TideLog Archive for February, 2013

I saw this topic being discussed on Sony’s own forums the other day, and I had such a massive laugh! If the people who claimed to be PS3 repairers ACTUALLY knew anything about electronics, the world would be in serious danger! One guy posted about his cooling fan ramping up to full speed when he turned the console on, you should have seen the responses. They ranged from, “Ooh, your PSU is dying”, “You’re about to get the YLOD!” and most laughably, “Your CPU/GPU needs reballing!”

These people obviously don’t know as much as they claim, all those supposed causes are NOWHERE near the real cause. I’ll go into some real electronics knowledge to help people here. The fan ramping up on a PS3 or an Xbox is caused by the temperature diode being faulty.

In computers, the chip temperature is measured by a temperature sensor. Usually it’s a diode, mounted under the chip. On some standard PC motherboards, if you look in the middle of the CPU socket, you’ll see a blue lump on legs, this is the sensor diode.

    Types of diode

There are two types of temperature diode. A Negative Temperature Coefficient (NTC) diode is a diode whose resistance DECREASES as the temperature rises. So, when the chip is at full temperature, the resistance of the diode is at 0. The other type of diode is a Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC), where the resistance STARTS at 0 when the chip is COLD, and goes full when HOT.
The control chip uses this resistance value by converting it from a resistance value to a temperature value, to set the fan speed, and to shut down the system if it’s too hot by sending a signal to the chipset. The converted value is also used by temperature monitoring apps and software.

It is all the same in automotive scenarios, with the engine temperature and radiator cooling fan, the same ramp up symptom occurs due to temperature sensor failure.

    Failure

When the diodes fail, each type of diode fails in a certain way. An NTC diode normally fails stuck at 0 (zero) resistance, meaning the system thinks the chip is really hot (because the cold reading should be full resistance), when in fact it is still cold, so the fan will ramp up as soon as the system is started cold. It may also result in shutdowns, even though the chip isn’t hot because the fan is running full tilt.

A PTC diode starts cold at 0 anyway, so the system won’t panic at first. However, the controller will soon realise something is up when the CPU starts reporting high loads, but the temperature is still reading 0 instead of a higher value. The fan will not increase speed in this case, so the temperature will rise sharply, resulting in an eventual shutdown. This will cause solder damage if the problem isn’t fixed, but it doesn’t happen BECAUSE of solder damage!

See, nothing to do with YLOD, try going to electronics school, kiddies 😉 When you switch a PS3 on and the fan kicks up to full speed then down again, that’s the system running a sensor and fan control test 🙂 If the fan stays on full on cold start instead of slowing down, you have a sensor issue 😉

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UPDATE: All my development PS3’s have now died. I have become tired of keep reballing and soldering them, only for them to die again 6 months later. I have now given up on Sony altogether, and only focus on Xbox personally, so I can no longer assist with re-marry issues

This is something I’ve done about 4 times. If a PS3 stops reading discs, it’s either the laser head unit itself that’s failed (99%), the drive board has overheated and died (1%). If the drive board has failed, you can put another logic board of the same model drive on, but it won’t work straight off. Like the Xbox 360, the PS3’s drive is electronically “married” to the motherboard using software encryption. But, unlike the Xbox, you can’t just take the drive out of a PS3 and connect it to a SATA PC to dump the keys, as the PS3 has a non standard ribbon connection. There are also no solder methods for the PS3 that I’m aware of.

The PS3 Blu-Ray drive won’t work at all if straight swapped, it won’t read PS1/PS2 (on backwards-compatible consoles) or PS3 games, Blu-Ray movies, DVD discs, or even audio CD’s, whereas a straight-swapped Xbox drive will read DVD’s and audio CD’s until the drive key is flashed across via SATA. Fortunately the PS3 drive can be “married” to restore full functionality, but only under certain circumstances such as with supported firmware. Professional repair guys like me have a service mode “jig”, which is a special USB dongle that puts the console into Service mode, and automatically remarries the drive. You can do it with a PSP and a USB stick at home, here I’ll show you how:

NOTE: This does not work on Slim PS3’s. The Slim consoles have the drive control circuitry embedded into the main motherboard like the old PS2’s did, so if it stops reading discs and you’ve tried a new laser all to no avail, you’re out of luck, you’ll need a new whole motherboard.

