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A bad batch of PlayStation 3 machines captured in the wild

Even though PlayStation 3 consoles have been on the market barely six months, reliability data thus far has been quite good, especially when compared to the competition. Early reports of overheating demo-box consoles were found to be a non-issue with typical gamer setups in homes. In fact, some users have reported no problems running their PS3s for over a week, non-stop with the Cell processor-stressing Folding@home.

However, some new owners of PlayStation 3 are complaining that a recent batch of 60GB consoles is exhibiting a high-pitched “whine” noise (.wav audio file available here).

“I first purchased a system 2 days ago and noticed that there was a high pitched whine coming from the system,” wrote OptimusRhyme on the official PlayStation.com forums. “It wasn't from any cable as sound was definitely coming from the hardware itself.

“Thinking it was just a defective unit, I returned it and got another one. Once that one was all setup, the exact same thing happened, so yesterday I returned that system to get a third unit thinking maybe the other two were part of a bad batch. Unfortunately for me, the third one is making the exact same noise.”

More new owners of PS3s joined the discussion to report similar experiences with their new consoles. Some report that the whine noise comes only when the console is running Folding@home, while others say that the sound is constant, whether the machine is idle, playing a game or watching a movie.

“I have the exact same issue and I'm on my second unit,” replied Ironlung17 to the thread. “I could stand the noise but not my wife, [we] tried to watch Casino Royale and it was annoying from 10 feet [away from the PS3].”

“My system does the exact same thing.  Even without a disk, even when it's not connected to a TV or stereo, it still makes the sound.  I can hear it from like 5 metres away and it's very annoying,” also wrote Batmaniac. “The system itself remains extremely quiet until about five minutes of being on, at which point it becomes very hot and the noise occurs.”

The poster continues, “EB Games wouldn't let me exchange it for a new one, not even the day after I bought it ... I then proceeded to call Sony and tell them of the situation, I sent it in to be repaired and they sent it back to me saying that nothing was wrong with it.”

Participants of the forum thread eventually narrowed the “whining” PlayStation 3 consoles down to a specific batch by serial number, mostly sold by EB Games in Canada. Those who have had noisy machines report serial numbers in the CE133190xxx and CE133212xxx series manufactured in January 2007.

PS3 owners who have been able to exchange consoles report that the high-pitched noise does not exist outside the identified serial ranges. “After a day of use, it appears to be running fine,” said OptimusRhyme, after purchasing a new PS3 from Future Shop. “I'm going to say that yes, I have a fully working system finally.”

Calls to Sony PlayStation tech support found no one aware of the problem, though through the collaboration of PlayStation forum users, the issue appears to be isolated only to a small batch from a recent production run.



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Yeah, can we move on?
By Aprime on 4/10/07, Rating: 0
RE: Yeah, can we move on?
By caqde on 4/10/2007 5:20:11 PM , Rating: 4
Yep and this one is probably due to either a faulty batch of fans or a faulty batch harddrives.. Either one would make a high pitch squeal when it is faulty..


RE: Yeah, can we move on?
By deeznuts on 4/10/2007 5:43:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yep and this one is probably due to either a faulty batch of fans or a faulty batch harddrives.. Either one would make a high pitch squeal when it is faulty..
Hit the nail on its head. Those are two I would assume it would be, and somtimes you can't even tell which one it is without testing.

I've had WD drives whine the first time I plugged them in.


RE: Yeah, can we move on?
By jtyson on 4/11/2007 10:20:43 AM , Rating: 2
I think it's just... "special" how the article provides an audio sample from one of the defective units.

Well, at least they made the article really long and detailed so that we all understand the severity of this faulty PlayStation 3 outbreak.


RE: Yeah, can we move on?
By Christopher1 on 4/11/2007 11:31:57 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know about that. I have a non-faulty hard drive that makes this same sound and has been making it since day one.

It could be a faulty batch of fans...... but how many fans do you know of even when faulty that make noises and still work?


RE: Yeah, can we move on?
By SilthDraeth on 4/10/2007 5:21:52 PM , Rating: 2
What issues did the Wii have?


