Most of the original PS3s suffer from the 'Yellow Light of Death' (YLOD) issue. You'll know if your console is suffering from the YLOD when:
- You power on the console.
- The console starts up normally for about 2-3 seconds,
- The console beeps 3 times while flashing a faint yellow light,
- The console continues to flash a red light.
The YLOD is a 'Major Hardware Failure' signal, of which the most common cause is:
There are balls of solder that hold the GPU and the CPU to the motherboard. Due to lead restrictions in electronics in the EU, the PS3 uses a non-lead-based solder (even in the US). As it turns out, this has a tendency to crack after long periods of heating (Call of Duty Marathons anyone?) followed by rapid cooling - the solder joints physically crack & break. When they break, the chip isn't communicating with the board and hey presto! Hardware Failure!.
This can be fixed by reflowing the solder. The easiest way to accomplish this is to oven-bake the PS3 motherboard (yes, really). If you're capable with a heat gun, then this is the more professional way of fixing it. There are more in-depth guides around the web, such as the Instructables one, but the basic premise is:
- Take apart your PS3
- Take out your PS3 motherboard
- Wipe off all the old Thermal paste from the chips
- Wrap the capacitors & other heat-averse parts in sticky-tack
- Put it in a cold oven (along with an oven thermometer) and set the dial at 260°C (500°F)
- Watch as the oven heats up to ~237°C (460°F). Turn it off when it does and open the oven door.
- Set up a fan to blow sideways along (not into) the oven. This will aid the cooling process.
- Take the board out, re-apply thermal paste and put the PS3 back together.
The YLOD has also been known to be caused by:
Power supply capacitor/diode failure
A similar problem to #1 but a lot harder to diagnose and fix. You will probably need a heat gun for this one, plus
Blu-Ray drive failure
Can be solved by swapping out the drive with one from another PS3
Hard Drive Critical Error
Replace the hard drive. By far the easiest to do, as the Hard drive is easily accessible. The PS3 takes a laptop-sized HDD.