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jumpymonkey9
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Heatsink doesn't make contact with processors

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I'm having trouble getting good contact between the heatsink and processors in my ps3. I have reapplied the thermal paste and reattached the heatsink. I even bought a couple of washers to place around the screws that fasten the heatsink clamps in place, to try to put more pressure onto the processors. That did not work either. When I remove the heatsink, the thermal paste is still smooth, like it wasn't touching the heatsink at all, except maybe on a couple of corners on each of the 2 processors.

I actually bought a sheet of copper to use as a spacer between the heatsink and procs, but after I cut the copper, they edges of the copper pieces got bent, and I'm not sure what to use to make them perfectly flat again. Any tips for this issue would be very helpful. I've been without my PS3 for over a month.

Thanks everyone

Update

Brett, I have tried to bend the clips to do what you're suggesting, but haven't had much luck with that. I was kind of worried that I would bend them too far, so I didn't try very hard to do it. Maybe I should give that another go.

Mayer, I don't know what's keeping them from going all the way down. Everything is lined up the way it's supposed to be when I put the heatsink onto the motherboard carriage thing.

And Paul, that sounds like it may be what I need. If I can't find anything that's physically obstructing the heatsink anywhere, I may go that route instead of doing the copper sheet metal.

Thanks everyone for the responses. I'll update you if I get a working solution.

Edited by: oldturkey03, rj713, mayer, pollytintop, and rab777hp ( ) , jumpymonkey9 ( )

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John Danna
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I just joined and saw your problem.

I had the same problem. What makes it worse is if you have thermal compound on the processor plates and it doesn't make contact with the heat sink, the compound will act as a worse insulator than air alone. It seems that there is a lot of variation in this area from machine to machine.

I found the problem to be that the recessed (or you could say stepped) area of the two "ears" with the screw holes on each side of the heat sinks are too thick to allow the flat part of the heat sink to dip down far enough below the plane of the backplate to contact the processor plate. (Hope I described that adequately.)

I used a flat file to remove some metal from the recessed area to solve this problem. It is very labor intensive, as you have to file the ears, apply the compound to the processors, attach and tighten the heat sinks as if you were finished, then remove them and inspect the spread pattern of the compound. You have to keep filing, installing, uninstalling, and inspecting until you achieve near 100% contact. You might have to file one side more than the other based on what you see.

Tips:

1) Remove the 3 screws from the fan motor and take it off of the fan assembly to keep the assembly from wobbling as you file.

2) Avoid taking too much off at one time. If the ears get too thin, the backplate will be loose when you tighten the heatsink screws.

3) Do all of the filing away from the unit. Carefully remove all of the metal filings between each filing session using a brush or air pressure to avoid getting any filings on the mother board.

4) To conserve thermal compound during all of the fit testing, next time I would use something cheaper to do the testing like automotive bearing grease or Crisco. Just be sure to clean ALL of it off before applying the real thermal compound when you're done.

Good luck!

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Brett Hartt
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Something I have tried in the past is to "encourage" the clamps to hold tighter. If you bend the edges of the clamps upwards, then the center of the clamps will provide more pressure onto the motherboard and heatsinks.

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Sony PlayStation 3 Heat Sink Clamps

Heat Sink Clamps for PS3 — Currently out of stock.

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mayer
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This doesn't make sense. What's preventing the heat sink from going all the way down? It may have been assembled incorrectly. Try rotating it to see if it will drop into place. See if you can tell what's stopping it.

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Paul C
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Whilst this maynot be the real solution which of course is to find out why the heatsink is not making good contact you could try something like Bergquist GapPad 3000S30, or GapPad 5000S35 to fill in the gap. This is a thermally conductive gap filling material specifically designed to fill gaps between chips and heatsinks.

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Johan Tan
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Use 0.4mm Thermal pad.

and you good to go.

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Erikjan
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I've putten some folded paper behind clamps and the ps3 is still working after two months.

Cheers

Erik

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PohTayToez
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I've seen this problem on every single 1st Gen PS3 I've worked on. Personally I can't believe it was designed this way and I imagine that it's the main contributor to the overheating problem that these consoles have. It appears they tried to compensate for this by smearing a ridiculous amount of thermal compound on it, but obviously that didn't quite do the trick.

I do the same thing that Erikjan above does. I've found that a business card folded twice lengthwise placed between the clamps gets it to make contact much better.

It helps a lot PohTayToez, but the 40gb version (The one without memory cards reader) has the worst clamps ever made, the bend easly since they are thinner then the ones made after for the 60gb and on. So for better results they have to be replaced by newer ones. Cheers Erik

Erikjan,

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Erikjan
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Well, the fastest would be placing some folded paper under the "clamps"... This way you bring more pull preassure once you tight the clamp...

Ex.:, unscrew the two screws that hold the clamp, in the middle place some folded paper and after replace the clamp on top of the paper and start tightning the screws and feel if it less "loose" then before as you turn the screwdriver...

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hendra
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yes user termal pad from 1mm up to 3mm and upper termalpad silicon use cooper plat 2cmx2cm so can reduce termal 30%, so efeciency cost

u use, modification for notebook Chipset VGA...so cold

www.master-laptop.com

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nick
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Aaron Marsh
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Definitly dont put paper in the console, if it ever gets too hot the paper could burn. The copper plates are the way to go as stated a few times above. These will also aid in transfering the heat away from the gpu & cpu better, ultimatly keeping the console cooler and running better.

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Sprinx
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I tried bending them, too, and it seemed to work for a while. However, when taking it apart again after the fan started going 100% after 5 minutes of COD MW3, I could see that the thermal paste, which had initially been spread across the entire chip from the pressure, was now dried. This means that the clips that I had bent had returned to their original shape and were not applying the same pressure to the chips. I verified this by visually inspecting the clips - they were almost flat again.

I tried doing it again without bending the clips, but I imagine that there is little pressure on the chips at all. I will now go the copper shim route.

My PS3 was working fine - I thought I would do some preventive maintenance since I've done thermal paste application on dozens of PC's and laptops. I have disassembled and reassembled my PS3 over 15 times now trying to fix what I broke when I disassembled it the first time. The heatsink simply will not make contact with the chips any more.

If your fan is not ramping up all the time, just leave it alone.

Also, putting paper as a spacer will not make anything catch fire. Paper does not burn until it is exposed to temperatures of 451 degrees Fahrenheit or higher (hence the name of the book by Ray Bradbury). Your PS3 will not exceed 200 degrees F under worst case scenarios, and I see no possible way for your chips to get up to 450 degrees F.

Edited by: Sprinx ( )

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Gunner
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Has anyone thought of doing one of the following?

1. Remove the heat shield/spreader and replace it with a piece of copper cut to the same shape, (I gather that you will need both thermal paste and epoxy to do this job.)

2. run the board outside of its case like a pc using a probe to see whats really going on (I noticed some people on the net ak Youtube claim that the 1st gen PS3 PSu's were faulty and pumped out more heat then the mobo.)

The heat blowing out of the back is more likely to be going through the motherboard and not directly through the heatsink.

Hope this helps... if alll else fails try liquid cooling xD

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