Tip & How-To about Video Game Consoles & Games
The “towel trick” is used to try and repair Xbox 360s that the 3 red lights (also known as the red ring of death, RROD, 3RLOD… etc)
Basically, it involves wrapping the system in a towel so that there is no air flow.
What this does is causes the system to get so hot that the solder melts.
Why does this work? Well those error codes are usually caused when the system gets so hot that the motherboard/circuit board actually begins to “flex” causing hairline fractures in the solder so that the connection is no longer perfect.
When the system is heated to the point that the solder melts, this causes the solder to “reflow”. In other words, the solder liquefies, then when it hardens again, those small hairlines fractures have basically fixed themselves.
The *problem* with this fix is that there is absolutely no control over what gets heated up. Generally it is the GPU chip that needs the reflow, but with this method the entire system gets way too hot including sensitive components like capacitors.
There is a better method, and it’s actually very simple.
You see the Xbox 360 has two fans. One cools the CPU, while the other cools the GPU.
With your system lying down, the GPU is on the left, or on the top with your system standing up.
By simply stopping the fan for the GPU while allowing the other one to run, you can effectively reflow the GPU.
So the procedure is this:
- Use a small item such a small screw driver and stick it into the left side of the fan fent. This is to stop the left fan from turning.
- Turn on your system. Ensure that your system begins flashing the three red lights.
- Put your hand behind the left vent to ensure there is no air coming from it.
- Make sure there is air coming from the right vent.
- Allow your system to run in this manner for at least 30 minutes
- DO NOT BUMP OR MOVE THE SYSTEM!
- Turn off the system and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes.
That’s it! Try turning it on! If you’re lucky the system will turn on. This is usually a temporary fix, but you can help prevent the problem again by keeping the vents on the system clean (compressed air works best, but even a vacuum cleaner will help) and keeping it in an open space, not an enclosed space like an entertainment unit.
DISCLAIMER: While this technically will not void your warranty with MS because the case is not opened, they would not recommend this. If you are out of warranty and this repair does not work, it is recommended to send your system into a repair shop. In the USA, Knight gaming repair is a very reputable repair source, in Canada, Console repair guy is reputable.
Posted by mactechj on
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