1. Make sure your PS3 is on OFFICIAL Sony firmware v3.55. If you are on v3.56 DO NOT attempt the steps in my article, your console will BE STUCK in Service mode. The console doesn’t work very well in Service mode, games often lock and the console freezes running certain apps, if you get into Service Mode on v3.56 you CANNOT get out again.

2. Your PSP MUST be jailbroken, and running custom firmware. I have done it using v5.50-GEN-B and can confirm it works on both FAT and Slim PS3’s running v3.55 FW.

3. Download these files (they’re hosted on this blog so won’t expire):

a. PSPJig v1.00 – this file puts the console into factory mode.

b. PS3 OFW 3.55 – This is the official Sony V3.55 Firmware. Not added to blog yet as having trouble uploading it. Google for now 🙂

c. LV2Diag.self-get-out-factory-mode – This is the file we’ll use to get out of Factory Mode.

d. PS3 Remarry v3.55 – These are the files we’ll use to actually remarry the drive.

4. To keep this article short and to the point, I’ll assume you already have the correct firmwares on your PSP and PS3. To start off, take a blank FAT formatted USB pendrive (minimum 512MB), and extract the files from the remarry zip into the root of it. Then extract the v3.55 original firmware PUP file into the root as well. DON’T extract the firmware into a PS3/UPDATE structure like you would if you were updating the system software, it won’t work, the file needs to be in the root.

The structure of your pendrive should look like this:

  • Lv2diag.self
  • manufacturing_updater_for_reset.self
  • fdm_spu_module.self
  • PS3UPDAT.PUP
  • cfg/standalone.cfg (A folder named cfg with a standalone.cfg file inside it)
5. Then install PS3Jig onto your jailbroken PSP by copying the PS3Jig folder out of the zip into your PSP/GAME folder. Start your PSP and check that there’s a PS3Jig icon under the Games menu on the PSP XMB, it will be a PS3 icon as below:
ps3jig_1
Don’t run it, as you can’t exit out of it without pulling your battery, this will reset your PSP’s clock and date!
6. Next, connect your PSP to your PSP’s first left USB port, start PS3Jig on your PSP. DO NOT connect your USB drive with the remarry files yet. You will see a screen similar to this:
ps3jig_2
Note that you’ll only see the above message up to “USB Driver Started”. You won’t see the rest until you start your PS3 up.
7. Plug your PS3 into power, and switch on the rear switch so the power light is red.
8. Now switch on your PS3 using the touch sensitive power strip, then immediately afterwards press EJECT. Your PS3 will sit there for a few seconds, and then shut down. You’ll now see the rest of the above screenshot following the “USB Driver Started” section.
9. Now, switch on your PS3 using the power button. It will now boot to the XMB, and you should see “FACTORY SERVICE MODE” written in a red box at the bottom right of the screen. If you see this, you can switch off again.If not, repeat the process. It isn’t time sensitive, apart from pressing Power and Eject.
.
PS3-Factory-Service-Mode-screenshot
Your PS3 will stay in service mode as long as you want, even after turning the power off fully so don’t worry about it coming out, we need to manually force it out, which we’ll do later. Remove the USB lead of your PSP, and pull its battery to power off, we don’t need it again. You need to pull the battery as holding the power switch won’t switch off, it simply sleeps and comes back to PS3Jig.
10. Now, connect your USB remarry drive that we created in Step 4 to the FURTHEST RIGHT USB port, and power your PS3 back on. You’ll come to a screen similar to this:
Photo-0004
I recommend sticking a BD Movie disc in before you turn back on, as this will restore BD DRL license files, essentially they authorize the drive to the motherboard that it can play Blu Ray movies. There’s a BIG note here that I need you to read, see below:
a. If the ==DRIVE INIT== section at the top is GREEN, but all other sections are RED, the re-marry was SUCCESSFUL, but only the game disc, DVD and CD reads will work. Some people have reported that sticking a Blu Ray movie disc in DOES restore BD movie playback, but it still comes up NG and FAIL on the second section. You just need to play about. Boot back into the XMB still in Service mode, and see if a movie disc will play.
b. If you don’t put a BD disc in whilst doing this, don’t worry, you can do it again any time. The tool is a bit iffy on the success feedback, but you can’t do any damage, I tried different methods when I was learning the non-dongle way of doing remarries and never bricked anything.
c. The ==INSTALL SYSTEM SOFT== section will always be red, this is because the tool is set not to reinstall firmware. Some people use this method on downgraded consoles and end up with YLOD because of incorrect syscon hashes, so it is left off.
11. Finally, once you’re happy that everything works, turn everything off. In Service Mode, games won’t play very well, they often freeze, don’t worry about this, they’ll work in Normal mode, which we’re about to get the console back into. Delete everything off the USB drive, and put the LV2Diag.self file from the Exit-Service-Mode.zip into the root of it.
12. Connect it to the furthest right port of the PS3, power on, and it’ll do the power-on-beep-shutdown process again. Remove the USB drive, and power her on, you should now be back in Normal mode again, with drive functionality restored! Congratulations! Go get yourself a beer, enjoy those feelings of having achieved something brilliant, because it is great even after doing it for the 100th time for me!

