Sony warns not to put your gaming console in the microwave

TOKYO —

Sony’s recent publicly-announced warning not to put your gaming console in the microwave, has left most of the online community completely lost for words. If you happen to be the owner of a Sony gaming console, placing it in the microwave only to fry the hell of it is surely the last thing on your agenda.

Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that such reports have recently been doing the rounds on the Internet. Frying your treasured gaming console obviously defies all forms of common sense and I’m sure most of you will be racking your brains as to whom and under what circumstances would do such a thing.

So just why would Sony issue such a bizarre warning? In short, Sony appears only to be going by the facts, or should we say the evidence that remains resident on the game console after being submitted for repair.

“Of the defective products received by Sony, we have detected on some rate occasions evident changes in the shape of the unit and even burn marks that can only be assumed to have been brought about by the use of an electrical appliance such as a hairdryer or microwave,” said a spokesman.

He adds, “Heating up your game console leads not only to a defective unit but also creates the risk of a fire or even serious injury.”

While there is much speculation and even theories out there as to why game users would resort to such an act, hard evidence is much lacking.

So just what are some of these theories?

Forget about sending your broken game console to Sony: if you have a hairdryer at hand, repair it yourself the D.I.Y way—or so the “hairdryer method” would have you believe.

The “hairdryer method”

This problem has become much less prominent among the most recent batch of PlayStation3 consoles. However, when the console was first released in 2006, there were many reports of the unit’s power source suddenly failing. Such a defect, similar to the Xbox 360s “ring of death,” unquestionably brought great misery to many gaming fans.

As a countermeasure, rumors quickly spread amonge diehard gamers that the cause of this defect had to do with the console’s inner components’ solder points peeling away. Without actually knowing whether this had any foundation of truth or not, holding a hairdryer up to your console, putting it on full heat and waiting for the result, appears to have taken root as common practice for many. Again, there is no actual evidence - only Internet users speaking out - but from the reports alone, after trying this method, the console was restored to complete working order or at least worked for the short term.

When it comes to the “hairdryer method,” there are many Internet users willing to tell of their experiences. “Yeah, I’ve tried that myself”, is the typically reply from many. It would appear that amongst those in the know about repairing the PlayStation 3 “D.I.Y style,” this method poses itself as nothing new.

Why are so many users resorting to such a method?

Behind this are two main reasons: One is the risk that sending your console in for repair, as is often the case with Sony, will entail a complete hardware exchange. Building up that score, or establishing that achievement doesn’t come from nowhere. All the hours of hard game play, along with the defective console disappear into the oblivion that is the Sony repair center. Even if the hairdryer method is only a temporary measre, there is still time to backup all that important data so that it can be transferred to another machine.

The second reason has to do with the actual cost of repair. Sony charges around 15,000 yen for general repair of its PlayStation 3; admittedly a little on the steep side. Of course Sony does not recognize the “dryer method” for a moment, and compounds this by adding that, of the consoles that “come back to life,” “it remains unclear as to whether or not this has any bearing on the solder points of the machine.”

Theories regarding the use of the microwave

For the time being, let’s put the “hairdryer method” aside as we delve a little more into recent incidents involving the microwave. So why would anyone resort to putting their console in the microwave? Again this is mere speculation but some of the opinions taking weight are as follows:

“Maybe microwaving the PlayStation gets rid of the cracks in the solder points?” is one speculation.

Another one is, “Perhaps the aim is to get a hardware exchange. Within the guarantee period, altering the hardware so as to make it look like a manufacturing defect could be one of the tricks being pulled here”.

One particular rumor that is unparalleled in terms of its undeniable absurdity is that which claims, “By microwaving your mobile phone you can charge your battery in an instant.”

In August, similar false rumors – that putting your iPhone in the microwave charges your phone in an instant - made their way around the Internet. They were believed to be taken from recent scientific research into the use of electromagnetic waves and the charging of batteries. Although the household microwave and the development of new battery charging technology both share the common ground of electromagnetic waves, the technology itself is completely different. It is absurd for anyone to believe that the two are in some way related, and yet it appears that some people genuinely believe such lies.

