While sitting twiddling my thumbs on a Sunday evening in April, my attention wandered to the new hot air station and then on to the old Playstation 3 sitting under the bench.
The Playstation was given to me as ‘faulty’ a few years ago. At the time, I tried putting in a known working HDD, but the console refused to switch on.
So the console was free, and I had a hot air station (Quick 857DW+), my plan was to reflow the chips and see if I could bring it back to life. Partly out of boredom and partly for science.
Playstation 3 switches straight back off
If I switched the console on it, it would switch off again in an instant. There’s a small red led but nothing else.
Reflowing the CPU and GPU
With the console open, it’s easy to identify the main chips. I had read in the past about re-flowing the solder balls under the chips but there is an online debate (argument) about what is really happening and how the fix works.
With my hot air nozzle in one hand and the infra-red thermometer in the other, I used a circular motion over each chip to bring the temperature to around 350′
Then I sat and waited un-patiently for them to cool down slowly.
Green light of success
I certainly wasn’t expecting this.
With the green light and some fan spin, I hooked it up to a display to the met with:
“Cannot start.. The appropriate system storage was not found.”
There lies the problem with impromtu fixes on a Sunday evening, there are no shops open. You’re out luck if you need to pick up a part or an accessory.
The following day, I did manage to find a 2.5″ HDD at the nearest CEX for only £5. With the latest firmware installed, it booted up but not without some very high fan speeds.
I broke it again 🙁
After stripping it back down to the motherboard again, I overtightened the bolts on the heatskink.
Do you know that feeling when you’re tightening a bolt, it gets nice and tight, but you give it one more little turn, hear a crack and the head of the bolt suddenly becomes loose.
That’s the feeling. My heart sank.
So for now, the Playstation is back under the bench. Sitting waiting, for a chance encounter with a replacement heatsink and bolt.
Upgrading and restoring a PS3
When I do come across a replacement heatsink, I would also like to attempt some other upgrades to expand it’s life.
This would be a good machine (‘cos it was free) to try my first reball on. And if that’s a success, replacing the capacitors, which are another common failure point, would be next on my list.
There is an aftermarket cooling fan too, should the machine still work after my reball and capacitor work.
So that’s the story so far for this Playstation 3.
It was a short lived victory, but a victory is a victory no matter how long it lasts.
A friend asked me to look at their MK5 GHD straighteners which had began chirping. This is when they play the start up sound repeatedly when you switch them on.
This is how I fixed them.
After some initial research it looked like the thermistor might be at fault. This is a component which prevents the heating elements from turning on if they are too cold.
In this case the elements were warming up while the GHDs where chirping so I moved my attention elsewhere. Following some advice I found online, a new CPU was ordered and swapped but this didn’t cure the fault.
GHD Straightener CPU replacement video
Next, I did what I should have done in the very beginning and checked the R8 and R11 resistors. Sure enough the R8 resistor was showing open on my multimeter. Thankfully I had some spares from the last time I repaired my girlfriends GHDs, so I was able to quickly sort out a replacement and fix them successfully.
Replacing the R8 Resistor on the Mark 5 GHD Straighteners
Always start with some basic fault finding. Check for voltages, continuity on the fuses and most importantly, look for the well known failure points on what you are fixing, before you go all gung-ho and start looking for more complicate faults that don’t exist.
In this video I show you how I fixed up my £9.99 DS lite ebay find. It didn’t take long to indentify the problem and when the new part arrived, it was a relatively easy fix to get it working again.
Identifying a faulty charge port.
Fault finding a broken charge port on any Nintendo DS is fairly simple. After plugging it in, give the power lead a wiggle from side to side to see if the orange light switches on and off as you move the cable.
A visual inspection can also reveal damage with missing or bent pins inside the connector.
While removing the faulty component I found the flux paste much more effective than the brush on (no clean) type. Using the hot air was much quicker than th soldering iron and solder sucker, with the added benefit of being non contact (in theory there is less chance of damaging pads).
The game ports worked after a good clean. So rather than there being a fault, they are just worn, making them a little temperamental at times.
It you have any comments or questions, please leave them on youtube and thank you for watching.
So apparently this really does happen. An ebayer listed a motherboard bundle as Spare PC Parts or something completely vague like it. The listing was in the Campervan and camper section, believe it or not. Condition was faulty not working and there was zero description as to what the parts were, other than the photos.
So with all that in mind, it’s not surprising I was the sole bidder and won the auction for £2.99 with £5 postage.
CPU yanked from the socket.
I was disappointed when I removed the bubblewrap from the motherboard and saw there was no CPU in the socket. When I opened the bubblewrap surrounding the cooler, I was surprised, happy and shocked all at the same time.
It defies logic, why do this? Just leave everything in place, where it is safe.
With a firm but gentle twist, the CPU was carefully released from the grip of the cooler.
Reinstalling the CPU
With my heart pounding I gently lowered the CPU into the socket. It would not go in. A bit of wiggling, blowing on the socket, waggling the socket lever and more wiggling, it eventually found it’s home, on the K8T8AS Jetway motherboard.
This is what attracted me to the auction, the asking price on this card is ridiculous. I don’t know if they sell, but you never know, it’s worth a shot anyway.
