What it Means When Your PS3 Won't Turn On and Has a Flashing Red Light

by Brenton Shields
The PlayStation 3 uses an indicator light to display the console's status.

The PlayStation 3 uses an indicator light to display the console's status.

Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The PlayStation 3 console is capable of playing PlayStation 3 games and Blu-ray discs, but it's prone to numerous problems like any other piece of hardware. The LED light at the front of the console should turn blue when the console is running smoothly, but occasionally it will flash red and the system will refuse to power on. This has colloquially come to be named the "red light of death" among PlayStation 3 owners.


The blinking red light is an indicator of a hardware failure within the console. This can encompass everything from loose connections, damaged components, to cracked solder. The red light may appear after the console has been dropped, which could loosen the components, or after overheating. An overheating console will cause the solder on the inner circuits to crack, resulting in hardware failure.

Quick Fixes

Restart the console and open the disc drive tray. The failure may have been the result of a jammed drive. Unplug the console from a power source and allow it to sit for several minutes so that all the power drains from its capacitors. Make sure that all the wires and cables are tightly secured to the console's connectors (the audio/video wires and power plug) and plug the console's power cord back in. Power on the console to see if the red light issue has been resolved. If not, the console will need to be repaired.


Numerous guides are available online that teach users to fix their own consoles. The blinking red light can stem from various hardware issues. Some may be as simple as disconnecting and reconnecting the hard drive or tightening a screw on a loose motherboard, but others may be more complicated like snapped wires, faulty components or cracked solder. Take extreme caution when attempting to fix the PS3 yourself. Self repair is only recommended to those experienced with fixing consoles and will void Sony's warranty.

Professional Repair

Sony offers repair services for all its consoles. The warranty extends for one year upon the purchase of a new console. During this time, you can ship your unit to Sony and it will fix it for free. At time of publication there is a fee of $149.99 for console repair after the expiration of the warranty. Opening the console yourself to attempt your own repair will automatically void any warranties.


Photo Credits

  • Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images News/Getty Images