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Both the PS4 and PS5 are excellent additions to Sony’s line of home gaming consoles. The PS5 represents the latest version as of 2022, but the PS4 is still one that gamers love to spin up and use for exclusives, and it plays many high-quality games in its own right, along with having some of the same features that the PS5 offers. While both consoles are robust and include some great hardware options, they are powerful electronics with computer components at their hearts.
Because of the delicate nature of some of the circuitry inside the PS4 and PS5 gaming systems, some players wonder if the units can take any damage from power outages that might come into play unexpectedly during a session. We will go into detail about this topic in our article below. As we dig into things, we will talk about the general risks that power outages might pose to Sony’s consoles.
Furthermore, we can talk about why you might find your console unresponsive after a power outage, and we can offer some troubleshooting tips that may help you get it back on for more gaming. As we wrap things up, we’ll talk about thunderstorms in general, the dangers they could pose to sensitive electronics that are active during them, and what you should do about your consoles when storms are approaching.
The short answer is that yes, a power outage could cause some damage to one of these consoles. The longer answer is a bit more complex. In general, a power outage itself can cause some damage to the console in a couple of main ways. We can go over them in more detail here.
First, we’ll discuss the outage itself. If you lose power suddenly, it is not very likely that the unit would face permanent damage to the hardware and components that are inside the casing.
This is because the sudden loss of power usually doesn’t do anything to these parts. However, the outage could still mess up the system itself. It tends to do this in one of two main ways:
1. You were in the middle of a game, and the PlayStation decided to autosave some data at a particular point. If your console lost power during this process, the save interruption could do a couple of things. If it already wrote enough data, it might be fine.
However, interruptions to this process can also corrupt save file data. If you have an earlier save stored somewhere in the cloud, you might be able to save some progress. However, you might risk losing the game data for a particular title entirely, forcing you to start the game over.
2. The console itself was in the middle of an update. This process could cause more widespread damage than a mere interruption of the game save data.
If the PlayStation receives an interruption to its system update, whole system files could see corruption. In these cases, you may lose all the data and settings on that system. If that should happen to you, a factory restore to the default settings may be the only way to get the console working again moving forward.
The second part of the power outage actually happens when the power restores itself to your home. It is this second part that can pose a threat to the hardware that runs your PlayStation.
When the power comes back on, it may send a voltage spike through the line for a few milliseconds right at the start. If your console has an active connection to a power outlet at that time, this voltage spike could travel through the line and overload the circuitry in some parts of the unit.
Many manufacturers of devices like the PS4 or PS5 consoles will put some safeguards in the power bricks of their products in order to mitigate the risks that a voltage spike would do damage to these components. However, there are no guarantees that this will work every time.
If you want to take care of some additional help in this department by yourself, you may wish to consider plugging your consoles into surge protectors. These accessories have the potential to take a voltage spike and make sure that it doesn’t reach the electronic devices plugged into it in ways that would cause the damage we are describing.
There could be a few reasons why your PS4 or PS5 consoles seem to be unresponsive following a power outage. We will attempt to go over some of the most likely possibilities here.
Our list may not include every single thing that could affect your home gaming system in terms of power outages, but it should provide you with enough details to get some troubleshooting going.
1. It may seem obvious, but check to make sure your system’s power supply is plugged in and active. It is possible that you unplugged it during the storm, either accidentally or intentionally. Make sure the plug is secure, and then try to power on the console again.
2. If you know it is plugged in already, try unplugging it from the power source completely first. Leave it this way for at least a few minutes, then try powering the unit up again.
3. Should you find that neither of these things work as you might hope they do, you may need to try diagnosing the problem further. To do this, you can hold down the power button for two separate intervals of several seconds each. Once you do this, you can boot up the console in Safe Mode.
This particular mode gives you access to a special menu that you can use to try to restore your PlayStation to its original functionality. You may need to reset the console to get it working again. If a lot of system corruption happened after the storm, you can also try rebuilding the database.
4. If the device is completely unresponsive, and if you can’t even get it to boot in safe mode, you may need to have a qualified technician open it up and take a look at the parts inside. Depending on the purchase date and particular terms of your Sony console, the warranty may cover a consultation like this.
Only the individual can decide if it is okay to play their console during a thunderstorm. However, we can offer a bit of guidance. If the weather seems mostly clear of anomalies, and if you just hear thunder, it should be okay to play the PlayStation during these times.
Thunder itself, particularly if it sounds far off, is not a great danger to the console. However, if the thunder brings lightning with it, it is probably a good idea not to have the console in an active state.
Nearby lightning strikes could travel through the lines and completely fry your devices. A lightning bolt would not even have to hit your home in order for this to be a problem. It could hit somewhere nearby.
If it does so under the right conditions, it could cause a major problem for your electronics.
Because consoles can be expensive, and because even having all the protections in place might not be enough, we don’t recommend playing the units during any heavy thunderstorms that also produce lightning. If you are fortunate, nothing may happen at all.
With surge protectors and uninterruptible power supplies, you might be able to spare your consoles from some damage. The surge protector should take care of the voltage problem, and a power supply can keep things going after your home power goes out.
This could ensure that you have enough time to save data and shut down the system safely so that the loss or corruption we touched on earlier does not happen.
Similar to the above section, whether you unplug your PlayStation consoles during a thunderstorm is a personal decision. If you have a good surge protector and an uninterruptible power supply, it may be safe enough for the device if you use it during a thunderstorm.
Having said that, even these precautions are not guarantees of immunity from lightning. Bolts of lightning have astronomical power and energy, meaning that they can easily get past some of the accessories you might use as gatekeepers to the console.
If they do, there is the possibility of the strikes causing some damage to your devices. Should you wish to be truly safe, it may be best to unplug your consoles when a powerful storm is brewing, even if it is still in the distance.
Power outages can be damaging to any modern console, and the PS4 and PS5 units from Sony are no exception here. If your console is on and active during an outage, you would have to worry about both system corruption and hardware failure. A surge protector that you combine with a dedicated power supply can help you here. If your console doesn’t work even with the protection of these items, you can try some of our troubleshooting tips above.