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Mid-Week Poll: Electronics Failures

Recently, a friend of mine lost a PS3 to the YLOD (Yellow Light of Death). I blame dust. He also had a PC crash, which most likely sent the boot drive to hard drive heaven. That got me wondering: Have your entertainment-related electronics failed you?

I’m careful with my electronics, within reason. About six weeks ago, I noticed a sudden lack of “click” in the power button of my iPhone 4S. Expecting imminent annoyance and eventual failure, by that evening, I exchanged the phone under its warranty for a new one. Before that, I had a Bravia whose HDMI ports dropped from four to one, but a firmware update brought that back to four. Further back, while playing a particularly buggy N7 mission in ‘Mass Effect 2′ that was roughly 15% from the end of the game, my Xbox 360 Elite went down for the count. A week and a half later, Microsoft sent me a refurb.

Even further back, my launch day Nintendo DS Lite, became considerably temperamental after suffering a fall while in standby mode (mid-game, screen closed, low power mode) during some well meaning horseplay. That DS Lite already had a sad right shoulder button and cracked hinge. Nintendo obliged me with a refurb, and I purchased a black DS Lite that has never had an issue. That just leaves the graphics card in a 17″ Dell that filled with lint before self destructing. That one was, thankfully, still within warranty.

The most devastating failure, however, had to be a friend’s Xbox. (Yes, the old, ugly brick.) After we carefully replaced the faulty CD-Rom with a new model, which I had lugged around by plane and train from halfway across the world, we both forgot that the Xbox 1 cannot switch voltage. As my friend plugged the console in, I watched as the power supply literally went up in smoke. It had been a late evening the night before, and I just laughed. Still, that was the most devastating incident of its kind that I can recall.

The focus for this poll is gadgets and other entertainment-related consumer electronics. For example, electronics that can be purchased at Worst Buy, minus appliances. If your washing machine went down during your weekly voodoo washer ritual, feel free to choose ‘Other’.

Vote for as many options as you’d like in the poll, and be sure to tell us in the Comments which of these failures was the most devastating.

Have Any of These Electronics Failed You?

View Results

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11 comments

  1. Alex

    One red ring of death halfway through Dragon Age: Origins, and one power surge that jacked up my video card and made it spit out a bizarrely distorted image for everything.

  2. I’m sure that we’ve all lost important data when computers crashed. I know I have.

    The first lamp on my current projector crapped out about 1,500 hours prematurely. Waiting for the replacement lamp on that sucked.

    But the most catastrophic failure I’ve had was my last video processor. That’s the central hub of my entertainment system. When that went, everything else was useless until I bought and installed a new one.

  3. HuskerGuy

    DLP TV geometry got all messed up – turns out it was a design flaw, thank you warranty

    My OG PS3 got the YLOD, but damn did I put an obscene amount of hours into it before it died, so wasn’t upset about that one. Same for my OG PS2 back in the day.

    Otherwise I’ve been fairly fortunate.

  4. William Henley

    With as long as I have been in computers, and with as many drives as I have, I probably loose a harddrive about once a year. Last year I lost 3 drives, 2 externals which I believe were due to just rough handling, and one internal, due to age (the thing was an IDE drive, that should tell you how old it was), but I usually keep at least one, sometimes 2 or 3 backups of important stuff, and looking at getting Carbonite or some other cloud backup solution. So drive failures are usually not catastrophic.

    Just last week, my laptop’s power adaptor jack finally crapped out. Trying to get someone to sodder it back on now.

    I bricked my first PS3 by trying to install Linux on it, and my second one crapped out after a firmware update. The one I have now has (knock on wood) been really reliable.

    My Xbox 360 had a red ring of death about six months after I bought it. Microsoft fixed it, even though it was 2 years out of warrenty (refurbed xbox).

    VCR and Laserdisc player are being repaired.

    Most other devices, I usually tend to replace them before they go out on me.

  5. The first Game Boy was built like a brick house. I have dropped it several times (mostly when I was a wee lad), but it still works. Last year, I dropped my 3DS from a height of 3 inches and it never worked again. Luckily, the warranty was intact and I got a new model. Said new model’s shoulder button has since been wrecked, the stylus is gone (admittedly, my fault) and the entire machine has weird scratches (even though I use an official Nintendo pouch). Long story short: Nintendo handhelds aren’t as durable as they used to be. My second hand GBA SP also has a lot more scratches than should be allowed.

  6. Mike Attebery

    I find it troubling that so many game consoles have lighting systems in place to tell you when the device is permanently dead. Shouldn’t the folks engineering these things use the time they devote to designing those lights to just fixing the problem? My first PS3 died within 11 days of owning it. The next one gave me problems once every two weeks for years. Since it was my primary Blu-ray player, that became extremely annoying. When that thing finally died last winter i happily pitched it into a dumpster and ordered an Oppo 93. Meanwhile, when I go home for the holidays, I still have a functioning Atari 2600 in the basement! I must be getting old, but they just don’t make things like they use to.

  7. Pyronaut

    Apart from the many hard drives that have failed or started to fail on me, the most annoying experience had to be my 720p projector. A few years ago I had a buddy who was playing his PS3 on a 32″ SDTV, so I was like “hey, bring that thing over and let’s play in HD!”. So he did, and when we connected the HDMI cable we heard a “zap” sound. That was the sound of his HDMI output dying, and my HDMI input dying. It didn’t matter so much to him because he had it hooked up to an SDTV anyway, but I had to go back to using the S-video connector, and on an 80″ display, that is very painful after you’ve become used to 720p. I can only imagine how bad it would have been if it was 1080.

    • Pyronaut

      I forgot about my dead electronics victory over my Wii. When it gave me the black screen of death (basically wouldn’t even turn on), I Googled what it might be and found out that there’s a chance it was the bluetooth receiver. Since it was out of warranty and I didn’t have anything to lose, I ordered a new bluetooth receiver for $7 (shipped) from China, cracked that sucker open and followed an online guide on how the replace the part, and then put it back together after 90 minutes of surgery (without anything complicated like soldering), and it actually turned on! Man was that a great day. Internet FTW!

  8. Even with all the items I voted for, they all have one thing in common – Power Supply or fan or both. PC Power Supplies usually last 2-years tops. Have had the 850W PC Power & Cooling one for 3-years so far. Went to buy a 2nd one as a backup, they don’t sell em anymore, coincidence?
    I do have a JVC SVHS machine with bad rubber inside though. The idlers or pinchers or whatever they are.
    Had a cheapie Apex modded dvd player snap a belt but was an easy fix, found the right size o-ring.

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