RE: Yeah, can we move on?
By Aprime on 4/10/2007 5:30:22 PM , Rating: 2
Well, mine didn't have any... Okay well it did something weird once but apart from that nothing.

If I recall, some had faulty disc drives, some would refuse to start, referring you to the manual... The usual deal.

I bet a simple Youtube search would show you some of the issues the first batch had.


RE: Yeah, can we move on?
By Xavian on 4/10/2007 6:26:35 PM , Rating: 2
I had an overheating problem on mine, resulted on green speckles appearing all over the TV when I played a game.

But since I got the replacement, everything has been fine.


RE: Yeah, can we move on?
By SunAngel on 4/10/2007 6:36:39 PM , Rating: 3
Dude, that's not the tv or the console. Those green speckles are in your eyes. It's your body telling you its losing circulation of blood somewhere. You'll need to stand up straight or walk around for awhile so the circulation can resume. Otherwise, you may faint.


RE: Yeah, can we move on?
By VooDooAddict on 4/10/2007 6:30:05 PM , Rating: 2
There was reporting on the "bricking" firmware update. If it failed the original firmware update it would break the Wii, effectively turning the Wii into a little white brick. I don't know anyone that had that happen however.


RE: Yeah, can we move on?
By Fallen Kell on 4/10/2007 10:01:12 PM , Rating: 2
Mine got wacked in a sense. Not totally bricked, but upon my first firmware update it killed the wireless networking. I had one of the first batch Wii's that this happened with.

I could still play games on it, just no networking. Nintendo shipped me out a replacement and then once I received it, I sent back the broken one in the box they provided (shipping included). Can't beat that in terms of service.


RE: Yeah, can we move on?
By Midas360 on 4/10/2007 5:29:31 PM , Rating: 3
This article is about the Sony PS3.

Quit trying to divert the attention to the WII60.


RE: Yeah, can we move on?
By Aprime on 4/10/07, Rating: -1
RE: Yeah, can we move on?
By encryptkeeper2 on 4/10/2007 5:51:37 PM , Rating: 2
The poster continues, “EB Games wouldn't let me exchange it for a new one, not even the day after I bought it ... I then proceeded to call Sony and tell them of the situation, I sent it in to be repaired and they sent it back to me saying that nothing was wrong with it.”

At least Microsoft had better and Nintendo had *much* better customer service for defective units. It does sound pretty isolated to Canada though.


RE: Yeah, can we move on?
By BZDTemp on 4/11/2007 7:47:55 AM , Rating: 1
It sounds pretty isolated to just one case!

If there is one thing wrong with the internet it's that little things gets blow out of proportion again and again.

That and that many people have to critical sense so they believe everything they read no matter where it's written :-(


RE: Yeah, can we move on?
By encryptkeeper2 on 4/11/2007 9:55:03 AM , Rating: 3
It sounds pretty isolated to just one case!

If there is one thing wrong with the internet it's that little things gets blow out of proportion again and again.

That and that many people have to critical sense so they believe everything they read no matter where it's written :-(


Look, I'd like to believe you that this is just an isolated incident but I'm trying not to believe everything I read on the internet. Sorry.


RE: Yeah, can we move on?
By VooDooAddict on 4/10/2007 6:27:35 PM , Rating: 2
They reported on overheating 360s and Wiis that became bricks after new failed firmware update. Why not report on this?


RE: Yeah, can we move on?
By Sharky974 on 4/10/07, Rating: -1
RE: Yeah, can we move on?
By rdeegvainl on 4/11/2007 7:46:45 AM , Rating: 5
Remember, even though caps lock is cruise control for cool, you still need to steer. And the cheap electronics due to capacitor whine??? more likely it is a fan and harddrive issue. also they already figured out what batch it is in. so i guess it is safe to say you can buy a ps3 and know your not gonna get that batch.

Troll harder not smarter.


At least...
By daftrok on 4/10/2007 5:45:09 PM , Rating: 2
At least its just noise. Its not like these things aren't working. My suggestion for those having these issues is to sell their 60GB HDD and buy another (perhaps bigger) HDD for their system. I'm sure like the Macbooks the problem will be found and a firmware update will be available soon enough.




