YLoD, and Economics.


That is the heart-rending scream I made as I realized my PS3 would only continue play if I inserted $250 AUD. My system has fallen victim to the latest wave of trendy hardware failures: the Yellow Light of Death.

It occurs when (among other causes) the console is left on for long periods of time, causing the lead-free solder to dry up and break. This in turn breaks electrical contacts on the motherboard, causing a system-wide hardware failure.

The symptoms start either during play, when the PS3 abruptly turns off, or the next time  you turn it on. When you push the button, the box will boot normally for all of 3 seconds before both the green and red indicators flash, producing the distinctive yellow light.

Then the PS3 shuts down, leaving the red indicator blinking and hundreds of dollars of electronics useless.

It’s a startling look at how shortsightedly modern products are developed. I’m not going to go on an old-man-rant here, but planned obsolescence is how commercialism works. If you sell someone a product, you want them to buy things again. They’re not going to do that unless they don’t want what they bought from you earlier.

Obviously the YLoD is slightly off in it’s timing, but it’s a part of the almost deliberate ignorance of long-term problems in commercial products. This practice has been in place since the start of mass-production in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and most of the time things made before that are still around today.

Look at Tudor-era houses in Britain, or Dynasty-era buildings in Asia. They’re regularly used. They’re iconic. And they’re a hell of a lot older than my PS3 while being in better shape. Hell, even my NES console (made in 1985 with a questionable lead content) is in better shape.

Economic discussion aside, I’ve still got to fork out $250 and wait at least 4 weeks for my PS3 to work again.It’s annoying, but it’s gobbled up MW2 and all my save data is on there. Wish me luck.



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