Saturday, June 24, 2017

PiSsed-off 4

This is going to be a short post that will chronicle the problems I'm having with my PS4.

How things were before 6/16 - My PS4 is setup on a 3-in-1-out HDMI switch connected to my gaming TV. The other devices on the switch are my main PC and an Xbox One. Most of the time I boot up only the PC. When I boot up the PS4, the HDMI switch automatically pops over to that input. When I want to use the Xbox One, I have to manually click the selector button on the switch to that port. No big deal. When I've finished playing on the PS4, I put it in Rest mode with the USB ports still active. When I do this, the system runs for a little bit (less than a minute or two) to cool down the components, then it goes to "sleep" (no fan noise). The exception to this state is if it is still downloading an update.

Then, SDG&E pulls the figurative plug on the night of 6/16.

The next time I try to boot up the PS4, it complains that it wasn't shutdown properly. Yeah, I've seen that before - it doesn't like being "unplugged" while in Rest mode. (Hey, who does?) Everything seems fine after the rebuild, but later, long after I've put it back in Rest mode, I hear the PS4's fan running. On top of that, the case is warm and so is the air blowing out the back. What the heck? Interestingly, I think the HDMI port is still active - I don't get that automatic port switching anymore when I boot up the PS4.

So far, I've tried:
  • Turning off the Rest mode USB charging power
  • Picking a desktop theme that's not dynamic
  • Dusting out the console from the back and sides with an air-can
  • Rebuilding the databases from Safe mode (which puts all the PlayStation apps at the front of the queue, by the way)
Nothing has helped. And when you go looking for answers via Google, you find a lot of misunderstandings as to the state of the system when it's running in Rest mode. People think you are just downloading files, or they say, "Well, my system runs for a few minutes and then stops". None of that helps, folks!

At this point, I figure I can:

a) live with it - I won't want to leave games suspended when I play, which means it will take longer to get back into them. Not the best choice, in my opinion.

b) try to open up the PS4 enough to dust out the heat sink, in the assumption that it's too dusty to cool properly. There are lots of videos on YouTube about taking a PS4 apart and I guess it's not too big of a deal? However, I think I'll skip the parts about removing the heatsink and changing the thermal paste!

c) try putting in my old 500gb drive, letting it update, and seeing if that "fixes" the issue. If it does, it also means I'll have to completely reinitialize my 2TB drive because something has gotten borked with the software on there. (One sort of plus of doing this is, I can move P.T. to my PS4 Pro. I read that moving games will not affect your old disc, but will overwrite everything on the new system. This is fine because I haven't put much on the Pro yet. I have also read that drives can't be put in different systems - they are encrypted to only work in the systems they are setup in. For this reason, I should probably do this one before opening up the box since if I "break" my old PS4, I'll lose P.T. forever!)

Update #1 : It's gone. P.T. is gone. I tried putting the old hard drive in and I guess the hardware has been upgraded too much for it to boot. All I have left is memories of Silent Hills. Well, at least I finished it once. *sigh* Anyhow, I tried standing the PS4 on its end, but a) I hate how that looks, and b) it did nothing to help reduce the heat while in Rest mode. Looks like the next step will be to open her up and see how bad the dust is. I ordered screwdrivers and they should be her on Saturday or Sunday. Until then, I'll either play on the other consoles or just turn the PS4 off when I'm not using it. I still might do a complete software reinstall just to make sure the system isn't corrupted at some level.

Update #2: The screwdrivers got her on Saturday (go Amazon!), so I popped the box open and this is what I found:

This is what roughly 3 1/2 years of gaming looks like. Not pretty. For the record, this is the YouTube video I used to get safely into the system:

Very helpful and concise. I originally planned to dismantle the system further but between this YouTuber's suggestion and another video I watched that went further, I decided I didn't have the courage to take it apart that much.

Using Q-Tips and an air-can, I cleaned it all out. After reassembly and hook-up, it was a) much quieter, b) ran cooler, but c) still didn't go into full Rest mode. Time to re-install the operating system.

PS4's actually make this very easy. You download a 900mb-ish file, stick it on a USB flashdrive, plug it into the PS4, boot the PS4 into "safe mode" (which is easier to do than on a PC), hook-up a controller, pick the bottom menu option, and about 15-20 minutes later, you're done! Of course, before you do this, you need to backup all your saves and capture gallery items. Since I'm not in the middle of a game, I don't really have a need for save files - I've either finished a game, or will need to restart any game that I've been away from for more than two weeks. Just easier that way.

Once I got the basic initialization stuff setup, I put the system into Rest mode worked just like it used to! So, I guess the ultimate culprit was the power outage from the 16th that corrupted something on the disc. It still needed the cleanout since it was sounding too much like a jet engine during gameplay. I guess I'll just have to do the maintenance once in awhile.

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