What is the Red Ring of Death?
designed the Xbox 360, they attempted a innovative method of mounting
the heat sinks to the motherboard. During normal operation, the
temperature within the case is very hot. Which in turn causes the
motherboard to flex against the x clamps. It is this flexing, which
results in the soldered joints around the processors coming away from
the motherboard. The fault is indicated by the now infamous 3 red
Recent Xbox 360 Elite's have been upgraded with a
stronger epoxy resin to glue the processors down. Whether this will
work, only time will tell!
The X Clamp fix
The modification detailed in this guide, alleviates the flexing of
the motherboard and maintains uniform pressure on the processors, this
in turn ensures the heat sinks are far more effective in dissipating
the heat build up.
Torx Screwdrivers T8 & T10
Artic Silver Thermal Paste
Thermal Paste cleaner (nail varnish remover!)
Thin flat bladed screwdriver
8 m5 10mm bolts
8 m5 steel spring washers
24 m5 1mm width washers
Step 1 - disassemble the console
Stop and take a look at your warranty, is it still in date? If so contact Microsoft for a replacement! If not, then proceed.
the front face plate by placing your thumb into the USB door, applying
pressure on the side panel, you will be able to lever the cover off. Do
not force it!
Once removed this will expose the Microsoft warranty sticker. Next, we need to remove the side panels.
are kept in place by 3 lugs on each side, which can be seen by looking
through the ventilation holes. Using the thin screwdriver (or wooden
skewer), push the lugs through the holes, whilst gently levering the
grey side panel up. Once you have released a couple the panel will lift
up quite easily. You will have to remove one of the rubber feet, to
access one of the lugs and the hard drive if you have one.
both panels have been removed, we can move onto the case itself. On the
rear of the case are 6 retention slots and 4 clips on the front of the
Unclip the front clips using the thin screwdriver, and gently lift the front up about an inch.
locate the rear 6 retention slots, and again using the thin
screwdriver, push gently into each slot, you should hear a click each
Once all 6 have been released, you will be able to lift the top halve of the case off.
Flip the console over, and you will notice 14 silver screws and 8 black screws, remove these using the Torx screwdrivers.
Once all removed, turn the console over and remove the case.
will expose the motherboard and DVD drive. To remove the DVD drive,
simply lift upwards and unclip the cables from the rear of the drive.
you will have access to the white plastic fan shroud, which lifts out
by unclipping the retention hook at the top of the shroud. Unclip the
cable to the fan.
At the front of the console, you will notice a
daughter PCB, by the power button. Unclip the white power button cover
and remove the 3 screws with the T8 screwdriver.
Unplug the daughter board, this will enable you to lift the motherboard out carefully.
Once you have the motherboard out, you will notice on the underside 2 x clamps.
remove the x clamps, you will need to pry the clamps off the metal
studs. Insert the thin screwdriver into each corner of the clamp,
gently levering each one until they are released. If you do 2 corners
at a time, it is easier. Take your time, it is essential we do not
damage the motherboard.
Once the clamps are removed, flip the
motherboard over and gently remove the 2 heatsinks by lifting them up.
The low profile one is the GPU heatsink, the main cause of the problem!
Using the Pliers, or small spanner, remove the four bolts on the underside of each heat sink. The bolts are no longer required.
we need to remove all traces of the old compound from the heat sinks
and processors. Start by using a plastic scraper, usually supplied with
the thermal paste or an old credit card! Take extra care when cleaning
To remove the remaining compound, use the nail varnish remover or if you have it compound cleaner, only a little is required.
With the processors, we are trying to obtain a mirror finish on them!
apply a little dab of compound to each processor and spread with the
plastic card, we want a thin film across the top of the processor, no
more no less.
Now we start the process of re-fixing the heat sinks.
a spring washer on each bolt (m5 10mm) followed by a steel washer,
insert the bolt through the underside of the motherboard and then place
2 steel washers on the bolt. It is essential we have the correct width
between motherboard and heatsink.
In order for the bolts to stay
in place whilst attaching the heat sink, I stand the motherboard on its
side and screw the bolts in a couple of turns until they have purchased.
all 4 have been attached, we need to systematically tighten each bolt,
so start top right, then bottom left, bottom right and top left. This
ensures the heat sink is uniformily tightened and not one side at a
time. Repeat on next heat sink.
We can now plug everything back in, apart from the fans.
the console on, we want it to overheat in order for the changes we have
made to reset. Looking at the power bottom, wait for the 3 red lights
to go to 2 red lights, this could take a couple of minutes. Once we
have 2 red lights, leave the console on for about 5 mins.
Now turn the console off and let it cool down for about 1 hour.
we come to the test, plug everything back in including the fans and
turn the console on. You should now be looking at green lights.
If you have green lights, re-assemble the console.
you have red lights, we have a couple of procedures to follow, do not
worry, some consoles take a number of attempts before the fix is
First, loosen the screws holding the heat sink in
place and with the fan disconnected run the console with 2 red lights
for another 5 minutes, then allow to cool.
Once cooled try the test again with everything plugged in. still getting red lights?
the thermal compound is not too thin on the processors and before
tightening the screws up, run the console again for 5 minutes with 2
red lights. Tighten screws up and allow to cool. Run the test again
after an hour. If you still have red lights, run the console again with
the fan disconnected for a longer period of time on 2 red lights,
before allowing to cool.
It is normal for the console to take
about 3 attempts to get all green. If none of the attempts work, gone
back to the beginning and start again. Do not give up, this fix has
been 100% successful for me.
Once you have green lights and you
have put everything back together, run another test to ensure you still
have the green lights, remember you will not need the 8 black screws
for the case.
It is advisable, to run the console on low settings
for about 20 days and keep it well ventilated. Fan upgrades are
available, which run more efficiently.
For more detailed instructions and video's visit: http://bestxbox360repairguides.com/
Enjoy your Xbox!
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