Are backwards compatible PS3′s a timebomb? Guide to taking good care of your system.

How many of you remember all the hassle that came with backwards compatible PS3s suffering from YLoD or laser malfunction?
The question here is obviously, are all of them like this? what are the factors that contribute to this? is it preventable? can it be fixed permanently? I’ll guide you through the matter using my own personal experience and some research.

The 60GB PS3 is perhaps the best version of the system ever made in terms of overall beauty and feature set. It has 4 USB ports instead of just two, Memory Card readers, it plays Super Audio CDs (but tbh I don’t know who plays these anymore) and it sports full Backwards Compatibility with PS2 games, upscaled in HD format, giving your old games a brand new look without having to buy all the HD re-releases. And it has a more shiny look than any other PS3:

But with all these nice features comes a dark side to all of this. The systems were said to be doomed when customers all over the world reported laser malfunction and their PS3s dying with the infamous YLoD. For this I’ve made a guide for you to follow if you want to keep your precious system like day one, to do so I’ll cover three main things: what are the causes of the problems, how they can be prevented and how they can be fixed once they have happened.

YLoD, what is it?
When a hardware malfuntion that prevents the ps3 from booting normally occurs, both the red and green light of the ps3 turn on at the same time, creating a yellowish light that indicates a serious problem has happened. A few system beeps are also heard, and in the case of some models, the fan goes on full speed for a second. When all of the happens, the system shuts down directly to prevent further damage.
Two uncommon, yet fully possible reasons could be a faulty hard drive, if the hard drive has a damaged sector with important data in it, it may prevent the system from booting, the other possible, yet not so common, problem would be a faulty power supply unit. If the supply unit doesn’t work well and it doesn’t give the ps3 the power it needs, a ylod might occur. While it’s always good to check these two things before jumping to a conclusion, the most common cause of ylod is by far a faulty connection between the GPU and the motherboard, mainly caused by overheating.
Just like ylod, overheating has many causes as there are many factors involved in the process of cooling down the system, but these are the ones that fail most often:
- the air vents where the system takes cool air in and throws hot air out
- the fan itself
- the thermal paste that connects the CPU and GPU to the heat sink
Whenever one of these three things fail, the process of cooling down the system is dramatically dropped and the system heats up more and more quickly.
As we’ve mentioned above, you have to take good care of all three mayor cooling systems that the ps3 has: the fan, the air vents and the thermal paste.
Every year, specially when summer starts, open up your ps3 and check that all these are working correctly, follow this small guide to check each of them out:

YLoD, why it happens?
Why does the PS3 overheat?
What should I do to prevent this?
- The fan: it’s pretty easy to know if the fan is fully working or not as there is a fan test available on the PS3, sadly the 60GB models don’t have it, so your only guess at this point is to listen to the fan when playing a graphically-intense game, Does it change speeds as it should? does it make a lot of noise as it should?
- The thermal paste: gently try to separate the ps3 motherboard from the heat sink, if they stick together strong then the thermal paste is still in working condition, if they separate easily, then they need to be replaced. Take into consideration that these ps3s used a bad quality thermal paste and that is a reason for their failure rate. Don’t make the same mistake Sony did, buy a strong, good quality, thermal paste, artic silver is always recommended. Remember that you have to evenly apply the paste on all of the surface of both processing chips, if you don’t know how to do this, there are a lot of youtube videos you can follow.
- The air vents: this one is quite simple, just clean all the dust that gathers over time in the air vents, make sure nothing stands in the way between cool air and the ps3′s internals.