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Picture of Fix the Red Ring of Death! (Without Towels)

Fix your Xbox 360's Red Ring of Death (RRoD) by yourself, no wrapping in towels or soldering irons required! If you no longer have a warranty on your Xbox 360 and it has developed the dreaded Red Ring, there is hope. You can still easily repair it.

As most of you know, the RRoD is a sign displayed by the 360's "Ring of Light" when there is a general hardware failure. While this can be caused by any part (or lack thereof) of the 360, the general cause is most often excessive heat, which stresses the solder joints on the CPU and GPU. Over time, these joints can become separated, which causes the Red Ring to appear after a few years of use, usually when you have a new game to play and you've taken the day off.

This method requires nothing but mere screws and washers. Seriously: no overheating your console, no adding new fans (although you can add them if you like), no towels. Ever since I did this I haven't had the console freeze up once.

Step 1: Before we begin...

Before you even think of unplugging your 360 let's work in a bit of intelligent forethought.

For starters, why would you need to repair the console yourself? If you have a working warranty I highly suggest you send the console to Microsoft for repairs, as a repair will void your warranty. While Microsoft has dropped the ball on product quality in an effort to get the 360 out before other consoles, they picked up the proverbial dirt-covered ball by extending all warranties to 3 years.

If you plan on actually reviving the 360 don't use the towel trick. What it does is overheat the inside of the console by blocking fan intakes, temporarily doing something to make the 360 run for a brief period of hours to days. While it may be the quick and easy approach, it also overheats every other component in the 360, which is never good. It can cause chips to fail, capacitors to dry out, release the magic smoke, and possibly spark a fire. So, unless you hate your Xbox something fierce, don't do this.

And of course, if you're on your 4th Red Ringed Xbox 360, and are considering buying a PS3...

FIX IT, REGARDLESS OF WARRANTY!

I would hate to see someone give up the pinnacle of gaming due to a simple flaw over a Blu-Ray player with gaming functionality.

So, if your warranty is void, or you're about to join the dark side of gaming, read on!

 
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Belinea915 days ago

How to repair xbox360 without opening the console. Try it guys, it worked on my xbox :)

JosipL125 days ago
dcortino27 days ago

Outstanding! This just saved me so much money! I spent 8.50 for the hardware at Home Depot and about an hour to fix it. Took some time to get the screws set just right, but ultimately worked perfectly. Excellent instructions. They were detailed enough to make the job straight forward. The only issue I found was with the 3/16 inch drill bit - I had to make the hole slightly larger (7/32) for the screws to fit correctly.

BrandonB221 month ago

I wonder if Microsoft still honors repairs on older 360s. I have 4 that have RROD and they are just sitting around as useless paperweights. Crazy how durable the original XBOX was and how shoddy the 360 was.

SO geeky <3

DNAP4201 month ago
Spilt milk on my xbox started too RROD. Tried this and its been working evee since. I alsp applyed silicon around the vents on the top peice then reinstalled the metal cover.
TimB211 month ago
I suggest not including clear cut bias in your guides. It adds nothing, and only has the potential to be a distraction. I support all 3 consoles. Don't include nonsense the PS3 is better than a bluray player. Ironically in 2015 the XB1 wants to be a media player that plays games. Very amusing that's why you shouldn't be snide
Jake Turner (author)  TimB211 month ago
Thanks for reading!
Jake Turner (author)  TimB211 month ago

I wrote this 7 years ago at the age of 16. The Internet was a different place then, I've since moved on from snide comments.

Well I didn't realize that, makes sense. Thanks for the reply.
igor_harris2 months ago
I think is useful to say that you have to take in place exhaust at the first turn on, otherwise console will overheat. Also, my GPU cooler have some extension with the pipe, so I don't have any space to bolt on another fan to the CPU cooler. Who also have this type of console, I found useful to make the same extension of the exhaust over the CPU just like over the GPU he made in this tutorial.
Also, I tried without X-clamps, but for some reason, I still believe that the X-clamps is better because I'm not sure about the tension I made with the screws, so, I'm back with the clamps.
This tutorial was very useful. Thank you!
Ok so we did this tutorial to the letter and the red lights went away. But now, when we start it up none of the green lights flash on in the usual way they are supposed to during startup. No red lights, no green lights. We have not tested it on a tv yet so we dont know if any of the graphics are going through, but we just think this is unusual because normally the green lights always show up. Any suggestions? BTW we started out with the E 74 error code and one red ring in the lower right corner.
Bad hard drive connectio.
One ring and an E74 code isn't the RROD, it's only the first ring. What it means is that your cables aren't connected properly, and that's all it means.
A simple guide to red rings is:
  1 quadrant = cable connection error
  2 quadrants = overheating of system
  3 quadrants = internal system error aka RROD