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Sadie is Kana’s rather gorgeous 2008 Sea-Doo RXT Jet-Ski! Kana loves watersports, and has owned several jet-skis over the years, I remember being in Japan on our honeymoon down on a beach riding up and down the sea on her old 2005 Sea-Doo, pulling her dad along on waterskis!

She traded her old 2005 model in for Sadie the 2008 model, which is a lot more powerful than the old one. She’s brought Sadie to the UK as she needs a service, whenever you try going full throttle the machine slows down suddenly and a DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Code) appears in the speedo infodisplay. It was related to the intercooler for the supercharger! Yep, you heard correctly! A supercharger! The specs on Sadie are really impressive, she’s got a 3 cylinder Rotax engine, supercharger, and full multiplex CAN engine management system! On a jet-ski! Take a look at her, she’s one cute machine:

Kana's-Sea-Doo-Jet-Ski-Sadie

Needless to say, Kana wanted me to service Sadie, as her Japanese dealer warranty has expired, and she knows how much I love machinery and that I’d do it for her out of my immense love for her (I wouldn’t have it any other way). So, I hunted down the service manual for it, then we put Sadie on her trailer and drove to the nearest beach. You need to be near water to service a jet-ski, obviously, as it’s a watercraft and you can’t roadtest (watertest?) repairs without water to drive it on. We went down to East Hove in Sussex as there’s a friend of mine offered to lend us his beachside facilities, he services yachts and motorboats.

I looked up the DTC in the service manual, it was related to loss of boost on the supercharger, so I removed and stripped the engine down to take the charger out. It was jammed by a twig and crud in the turbine blades, so I removed it, checked all bearings, and re-assembled Sadie completely. The supercharger spins at 45,000 rpm at full engine speed so it’s crucial everything is done correctly. You don’t have to take the engine out of the jet-ski completely to get to the supercharger, you only need to remove the intercooler, but as I was doing a full overhaul it was easier. If you need to work on the jet propulsion system pump the engine needs to come out. Once we’d finished, the compass direction re-appeared instead of the DTC error code:

kana's-seadoo-instrument-cluster

Once I’d finished, Kana and I zipped on our wetsuits, and started Sadie up, whilst Kana walked me through the safety basics. A wetsuit is vital when driving a jet-ski, Sadie is such a powerful machine she can get up to 80mph at full throttle. Coming off the machine at that speed just wearing trunks (or a swimming costume/bikini if you’re a lady) will result in serious water friction and injury, especially if the water gets into private bodily crevices, so a tight wetsuit is a must to protect you! A wetsuit also keeps you warm from the cold spray when riding a jet-ski, you get soaked within minutes at high speed, bouncing around, the water hitting the jet-ski’s nose! Kana’s hair was soaked within 5 minutes and the spray from her hair was soaking me, I couldn’t see at times!

