5 Tips To Avoid Colorful Lights of Death on Your PS3 and Xbox 360

In 2009, both Harlem and I were in need of repairs for our PS3 and Xbox 360 respectively. We sought out a local individual that repairs game systems. After our repairs were done, he gave us some tips to keep our system in working condition. Why take his word over Sony or MS? Because unlike them, he doesn't have a bunch of PR to hide behind. He's personally worked on systems and seen them with all the problems you can think of. So here are 5 tips that our repair guy, Robert, said to make sure your systems keep running strong.

5. Keep your systems vertical

Robert: Take advantage of the fact that both the PS3 and Xbox 360 can be set vertically. In both cases, the motherboard, hard drive, and optical drive are right top of each other causing a lot of heat. Leaving them horizontal keeps all that heat right below the system letting that heat buildup and causes damage over time. On the other hand, standing it up vertically will let air freely move through the system and doesn't create a hot spot under the system itself.

4. Don't turn off your PS3 from the back

Robert: Nothing pains me more than people casually turning off their system using the switch in the back. That switch in the back is not going to save you a significant amount of power or wear-and-tear on the system. Turn off your system using the controller or the power button in the front. By doing this, the fan will keep going even after the system is off in order to cool it down. Using the switch in the box shuts off that fan preventing your system from properly cooling down.

3. Keep your Xbox 360 playtime around 5 hours at most

Robert: Unless you have a system that was purchased in the past 6 months, you want to limit your playtime on the 360. The system simply does not cool off well, and long periods of gaming will take a toll on the system. Limit your time on the 360 for 5 hours and then let it cool off for an hour before playing again.

2. Stop using your system for anything other than games

Robert: While this applies to both systems, blu rays on the PS3 is the major offender with this tip. Fact is with blu ray being such a new technology when the PS3 first came out; the lasers were not the quality that you see today where blu ray is more common. Last year, the repairs I had to the most for the PS3 was replacing blu ray lasers. It got so bad that the supplier for the laser was sold out for weeks because so many people were ordering them to replace PS3 lasers. With blu ray players being so cheap now, spring for one of those instead of wearing out your PS3.

1. Save up your money

Robert: If your system is not the newest motherboard from MS or the PS3 slim, then start saving up. Your systems may last but it's better to be prepared for the worse. If this is too much of a downer for you, then save enough to get your system a cooling upgrade. Either way, save up money in preparation for getting an upgrade, replacing the system or depending on when your system breaks down, getting the new system that comes out.

