The Playstation 4 is a great console, but unfortunately it comes with some design flaws that can cause it to break. One of these issues is the HDMI port. It is fragile and is often one of the first things to get damaged on the console.
One of the signs of a broken HDMI port on the PS4 is a no picture or a “no signal” message on your screen. There are other symptoms as well, which I will discuss in this article. I will also show you how to fix the problem by replacing the HDMI port. Even though it is not the easiest repair and the Playstation 5 is already out, it might still be worth it for you to fix.
Let’s dive in!
Before showing you the steps involved in repairing the HDMI port, I will answer some frequently asked questions.
What is the HDMI port used for?
The HDMI port in a PS4 relays the video (and sometimes audio) signal from the Playstation to a display device such as a TV.
Can you use the PS4 without HDMI?
It is not possible to use your PS4 without HDMI because the console does not have any other video outputs. It also does not have driver support for USB to HDMI adapters, so outputting video through one of the USB ports is not an option either.
How can you tell if PS4 video problems are caused by a broken HDMI port?
If after turning the Playstation 4 on, the console shows a white light and the TV shows a black screen (sometimes accompanied by a “no input” or “no signal” message) or shows a distorted video output, then it is likely that the HDMI port or HDMI controller chip is defective. This is often referred to as the White Light of Death.
If the light on the console does not turn white, but stays blue instead, then you are dealing with a different issue altogether. This happens when the PS4 is not able to boot up and is called the Blue Light of Death.
While a broken HDMI port is a common cause of video problems on the Playstation 4, it is important to first exclude several other possible causes. There are a variety of reasons why the console might not display video. The most common ones are:
- The HDMI cable is defective.
- There is a conflict between the Playstation and the TV, for example, the TV does not support the console’s resolution.
- There is physical damage to the HDMI port itself.
- Some of the other electronic components in the PS4 are not working correctly.
The first step in troubleshooting the issue is making sure that the problem does not lie with the HDMI cable or the TV. Usually that means trying a different cable and a different TV to check if that fixes the issue. If after this you still get no signal, then it is likely that a part of the PS4 itself is broken.
Next is to check whether the HDMI port has any physical damage. This could be a crack in the outer metal part, pins that are bent or missing, or anything else that looks out of place, like dust or debris in the port.
If the HDMI port is damaged or has something else wrong with it, then this is likely the cause of the video problems, and it will need to be replaced (or cleaned in the case of dust/debris inside).
If there is nothing visible on the outside of the port, it is still possible that the small pins of the port on the inside of the PS4 are damaged. The only way to find out is to open up the PS4. If the port looks fine however, then it is more likely that the HDMI controller chip is causing the problem.
What causes the PS4’s HDMI port to break?
The main thing that causes the Playstation 4’s HDMI port issues is that the port itself is too weak. This is due to poor design by Sony, and it causes the port to wear out fast and get damaged easily. This is especially the case for first-generation PS4s.
There are a couple of things that can cause the weak HDMI port to break:
- Frequent plugging and unplugging of the HDMI cable. This causes the port to wear out over time.
- Pushing the cable in hard and/or at an angle. Due to the design of the port, this can move, bend or break the small pins inside of the HDMI port.
- A sudden force pulling on the cable, such as someone/something pulling the cable or the PS4 falling over while plugged in. Aside from damaging the HDMI port, this can also cause the port to shear off the circuit board completely.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways the HDMI port can cause issues. To make things worse, the HDMI controller chip on the motherboard can cause problems as well.
What causes the HDMI controller chip to break?
Aside from the HDMI port itself, video problems on the Playstation 4 can also be caused by a defective HDMI controller chip or its surrounding components. If this is the case, then the broken components need to be replaced. This is rather difficult and best left to a professional.
The HDMI controller chip (Panasonic MN86471A) is a sensitive component and can break due to a variety of reasons:
- (Un)plugging the HDMI cable while the PS4 is on. This is usually fine, but in rare situations it can cause the HDMI chip to get damaged. One of the situations in which this can be an issue is when the grounding between the PS4 and TV is unbalanced.
- Shorting out of the HDMI port pins. If the pins on the HDMI port short circuit, for example when one pin bends and touches another one, the controller chip can break.
- Static electricity. If you have opened up the console to repair or clean it, but did not take proper anti-static measures, it is possible that static electricity damaged the controller IC.
Aside from this, there is also a possibility that there is damage to the HDMI coil filters, or that the traces on the circuit board near the HDMI port are damaged.
All in all, despite the HDMI port itself often being the culprit, there are also a lot of other possible causes for a Playstation 4 to display no image. As a result, this can be a tricky repair.