A jet-ski is SO MUCH FUN!! It’s like riding a motorbike, but on water! Kana sat at the front of the seat, controlling the handlebars, brakes and throttle, while I sat behind her, holding on to her round her waist and tummy. To do jumps you simply go at 90% throttle, the jet-ski will start bouncing up and down due to the waves and weight. Lean backwards like you would on a bike to do a wheelie when the nose raises up, then forwards as it comes back down, the force will push the jet-ski into the water and bounce you back up. Keep the forward and backward momentum going and it’ll get the jumps higher, but be warned, you’ll get soaked! You have to lean in to corners like a motorbike too, and need to be just as careful on a jet-ski, as tilting too far can capsize the machine, taking you with it. The pressure of the wake could do you serious harm too if you’re the passenger and get thrown behind the machine’s jet. If Kana had suddenly come off the ski and let go of the throttle, the engine would have stopped because she has a safety lanyard round her neck while driving that magnetically attaches to the cluster D.E.S.S post, when it suddenly detaches, power is cut off to the engine. It is known as a D.E.S.S (Digitally Encoded Security System) key. The magnet closes a reed switch in the control panel, allowing the jet-ski to be started. The keys are programmed to each jet-ski, as they contain a ROM chip programmed to the Engine Control Unit, rather like the keys on a car immobilizer system.

Here’s Kana’s older 2005 RXP 255 Sea-Doo that she traded in for Sadie her 2008 one. Her older one is exactly the same engine, but slightly different body. I find Sadie’s yellow to be a much nicer colour than Kana’s older one, it’s a bit too greyish. Looking at it from this perspective you can see the handlebars and mirrors, just like a motorbike:

Kana's-2005-Sea-Doo-RXP-255

She has another jet-ski that her dad Tetsuya gave her which is staying in Japan, I’m hoping she’ll bring it here for us to service and watertest too, it’s a lovely bluish-purple colour. You wouldn’t get me on a motorbike for a million quid, but a jet-ski I love! All that open water to whizz around on, I really enjoyed it, Kana is such a good jet-ski driver, she knew just how to handle Sadie’s power and how much lean-in on turns to give without losing speed. We were doing jumps, donuts, and generally getting really wet! Sadie is the gorgeous machine, and Kana is her sexy driver, she’s especially cute in a wetsuit, soaking wet, she never lets even cold British water stop her! I have NEVER had so much fun with a girlfriend as I have with Kana (and Mika) over the last 10 years. Demolition derbies, car tuning, jet-ski riding, horse riding, football, rugby, mud wrestling, we’ve done it all together! Kana’s even swam with dolphins and baby sharks, I wouldn’t mind dolphins as they’re sweet friendly animals, but sharks (even baby ones) I’m not so sure…

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This is a guide on how to boot up your PlayStation 3 into Recovery Mode or PS3 Safe Mode, as it is called by Sony. It was introduced on PS3’s with the introduction of Firmware v2.50 or newer. The Recovery menu gives access to the factory setup options which can help fix many common PS3 system errors such as corrupted firmware data, corrupted system files or even force your PS3 to restore to a PS3 custom firmware. Pete, Kana and myself use this at Kitamura to recover bricked consoles, and after remarrying Blu-Ray Drives.

The menu has the following options: 1.Restart System, 2.Restore Default Settings, 3.Restore File System, 4.Rebuild Database, 5.Restore PS3 System and 6.System Update. Here’s a screenshot:

PS3-recovery-menu

Here’s what you need to do to boot your PS3 into Recovery Mode…

Step 1: Turn off your Playstation 3.

Step 2: Hold the Power button down. The system will turn on and turn off once again.

Step 3: Once the system has been shutdown, press and hold the Power button again until you hear 2 consecutive beeps.

Step 4: When you hear the 2 beeps take your finger off power button. You will be prompted to plug in your controller via USB and then press the PS button. The Recovery Menu will pop up.

Recovery Menu Features:

Restart System.
This option boots your system as normal without changing any settings or files.

Restore Default Settings.
Restores all settings to default on the PS3, Networking, time zone, video, etc. This does the same as the Restored Settings option under XMB > Settings > System Settings > Restore to Defaults on your console. This should not delete your game saves or other saved content, including your user login.

