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Dismantling the system

July 22, 2012
Dismantled Slim PlayStation 3

Pic taken from iFixit

Sometimes, taking things apart can be fun. When you already know the warranty’s no longer valid, it’s fun.  When you discover that putting it back together isn’t as hard as you thought it would be, it’s fun. When reassembling an item isn’t worth the trouble and tearing the rest of it down is the only thing left to do, it’s fun. When you fix a problem (however temporarily the fix may last) with no clear solution to begin with, it’s fun.

Tearing down my slim PS3 enough to get inside the Blu-Ray drive was definitely more fun than continuously running into the same problem.  The problem in question being an issue where a game on disc only plays for about 30 minutes before the Blu-ray drive starts buzzing and eventually the game freezes.  Drive noises and interrupted games aren’t all, though – the system has to have the power button held down for 30 seconds to turn the system off, then the eject button has to be pressed before turning the system on in order to get the disc out.  When the disc does come back out, eventually some noticeable circular scratch marks show up near the middle on the label side.  Obviously, something’s the matter that only a dismantling will fix, right?

PS3 slim blu-ray drive with metal top removed

Misdiagnosing the problem would only add to it, and if I had went along with my original guess that the laser or motor was in need of replacement, I’d have spent money I didn’t really have to fix something that wasn’t really wrong.  If I didn’t care about any of the games that froze on me and limited myself to Tales of Graces f and Final Fantasy XIII-2, I’d have mistakenly concluded that newer-developed games probably aren’t as susceptible to disc read errors.  Luckily, by getting the disc drive out and opened up enough, I saw dust clumps and paint peelings – certainly enough to possibly get between the laser and disc.  After enough fiddling, I found what is likely the cause for the scratches…

Partially dismantled PS3 slim blu-ray disc drive

See that white-ish ring on the right half near the center magnet?  The north-northwestern (or about 120 degree position) part of the peeled paint is going into a arc-like slit which is part of a mechanical arm on its other side (see left half of the second image above).  This arm sometimes didn’t move past the halfway position when I operated it by hand, but the other arm connected to the slit at the southeastern (or about 315 degrees) section always moved its full sweep and coincidentally had no paint chippings caught in or near it.  Clearing the paint away along with the rest of the dust inside the drive, I put everything back together and had no problems – for a month or so, and then it got taken apart again.  The good news was that I found a band-aid solution, and the bad news is that the underlying root cause is still unknown to me.

Tales of Graces f disc, light circular scratch

Final Fantasy XIII-2 disc, light circular scratch and ink smudges

Call of Duty: Black Ops disc, full circular scratch

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bosstiger permalink
    August 25, 2012 12:21 am

    Reblogged this on Gigable – Tech Blog.

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