All you need to do is properly connect your cables, however, doing this tutorial wasn't necessary and if you didn't do it right you may have shot your system :(, if you did do it correctly, then your fairly safe in the future from the true RROD.
and four quadrants for not having the AV cables in the back lol
4 red lights is more commonly a cable problem, more specifically an av cable problem.
E74: AV cable error... There is a problem with the AV cable, try using a different AV cable. If the cable is known to be working then there is a 90% chance it's a scaler chip problem (the "ANA" or "HANA" chip connected directly to the AV cable) in rare cases it is the GPU. http://www.llamma.com/xbox360/repair/Xbox-360-error-codes.htm
actually... the power plug being loose or only being plugged in half way will display a 3 light... just thought I'd clarify that...
E74 code meant your graphics card is shot. or maybe thats E 73 idk but if you were playing cod 5 or cod 6 or any other newer games and you saw random purple lines its the graphhics card.
its E74
read above comment. but your partly right...
try plugging in the av cable then trun it on
1 red ring isnt the ring of death
did you google it? i think i found a site with fixes for it but idk what the link is anymore.

and you should try hooking it up to a tv, because if you dont then ALL of the red rings will blibk and mean you need to hook it up to a tv...try those ideas then come back. idk
JacobC123 months ago
Alright i got everything put back together. But now when i power it on i get a red light on the power brick and the xbox wont come on. What did i do wrong?
shaqirn5 months ago

when i on the xbox only the red rings are coming.there's nothing working inside plss tell me how to fix it

LexiM6 months ago

I know someone who could find this useful

VanL7 months ago

After having boxed my dead xbox 360 over 2 years ago, I figured she was done, well out of warranty and I wasnt going to send it into microsoft to pay. So i got the itch yesterday to search the net for possible fixes, came across this and saw review after review of how this fixed their system.

So, I embarked on the journey to try to fix my 360, if it didnt work no big deal couldnt break it anymore I thought. While doing stuff, like cleaning the cpu and gpu thinking I was destroying them somehow by rubbing them and during stacking the washers I was pessimistic, I was sure I screwed up or was just wasting my time. I didnt have any thermal paste lying around nor did I really want to spend any cash in what could be a complete waste of time and I read some ppl use toothpaste for temporary thermal compound use. Since I knew one of the keys is to overheat the cpu and gpu that optimal cooling was not terribly important at this pount, I used just some regular Colgate toothpaste. I would never operate the system with this, but figured it would be fine to test.

The hard part was making sure the heatsinks were level and even pressure is applied to the 4 heatsink bolts to the chips. At one point I thought I was tightening to much and thought I heard the board crack, yikes.

So, after mounting of the heatsinks, plugging in the cd drive, rf card, hdd, video out cable and power cable It was time for the moment of truth. I left the fans unplugged and powered it on, Greeted by the lovely RROD, within about 15 seconds I could feel the Gpu heatsink warming and then the cpu warming about 15 seconds later. I didnt really time anything, but the heatsinks got to the point they couldnt be touched within about 2 mins and I left it on for a little while longer, maybe 4-5mins or little less? I turned off the system and waited 20 mins.

Moment of truth, I powered on the Xbox 360 and expected 3 death red leds of what I had seen for such a long time, and then bam, green lights, WTH am I dreaming, then came the fimilar xbox sound and logo in the tv and went to the main menu, a menu I thought Id never see again in this sytem. I am stoked!

I turned it off for an hour to cool, hooked up the fans / shroud and powered it on and it worked again! fans came on and was humming along, what a glorious sound! I navigated the menu and played a game for a minute or two not daring to push my luck with the toothpaste thermal compound, going to get arctic silver now cause I know it works so its easily worth it to me to buy the $10 syringe of the stuff.

So in conclusion, it really does work as the others have testimonied on here and add my Xbox as another survivor of the curse of the RROD!!!

VanL VanL7 months ago

Update: So got the arctic silver 5 thermal paste, cleaned off the toothpaste with a lint free cloth, applies the thermal paste and spread it out with a clean credit card and tinted the heatsinks as described by arctic silver. Then I mounted the heatsinks amd took my time to make sure even pressure was applied to the cpu and gpu.

I go to power on the system and boom red ring, my mood drops to somber and chills go up my spine as I get ready to crawl in a corner sucking my thumb and calling for mommy.

I then un plug the fans and try the overheat trick again for 4-5 mins. Let it cool down for 20min and try again, rrod, ahhh tears welling up in my eyes.

I putma cloth on my hand cause those heatsinks are hot, and press firmly down first on cpu and power on, instant rrod, i try on a few spots on the cpu heatsink and instant rrod. I then go to the gpu heatsink and press down, turning the switch on it hesistated green and then rrod on my, but I was curious about the hesitation, I tried it a few times alternating pressure on the cou and gpu and the cpu instant rrod and gpu it hesitates, so Im thinking the gpu is off. So I fiddle around with the gou bolt, first tightening them and then it was instantly rrod. So back out th bolts and just hand tighten and then ever so slightly apply a little more pressure but no too much.

Power it on and boom she boots up no rrod and Im all troll face \:} So, I plug in the fans and power it in and proceed to play graphics intensive games for over and hour. I was very shocked at the fact the fans are barely spinning, compred to how it was before and even how it was last night with the el cheapo toothpaste thermal paste lol. i can really tell a difference the thermal paste makes, the heatsinks feel way hotter than last night but that just shows me the thermal paste is really doing its job transfering the heat.