Restore File System.
This will rewrite the filesystem and files that the PS3 uses to boot. This feature will help if your PS3 firmware becomes corrupted or semi bricked. This should not Delete any of your saved data and settings.

Rebuild Database.
This can be a useful feature if you have lost files on your system for no apparent reason. Try using this feature to see if it can restore those files. This will also overwrite corrupted files within the database. This feature should not erase any of your saved data or settings. It works pretty much the same way as CheckDisk on Windows.

Restore PS3 System.
This will restore your system firmware to original including formatting the hard drive and deleting all of the data on the HDD, restoring all system settings to default. This will not take your system back to a previous Firmware release. Use this feature if your PS3 firmware become corrupted or semi bricked. This feature may require the ps3 update data inserted on a USB drive.

System Update.
This will allow the user to update their PS3 console with new firmware that is the same version or higher via a USB Flash drive or other portable media, this will not allow you to update via an internet connection. This can useful if your PS3 firmware become corrupted or semi brick to the point PS3 can not boot. You will need a USB Flash drive or portable media device with the correct firmware and in the correct file structure to complete the update.

This option is also really useful as it forces Custom Firmware to install, because for example say you were on v3.55 Original, and tried to update to v3.55-kmeaw Custom via the XMB, it would fail upon restarting after copying the update from the pendrive to HDD. You should ALWAYS use Recovery Mode to install custom, and to also revert back to Original firmware.

Happy Homebrewing!

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I was on the 471 on Saturday on the way to Greg’s from Jenny’s, one of First’s Wright Urban Gemini bodied Volvo B9TL double deckers and as soon as I sat at the back, and the driver set off I knew straight away something was wrong. It juddered badly upon acceleration, and the engine was making a machine gun type noise whilst being sluggish. This told me straight away the engine had a problem, possibly a misfire.

The cylinders in Volvo engines can be shut off electronically by the Engine ECU if there’s a fault, so it could have been a result of this shut off caused by a misfire. The bus wasn’t in limp-home mode, it was still quite responsive. As soon as the driver let off the accelerator the shuddering stopped, so I knew it wasn’t a powertrain problem, so this excluded the gearbox, propshaft and differential.

It also couldn’t have been crankshaft or conrod big end bearing shells either. Anyway, being a respecting mechanic, as I got off I had this conversation with the driver:

Me: “I think you should call Comms and get this bus straight into the garage, your engine sounds like it has a misfire or internal problem.”

Driver: “A misfire, are you sure?”

Me: “Can you not feel how it judders when you accelerate, and stops juddering when you don’t? The engine sounds like a machine gun back there!”

I glanced down at his dashboard infodisplay, and sure enough the CHECK indicator was lit. There was no message displayed as he had it set to INFO rather than MESSAGES.

Me: “Even your CHECK light is lit. I’d call it in to be safe. If it gets any worse the bus computer will put the engine in limp home mode, you’ll notice it go really weak. The STOP exclamation indicator will come on your dash too.”

Driver: “Thanks for letting me know! How do you know all that?”

Me: “I work with buses like this nearly every day, for a friend in the Midlands”.

Driver: “Ah, it’s good to have guys like you to notify us of issues, us drivers can’t always tell there’s a problem when we’re in the cab at the front here. I’ll let someone know!”

Anyhow, I went on the 471 again yesterday to get to Manchester through Bury to get the tram to Manchester to catch a train to go back up to Birmingham, on the SAME BUS, with the SAME problem! It either hadn’t been called in, or it hadn’t been fixed! If that’d been Rikky’s bus, it would have been out of service within ten minutes of the problem being noticed, and wouldn’t be out again until fixed!

Just goes to show First don’t give a shit about a machine in their fleet that costs DOUBLE the cost of your average semi-detached HOUSE!! The single decker Volvo B7RLE’s are £130,000, and the doubles can be up to £200,000! It shows just how disposable they treat their equipment!

