Yes, the headline may read like tin-foil hat conspiracy theory jargon, but things readily become a lot more real once the information rears its head. Of course, everything you gather from here is still rumor at this point and should be taken as such.
Following all the discussions that sprouted up thanks to alleged claims of sabotaged PS4 units on the assembly line, one user on 4Chan made a comment in a deleted thread that contains some interesting info on the issue of some PS4s coming out of the package with red lights and overheating, writing...
“A chinese guy posted on here like 2 weeks ago in really fractured english or translation, I can't remember and even had an image.
Most people would scoff and say “pfft, 4Chan” and click out of here faster than Christian Bale packing up his bags and walking away from Zack Snyder's Batman vs Superman movie.
However, someone further down the thread made a very observant comment in response, although he dismissed the above comment as just a left-field, tin-foil hat assumption and not to take it to heart. Still he had this to say, which sparks further curiosity...
“... indeed there was a diagram with a clear mention of lead + thermal grease, which is obviously a bad fucking thing. Ideally, a genius thing, as the problem won't arise in QA shotgun tests of consoles as they're built, as the individual systems would need to be tested for more than an hour to really notice a difference in temps “
For those who don't know, lead has been barred from a lot of “economic operators” when it comes to electronic component manufacturing, as noted in the 2006 legislation by the European Union Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive.
Using lead in the thermal grease during the assembly would essentially work as a corrosive agent to dissolve the silver in the compound. This would essentially dry out the thermal paste faster than usual and result in the hardware overheating, as mentioned in the 4Chan comments above. You can read more about the effects and threshold of the thermal grease in this Science Direct thesis.
So what does this have to do with the comments above and how does it apply at all to the PlayStation 4 potentially being sabotaged at the Foxconn plants? Well, many individuals have been posting videos, like the one below, about their PS4 coming straight out of the box and red-lighting, or being put in use for a very short amount of time and ending up with the red blinking lights. It's a similar issue to the rarely reported YLOD issue that the PS3 suffered, which some managed to fix by replacing the thermal paste in their units.
We've already been publicly told that the red lights blink when the PS4 overheats. As noted on PSU and IGN, users should supposedly wait it out and let it cool down. Except, this issue shouldn't be occurring at all for anyone who hasn't even played on their PS4 unit and are getting red lights straight out of the box, as noted in some of the angry 1-star reviews over on Amazon.