article id: 916 | poster: OG

Latest Comments
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id: 190
Rigs on 02/12/10 10:56:47
Come one, people - use your own heads for once! Stop waiting for everyone else to tell you what to do and think for yourself. The only way you're going to know if you have a 'lemon' console (so to speak) is by having it fail on you. There really is no other way to know. Just like computers, consoles have become increasingly complex over the years and have taken the form of the computers they were made to replace. And just like a computer, some parts aren't as robust as others. Do you know why it takes 5 to 7 years for a console to come out? Because it has to be designed. 'Well, duh!'. But wait, think about what that means for a second. Every part has to be scrutinized for economic reasons and technical reasons. But the one thing they can't do is test millions of consoles at once for failure - until it's released. Then they find out whether that 'disc drive' that they saved money on in the design stage will hold up to constant abuse. Obviously, like computer disc drives, motherboards, ram and cpu's and hard drives - things are going to fail. Really it's like an other consumer product. Even cars obviously have massive recalls where one thing just didn't pan out in the real world versus the design stage. Just take a look at Toyota. Basically, the only thing you can do is just take care of your console the best you can, keep it clean, don't mishandle it and hope for the best...oh, and enjoy it! That IS why you bought it, right?
id: 188
Holywhippet on 02/11/10 14:58:47
When I tell my PS3 to shut down via the interface (rather than the button at the back) it powers down completely - including the fan. As such, it's no different from turning it off from the back. I don't see it would be a problem either. The fan is meant to stop the chips getting over a certain temperature. When you power down the temperature no longer increases.
id: 186
azoz on 02/11/10 01:09:31
thanx 4 tips
id: 185
Jerome Gordon on 02/10/10 19:37:15
Im sorry, but this list is fail. I had my 2 Ps3 (I sold one, bought another) both were first generations. The first one was the 20Gb model, and now the one I have now is 60Gb model. I JUST started to put my system vertically...i used ps3s hortizontally for the last 2 years and none of them broke down on me. I put it veritcally now cuz my best friend (a female) told me my bedroom has no "feng shui"..so i decided to switch things up. I also use to turn off my Ps3s from the back after I got done with playing it. i don't do this anymore because I got to lazy to get up and switch it on everytime I want to play, and NOTHING happened to it when i use to manually turn it off. I stopped doing this about November. 3rd...dont use your consoles other thn gaming? Are you kidding me? MMy Ps3 is cabale of being a media center piece. It has blueray, streaming, a browser, etc etc. Why wouldn't you use all this stuff? Stuff that Sony provided? Honestly, if it was harmful to your console, then they wouldn't have had it on the console.
id: 184
Poner on 02/10/10 19:34:53
@Hellotards The part about Mw2 jacking the dr drive. It just tells us that the Devs for mw2 didnt order their shyt properly hence why it needs to move back and forth to read different shyt all the time.
id: 183
bgd on 02/10/10 18:28:29
@asdf he ment ur br drive laser keeps moving while ur plying mw2 (multiplayer)
id: 182
I'm not STUUUPID on 02/10/10 15:19:10
So Joe Blow gamer decided to start he/she on gaming site & this is the best you got?! Come-on people, common sense dictates such things. Gimme some REAL HELP!
id: 181
WOW on 02/10/10 14:30:52
ok first of all to yall that dont know nothing about your system ....these are some good tips as he stated yes i have my 360 standing up why cuz the air does flow much better and if you are worry that it may scratch or whatever u think may happen, you should put ya system in a good spot so that wont happen i never played my 360 the normal way i've had 1 that read the e74 well thas cuz i was playin it to death like i do all my system so thats just normal wear and tear on the system i've had that same problem with all my pass consoles,im on my 4th system well cuz first two were stolen due to a break in and i have 2 more right now the mw2 bundle and regular one for my kids... now the ps3 same thing i play it standing up also and never had a problem wit it
id: 180
Bert on 02/10/10 12:44:47
I'd agree...the only good tip is to save your money. The PS3 is an extremely durable console, and my friend keeps it in an enclosed space and running hours on ends. I on the other hand own a 360, and I DARE not place it vertically. It will not allow proper air intake and the system itself is filled with design flaws. On my third Xbox, even though I take care of it extremely well, I play it usually 4 hours maximum, and I'm not surprised when it dies.
id: 179
adrianw on 02/10/10 12:19:11
just to put a spaner in the works, there was a report a while ago that showed (using thermal cameras) that the ps3 disapated heat better when placed horizontal rather than vertical so how on earth does your guy say its better vertical. Also i have a launch 60gb (well 500gb now) ps3 and hace used it regulaly for playing games, listening to music and watching bluray movies and it still works great. my only advice would be to keep the vents clean and if you have the technical know how take it apart and clean inside as well, mine has now got decent thermal past on the chips for better heat transfer and i have noticed that the fan doesnt spin up as often. Remember keep it well ventilated and clean and it should last.
id: 178
franwex on 02/10/10 11:34:47
Actually, the vertical position is not as good. I found that if I stack to fat books parallel to each other, and then put the system on top of the books to crate an air tunnel underneath works best. The reason why one shouldn't vertically stack the systems is because the hdd (ps3) is at the bottom and heat cannot escape easily. Plus being semi-suspended gives it more air circulation.
id: 177
Anon on 02/10/10 10:56:38
if your trying to say that the game has intense graphical output your wrong. uncharted two owns that game in every aspect of "jacking the br drive" idiot
id: 176
hellotards on 02/10/10 10:01:34
"The main factor in watching blu-ray movies versus playing games on blu-ray media is the way in which the laser works. When playing games the laser works for short periods while it loads data and then it rests, but when watching movies there is a constant need for the laser to be engaged and passing data and it never rests. The read-rate of movies causes far more wear over long periods of time than just playing games, although that won't stop me from using my PS3 as my primary Blu-ray player. ;)" Play MW2 on a PS3, that game is constantly jacking the BR drive.