Anyways, its working great but Im going to mod the fan to run off the 12 volt line of the HDD to keep it cooler and prevent warping the board further and causing me having to mess around with the rrod again. So, good luck to my fellow cursed xbox 360 friends, heres to getting your system back up and running, what are you waiting for, rio open your xbox 360 and bring your system back from the dead!

Peace out, Van

tuckh4208 months ago
It actually worked! I had it running for about 3 minutes and it got two red quadrants (overheated), is that normal? or did I do something wrong in the process? any help and/or tips would be greatly appreciated! sorry for the poor quality picture, my tablet's camera sucks.
temp_-1349512554.jpg

No problem with the new console ;)

TazzyUK1 year ago

Would the parts requirements be any different for a UK Xbox 360, as in what to ask/look for. Maybe a different term used over here than in the states. Anyone bought all the necessary parts from a UK supplier (Maybe B&Q, Maplins for example)?

jmawson1 year ago
Done the fixing of Xbox but now fans not working what has happened can it still b fixed and how

Hats off Mr. Turner. Great instructable! I did this to the letter except instead of steel washers between the board and case I used Delrin (plastic) spacers that I made. They are .185 inches tall. Also used 2 nylon washers on every screw between the board and heatsinks. I have not played it yet but did leave it powered on for 10.5 hours straight with no issue. Will comment back if anything changes when playing. This console was given to me by a fed up friend that payed somebody $40 to repair it. That "repair" guy removed the x-braces but only bolted through the board, not the case. I personally don't advise this method because you are just weakening the whole thing by taking out the x-braces, in my opinion, making it worse.

Pretty awesome that this instructable is still getting the love after 5+ years. Probably that's because it works! It took some tinkering, but in the end the RROD was cured on our Xbox 360.



One thing to watch out for is that some models have different heatsinks. Mine didn't look at all like the ones in the pictures. Thus, 20mm machine screws turned out to be way too long for the CPU heatsink. I made do with 16mm screws, but even those ran into the lowest set of fins. 12mm would have been best, but between Home Depot and Lowe's, I could only come up with 4 of those, just enough for the GPU.



I think I scrounged about 4 different types of washers (nylon and metal) plus a set of neoprene grommets to get everything at the proper heights. Beware, standard #10 metal washers are too wide, they can only be used at the outer corners. Nylon washers seem best; they are nice and compact.



When it came to the testing phase, we had no joy at first. Some of the comments here indicated that it might be good to play with the tension on the screws, and to overheat the GPU and CPU purposely, to get the new Arctic Silver thermal paste under the heatsinks all nice and oozy. So I disconnected the cooling fans, screwed down the heatsinks a bit tighter (especially the one over the CPU, since it hadn't felt as warm as the GPU's), and ran the Xbox 5-10 minutes, until a slightly smoky smell could be detected in the air. And lo: the blinking lights on the front had changed! I was seeing the two lights for overheating instead of the RROD. So I unplugged everything, let it cool down for 20 min. or so, hooked up the fans again, and kapow! It booted!



It was nearly midnight when the magic happened, so I wouldn't let my sons play with it right away. But I did get some real big hugs before they went to bed :-) No problems in the days since.
puduhead1 year ago
I signed up to say thank you for this tutorial. It worked! :)

Also thanks to the guy that gave those conversions on the 3/16 bolts to what Home Depot has them as: 10-32.

My only variation was in putting 1 neoprene washer on top of the 3 metal ones for each bolt on the bottom. Made 4 on the bottom the right size as they have a little play but snugged down evenly.

Lastly, I found that the #10 washers' (as sold at Home Depot ) outter diameter was too large as they wouldn't stack evenly on the two bolts that are right next to each other. I used #8 washers instead. The inner diameter was just big enough to put the bolts through but small enough on the outter than they did not overlap on those close bolts.

Thanks again.
Joell5602 years ago
Thanks! Was able to play for 8 hours straight with out locking up!
A huge thanks to Jake for these instructions! Mine didn't work at first either. Kept getting 3 RROD when I turned it back on. But I put the rest of the screws back in and found I had over tightened the new screws for the heatsinks. I did the other screws as tight as I could without damaging them and loosened off the new heatsinks screws. Tried it again and it worked! So in my case it was about getting the perfect tension on all the screws for it to work. It took a few tries, the first time i released the new heat sink screws a little way after putting other screws back it still didnt work. i took a bit more off and it then it sprung to life!!
joegravelle5 years ago
still have rrod even after doing the entire instructable. I've spent about an hour adjusting the heat sink pressure and nothing works.
rrod is general failure, not always only one cause. it could be something else, thought that was said on the first page, coulda been a different 'ible though
Just tried this excellent guide (coupled with Llama's guide) and my $25 rrod 360 is working like a champ. The original x-clamps were nowhere near holding the heatsinks on. Probably 1/16" play between the heatsinks and the chips... the result was ZERO cooling for the CPU/GPU. The manufacturer apparently made up for slop in the design by using a ton of thermal paste, but even that couldn't provide the needed heat transfer to the heatsink in the end.

I'm happy that I can give this better-than-original xbox 360 to my nephew!
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