Can you fix it yourself?
Replacing the HDMI port is challenging, but doable if you have access to the right equipment and have confidence in your soldering skills. Fixing the HDMI controller chip is a lot more challenging however. I don’t recommend a DIY repair unless you either know what you are doing, or if you see this as a learning experience and don’t mind damaging the console further.
Without proper experience or equipment, it is possible to not only incorrectly repair the HDMI port or controller chip, but also to do even more damage to the console. For example, damaging traces or pads on the printed circuit board.
Damage to the PCB is not something that can easily be repaired and must be done by a qualified repair shop.
Is it worth fixing?
Maybe, maybe not. Repairing the HDMI port yourself comes with risk, as you could potentially create more damage. There is also no guarantee that the HDMI port is the only thing that is damaged, so even if you replace it successfully, it might not be enough to get the Playstation 4 working again.
Having a professional repair service do the repair for you can be costly and often only comes with limited warranty. So there is no guarantee that the PS4 will work for a long time afterwards.
For some people it might be worth repairing, whereas for others it might be better to look ahead at a Playstation 5.
What do you need to fix the HDMI port?
Unfortunately, in order to fix the HDMI port on the Playstation 4, it needs to be completely replaced. There is no way to restore the existing, broken port and have it work properly and consistently. Bending back the pins or the outer metal might work temporarily if you are lucky. It won’t give the same connection as a 100% new port, however, and it is likely to break again.
To replace the HDMI port, you obviously need a new HDMI port, several tools which are listed below, and some soldering skills. Keep in mind that is a challenging repair and a decent bit of soldering experience is recommended before trying to repair the PS4.
If you do intend to go forward with the repair, the step-by-step guide further down the page will show you how to do it.
What can you do to prevent the HDMI port from breaking or wearing out?
Even though the HDMI port on the Playstation 4 is fragile, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk of it breaking.
- Turn the console off before inserting or unplugging the HDMI cable. This lowers the chance of damage to the HDMI controller chip.
- Don’t move the console around while it is turned on and plugged in. Moving the PS4 around while it is plugged in causes the HDMI connector in the port to move around and possibly cause a short circuit.
- Don’t wrap the cables around the console while they are still plugged in. This might be convenient if you need to move the Playstation 4 and the cables somewhere else, but it creates a lot of unnecessary stress on the HDMI port. Unplug the cables first, before wrapping them around the console.
- Use a short HDMI extension cable or splitter if you need to frequently plug and unplug the HDMI cable. You can keep it connected to the PS4 all the time and connect to it instead of the PS4 HDMI port. This prevents the port on the console from wearing out.
How to replace the HDMI port on a Playstation 4
What you’ll need
Not strictly necessary, but it makes things a lot easier
For inspecting the HDMI port pins after soldering
Opening the PS4
Getting access to and removing the motherboard
Desoldering the HDMI port
Repeat the steps from above for the other 3 large pins of the HDMI connector.
Soldering the new HDMI port
Next is to solder the small pins of the HDMI port. This is a tricky process, and you will need some form of magnification to see if the small pins are soldered correctly. I didn’t have equipment to photograph/film with magnification while I was soldering, so for the solder process I will refer you to this video:
After replacing the HDMI port, you can reassemble the console by doing the disassembly steps in reverse.
A summary of the PS4 HDMI port repair process
- Remove the plastic covers of the Playstation 4.
- Unscrew the screws that hold the power supply.
- Unplug the cable that connects to the power supply.
- Remove the power supply.
- Unplug the cables that were located under the power supply and unscrew the black screw next to it.
- Remove the hard drive tray.
- Unscrew and remove the large shielding plate.
- Unplug the small connector on the edge of the motherboard.
- Unscrew and remove the heatsink clamp.
- Take the motherboard out of the PS4.
- Desolder the broken HDMI port.
- Clean the PCB.
- Solder the new HDMI port onto the board.
- Reassemble the Playstation 4.
As you can see, it is definitely possible to repair a Playstation 4 with a broken HDMI port yourself. It is a difficult process though, and you do need to have proper equipment for it.
In my case, replacing the HDMI port did not fix the issue. This was expected though, given how bad the shielding on the MN86471A controller chip looked. It is likely that I will replace the chip at some point. When I do, I will update this article with a guide and any findings.
- How to identify issues with the Playstation 4 HDMI port and HDMI controller chip.
- Why the PS4 HDMI port and controller chip break.
- How to prevent a HDMI port from breaking or wearing out.
- How to fix and replace a broken HDMI port on a PS4.