Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bringing a PS3 Slim PSU Unit Back To Life

AKA, just another regular Saturday. With a pinch of electrocution.

Lately we'd been deprived of our regular dose of Sony. Not that it was that shocking or painful or even mildly upseting. But looking at what few Blueray disks and PS3 games we had kind of pressed the issue that we might have to fork out some €300 for a new shiny brick.

The problem with it was, and I'm sure it's widespread, after a few seconds of being turned on it would inexplicably turn off. And not gently. Instead of just turning it's shy green light to a shy red light it would completely forfeit any semblance of effort and turn everything off, system, fan, light, pathos. Once this happened nothing would turn it back on except unplugging the power cord and plugging it back in. It only managed to stay on for such short periods of time that it couldn't possibly be overheating. I mean, I know overheating. I once had a competer that reached 90ºC and started blaring a siren. I needed a toddler-sized fan pointed at it the few times I dared to turn it on. Also, I own two 360s, and boy can those guys heat up a place. My point being, I know overheating and this wasn't it.

I looked at it pensively, stroking my chin with my index finger. Out of my lips came those famous last words: 'You know,' I sang, a smile peering through my pressed lips, my eyes glistening with curiosity. 'We could try opening it up. I mean, it can't get any worse.' So, after we came home from shopping and I retreated to the kitchen to concoct a chocolate mousse and fruit salad (my Mother's Day gift for tomorrow) Mike set about dismantling the beast.

It was apparent even for me that we were dealing with a PSU problem (PSU standing for Power Supply Unit). Luckily, the PSU is the most easily accessible part of the machine. That said, it must be noted that, although he is a brilliant software developer he is not as well versed in electronics. And the most I ever did was fix VCRs that had tapes stuck in their heads. We opened, blew on it (obviously), tapped it, reversed it, pressed it, looked intently at it. But, try as we may, the thing would still turn off arbitrarily. At a point it was so upset with us that it shocked Mike into submission. He still claims his arm is numb.

Right when we were at the end of our rope (and patience) we found this video of this amazing guy that magically solved all our problems. Here, let me share it with you.
Now, I'll be as responsible as Lucas (who I'm sure is a wonderful man but whose pronunciation of "Slim" just drives me crazy) and say that there is no guarantee this will work for other people. In fact, messing with anything's power unit is a VERY VERY BERRYBIGBAAAAAD BADBAD IDEA. But hey, we're crazy people here. And the country's approaching bankrupcy. This is no time to be throwing away perfectly good bricks. So we followed Lucas' instructions to the letter and voilá.

It now stays on for periods of time longer than 7 seconds. Next step? Well, we had previously tried to "restore database" and it turned off mid restoring. This probably screwed something in the... uh... database. The whole system was fried. So we downloaded a system update from taht series of tubes known as the interwebs and formated a USB flash drive to install the update from there. We did what we were supposed to: format to FAT32, placed the update in the PS3/UPDATE folder but, lo and behold, another setback.

Data is corrupted. (80023121).
Huh. Well, having just overcome hardware DEATH, surely this wasn't so hard? Surely? .... Turns out, this is a widely spread problem that Sony has failed to solve. And can you blame them? they're too busy playing dare with hackers. In fact, people everywhere are chugging around €150 to replace their systems because this is something that cannot be overcome and they apparently cannot do an online update. But we could. Maker be praised!

It works now. It's siting there in the corner. We're exchanging timid but compromising glances. Too bad all my saves are gone. Saves from Valkyria Chronicles and... well... those are really the only ones I'll miss, to be honest. Good news is, I'll finally be able to try out Battlefield Bad Company 2. I'm a little late, I know but you have to give me points for cheating hardware DEATH.

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