Review – Thomas Tech Repair: PlayStation 3 YLOD Repair

The dreaded YLOD has struck our launch console. Can anyone bring it back from the dead? Check out our review of this tech repair business to find out.

We are sure that most of our readers have heard of the dreaded “Yellow Light of Death” that occasionally plagues older PS3’s, and we, unfortunately, had it happen to us on our launch 60GB PS3. L.A. Noire was being played at the time, and needless to say we were not thrilled. There may have even been some tears shed.

The PS3 in question was manufactured in November 2006, and is model #CECHA01. It has been used almost every day since launch, and even ran for a 3 month stretch when [email protected] was first released. The number of hours it had been used is impossible to calculate, but it had to be extremely high.We thought we kept it clean, by vacuuming and using canned air, but it wasn’t kept as clean as we thought. While playing through an early level of L.A. Noire, the PS3 beeped, the screen went blank, the PS3’s light went from green, to yellow, and then to blinking red, which indicates an over heating issue.

Using Google, we did a search for PS3 repair in Sacramento and that led us to contact Thomas Tech Repair. Their prices were a little lower than other shops, and also the closest, so we sent them an email describing our problem. Withing 5 minutes of the email being sent, we received a phone call from them and decided they were the right shop for our beloved PS3.

We showed up at their door step 5 minutes before they opened, and didn’t have to wait. The tech’s name was Michael. He was very knowledgeable and friendly. He set us up with a SNES and Mario World to pass the time while he worked on our PS3. They also had a PS2 and an Atari 2600, with a decent selection of games, to keep us busy while we waited.

Michael then proceeded to disassemble the PS3, and brought out components at different intervals to show us the state they were in. While our PS3 wasn’t as dirty as some of the nightmarish photos that have been seen on the internet, it wasn’t exactly spotless either.

Not our PS3, but another customer's that was in the shop for YLOD

Dust had penetrated into our console and probably contributed to the overheating. Dust had also contributed to oxidizing parts of the motherboard and Michael cleaned the board completely (what they called optimizing the motherboard). Now we can’t get into the specific repair techniques, but we do know that the solder for the main processors was reflowed.

Dust buildup on components contributes to overheating

Before reassembling the PS3, Michael made sure to clean every component of any dust or dirt that might still have been hanging around. After reassembly, he hooked it up to a flat screen in the shop and let it run for a while to make sure it wasn’t still over heating.

Not our 60GB but a cleaned and repaired 80GB for someone else

We took our baby home and started playing L.A. Noire again. The console not only ran quieter (less fan noise), but also faster. Game load times seemed faster. The graphics looked cleaner and sharper. The console now runs as it did when we first took it out of the box almost 5 years ago. Maybe it’s just our eyes fooling us, but games like GT5 and Uncharted 2 look better now.

The price for the repair was only $65 and motherboard optimization is another $15 if done at the same time as the YLOD repair. Optimization by itself is $40.

We ended up spending a total of about 2 hours in their waiting room, and that time went by pretty quick thanks to their gaming systems on hand. They are bringing in more systems and more games in the near future, so killing time while you wait is pretty easy to do.

They also repair the Red Ring Of Death (RROD) error for the Xbox 360, and can diagnose and repair other problems like disc reading issues for not only the PS3 and Xbox 360, but for your Wii as well. They also repair personal computers and build websites.

They have 2 locations. One near downtown Sacramento, Ca. (this is the one we visited):

Thomas Tech Repair
1049 Broadway
(916) 359-9269
10 a.m. – 5 p.m

[email protected]
Skype Them: ThomasVideoGames

and another soon to be open in Citrus Heights, Ca.

Thomas Tech Repair provided us with a valuable service. They have friendly and knowledgeable staff members who walked us through the process of repairing our launch 60 GB PS3. Their cleaning was very thorough. If you are having PS3 issues, you want these guys working on your console.

Nicely done Michael.


* For the record, we were not compensated for this review in any way, and they had no idea who we were until after the repair was complete and the transaction finished.