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As it is when shipped retail, this drive is terrible. The drive constantly tries to park its heads, lagging the system, even during copy and move operations. With it being a top end 7200RPM drive, this is unacceptable, especially if like my Clevo, it is installed in a gaming machine. It is the power saving “features” of the firmware that cause it. The drive also exhibits “beeping” symptoms where the voice coils of the arm recieve a high current to wake it up and seek track, the high current effectively turns the coil into a speaker, and it makes a beeping sound. The drive constantly seems to miss beats because of the parking issue, causing the arm to miss and have to be shocked back into place by the controller.

Using tools like HDDScan to disable the APM (Advanced Power Management) and AAM (Advanced Acoustics Management) features aren’t permanent, once the drives are power cycled the issue starts all over again. The drive refuses any permanent disable ATA control commands.

There is a Dell firmware that will get rid of the issue, and take the firmware up to 05SDM1. My Clevo’s laptop’s drive started out with 2SDM1 firmware. The new FW makes the drive visibly quicker. The auto flasher doesn’t work, instead we need to manually force it, I’ll show you how.

1. Download the Seagate Update Utility ISO image, hosted on TideLog, this very blog, by clicking HERE. Extract the ZIP file, you’ll find an ISO file called Seagate Utility.iso.

2. Burn the extracted ISO to a CD-RW or DVD-RW, and restart your computer. When your computer restarts, enter your BIOS and make sure the computer is set to boot from CD.

3. The updater will start on its own, but it will actually fail even though a green screen is shown, you will need to manually force it. It will dump you back at a command prompt, so type:

FDLH -m HOLLIDAY -f 0005SDM1.LOD -i ST9500420AS -b -v

Essentially this line forces the detection of Seagate ST9500420AS drives, and force flashes it, even if the BIOS doesn’t have the Dell asset tag embedded.

4. This works on any machine, including Dell Studio, Asus, my Clevo M571TU, and the M570. Any machine with a Seagate ST9500420AS drive should work fine. Any drives with “GAS” on the end are the same drive but with G-Shock protection.

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We have quite a few Supergirls, both good and bad versions, so I wanted you to meet another of our heroines. Here’s Chrissy as Wonder Woman, and what a fine wonder she is too:

Chrissy-as-WonderWoman-001

This is one of the old fancy dress shop inventory outfits that actually looks fully authentic, it just needs a tiny bit of work to some of the stitching. Doesn’t Chrissy look sexy? What do you think her first heroine wrestle scenario should be? Messy? Clean? In a wrestling ring, or on our gym mat? What heroine should she fight?

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They’re using the term Cloud to make it all sound so fresh and new – but it isn’t really. People have been storing files over the internet since the internet itself started, by using FTP. It’s the very technology that is the reason websites work. I’m shocked at how many cloud storage companies are popping up, then charging extortionate rates for web space! Google for example, want $99.99 a MONTH for three Terabytes (3TB) of space! This works out to over $1,118 a YEAR!

You can do it yourself, so much cheaper by having your own server with a 3TB hard drive and the total cost will only be about $300! The best dedicated software out there is OwnCloud. It consists of a web system, and a client that you install on a PC or Mac, running Windows, Mac OS, or Linux. Both the web system for the server, and the desktop client are open source and completely free, plus you can give your friends and family their own free space by setting them up accounts and quota space!

Simply build a yourself an energy efficient small form factor PC. It doesn’t have to be the most powerful, as you want to be able to leave it running and not use too much power. An entry level Core i3 or i5 with Intel HD graphics is perfect. Even an older Core2Duo will do. The hard drive is the part that matters, as this determines the maximum capacity of your Cloud, so you want it to be high capacity but energy efficient. I recommend Western Digital Caviar drives.

Once your system is built, you can either install Windows or Linux, but as Windows is the easiest, we’ll go with this. Install Windows, and then install WAMPServer, it’s an all in one Apache, PHP and MySQL server package. Install OwnCloud, and a copy of the client on another workstation, and away you go!

Your own cloud server for 70% less than a cloud storage company! The only thing you need to look out for is running it on your home connection, some ISP’s don’t really allow web servers to be run on a home connection, check your terms of use. I haven’t gone into massive detail here as I was mainly making a point, it’s up to you to follow instructions, or drop me comments and I’ll help 🙂

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