The PS3 Yellow Light of Dead (or YLOD) and the PS3 Red Light of Death are probably 2 of the most common faults afflicting the PS3 console.
In this article I will briefly explain the sequence of indicator lights on the PS3 console that you need to look out for that confirms that your console is suffering from the Yellow Light of Death or the red indicator fault; why these faults occur in the first instance; and how to effectively mitigate, avoid or troubleshoot your way out of a potentially catastrophic failure of your game system that can end up costing you at least a couple of hundred dollars to fix.
It’s unfortunate but true, PS3 faults are a common occurrence with the blinking Yellow Light fault probably being the most serious and widespread problem. It is thought that many of the problems occurring with the PS3 console is largely due to a design flaw, making it vulnerable to failure.
PS3 Yellow Light of Death
If the power status light on your console flashes or blinks from green to yellow and back to green, this is known as the “yellow light of death”. If what you experience is a power status light that flashes red after using your console for 3 or more minutes and then shuts down, then you are likely to be experiencing the red light of death.
It’s widely believed that the main cause of the Yellow Light of Death is due to the processor getting so hot during heavy use of the console that the tiny solder points on the GPU liquefies and over time loses its connection with the motherboard.
Older PS3s tend to be more vulnerable to YLOD and it’s believed that this may be due to them having older less efficient processors that generate more heat than the newer PS3 models. The official line from Sony however is that the yellow indicator warning light can be caused for a variety of reasons, without giving any further explanation
What we do know from the many PS3 owners that have experienced the YLOD fault is that the only repair that seems consistently to work involves opening up the PS3 console and using a heat gun to heat up the CPU / GPU and direct chipsets.
However, in a limited number of cases, the YLOD warning may be due to a faulty power supply preventing the console from properly booting up. To determine what is causing the YLOD, switch the console off and allow it to cool down for at least 20 minutes. Then turn the console on and listen closely for the fan. If the fan powers on briefly and then switches off again, you are likely to have a problem with the motherboard. If you don’t hear the fan on start-up, then the likely problem is with the power supply.
PS3 Red Light of Death
The red light error may also be caused by overheating but equally it may also be because of a major hard drive failure. Depending on how often you use your PS3 and how well you look after it, a hard drive ought to last on average at least 3 to 5 years.
Of the two YLOD is the more serious as it tends to indicate an internal fault needing a professional repair. A flashing red indicator light on the other hand is often the precursor to more serious internal problems. So if you are experiencing a red warning light, all is not lost. In fact even if you are getting a yellow warning light, you may still be able to recover you PS3 system if you catch it early enough.
Since we know that many of the problems that arise with the PS3 are due to overheating especially if the console is being used for long periods of time, here are some of the things that you can do to prevent serious damage:
- Ensure that the air vents on console are not obstructed in any way.
- Allow at least 4 inches of clearance on all sides of the PlayStation 3 for adequate ventilation.
- Remove the PlayStation console from any cabinets, away from other stacked electrical equipment and don’t tuck it into corners of the room as these areas promote heat build up.
- Check for dust on and around the air vents as well as inside the console, as this can choke your PS3 of air, preventing it from cooling down, which itself can lead to fan failure.
7 Steps For Retrieving YLOD and Red Light of Death PS3 Errors
If your PS3 is not functioning because of a possible YLOD or Red Light error issue, here is a brief outline of what you can do to recover your PS3 console:
- Shut down the PS3 console and all peripherals
- Disconnect the console and allow to cool down in a well ventilated location.
- Safely remove all dust and perform a “PS3 Fan Test”.
- Reconnect cables, ensuring that you check all cables and connections that they neither loose nor damaged.
- Perform “PS3 Safe Mode” and reboot your PS3 system – particularly relevant if your PS3 is failing to boot up.
- Check PS3 system settings and ensure that you have the latest software download update.
- The final troubleshoot procedure is what’s called a PS3 heard drive reset, which simply involves removing the hard drive cassette and reinserting it.