Xbox 360 Rings of Death
The Red Ring of Death is the most common failure of the Xbox 360 to date. The chances of your Xbox crashing are a whopping 30%. Microsoft has been tight lipped on this subject except in a July 2007 press release, where they stated that there is a design flaw, and almost every system could fail at some point. Even if you don't have problems right now, you should be aware of what can happen because as your system gets older, the chance of failure increases drastically.
Before you do anything, check your warranty (1 year for all issues, 3 years for the red ring of death). Do not do anything if you can send it in for repairs, it's free and it's the safest bet. Since it's past the 3 year mark for most people, this guide can help you if you are an unfortunate victim of red lights and in need of repairs.
We will explore the causes of the Red Ring of Death and the Red Ring of Death solutions. We will also go over some other possible errors your Xbox 360 may (or is) experiencing.
What Causes the Red Ring of Death?
Your Xbox is overheating because the cooling system is too small to adequately keep the Xbox 360cool. This causes the Red Ring of Death. Another problem is the solder which holds the CPU and GPU (graphics processing unit) on the motherboard. The material that Microsoft used to make the solder is not able to stand the heat inside the Xbox 360. This causes the solder to have small hairline fractures. These fractures turn into larger cracks as the motherboard expands. As the solder cracks it causes the GPU to become disconnected from the motherboard and this cause your Xbox to crash.
The good news is that if you have warranty left on your Xbox 360 then you are covered as Microsoft has extended the warranty to 3 years to cover this specific problem. If you don't have warranty on your Xbox 360 then you must repair the console yourself or send it in for $140 to get fixed by the Microsoft technicians.
Be careful to diagnose what problem you have before taking action.
To identify the problem your Xbox 360 is having will need to follow a few steps. First you must identify if you have the Red Ring of Death error or another error. You can identify the Red Ring of Death error by the lights on your ring of lights. Lights 1,3 and 4 will glow an angry red instead of green. Before you take apart your console (which will void the warranty) follow these troubleshooting steps first to see if you can fix the problem.
- Reboot your console and see if the error returns.
- Make sure that you have a green light on your power supply. If it is not green and is red or orange there is a problem with your power supply.
- Unplug all the cables and controllers that are attached to the Xbox 360, reattach and power up the console. If the lights are green, then your console is alright.
- If you are still having the red light error, turn off the console and remove the hard drive. Then turn the console on without the hard drive. If the lights are off then put the hard drive back in and turn the console on.
- If these suggestions do not fix the problem then you will have to do some more to fix the problem.
How to Repair the 3 Red Light Error
If you don't have warranty left on your Xbox then you can perform the repair on the 360 yourself. To repair the 3 red light error you will need to do something called the "X-clamp" fix. To do this you will need to remove the hard drive, and disconnect all the power cords and controllers. Take the system apart and remove the X-clamp that is securing the heat sinks to the GPU and CPU.
Once you have taken off the X-clamp, you can remove the heat sinks. Then you will need to clean the old thermal film and replace it with a thermal protective paste. When you are done that put back the heat sinks. Make sure you have applied adequate pressure to the GPU and CPU. For more information on this repair you can go to http://www.Xbox360repair.ca/redringofdeath.html
The 1 Red Light Error
The fourth quadrant in the ring of lights will be flashing red if you are experiencing the 1 red light error. A code will appear on your TV screen such as E74 error or something similar. The definition of this error is "hardware failure".
The underlying cause of the 1 red light error seems to be the overheating of the Xbox 360. The error that normally pops up on the screen is E74. This indicates an audio video error.
It is possible that the actual AV cable has failed or the ANA chip at the back of the console. While there can be numerous causes, it is most likely that the Xbox 360 overheating has caused this error. Unfortunately the 1 red light error is not covered by Microsoft's extended warranty. So if your warranty has run out you will have to fix the console yourself. The 1 red light error can be fixed using the same method as the 3 red light error.
More Problems with the Xbox 360?
There are a few more problems with the Xbox 360s that have been reported. A fairly common one is the 2 red light error. This error is classified as "overheating".
To repair this error you need to take some simple steps to troubleshoot the problem. The first thing you need to do is to check your power light and make sure it's green. An overheated power brick can cause this or a low power supply.
If the power supply is not the issue, it's time to move onto how the console is set up. Make sure you have no obstructions over your air vents. Then check to make sure the console is on a hard surface and not a cloth cover or on top of another piece of equipment that radiates heat (such as a DVD player).
If you still have a 2 red light error on your console then allow it to cool and do an "X-clamp" fix.
Another error is the 4 red light error. This error means that the Xbox cannot locate the AV cable. This can be easily fixed. Check your cables first, and make sure they are connected properly and tightly. If you hear a click as you replace the cable then you have connected it properly. If that doesn't work try buying a new AV cable. If this still does not fix the problem then it is very possible that the Xbox has overheated again and you may have to perform and "X-clamp" fix.
How to Prevent Problems
Hopefully you won't run into problems. By taking care of your system you can greatly reduce the risk of issues occurring. First, do not block the vents at the back of the system. Make sure it has plenty of fresh air to cycle. Placing it in a boxed area that confines heat is a very bad idea (as the hot air will keep cycling).
Second, do not leave the power bar on a rug/carpet. That causes heat to build up back into the power bar. Try to hang the power cord in the air (over a hook) or have it on a surface that does not insulate heat.
Third, do not leave your system on over night or for extended periods of time back to back. The less heat you allow to build up the safer your system will be.
Hopefully you are aware of the various Xbox 360 problems and how to prevent it as best you can. You are also aware of the red light error repair option available if you are out of warranty.
Best of luck, NerdTech Admin