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Sony Responds to Yellow Light of Death Fix

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 55 comments

Sony fires back that the BBC's Watchdog over a PlayStation 3 report.

The BBC's Watchdog website recently investigated the PlayStation 3's "Yellow Light of Death" (article), a problem many console owners have experienced for years. In the past, Sony has expressed its dislike for the term, saying that the flashing yellow light doesn't focus on one particular error, but any one of "a range of issues that may inevitably affect any complex item of consumer electronics."

Apparently, the YLoD problem takes place 18 to 24 months after the original purchase, conveniently six or more months after the warranty expires. Sony has acknowledged the problem, reporting that around 12,500 of the 2.5 million consoles that have been sold in the UK have had this error since March 2007. But because the consoles are failing after the warranty expires, consumers are forced to send it off to Sony and pay around $200 for a refurbished replacement delivered directly to their door, or take the console to a repair shop and have it fixed.

However, Watchdog didn't buy the "range of issues" statement and sent off sixteen consoles owned by viewers who originally complained about the error. An independent console repairer disassembled the devices and heated the motherboard in a special oven, re-heating the solder to a point where the metal could repair bad connections between the components and the circuit board. After this trick, all sixteen consoles began working again; five were later reported to malfunction again.

Was this just coincidence that this solder "reflow" fix cured the overall YLoD problem despite Sony's claim? After reading Watchdog's article, Sony fired back with a response, saying that the YLoD doesn't stem from a manufacturing problem, and actually "dogged" the site for suggesting that the basic solder reflow process "can properly be done cheaply and quickly." Sony said it was unfair to criticize the company for service charges outside the warranty. To get a better understanding of the drama, check out article and Sony's full response.

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Top Comments
  • 24 Hide
    falchard , September 18, 2009 11:10 PM
    Sony should just expand their warranty to cover the issue. Its only a 0.5% failure rate. It would repair their reputation, increase sales, while only costing the replacment of 0.5% of consoles.
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    bogcotton , September 18, 2009 10:46 PM
    I watched the show, all the while thinking "Wtf? They are damaging Sony's reputation due to a 0.5 percent product failure on old consoles where the xbox has a failure rate of 30 to 120 times as much."
    Now a whole load of people wont buy even the new consoles after watching that show thinking, "Sony make bad quality machines and charge you to fix them".
    Really irritating show.
  • 24 Hide
    falchard , September 18, 2009 11:10 PM
    Sony should just expand their warranty to cover the issue. Its only a 0.5% failure rate. It would repair their reputation, increase sales, while only costing the replacment of 0.5% of consoles.
  • Display all 55 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    dxiii , September 18, 2009 11:12 PM
    I've never even heard of the YLoD. My console was one of the first issued, and I've never had a problem with it. Now my XBOX on the other hand has scratched my discs on several occasions. Bastard XBOX...
  • 5 Hide
    nukemaster , September 18, 2009 11:18 PM
    falchardSony should just expand their warranty to cover the issue. Its only a 0.5% failure rate. It would repair their reputation, increase sales, while only costing the replacment of 0.5% of consoles.

    +1
  • -3 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , September 19, 2009 12:58 AM
    Theres a yellow light on the PS3? O_o I've had mine since a week after it came out. use it every day for a range of things never any problem.
  • 4 Hide
    MrF430 , September 19, 2009 1:09 AM
    I have a launch 360 with never any issues at all, I also have an 80GB PS3 that has no issues EXCEPT for the current issue of losing sync with all controllers!!! It drives me crazy! It just drops sync with every controller! I have to constantly have the controller hooked up to the system! Plus its out of warranty... Anyone know of a fix???
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , September 19, 2009 1:29 AM
    sony has been know to have solder problems in their products way back before Trinitron TVs. And it was bad back then.
  • 5 Hide
    eklipz330 , September 19, 2009 1:59 AM
    i liked red lights better.

    make the yellow light turn red
  • 7 Hide
    False_Dmitry_II , September 19, 2009 2:52 AM
    The fact is that it does happen. They seem to be trying to pull an Apple and say that it doesn't in general, then go ahead and make people pay for what is a manufacturers defect. This is the entire point of a warranty.

    Even if the RRoD happened more, Microsoft acknowledged it as a problem and extended the warranty to compensate since it was their fault to begin with. And in fact it cost them much more to do it right than it would for Sony.
  • 1 Hide
    d_kuhn , September 19, 2009 3:04 AM
    I DID have my PS3 fail, and it was just out of warranty (cost $150 to fix), but it wasn't the (yellow light of death)... it was the "Red Blink of death" and had something to do with the Blu-Ray player.

    So yes... PS3's do occasionally fail, but in the same time period I've had my 360 replaced twice (though free both times), and until Netflix came to the 360 our PS3 saw about 3x more usage.
  • -7 Hide
    yang , September 19, 2009 3:08 AM
    If the failure rate of this problem is only 0.5%, why is it even published on toms hardware? Please stop posting useless articles
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , September 19, 2009 3:57 AM
    @ demonhorde665
    Where the heck did you learn how to spell? Seriously your spelling is horrible! Why don't you learn how to post readable text and then come back.
  • -5 Hide
    SinisterMessiah , September 19, 2009 4:02 AM
    Never heard of this obscure problem with PS3's either. Sounds like some 360 fanboys are upset the PS3 slim is going to OM NOM NOM its way into a bigger share of the market this holiday season.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 19, 2009 6:14 AM
    They're owned by Mopar, right? I had that problem with my 90's era Neon.
  • 6 Hide
    jimmysmitty , September 19, 2009 6:52 AM
    bogcottonI watched the show, all the while thinking "Wtf? They are damaging Sony's reputation due to a 0.5 percent product failure on old consoles where the xbox has a failure rate of 30 to 120 times as much."Now a whole load of people wont buy even the new consoles after watching that show thinking, "Sony make bad quality machines and charge you to fix them".Really irritating show.


    Not sure its that as much as its the fact that Sony is not willing to take a dive for such a little cost yet MS took a dive for a giant cost even if the people didn't have a RRoD they still got the extended warranty on it.

    And a one year warranty on a consumer electronic device is pretty shady to me. I think 3 years should be the minimum especially since consoles are around 5+ years.
  • 0 Hide
    Andraxxus , September 19, 2009 10:31 AM
    ^You a re totaly right 3+.
  • -2 Hide
    bogcotton , September 19, 2009 2:26 PM
    demonhorde665you pull this ghosted ass .5%n figure out of teh thin air

    Can you not calculate percentages?
    Says it in the article, "12,500 of the 2.5 million consoles".
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , September 19, 2009 9:03 PM
    In most manufacturing processes companies try to have failure rate below 2%. In this case a 0.5% is stellar. Don't know why it would warrant a investigative story.
  • 0 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , September 20, 2009 12:47 AM
    I wonder of anyone simply threw their broke Playstations away. Personally I prefer my Atari.
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