recommended for this issue, is to resolder the GPU and CPU chips by applying heat (either in an oven or with a hot air rework). Despite being skeptical with the trope of "stick in the oven", as is done with GPUs [1], I decided to give it a go since I had a hot air rework station. To make sure I didn't kill the PCB (quite easy to do with hot air), I followed a temperature profile suggested in [2/a>]. Without a service manual I couldn't actually confirm whether temperature profile was correct, but this was a used, dying PS3 system, so I didn't mind if my experiment broke it.

Fortunately the system did work, and I was able to make the necessary backups of the saves.

NOTE: I didn't have time to finish this blog entry, so at a later date I will add more information on the SYSCON debugging and add pictures (and perhaps the debug log too ;) ).


  1. Overclockers article on The Oven Trick (DON'T DO THIS UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING, or have money to blow...)
  2. Youtube video showing reflow of a PS3 motherboard with temperature profile (AGAIN, DON'T DO THIS UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING).