Need help troubleshooting PS3 power issue - not powering up from standby
September 30, 2013 1:45 PM   Subscribe

I have a 1st gen PS3 (the fat one with the power switch on the back) which appears to be dying on me. Googling only turns up info for the 'yellow LED of death' or the 'unresponsive power button' issues which don't seem to apply here. More details inside

The PS3 when plugged in will go into standby mode (red LED ON) but as soon as I turn it on, ie push the button on the front to power up and exit standby mode, the whole thing will shut off (Green LED flashes briefly and then nothing as if the power cord was yanked out). I can get back into standby mode by unplugging and replugging the AC power cord or toggling the switch on the back on and off again.

This happens about 80% of the time, but I haven't been able to identify a pattern as to when it powers up correctly. It doesn't seem to be a loose or damaged power cord for example. It also happens when turning on from the power button, the disc eject button or the controller. Also while it powers on maybe 20% of the time, when I hold the power button to return to standby, the green LED will flash (indicating shutting down) and then die (same symptom - no LEDs, have to toggle the power switch on the back).

It seems to occur when either the hard drive or optical drive is spinning up, since I hear it right before it shuts off. My best guess is that something internally is shorting out causing a complete power-off.

Has anybody experienced similar behavior before and can it be fixed? It's an older system and probably long since out of warranty so is it worth opening up to check for anything out of place?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or resources
posted by TwoWordReview to Technology (2 answers total)
It likely has something to do with overheating - this just happened to our fat first-gen ps3 last week. It's apparently very common in those models, and the common wisdom seems to be that this is the beginning of the end. We took ours to a local place that seems to make most of their money off fixing this problem, the procedure is called "reflowing" and it cost $45. It can be done by yourself (there are videos on YouTube) but we didn't want to risk it. They fixed it and gave us a 30 day warranty.

Came home, turned it on, worked fine. We backed up all our saves. A week later, it died in a totally different way (will not transmit to TV or stereo and the controllers are unable to recognize it) and since the warranty of course is only good for that particular problem, we gave in and bought a new one. It was worth $45 to retrieve our saves though, so make sure you back up!
posted by skycrashesdown at 3:07 PM on September 30, 2013

For what it's worth, to me this sounds like a power supply problem and not a motherboard/bad solder problem like the PS3 usually dies from.

It's likely from years of some component of the power supply or voltage regulation stuff, or some other motherboard bit(but not the ones that usually die) being really freaking hot crammed in to the little case.

If it was mine, and i could get my hands on a yellow light of death-effected model of the same generation of PS3 i'd open them both up and swap in the power supply from the other one. I have a sneaking suspicion it would suddenly come back to life. And unlike some other console/dedicated system stuff out there the PS3 uses an enclosed, PC type power supply that's completely safe to yank in and out without risking getting your hands anywhere near high voltage bits.

You don't even need a torx screwdriver. Just ram a flathead that fits in there and jimmy the screws out. Just cruise craigslist looking for "broken ps3", i've seen them for as little as $20-30.

Another thing that comes to mind that a used parts machine would be useful for, is that at least at the power on stage it's maybe shutting off because it doesn't get a positive reading of what it wants to see from the fan RPM wise. Listen really closely as it comes on. Generally the PS3 seems to rev the fans up a bit both to get them started and to check that they're moving freely. You'll hear a little "Vrooom" then it glides back to the resting baseline minimum rpm the system sits at when cold. The PS3 fans always seemed really heavy duty to me, but... i've seen pretty much anything that can fail die on so many multitudes of things that nothing surprises me anymore. A lot of times fans on devices that closely monitor them like this seem to get to a state of elderliness in which they do still run ok and aren't making any concerning noises, but just take longer than spec to get up to speed. If i'm really bored later maybe i'll stick a toothpick or something in the fan of my PS3 and see if it instantly shuts off like this and report back.

I'd try both those things, then if i still hadn't gotten any traction sell the two hulks for a few bucks(or just junk them) and go buy a cheap used machine.

On preview i just remembered that my PS3 seems to rev up the fan a bit when its in the middle of that "power down" process, probably to expel as much extra heat as it can and prevent heat soak as much as it can.(and i always thought that hot system getting suddenly shut down repeatedly was a big cause of the PS3 and xbox systems dying suddenly in the yellow light/red ring way. Perhaps they added this feature in firmware updates more recently?) If it tries to ramp the fan up when it's in that GUI off, deep firmware shutdown mode and it can't maybe it just goes O MY FUCK THE FAN IS DYING EJECT EJECT and cuts off. Same with when it's powering up. I could also see this being a failure when it switches the power supply from "on" mode to "standby" mode in which it probably only provides 5v with really low current or something. And switching from fan off standby to full power might be cocking up either direction on the potentially ailing PSU.

Totally spitballing here though.
posted by emptythought at 4:40 PM on September 30, 2013

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