PS3s, like most modern tech, break. They might take a while to do so, but chances are – ultimately – they’ll stop working. The one below was a launch model, day one, and lasted five years before kicking up the nasty Red Light Of Death during a viewing of Toy Story 3 on Blu-ray.
That’s probably not important. What is important is that the console was dead. It would switch on for a second or two before flashing a red LED and shutting back down. I waited over a month before trying to fix it, before finally realising that I should at least attempt to see if it still works.
So I (and a mate) pulled it to bits. Shoved the bits in a couple of carrier bags, and forgot about it.
Last Friday – a couple of weeks later – as regular readers to the TSA twitter might remember, we grabbed some beers, some pizza (it was some spicy hot chicken thing) and opened up the bags and panicked. Mainly because we had no idea which bit went where, but also because we’d not separated the little screws.
They were just in a little bit of tin foil, all mixed together. This, we thought, might be fun.
First things first, let’s give the motherboard a clean. Dusting off any five year old crap and then – using what could only be described as industrial strength orange-scented Fairy Liquid, we began to carefully remove the sticky white paste on top of the chips, assuming that the PS3’s failure was due to some dodgy heat transfer or something.
The insides of a PS3, like most consoles, is a wondrous thing. All the bits and bats that Sony fed in their pre-launch hype were present and correct: look, the Reality Synthesiser! That was the thing that made MotorStorm look fancy, I seem to remember. Regardless, all the chips were cleaned and looked sparkling. This repairing lark was easy.
To make sure, we pulled everything to bits. Everything. The bit Portal-like industrial fan was scary, as was all that copper stuff that we could only assume was to make Kratos’ blades super shiny. There’s a lot of heavy metal inside the PS3 – at least the launch models – alongside all the fancy circuitboard stuff. The newer models probably just run off jelly.
If any of this is too technical, we apologise. The beer was nice, though, it was that lower strength Stella stuff that didn’t taste nearly as bad as the usual lager, and didn’t make us want to watch football or light a fag and play Call of Duty, so that’s nice.
As we were going, people on Twitter were telling us that we had to do more stuff. One of the extra tasks we adopted was to “reloat the flux”. Now, I’ve seen Back to the Future and my mate’s car is a 2 litre, so reaching 88mph wasn’t a problem. However, we were being directed towards a ‘heat gun’ and non-flammable surfaces, so we took the motherboard outside and blasted the hell out of it.
Nothing really floated, but it start to smell a bit, so we reckoned that was all good, and left it to cool whilst we had another beer and another go on Max Payne 3. When it was all dry (and literally freezing) we brought it back inside and then started the process of putting everything back together.
This bit was actually easy, apart from the mock catapults that Sony installed that needed both sides gradually screwing it otherwise everything inside would implode and all the Loco Roco would spill out. However, unless you’ve got about eight hands all they did was fly around the room and projected little eye-sized screws at your face. Deadly.
To the right is an iPad. This wasn’t also broken, it was used as a web browser so that we could see how things were supposed to be done. It was quite useful, but required considerable padding and sleeving to avoid the deadly metal shards from the PS3.
So, anyway, half an hour later and we were done. All back together apart from the top bit of plastic which I stood on and snapped. That bit wasn’t really necessary anyway, the whole innards were fixed, cleaned and re-floated, whatever that meant. We were good to go. I found the kettle lead for the system, plugged it in and counted down from 3.
Magically, the thing worked. It was green. It booted. I took and tweeted a picture to prove it. We were back in business. We’d fixed something. We were legendary heroes who would be talked about for years. I could sense the book deal, it was close.
And then it went red again.
Throwing the useless, terminally dead piece of crap back into the same carrier bag it had been rotting in for weeks, we grabbed another beer and played some more Max Payne 3. These things are sent to test us, of course, and this particular model had – as they say – run its course, had a good innings and served me well.
An anticlimax? More of a cliffhanger…