How To Fix Onkyo TX-SR606

So the running thread here has been fixing stuff.  I won’t get into how I fixed a 2003 Grand Am stalling problem with $40, WD-40, and steel wool (because I did) but instead my HDMI issues with an Onkyo 606.  The Grand Am problem required a fuel filter, some new plug wires, paying someone to get the old rusted fuel filter off, and cleaning the coil packs.  This one was actually easier.  Sorry LeRoy, I wasn’t going to take the torch to a fuel line.

The 606 has 4 HDMI inputs.  Input 1 never gave me much problems.  HDMI 2 started giving me problems a few months ago.  The PS3 was plugged into that, and would cut out on occasion.  Nothing terrible, but the video would drop for a second or two in the middle of a game.  I finally got tired of it, and switch with the cable box on HDMI 1.  Now the cable box started dropping video, even if the AVR was turned off.  The PS3 started showing ‘noise’ – rainbow artifacts on the screen and the video dropping for a few seconds.  I was about to break down and buy a new one – the 609 looked good.  Before I did that, I started doing some research.  It seems the 606 has some handshake issues that can get worse over time because of the heat issues (the AVR does get silly hot)

Most of the complaints are that video takes forever to show up when you first turn it on or switch sources.  Mine only took a few seconds (people complained about minutes going by) but some of the video drops seemed like they could be related.  For $7 in parts from RadioShaft, I decided to try it.  I found a good video on YouTube and picked up 5 new capacitors at RS – part number 272-1028

End result – the TX-SR606 seems to working even better than when I first bought it.  No more drops, no more artifacts, and the sources seem to switch faster now.  The repair was pretty easy, even though I haven’t picked up a soldering gun in years.

Before Picture of the HDMI card

Before Picture of the HDMI card

How To Fix Fat PS3

IMAG0462I cannot condone this behavior.  However, I was desperate.

This past Black Friday (good timing) my ‘fat’ PS3 decided to shut off in the middle of marathon run of Borderlands.  It happened while it was loading a new area, so I thought maybe it just crashed.  Turned it back on, and after about 2 minutes it beeped and shut off again.  I tried a few more times before giving up and asking the almighty Google what the problem might be.

The more I read, the more I started to suspect heat issues.  That diagnosis made sense – if I left the unit off for some length of time, I could get maybe 10-15 minutes out of it before it’d die on me.   I hoped that would be long enough for a transfer of all my save data.
It was not.

A common problem with these older models is the thermal compound they use between the CPU/GPU and heatsink.  I figured I could at least try that.  What’s the worst that could happen?  I’m out $5 worth of Arctic Silver and some of my time.

There’s surprisingly little to the PS3 inside.  Almost the entire bottom half of the unit is heatsink and fan.  Once the case is cracked, the bluray drive, power-supply, hard drive, and a bit of wireless gear is removed, the mainboard and heatsink are pretty easy to get at.  There are all sorts of ‘quick fixes’ floating around using hairdryers, standing it on end, putting the whole thing in the oven, etc.  Forget those, take the thing apart.  Give it a good cleaning while you’re at it.

Once I got the mainboard off the heatsink, I could see exactly what everyone was talking about.  The thermal compound had turned into this chaulky gunk.  Being the backyard do-it-yourselfer, I looked into my universal toolkit and pulled out some WD-40 to clean it off.  After cleaning the excess and letting it dry awhile, I decided to throw the mainboard in the oven for a bit.  Some people have reported success with ‘reflowing’ the board – heating the solder just enough to get it to flow back where it is supposed to be.  Normally they use a heat gun for this (a hairdryer won’t get hot enough) but again, I used what I had handy.  I don’t encourage you to follow me.

After letting it cool then applying new thermal compound, I put everything back together.  I haven’t really stress-tested it since, but it stayed on overnight and completed the system transfer just fine.  I’m not sure I’d trust it for much more than a bluray player at this point, or as a secondary one for gatherings… but at least my backwards compatible, 4 USB port having, memory card reading PS3 still lives.  For now.

The Guts

The Guts

Back Together.  Yuengling Optional - but highly reccomended

Back Together. Yuengling Optional - but highly reccomended