YLOD stands for yellow light of death and pertains to the PS3 in particular; this is the same as the RROD, red ring of death common with the Xbox game systems. In both of these game systems, either of these lights generally spells disaster. Either you will have to send the unit in for costly repairs or junk your unit and buy a brand new one.
The flashing lights on your Play Station 3 are used to indicated hardware failure of some kind; it could be your hard drive, central processing unit, motherboard or any number of other internal parts. The first part of completing a PS3 YLOD fix is to accurately determine what the lights are trying to tell you. There are also a series of beeps and a red screen you could have to contend with, each of which points to a different problem within the system.
Before you crack open, your PS3 case you should try to reset the unit. Hold down the power button on your console for a full ten seconds. This should reboot the system, if it does not work, you can try removing the hard drive from the game system and use your laptop or home computer to re-format it and then re-install it in the PS3. These are all free and simple ways to attempt a PS3 YLOD fix. Should your system still be having issues it could be time to purchase a new hard drive.
This is just one of the many fixes you can attempt when you are dealing with PS3 problems.