Thursday, June 7, 2012

Xbox 360 RROD repair

Old model of 360 has RROD? Reckon it’s dead for good? Not really. I did the X-Clamp repair and it’s surprisingly easy! Actually, I’m astonished it worked at all, and how easy it was to do.

A guy I know on a forum, who also lives in France, very kindly lent me his American 360. I covered postage and he posted it to me. Five minutes after arriving it suffered the RROD. Looking online I found about half a dozen repair methods, including wrapping it in a wet towel and overheating it (the crazy method), sticking pennies to the motherboard (a hoax?), and several variations on the X-Clamp Repair, which seemed to have the best feedback.

The basic method is you buy some metal washes, nylon washers, correct size screws, and thermal paste, remove the X-Clamps, and screw down the heatsinks with the past and washers.

eBay France didn’t have any repair kits, but eBay UK had hundreds, priced at around £4 or so, with a couple extra quid for postage to the mainland. They also came with alcohol wipes and a Torx 8 and Torx 10 tool, plus a special “opening tool” for the 360 itself. I was in a hurry so instead went to the local DIY SuperStore. In fact I went to several. They had the parts, but the Torx screw tips cost £10 for the 8 and 10 versions together. The nylon washers would have also cost around £20 (these were astronomically expensive, and I needed 16). Plus no place I went to had thermal paste.

So I bought the kit off eBay for £6 (it was from these guys, they have several different packs, I chose the all-in-one pack). I can only assume they managed to make it so cheap due to buying the parts in bulk.

It arrived and I was linked to a set of instructions. Various Youtube tutorials claim you need to re-assemble the 360 and run it for 20 minutes with the cooling fan running above the board - but the instructions I got said to run it for 2 minutes until it overheats, which is what I did and it worked.

The toughest bit was opening the 360 case. Most Youtube tutorials are made by malicious idiots, who seem to purposefully omit various steps. One guy, who had like 3 million hits, blatantly skipped several minutes of unclipping the rear tabs. Why did he do this? Probably because he’s a scoundrel that wanted others to break their machine. I went through around a dozen tutorials before I found one that walked me through the entire thing. The ironic thing was when I got the machine open, it turned out the first owner had done a terrible repair job as some kind of pre-emptive attempt to prevent the RROD. The guy who lent it to me had bought it off this first owner, and hadn’t even been told about this!

Anyway, long story shot:
It took a lot of reading and tutorial watching, but in the end repair was easy (just clean the chips, put paste on, and screw together, then do the overheating thing), and it miraculously worked!

Will it work for you? I don’t know. But if you’re out of warranty, it’s worth a shot for £6.

FUN TRIVIA: after removing the power-button board, which also houses the RF modulator for the wireless controllers, I tried turning the machine on with a wired controller, and it worked! The system doesn’t detect the missing component, meaning it’s entirely possible to run the system as a purely wired device. I mention this, because when you plug the system into the mains the RF board is activated, and it continuously pulls power to transmit a signal - which is ridiculous, because that means it’s eating power all the time! As an energy conscience person, I like the idea of running it without this, and there doesn’t seem to have been any harm done in doing so. Wired for the win.

Seems we were picked up by Kotaku. Here are some links:

The PDF I used with step by step instructions - this is a direct link, so if the site owner sees a thousand hits and replaces it with something bad, don't blame me, I've already shown you the main page to click on for it. It's right there, on that page, a hyperlink to their PDF guide. Or just click here:

The worst bit with opening your 360 are the little pin slots at the back. This video seems to give a good explanation on how to pop them open. You need a super THIN screwdriver to do it, and it takes time. Be patient.

Finally, what I didn't photograph, is the fire extinguisher I keep my kitchen. If you do any repairs, use common sense. Keep an extinguisher close, have a plan should it go awry, work in a clean environment, have a friend over to drag your lifeless corpse from the wreckage when it goes wrong. HG101 takes no responsibility for this.

I've clocked 55 hours on the unit, and the owner has given me his blessing to play it hard. It's the second revision (the one with an HDMI slot, but an early model).

Based on what I've read, this fix can last anywhere from a few hours to over a year - you're obviously living on borrowed time and it should be considered a last ditch effort before the scrapheap.


  1. when my 360 rrod'd i somehow fixed it by dunking it in the bath... it added 2 months before it happend again.

    the bath added only a week that time, then no more. science.

  2. I did the same thing a year or so ago, and yep, it certainly works. Sadly, it's really only temporary, though. Seems like from what I've read--and personal experience--that it only lasts about 3 months or so.

  3. But how many hours are you playing per month? I've clocked about 50 on this so far.

  4. The toothpick trick! I just stuck a toothpick in each fan, let the bastard overheat and switch off and voila it worked...