Hercules 3D Prophet 4500 64Mb 631 5058605
Also included in the bundle was a PCI Soundblaster card, PCI Firewire, PCI TV tuner and PCI network adapter.
Firing it up.
Despite the sellers attempt to damage the CPU pins with stupidity and lack of common sense, it did boot to bios.
What a good result. This will be a nice little retro gaming PC for anyone who’s looking for an older system. IDE and SATA are both supported, so you can mix older and new drives with ease.
I’ve listed the GPU on ebay for a silly high price, to see if someone will take it. Failing that, I can list the whole bundle for a 99p start and take my chances on it earning more than the £8 I paid for it.
Can you believe someone threw this out? Well yeah, I can. It is over 20 years old and it weighs the same as a small car. But, it is interesting and so I thought, it would be good to see if it had survived the elements after being outside for at least 2 weeks.
This isn’t something I wouldn’t normally do first, but I wanted to check for any obvious signs of corrosion, especially inside the power supply. So the first job was to remove all the parts and blow out the dust with a computer blower.
The motherboard is an 0161E and this one can ideed survive being left outside.
The OS is on a 9GB SCSI HDD which makes a hell of a racket. It boots up to Windows NT Server 4.0 which is password protected.
Also included was a tape drive for back ups, with an 8GB tape still in the drive.
The customary floppy drive and cd rom were also present.
Additional cards were a PCI SCSI adapter (Adaptec AVA-2904) and a PCI network card.
Putting the beast back together was a challenge, finding which tab or lever you had to push or pull wasn’t easy. Bloody Dell.
It went back together eventually and booted to BIOS and WindowsNT Server just fine.
A morning of fun, learning and some mild frustration
All in all, I’m glad I picked it up. Although I don’t have a use for it, it did provide and mornings worth of entertainment, learning and some idle curiosity.
A few days ago while browsing ebay someone had just listed a faulty Sony PSP for the low price of £20. I’m not too interested in PSPs ate this time but looking through the photos of the item, and something caught my eye.
The last photo for the PSP actually showed the back of a Gameboy SP, with the PSP in the background. This gave me a good idea that the very next thing they were going to list was that Gameboy.
The missing Gameboy
A few minutes later and lots of F5’ing, sure enough they listed a silver GBA SP with a buy it now price. Thankfully my immediate offer was quickly accepted and I am now the new owner of a silver GBA SP.
Good cleaning and free gaming
There was some cleaning to do when it arrived, a previous owner had customised it with an Apple logo sticker on the top of the case which left a lot of glue to remove but the seller did send out a game with it too, which I wasn’t expecting.
After a good clean with Mr Sheen (don’t use alcohol on plastics), here it is tested and working. Although being sold as faulty, it does power on, play the included game, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins and the charging light illuminates when connected to the mains.
The game cartridge has seen better days, you can tell someone has enjoyed playing this game a lot. It’s not the correct format for the SP but it is my first gameboy game cartridge, which I will be keep for testing gameboys I own in the future.
Happy ebay hunting guys
So I am of course very happy with my purchase. It goes to show it’s worth browsing people’s listing and having a good virtual rummage if you have the time.
It’s going to hard to find a better bargain in the future.
During February 2021 I have been buying and selling a few games consoles, with the goal of making enough profit to buy myself a hot air re-work station and then hopefully an oscilloscope.
Handheld devices are new to me, as I have never owned a Gameboy, DSI or similar, but I know they are still very popular.
So I took a chance and picked up these two Gameboy Advance SP NES edition, the pair were being sold as ‘faulty batteries, won’t turn on’, and I paid £50 for them delivered.
When they arrived, I was pleased to see they were in good condition and the housing was original too. It wasn’t until I paid the money, did I learn there were reproduction ones being sold too.
Supplying power through the bench top PSU
My first step was to remove one of the batteries and hook up my bench top PSU to the battery terminals on the GBA, carefully dialling in the correct voltage and amps from information on the battery.
The GBA turned on and was games loaded without any issue. Sound was also working, I will come back to that later.
Battery Charging with the TP4056
Using the TP4056 li-on charging board and an USB volt/amp meter tester, I could see the battery was charging. Both consoles turned on and played games from the charged battery.
Testing the charger
So both Gameboys work with a charged battery, but the charger won’t charge the battery. So I’m beginning to think there is a charge problem inside the GBAs, but it’s unlikely both would suffer the same fate.
If you know about GBA SPs you might have already figured out what’s wrong with the above photo.
I snipped the jack plu off the charger the ebay seller provided, plugged it back into the above adapter and powered the GBA using my bench top PSU.
The penny dropped
Two things seemd odd. 1. The GBA didn’t take any amps from the bench top PSU (which meant only the battery was providing power). and 2. There was no sound coming from the speaker.
After some research I learnt the adapter in the above photo, is not a power adapter, it’s for headphones. The previous owner had been trying to power both GBAs through the headphone adapter.
Thankfully no harm seems to have been done to the consoles. There is a new charging cable on the way and it seems I have been lucky with these two.
A lot of time could have been saved, if I had a proper charger and not relied on what the seller provided but with the help of the TP4056, USB meter and bench top PSU it all worked out in the end.
I’ll test these properly and sell them on the add to my hot air re-work station fund.