Friday, March 25, 2011

PS3 Red Screen of Death

The other night I turned on my Sony Playstation 3 to find a generic, non-helpful error message on a red screen that read, "A serious error has occurred. Contact technical support for assistance."
After Googling around, I discovered that there are a handful of other users that have also experienced this so-called, infamous "Red Screen of Death." The diagnosis does not look good. From the message threads I read on numerous forums, it would appear that the only solution to this mysterious epic failure is to pay Sony to repair/replace it. I entered the PS3's safe mode menu, repaired the file system a few times, repaired the database, removed the hard drive and scanned it with Spinrite (it found no damaged sectors on the hard drive). Regardless of my attempts, however,  I continue to get the above Red Screen of Death. I suspect that there is a failure with the motherboard or other internal component. I called Sony support, and since my PS3 is out of warranty, they told me that it would cost $100 to get it repaired.

Here are my options:
  1. Do nothing about it and let the PS3 collect dust
  2. Try to sell it on eBay/Craigslist for parts and use the money towards a new or used PS3
  3. Buy a self-repair guide/kit and try to fix the issue myself
  4. Pay $100 to Sony to fix it and hope that it doesn't happen again (they only offer a 90 day warranty on the repair work)
Any suggestions?


  1. Is it a slim or fat PS3? If it's fat, I would (and did) but a slim model to replace it. The slim model is quieter, cooler and takes up less space in a home theater. Make sure the unit has plenty of cool air space around it. But, my fat model still plays netflix and movies, but has graphical glitches in games, so I still use it in the bedroom and wasn't as concerned with repairing it (it was 4 years old when it started failing).

    If it's a slim model, I would pay to have them repair it. Most likely you will get a refurbished unit back rather than your original, so back up to an external hard drive before you send it. If it makes it through the first 90 days it'll probably be good for a while.

  2. So your PS3 fat is glitchy, too? Sounds like it didn't fail completely, though. Mine is a PS3 fat that I bought used from a guy at work for about $175. I think it was manufactured in early 2009. It sat on top of our console with plenty of ventilation (although it was a few inches from our TV) until it died. It's tempting to only spend $100 to fix the fat instead of $300 for a new slim. Decisions...

  3. $100 isn't bad. It's nice that they are offering that price to you on an early model. I'd check with them to see if they will actually repair it or replace it with a refurbished unit. This definitely beats having a bricked unit that isn't good for anything.

    Repairing it yourself could be costly in time and parts, and have questionable success. At least this way you're guaranteed to get a working unit back with less stress. I did have to send in my slim model to have the ethernet port repaired after our lightning strike. It was covered under warranty and was ridiculously easy to work with them. I got a refurb back in 7 days.