  5. go for water cooling after this fix

  6. So you take the thing apart, clean the chips, add new thermal paste, reapply heatsink, then run it for 2 mins without the fan on it until it overheats, then reassemble and every thing is fine?

  7. The X-Clamp method is only temporary and potentially very dangerous. What you are doing is overheating the chip so much that it melts the solder and re-sets, fixing any breaks in the solder. However the bond is a lot weaker than the first time and in less than 6 months you will end up with another RROD more than likely. Also overheating the GPU like that isn't good for the system and you could potentially completely kill the system and might have already damaged the GPU, you are afterall heating a delicate piece of high precision silicon to a temperature that can melt solder. There's also the fact that this is extremely dangerous and is a fire hazard.

    The reason Xbox 360's and PS3's are so prone to heat related faults is to do with the solder that is used. They use lead free solder because it's environmentally friendly but lead free solder is much weaker than lead solder and breaks easily if the motherboard or chip expand and contract with constant use.

    If anyone does have RROD or YLOD problems then what you really should do if your console is out of warranty is to go to someone with a proper reball set up, not a reflow. In Ireland there's plenty of these around so I'm sure there's plenty of them in other countries. You need special equipment to reball a console, you really need a professional to do it unless you really know what you are doing. What someone with a reballing machine will do is replace all the solder points on the chip and also replace the solder with proper lead based solder. This is more than likely a permanent fix or at least a fix that will last an awful lot longer than a reflow. What ever you do, do not get a reflow job done. All they are doing is melting the solder and re-setting it just like the X-Clamp method, it's a waste of money.

    Another option is to try and get a refund for your console. I'm not sure about the law in other countries but in Ireland and Europe consumer law is quite strong. There's a thread in an irish forum I moderate where people have taken the retailer to court for YLOD and RROD consoles that were out of warranty and gotten full refunds from the small claims court, nobody has lost a case yet on the basis that a console of that price should 'last a reasonable time' as stated in consumer law. It has to be the retailer, not the manufacturer and you need proof of purcahse. Of course this could take a couple of weeks or months.

    1. Yeah, this was my experience too. I tried replacing the X-Clamps, and was overjoyed when my system came back to life... only to find crushing disappointment three months later when the machine went back to its old, red ringing ways.

      I knew about the use of lead-free solder in modern game consoles, but always figured that the reason reflowing lost its effectiveness over time is that impurities were introduced to the solder with each reflow. Also, I never thought to replace the lead-free solder with the regular kind. It seems like a very time-consuming and arduous process, especially with the tiny components the Xbox 360 uses. Is it worth the trouble? How much would it cost to have a professional tackle this job?

  8. Get it reballed

    Take it to a proper BGA station. It will replace all the GPU/CPU / Southbridge solder with proper non cheap shit (M$)

    Iv still got my launch model (20gig pro)
    Now it's a 1tb multi game/emulator / music player / Linux OS.

    -posted from my 360

  9. As someone who used to do this for a living, I can honestly say it just doesn't last. Best thing to do is break down and buy a slim. You can even buy a shell for your old hard drive to make it compatible.

  10. You aren't going to share the Youtube video that didn't purposefully skip any steps which might break your system?

  11. I did the same fix, however I also took my naked 360 motherboard and baked it in the oven at 385 for 20 minutes. Has been stable for over a year now.

  12. this doesnt work, i did the repair and it worked great for about 3 months and back to the rrod

  13. hours per month? erm, maybe 2 odd hours a day, on average i guess... so that'd be maybe 60 a month i guess but it's not an exact science.

    just to be sure, was the otaku person saying they'd done the bath or the article method?

  14. Can you link to the tutorial that took you step by step? I'd be interested to watch that.

  15. Sketcz, your post got picked up by Kotaku...

  16. With this method you are going to destroy any possibilities of repairing your xbox in the future, you should never remove the X-clamps, they are there because they prevent the motherboard from blending because of the heat. This repair will only last a couple of months if you are lucky

  17. I've fixed 8 broken 360s by replacing the xclamps with screws and washers and reflowing the solder with a heat gun (only when needed) none of them including my own launch day model have broken since, 14 months and counting.

    I picked up one of them for £2 at a boot sale and had it fixed in about half an hour, the only other problem I've come across is when one stopped reading discs and that was quickly fixed by gradually turning the lazer adjustment screws until it worked correctly.

    It's ironic that for a console with such a bad reputation for failures, with such an easy repair it's the most longlived cd/dvd based console I've ever owned only the Dreamcast came close as my launch model still works but needs the lazer ajusting fairly regularly as it's got fussy with certain games and I've lost count of how many PS2s I went through with disc read errors I couldn't seem to perminently fix.