id: 175
hellotards on 02/10/10 09:58:56
some game install the the HD. The tip about not watching BR movies is valid. think!
id: 174
tmj on 02/10/10 09:52:58
After reading tons of ways to 'extend' the life of your xbox360 or ps3 I've come to the conclusion its like any of technology. It has a chance at dying at any point in time. I've bought two of the same hard drive before and had one of them work for less than a month and the other work for over 4 years. Far as these tips are concerned I'm not yet a believer in the 'vertical stance' simply because of what could happen to the disc in that position rather then laying flat in the tray. The final two tips are probably the ones that will help most people out. Obviously saving money just in case anything goes wrong is a great idea but the same can go for any item, even your car. Stop using your system for anything other than games I feel like is an argument that goes along the same lines as 'Should I keep my computer on at night or turn it off?'. I would tend to agree with this because (in my mind) using the laser constantly does increase your chance that it won't last as long but that's about it. Increases the chances but is far from signing you're sell up for bricked system automatically. All and all I think its just taking the chance at buying a lemon. Some people are going to use the heck out of their console and not have one single problem, others will be as careful as possible following every tip but still end up with a paper weight and then all the random people in between who just had bad luck or good luck.
id: 173
nickfourtwenty on 02/10/10 09:50:58
i take care of my ps3 religously and it still broke twice (laser went out first and now yellow lighted) i think its crap because my origanal playstation still works fine evan though i never cleaned it dropped it and spilled liquid on it
id: 172
beastxjason on 02/10/10 09:16:11
Wrong, standing the unit vertical causes the heat from the gpu to travel over the video chip increasing the chance of failure. Also on the xbox all the heat collects on dvd drive when vertical. This guys wrong. Ps3 I dont know about. Have never had an issue with mine.
id: 171
Dr3am on 02/10/10 09:04:15
Klownboots wrote, " Stating that you should not watch Blu-Ray discs on your PS3 and only play games is completely wrong. PS3 games COME ON Blu-Ray discs, thus the lazers are being used the same. " The main factor in watching blu-ray movies versus playing games on blu-ray media is the way in which the laser works. When playing games the laser works for short periods while it loads data and then it rests, but when watching movies there is a constant need for the laser to be engaged and passing data and it never rests. The read-rate of movies causes far more wear over long periods of time than just playing games, although that won't stop me from using my PS3 as my primary Blu-ray player. ;)
id: 170
eheh stupid on 02/10/10 08:53:13
why cant things be designed well. I had a ps2, i slaughtered that thing, playing games on it for ages in the day, then at night would watch a film on it. after 4 years the disk drive loaded slower and slower till it took about 2 mins to load. it then stopped, but worked sometimes randomly. HOWEVER when I bought my xbox 360 elite, after 7 months it broke, got E74 problem. 7 MONTHS!!! I got it repaired, and as soon as I got it back, went to game and got a ps3. so far thats lasted over a year and its had no problems (except cod3 crashing-glitchiest game ever). Cant things just be made reliable, Id pay more money if they made a console out of quality, so I wouldnt have to worry about it breaking.... O and dont get me started on how reliable the SNES or N64 was compared to the xbox. I have a ps3 80gb, clean it every week (hoover vents, clean around it), did the same with my xbox... so either cleaning it is pointless or the xbox is just crap. And im not a fanboy, im just expressing how stupidly unreliable the xbox is £300 down the bin!!
id: 169
klownboots on 02/10/10 08:41:07
Your "repair guy" Robert is... well not very smart. Stating that you should not watch Blu-Ray discs on your PS3 and only play games is completely wrong. PS3 games COME ON Blu-Ray discs, thus the lazers are being used the same. I agree with the vertical as I personally can attest that my PS3 is less hot in that position, but really it all depends on your entertainment setup/cabinets.
id: 168
Jad ( X360) on 02/10/10 08:28:29
id: 167
Lacoka-Houston (ps3) on 02/10/10 08:04:53
This article is funny and IMO for PS3 BS I have a launch ps3 60gb (now 500gb) but on many occasions for say launch of MAG,MADDEN, MW2, and a few others we have literally have had non stop 17hours or more (23hrs for MAG and MW2) of straight gaming on the PS3 console with out a issue at all. We have left blu-ray movies/visual images on auto play for 10 hours plus for parties we have. NOT ONE ISSUE. I think issues come from people who are always moving the consolse, even droping them.
id: 166
Pinto on 02/10/10 07:45:44
This is stupid... The ps3 games come in Blu-Ray so Tip number 2 = FAIL
id: 165
Me on 02/10/10 05:23:24
"Leave your PS3 on stand by"... great tip... oh and don't use it as a blu ray player... in fact why not just leave it switched off permanently! I guarantee it'll prevent the 'colourful lights of death' and is a tip almost worthy of this list.
id: 164
D on 02/10/10 04:41:17
4 douchebag tips and 1 good 1. Save your money for when you need it is the only good advice here.
id: 163
pat on 02/10/10 04:23:17
I bought my PS3 three months after launch and got the yellow light this past summer. The first year I bought I put a lot of hours on it and it work fine, when I got the yellow light I wasn't playing it as often. I did have it standing up vertically for most of the time I had it. I dont think any of these tips are really going to work. I say play your console and hope you have one that wont fail on you.
id: 162
O.G. on 02/10/10 04:19:52
@tedyesca I wouldn't recommend it but it's not nearly as damaging to play for more than 5 hours as it is on the Xbox 360.
id: 161
Mobius on 02/10/10 04:09:28
I have had my PS3 Since launch day (20gb model) and knock on wood that thing run as god as the first day, playing for hours every day, watching blue-rays and even leaving it on for days without any problems
id: 160
tedyesca on 02/10/10 04:05:10
so can i play ps3 games for more then 5 hours?... can i use external fans?
id: 159
O.G. on 02/10/10 03:49:56
It sucks but it's just how it is now.
id: 158
Potedude on 02/10/10 03:20:55
This is lame. If you buy a console it should only work and not give you any grief. Doing special things to make sure it lasts?, that is just daft. If it breaks, I aint buying it again...