RE: At least...
By daftrok on 4/10/2007 5:45:40 PM , Rating: 2
Or the fans too...hmm :/


RE: At least...
By encryptkeeper2 on 4/10/2007 5:49:58 PM , Rating: 2
The article does mention they got incredibly hot, that certainly would be an issue.


RE: At least...
By TSS on 4/10/2007 6:07:12 PM , Rating: 2
That would root for the fans beeing the problem, most likely the CPU fan. seeing as those things are placed in homes sony wants them to be as quiet as possible, atleast i'd think. so fan speed might be dynamicly managed based on temperature. CPU heats up, fan spins up, maybe a faulty bearing makes a high pitched noise.


RE: At least...
By darkpaw on 4/10/2007 6:06:34 PM , Rating: 2
A high pitch whine would be a huge issue for me, that type of noise will give me a migraine almost immediately. I've walked into offices that had a monitor going bad and the whine drives me absolutely batty.


Hard Drives?
By Mitch101 on 4/10/2007 5:26:05 PM , Rating: 2
Noisy batch of hard drives?

Ive had similar with TIVO upgrades where the drives eventually become whiney but usually after a few mins they quiet down. They were drives people remarked on NewEgg as being super quiet as well.

I would hate to think its bad or capacitors in wrong.

Its issue like these that keep me from buying a console until they are more mature and all the little bugs worked out.

I havent heard anything bad about the Wii other than people letting go of the Wii-motes. But I am glad the Sony issue seems to be isolated and not a total disaster.




RE: Hard Drives?
By encryptkeeper2 on 4/10/2007 5:53:45 PM , Rating: 2
There have been a few problems with bad drives. I know on mine I can't play something on the virtual console, switch to the main menu and play a disc game without the Wii making an odd seeking noise in the drive. If I reset then try to play a disc game, it's fine, and luckily it doesn't do it any other time so who cares.


RE: Hard Drives?
By Mitch101 on 4/11/2007 9:50:11 AM , Rating: 2
Can the console run without a hard drive? I assume it cant otherwise someone would have done that already and determined the cause.


Disagree on cause
By mindless1 on 4/12/2007 9:30:46 AM , Rating: 2
I disagree on the cause, think it an interaction between the PSU switching frequency /PWM duration, the random lot of inductors used, and the certain household AC voltages present.

Since the AC voltage is most reasonably considered a constant, the solution is either potted inductors or to change the switching frequency, which could also require other minor tweaks unless the change is only slight.

This latter portion is only speculation, I dont have the luxury of the schematic to draw from.




RE: Disagree on cause
By mindless1 on 4/12/2007 9:34:23 AM , Rating: 2
Well disregard my prior post, after having heard the noise it does sound more like some bearing is to blame.


O Canada
By deeznuts on 4/10/2007 5:44:46 PM , Rating: 2
O Canada

Seems to be a limited batch of bad PS3s though, can probably be easily traced to a component. Luckily mine is still quiet.




Loose heatsink
By JayhaVVKU on 4/10/2007 9:15:00 PM , Rating: 2
I'm going to put my vote(just a guess since I haven't experienced this) down to a loose heatsink. This is causing there to be a lot of heat thus causing the fans to crank up speed to try and keep it cool.

I know this same type of thing happened on my 360(because I accidentally loosened it) and took a lot of trial and error to figure it out.




By Chaser on 4/11/2007 2:27:32 PM , Rating: 2
dirt around the world. Small to nearly meaningless.




Yesterdays headline:
By Lazarus Dark on 4/10/07, Rating: -1
Sony Batteries
By exdeath on 4/10/07, Rating: -1
RE: Sony Batteries
By Hawkido on 4/10/07, Rating: 0
RE: Sony Batteries
By mrteddyears on 4/11/2007 6:37:04 AM , Rating: 2
I took my PS3 on a plane and it exploded into flames tech support assured me that the problem had been fixed and there was no recall.

No really come on don’t get so worked up we love Sony in Europe and if they made cars I would burn my BMW and drive a Sony (Feel the Sony love).

ROFL



"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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