Sony Responds to Yellow Light of Death Fix

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.

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more. 

  • bogcotton
    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.
  • falchard
    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.
  • dxiii
    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...
  • nukemaster
    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
  • demonhorde665
    where are you guys pulling this figure out off , yoru anus ? seriously one web site quotes that 360 failrate is at 54% ( but this is only ammoung THEIR site visitors that did their dumb poll) and you act like thi9er word is holy law , and apply that rate to ALL the coutry of 360's , yet soem one mentions sony's might have a problem you pull this ghosted ass .5%n figure out of teh thin air , where the fuck are your fact you bunch of fanboys ???

    chirst , i'm not a fan boy i just hate seening blantant fanboyism thrown around, i knwo jsut amny fols have a ps3 die on them as a 360 and even sony said they removed the backward ps2 chips fromteh ps3 becaseu of heating issues. i knwo oen person that had a 360 croak on tehm and i know one person that had a ps3 croak on them. also has it occured to you peoepla re doging teh ps3 becasue of it's price , ??? sure the 360 may croak otu , but at elast you avhe a warrenty for 3 eyars taht covers such a issue , plus the cosnole is the cheapest on market right now , while the ps3 is teh most expensive .. jsut sayign for ever argument you pose teh other side has decent arguments as well

    so pelae stopt eh fanboyism ..
  • Gin Fushicho
    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.
  • MrF430
    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???
  • sony has been know to have solder problems in their products way back before Trinitron TVs. And it was bad back then.
  • eklipz330
    i liked red lights better.

    make the yellow light turn red
  • False_Dmitry_II
    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.