The Red Ring of Death is the worst nightmare for every Xbox 360 game console owner, and it can happen to anyone. It may seem like your 360 game console is already hopeless. But there are ways to make it work again, especially if you're willing to dig a little yourself. Follow this tutorial to find out how.
Method 1 of 3: Xbox DIY Repair
Step 1. Check your indicator code
There are 5 different indicator codes displayed around the Power button on the Xbox 360. Each code represents a different failure condition.
- Green lights. Green LEDs indicate the console is powered and operating normally. The number of green lights indicates how many controllers are connected.
- One red fire. This is a Hardware Failure indicator. It is usually accompanied by the code “E74” or similar displayed on the TV screen. This error is caused by a damaged video scaling chip.
- Two red lights. This is an overheating error. If the console gets too hot, the system will shut down and show this indicator light. The fans will continue to run until the components have cooled down.
- Three red lights. This is a General Hardware Failure, also known as the Red Ring of Death. This means that one or more components have failed and that the system is no longer operational. The error code will not be displayed on the TV screen.
- Four red lights. This means that the AV cable is not properly connected. Check the connection between the console and the TV. This code will not be displayed for HDMI connections.
Step 2. Purchase repair kits online
While there is no simple quick fix for bugs, repair kits can be found for less than a new game. These kits usually come complete with an Xbox 360 opening tool, new thermal grease, new heat sinks, and new cleaning products. Some of these will include all kinds of screwdrivers that you will need as well. Performing this fix yourself can be difficult, but it can fix most red ring of death cases.
Step 3. Open 360
The Xbox Case Opening Tool will make this process a lot easier, and this tool is usually included with most repair kits. The opening process is the most difficult part of the renovation process.
Step 4. Take out the DVD
Disconnect the cables from the back of the DVD. With the cables disconnected, pull the DVD drive up and out.
Step 5. Remove the cooling fans
Remove the plastic shroud by pressing on the sides and pulling it out. Disconnect the fan cable from the motherboard. Pull the cooling fans out of the chassis.
Step 6. Disconnect the power board
Remove the plastic cover from the front board. Remove the three screws that secure the board to the case. You will need a T6 screwdriver.
Step 7. Remove the motherboard from the case
When the case is fully open, you can pull the board directly out of the case. Place it on a protected surface to prevent damage or static electricity.
Step 8. Remove the clips from the back of the motherboard
You can remove the clips from their places with a small flat screwdriver. Do everything slowly to avoid damaging the motherboard with the screwdriver.
Step 9. Remove the heatsinks from the CPU and GPU
With the clips removed, remove the heatsinks directly from the board. You may need to use a little force to remove the thermal grease from the heatsinks.
Step 10. Remove the old thermal paste and apply a new layer
You may need to use acetone or nail polish to completely remove the old thermal paste.
You don't need to use too much thermal paste. If the paste oozes when you put in a new heatsink, then you have too much of it. Remove the heatsink again and clean up excess thermal paste
Step 11. Remove the viscous thermal pads
Replace with spare padding from our repair kit. Apply more pressure to the board to avoid crowding out the RAM.
Step 12. Assemble the Xbox
Make sure everything is screwed up correctly again. Connect your Xbox and try to turn it on.
Method 2 of 3: Getting Started with Xbox Repair
Step 1. Have your console repaired by a professional
There are many institutions, both online and in brick-and-mortar stores, that offer Xbox repairs. They will essentially follow the steps outlined above. They can also reflow solder droplets with a heat gun or reflow machine. These repairs can be expensive, but more reliable than doing yourself.
Don't forget to choose a reliable firm. Don't just submit Xbox to the first site you find online, but do some research and make sure it's legal
Step 2. Send the console to Microsoft
If you're still under warranty, Microsoft will replace or repair the defective console. You may have to pay shipping and additional fees depending on the details of the warranty. If your warranty is no longer valid, you can pay Microsoft a fee to repair your console. The fee is lower if you register online at Microsoft's repair website.
Microsoft can repair your console for a maximum period of 3 years from the date of purchase
Method 3 of 3: Preventing the Red Ring of Death
Step 1. Keep your system cool
Heat is the number one cause of hardware failure for the Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 console must be as cool as possible in order to function properly. Overheating can cause a variety of hardware problems, resulting in the failure of various components.
Excessive heat deforms the motherboard, separating it from the CPU and GPU
Step 2. Keep your system in a well-ventilated area
Do not place it in a closet or other confined space. Make sure there are no other electronic devices nearby and that none of the fans are blocked. Do not place the Xbox360 on a carpeted floor as it will not be able to ventilate underneath.
Step 3. Avoid long gaming sessions
Constantly running the Xbox increases the amount of heat it generates. Give your system breaks, letting it cool down.
Step 4. Hold the system in a horizontal position
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that placing a system vertically reduces its ability to dissipate heat and also increases the chances of scratching the discs. Place the system horizontally on a hard, level surface.
Step 5. Avoid stacking items on the Xbox
A pile of objects will reflect heat back into the system. Keep the top of your system clean.
Even placing a couple of game boxes on top of the Xbox can cause a significant increase in heat
Step 6. Clean up your play area
Be sure to wipe off the dust in the room regularly so that dust particles do not accumulate in the system. Wipe up dust around the area to reduce the amount of dust in the air.
Step 7. Dust off your Xbox
Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust from the vents. Wipe dust off the system regularly. In extreme cases, you can open your case and use compressed air to remove dust from the components.