There have even been members of the public willing to forsake their new iPhone in the pursuit of the truth. One net user actually went ahead and zapped his iPhone. He placed the footage on YouTube. As you can imagine, the prospects of bringing your iPhone back to life after a frying in the microwave, are grim to say the least. It was reported that there was a distinct burning smell - needless to add that afterwards, his phone wouldn’t even turn on. On the same post, under the comments section, another brave user reports of trying it out on his Nintendo DS. Of course, just how true this claim is remains unknown. However, be warned whether it be a game console or a mobile phone, putting it in the microwave will only lead to its sudden death.

Source: jcast.com

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  • 3

    JoshuYaki

    Funny. They just taught the world how to return products that disatisfy people as defective.

  • 2

    timtak

    “Perhaps the aim is to get a hardware exchange. Within the guarantee period, altering the hardware so as to make it look like a manufacturing defect could be one of the tricks being pulled here”.

    That sounds very likely. If you bash your console, or put it in water, there will be obvious proof of the maltreatment. If one zaps ones game console in the microwave then one can (think one can) claim that "it just died on me," and so get the console replaced for zero, if under guarantee, or less than a repeat purchase.

  • 1

    InspectorGadget

    Microwave or Conventional Oven?

    I've seen anecdotal evidence that when the EU switched to lead free solder in 2006 as part of their RoHS directive, it took a while for a number of manufacturers to adapt to the new solder compositions in use (ie high Tin). The net result was that a number of devices were produced with brittle solder points and high premature failure rates.

    One homebake repair method which gained some popularity among the Xbox 360 geeks was stripping the console down to the motherboard and baking (completely flat) in a conventional oven at above 230-240C. This had the effect of reflowing the solderpoints and often repairing the failed connections.

  • 1

    wanderlust

    Sony's after sales repair service is a nightmare, unless you are in the professional/ broadcast video category, in which case they bend over backwards to help. Consumers can expect to be faced with lines of small print exclusion clauses, to be shunted between various departments, none of whom wish to take responsibility for the product, and then faced with large estimates for the actual repair, which often comes very soon after the expiry of the warranty.

    As time is money, it's often cheaper to just discard/ junk the product and buy a new one...

  • 1

    SamuraiBlue

    Well on the microwave oven manual it is often sited not to use to dry pets and or electric components so it goes against the microwave oven liability as well.

  • 1

    Tom DeMicke

    Duh! Why not back up the data periodically like you would your data on a computer. Duh!

  • 1

    Yuka Shirane

    This is logical. Any American court would blame Sony to pay couple of hundreds million $ because some stupid american kids put theire console into a microwave. What's new about this?

  • 1

    Kobuta Chan

    Is it happening in US?

  • 0

    Frank Vaughn

    You do NOT put metal into a microwave. What a stupid and dangerous thing to do. It is amazing that people have not destroyed their homes (at least their kitchens) doing this.

    But if Sony Corp. is selling defective units they need to do right by their customers.

  • 0

    Herve Nmn L'Eisa

    Gamers.....

  • 0

    badsey3

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5fzUrP0pxs (they are reflowing the PS3 boards like I.G. said) Any chip that heats up (GPU especially) becomes brittle at the solder joints with RoHS (tin only solder) May only be certain PS3 model numbers. Add an fan to your PS3 to keep these tin solder issues at bay.

    <http://www.sigcon.com/Pubs/news/10_01.htm > (explanation of the tin solder issue)

    I have a Gateway XHD3000 30" (Samsung 305T) with this issue on the GPU. (2006?) http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1527751

    The guy in the PS3 reflow video does a poor job. No anti-static ground. Work area not anti-static. Doesn't have a electronic board vice. No IR temp gauge. Not even a magnifier to check the joints. Heat gun all over the place = no wonder why Sony is getting bizarre PS3s coming in. I would expect this PS3 tin solder issue to get bigger over time.

  • -1

    Jason Stiles

    All I did was read the title and the first paragraph and I started rolling in laughter...omg lol microwave ps2 anyone? Bwahahahaaa.

  • -1

    technosphere

    The correct title should be : "In manuals, printed specially for US domestic market, Sony warns not to put your gaming console in the microwave".

  • -2

    GW

    After glancing over this blurb I am happy to say I dont play these games haha completely nutzo!

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