When Is a YLOD Not a YLOD?


June 16, 2016

ps3 sony ylod


Only a short one today, but potentially interesting nonetheless.

A few years back, the original design of the PS3 console was seen to be suffering from a hardware issue, known as the ‘Yellow Light of Death’ (YLOD). This was well publicised, with the general consensus being that the solder joints on the CPU/GPU had failed, and needed to be reflowed to fix them.

This theory was widely spread, with even a well-known BBC show running a piece on the console, with a few consoles ‘fixed’ on the show.

So, what’s the point of this article? Well, my first-gen CECHC PS3 has started acting…strangely of late. YLOD on first boot, but works fine after that. Newer games, such as GT6, cause the console to shut down in random places (including sitting in menus). And the strangest of all – during shutdown, the console will switch off into an error state (3 beeps, flashing red light), but only when the console has been on for a shot time.

It’s worth pointing out here that the PS3 doesn’t actually contain a yellow LED – the yellow appearance occurs due to both the red and green LEDs being lit briefly at the same time.

My rather uneducated guess would be something power related. Perhaps a sagging voltage rail that doesn’t stabilise quickly enough during a change in load? Old capacitors falling out of spec? Alongside gaming, the console used to run Folding@Home on a regular basis, so it’s certainly had a lot of use.

Maybe I’ll take a deeper look one day. But what I’m certain about is that the ‘YLOD’ is not just down to a simple solder joint failure, but rather a general error to which quick (and largely fortunate) temporary fixes have attributed to a single hardware issue.

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