The Truth Behind the Rumor: How to Avoid PS5 Liquid Metal Leak

Amber Stefanson | Mar 10, 2023

Recently, Sony has sparked outrage over a major design flaw in the PlayStation 5: a liquid metal cooling mechanism with a tendency to leak when the console is in a vertical position, even when it’s new in the box. When the liquid metal inside a PS5 leaks, it can cause frequent overheating and even destroy the console completely.

Gallium, a metal used in the PS5 liquid metal alloy (Credit: Collin Ladd)

These rumors have been partially debunked, but that doesn’t mean that you should dismiss the whole story as hearsay. In fact, the only false claim in the previous paragraph is that this type of damage can happen to brand new PS5s.

This rumor originated when the news site Wololo mistakenly reported that YouTuber and PS5 repair expert TheCod3r had found a liquid metal leak in a brand new PS5. Wololo had gotten the idea that the PS5 was brand new when TheCod3r said that the console hadn’t been opened before. As it turns out, the console he was referring to hadn’t come from an unopened box; it simply hadn’t been opened up and inspected before by a repair technician. The console had been used normally for some time before it was damaged by liquid metal. By the time Wololo corrected their mistake, the news had already spread through the gaming community.

Despite this small mixup, most of what Wololo reported is true. The liquid metal in a PS5 does tend to leak, and those leaks have the potential to destroy consoles that have been kept in the vertical orientation. However, since it doesn’t affect brand new devices, the good news is that liquid metal damage is preventable, even if you prefer to keep your PS5 vertical.

What causes liquid metal leaks?

Oftentimes, liquid metal leaks are a result of abuse. This is because the liquid metal is housed in a small compartment sealed by a foam and adhesive cover that comes off with minimal force.

(Credit: iFixit)

Common causes of damage to the foam seal include the PS5 being dropped or mishandled during transit or an inexperienced repair job. Once the seal has been damaged, it’s easy for the liquid metal underneath to begin leaking.

The liquid metal is solid at room temperature, but it quickly melts with any additional heat. When the console is on, the heat it generates can melt the metal long enough for it to start dripping through a damaged adhesive seal. This can cause serious damage to your PlayStation and even prevent it from turning on again.

Is it safe to keep the PS5 in vertical orientation?

(Credit: Nubelson Fernandes on Unsplash)

Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell that your seal is compromised unless your PS5 is already suffering from serious liquid metal damage. Signs of damage include frequent overheating or a refusal to turn on. If you’ve kept your console in the vertical orientation for multiple years and it still hasn’t shown any signs of damage, there’s no reason to change its orientation.

However, it’s safer to keep your PlayStation 5 in the horizontal position as a preventative measure if you’ve purchased your device in the past year or if you suspect the seal could have been damaged after a recent physical shock to the device.

How to prevent liquid metal damage to PS5

Protect the liquid metal seal

A well-preserved liquid metal seal (Credit: GamersNexus on Twitter)

To protect this seal, it’s very important that you handle your PS5 gently. Use as much protective packaging as possible when you transport it during moves, and don’t keep it somewhere it’s likely to get bumped into or knocked over.

Also, ensure that you only send it to an authorized repair shop — both so that you can be certain that the console wasn’t damaged by an inexperienced repair technician and so that you don’t void your warranty in case you need Sony to clean up after liquid metal damage.

Don’t let your PS5 get too hot

You also need to make sure that your PS5 gets proper ventilation. If you let the console get too hot, it will take longer for the liquid metal to freeze again. The longer that the liquid metal has to drip, the more likely it is to spill onto your PS5 CPU instead of simply getting caught in the foam seal.

The foam seal catches the liquid metal when it first begins to leak (Credit: Gearrice)

To keep your PS5 cool, make sure that it has enough room for proper ventilation — at least 10 cm (or 4 in) on each side. You can also equip your PlayStation with a cooling stand or a fan attachment to give its cooling system an extra boost.

Keep your PS5 horizontal

Even when the foam seal around the liquid metal cooling component has failed, your PlayStation will be safe if you keep it in the horizontal position because the liquid metal won’t drip further into your console before freezing.

To give your console a bit more ventilation in the horizontal orientation, I recommend the NexiGo Horizontal Stand, which keeps the PS5 an extra inch off the table as compared to its original stand.

You can also get the Horizontal Stand bundled with a fan attachment to optimize your PS5’s ventilation and significantly reduce the possibility of it overheating.

What to do if your PS5 shows signs of liquid metal damage

Your PS5 may be suffering damage from liquid metal leakage if it overheats quickly or won’t turn on at all. If you’re experiencing either of these issues, keep your PS5 off so that the liquid metal doesn’t have an opportunity to cause even more damage.

(Credit: Anthony Choren on Unsplash)

Liquid metal can be difficult to clean up, but Sony’s warranty will cover repairs on consoles that are damaged within one year of purchase. If you suspect that your console could have liquid metal damage, be sure to go through the troubleshooting guide on the PlayStation website so you can narrow down the possible causes of issues you’re experiencing. Finally, make sure that you request a repair directly from PlayStation. Don’t attempt to open your own console to check for liquid metal leaks, as that will void your warranty and potentially cause more damage.

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