This sounds like the early stages of a YLOD. I would advise you to open up your ps3 and clean it from any dust. Also see if the thermal paste has dried out. If so, replace it. Source: http://vkrepair.com/ps3-flashing-red-light/
This article might help Have you tried this with another usb cable? The cable might be damaged. It can also be the battery not charging. Try cleaning out the data port to make sure that it has a good connection with the usb cable. The fact that it won't stay on is troubling. I think you have to fix this problem first before you try to restore it.