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The PS3 unit HAS overheated. It is in inherent fault of the manufacturing process. Unforgeable a fault like this is not cost effective to repair.
Heat gun methods can be used to fix the unit, but only temporally.
The most common problem arises due to excessive heat which does two thing: 1. Dries out the thermal paste between the heat sinks and the Main processsor Engine and the Graphis Processing Unit (GPU). As a result the chips can overheat and be permanently damaged; or, poor/open solder joints become open. 2. Excessive heat and resulting thermal swings (cooling when off; and, heating up when playing for long periods of time) will often cause deterioration of the solder connecting all of the circuits and parts on the motherboard. You can send the unit in for repair to SONY for about $150 if you have not removed or disturbed the "Warranty Sticker" covering the screw to open the top of the Console.
WARNING: Be very careful before you decide to repair this on your own. Once you break off the warranty seal, SONY will refuse to repair the unit for you. And, you will be entirely on your own and at the mercy of expensive repair shops, who will charge hundreds to do a simple repair. Why? Because this unit is very rare and in very high demand - even for broken units - which I could very easily repair with a purchased YLOD Repair Kit.
REF: From Wikipeadia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_light_of_death "YLOD (Yellow Light of Death) or ALOD (Amber Light of Death) is a non-specific fault indicator on the SonyPlayStation 3 (PS3) console. The fault in most cases occurs when the consumer attempts to turn the PS3 on. The console will display a green light followed by a brief yellow light before turning to red and shutting the console down. According to Sony the YLOD is a "non-specific fault indicator" that can occur when the console has an internal problem that requires service. Sony has denied that there is a design defect. As of September 2009, Sony has not publicly disclosed the failure rate of Playstation 3 units but has indicated that fewer than 0.5% of units "have been reported as failing in circumstances where the yellow indicator is illuminated." According to a BBC Watchdog report, independent electronics repair companies' have reported that a common cause is a fault in the solder connections within the console (dry joints) which is repaired by a solder reflow process." SONY is notorious for obfuscation, covering these issues up, sweeping them under the carpet and providing misleading or no information.
Although you say it can't be overheated, it is possible it is a result of overheating. When you get this error it means a general hardware fault. However, the most common fault found is when either the CPU or GPU processors become so hot that the solder devlopes microscopic cracks that do not close when it cools. This means that there is not a good electrical contact and the PS3 fails. So your PS3 may have been working fine the day before but when you turned it off it would of been hot inside. The circuit board and components would of cooled down essentially making the solder joints contract and open up the cracks in them.
There are guides out there to repair YLOD (yellow light of death) which explain step by step how to fix it. Unfortunately it is not a permanent fix and your console could only last hours after doing it.
Usually you will need a replacement PS3. If it is still under warranty give Sony a call who will replace it free of charge.
Tell Sony !! I did now im gettin a new 80 gig (lost all my online data tho!)
but hey im gettin a new unit plus there sending me cod 5 cos thats stuck in the ps3
sont no about this fault an its not fixable (smoked mother board!!!)
hope this helps..
mine was outa warranty.(60 gig)