Thank you for your input baargle.
You are right about the tin solder being the root of this problem. To clarify, it is the differing coefficient of thermal expansion of the materials surrounding the joint, and the solder itself, which causes the YLOD. As the motherboard and solder expand and contract from thermal cycling, they flex ever so slightly in/away form one another. Eventually the solder will loose its elasticity, or ability to expand and contract with the motherboard, and be unable to endure it. This causes a micro fracture to form, and a circuit to open. Lead-Tin solder has greater elasticity and thus lasts longer before wearing out. To put it simply, the greater the temperature differential during thermal cycles, the greater the flexing and thus strain put on the joint. The sooner the solder looses its elasticity, the sooner a YLOD occurs; Plain and simple.
I think I just answered my own question about how high to set the alarm; As low as you can stand! I think I will go with the temp after 1 hr of COD:MW2. That should represent a moderate-high load that is not easily achieved during movie playback, internet streaming, casual gaming, etc. If I go over that I should probably take a break for health reasons anyway. You could do the same with your setup. Abviously your temps will be lower. But you get the idea.
The proof that heat reduction prolong the life of the solder connection is in the number of RSX vs. Cell failures. Most online repair shops that offer reball services don't offer it for the cell because the RSX is almost always the culprit. Why? Because it runs hotter.
I asked a popular online repair shop in Florida if they would be willing to do a reball on both, here is what they told me: "We do not offer re-ball services for the CBE CPU. The re-balling process is traumatic on the motherboard, and while the procedure you requested would effectively bullet-proof the two main processors, the lifespan of the board’s other components would be impacted." This means heat in the rannge of 220C after initial placment is inhearantly risky and that they only do it once, to the RSX. Remember they loose money if they can't fix it, so they have an incentive to send back working units. If they don't do the CPU, it's because it in not the cause of most YLODs..
The best case scenario is to lower the temperature differential of each thermal cycle and put off the first YLOD for as long as possible, and then reball both the CPU and RSX with leaded solder, assuming you can find someone with the proper equipment, skill, and is willing to do it.
This leads me to another point. A good professional reflow melts the solder in the presence of flux and only applies enough heat to completely liquefy the solder and reform a solid connection with the motherboard. The purpose of the flux it to re-add some elasticity to the worn out solder, but it's only a "stop gap" measure (literally). Unless the solder is removed and replaced with new solder the problem will occur again, and sooner each time around until the solder is completely useless. At this point it must be replaced. Sadly, by then it is usually too late for a reball. The heating form all those reflows is "traumatic on motherboard components" (like the thermisistor) and a reball may no longer be possible. Even if you did a reball to begin with your PS3 will eventually die.
Let me be clear, every electronic device will kill itself eventually. And just like us, a PS3’s life span can only be prolonged. Sony used to be good about making products that last and more effective cooling and/or lead-tin solder would have prolonged the PS3’s lifespan, but not grant it eternal life (might make a good tag). Besides 6yrs is a long time in electronics. If your computer is that old you are thinkig about buying a new one. It's the popularity and features unavailable in PS3s today that make us desperate to resurect our beloved “it almost does everything” device. You wouldn't resurest a 6yr old computer, would you? The answer is yes, if it played PS1, 2 and 3 titles on it, or it's woth a bunch of mony restored, or got you beer form the fridge! But it doesn't, it isn't, and the technology doesn't exist yet. So you buy a new one.
Tin solder, banned in Europe (thus Sony’s decision to go lead free), may be the more environmentally responsible choice, if you believe the detrimental environmental influence of lead outweighs the longevity of products and thus higher volume of waste generated in the same amount of time. Electronic consumers are forced to make a sacrifice they don’t want to make in the name of “progress,” when all you need to do is recycle your old electronics. Maybe Europe will ban car batteries next, and battery technology will take off. Imagine that!!!!!!!!!
Ok, I've covered this now. Please no more cause of YLOD posts. You can read all about it everywhere on the internet. And everyone here has had enough.
Last edited by RIP-Felix; 09-24-2012 at 07:33 PM.
Reason: spelling & grammer