Last weekend some clever little devils found a way of getting the 40 GB PS3 to “self clean” by switching the console off and on with the disc eject button held. For whatever reason this causes the console’s fans to run full pelt and blow dust out of the PS3.
That was all very well a good, but the feature was, as far as we knew, limited to the 40 GB model alone. Well that wasn’t good enough for some owners of the console who have since been hard at work trying to find (desperately, it would seem) a similar feature for the 60 GB version. What they have come up with, as demonstrated in the video, involves turning the PS3 upside down and holding it there. After a few seconds the console begins to sound less like a PlayStation 3 and more like the Airbus A380 as the fans go into overdrive. If you were to believe the video, this is just the console “circulating air” around the console.
Before I go into why this could actually be dangerous just consider, as a sentient, intelligent being. Why would any manufacturer of large electronic goods require you to suspend their product upside down in mid air to clean it!?
No sooner had the original video appeared than a swarm of articles and posts begging users not to try this. Though, it shouldn’t have taken these for any conscientious gamer to realize the clue was in the video when he says “The PS3 may say it’s overheating, but it’s not, it’s just a fan test.”
It turns out what is actually happening is that when you turn the PS3 upside down the hot air, rather than being blown out of the top or the side as it usually would, is still caught in the machine. The increased fan speed is the PS3 responding to this trapped hot hair, trying to blow it out. So rather than being some hidden cleaning function, this is actually the PS3’s fail safe to prevent overheating.
Not only are you helping the PS3 overheat by holding it upside down, but you are potentially damaging the fans by forcing them to run at such a high speed for an extended amount of time.
I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll stick to a good wipe and a vacuum around the edges every month or so.