  18. I have NEVER bought a 360 for this very reason. People look at me like I'm crazy, but my NES, PS2 (which has gotten thousands of ps2/ps1/dvd player plays), Dreamcast (which probably has overall gotten more play than all my other systems combined), HELL MY ATARI 2600! all work fine. Today. No repairs ever. On the other hand, 9 out of 10 360 users I know have had the red ring of death. I refuse to spend hundreds of dollars on a system that is faulty -- on purpose, most likely, to get people to buy MORE 360's. Just ridiculous. Was Microsoft ever sued over this shit?

  19. Some of the blog posts which I put tremendous effort into, researching for several weeks, dont get picked up by anyone and have zero comments. This one, which I knocked together in 5 minutes and couldn't even be bothered to take a proper heading pic for, gets picked up?

    Internet, there is no justice within you. :(

    Still, I like Luke Plunkett, whenever I check out an interesting post on Kotaku it tends to be by him - so he's alright in my book.

    Here is the step by step guide:

    There's a link to a PDF on that page. Here is the direct link - though I fear if a thousand people click on it they will remove it:

    I would link to the Youtube video I used, but I can't recall which one it was. I clear my history regularly. I did a search but couldn't find the exact same one. Just check a few, and if you have trouble with a particular section, look for another on Youtube (I had the most trouble with the 5 slots at the back - where you need to use a thin screwdriver to pop open). This one seems OK:

    I realise this isn't the best solution. The 360 is the original model that first came with HDMI (revision 2?), and the guy gave me permission to fix and play it hard until it doesn't work.

    These kind of things require common sense. This isn't intended to be a permanent solution, just something so I can complete a few games. Currently I've clocked about 55 hours on it.

    Rest assured when I switched it on to overheat I did on top of my stove (fire resistant) and I kept an extinguisher nearby.

    Obviously the best solution is to buy a Slim. I suppose I could have it reballed, but I didn't want to spend more than £6 and a couple of hours on this. Regular readers of the blog know the Sketcz modus operandi: quick, cheap, and the route of least resistance.

  20. The fix can be permenant if you do it right, like I said ealier I've fixed 8 of them so far, my own launch model I fixed over 14 months ago, another one I got from a bootsale about a year ago for £2 because it had RROD and was tatty I use to play on a network and one broken one I was given a while ago I fixed and keep downstairs for my nephews to use when they come around, all still going strong.

    On top of that I've fixed another 5 for my mates and their mates and all are still working as far as I know, if you can find them cheap enough with the factory seals intact so you know they haven't been beasted (there's a seal just under the faceplate) it's worth picking one up either for network gaming or just as a spare or modding project.

  21. ive used this rrod repair guide for xbox and i also fixed my mates ps3 with it as well so i thought id share it for anyone that is interested. here it is

  22. This is a good RROD repair guide! I've followed your steps and I resolved the problem with my Xbox 360 although I can't deny that I looked at another resource to help me out. The helpful information from (Step by step guide on Xbox 360 troubleshooting) and from your blog post had saved my precious Xbox 360..thank you!

  23. This is one way of doing it but it didn't stick and I got the RROD back after a couple of weeks.
    I'm assuming my system was in much worse condition then most, so I had to send it to they ended up doing a reflow of the motherboard.
    I haven't had an issue since, going on almost 2 months, without and hiccup.

  24. I performed the x-clamp repair over 2 years ago, and still going strong. Re-flowing the gpu during this process is the key. Wrapping it in a towel and letting it overheat is a sure way to shorten your xbox's life, or indeed kill it for good! I also upgraded to talismoon whisper fans to shift more air, as the standard fans are not up to much at all.

  25. Yeeeeaaaaa.... If you want to make your Xbox 360 even WORSE, follow the steps on this forum.

    ... Wow.

    The 2 most important steps you absolutely cannot go without are:

    1. Don't use any other type of Thermal Paste except for "Arctic Silver 5 - High Density Polysynthetic Silver Thermal Compound" (you can find it at Radioshack)

    2. You MUST reflow the motherboard (with both Heatsinks already removed, and CPU/GPU chips as clean as you can get them) with a Heat Gun (Home Depot/Lowe's) on both sides for about 4 minutes each side. DO NOT focus Heat Gun on single spot, for this could burn your motherboard. Make sure to cover entire area of the motherboard evenly with even strokes back and forth.

    Obviously, there are plenty of other steps needed other than just these 2. However, without these 2 points covered in your fix, you will be extremely frustrated when you realize the amount of time you wasted...

    D. Wayne