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Fix the Red Ring of Death! (without towels!)

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Step 5: Stripping the heatsinks

Once the 10 dollar heatsinks are freed from the 200-some dollar motherboard, you need to remove the 1/4 inch thingamabobs(X-clamp posts). Use a 1/4 inch nut driver, wrench, or adjustable wrench to get them off. Sit them and the X-clamps in a bag/parts drawer, you won't be needing them again. Take a metal scrubber and remove the thermal gunk from the heatsinks. And while we're at it, get a toothpick and carefully scrape the gunk off the CPU and GPU. Nothing better than powering on a reborn 360 with clean heatsinks, no?
 
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Well , hello to every one ...... now lets get to the subject at hand , I'm no wiz or electronic smarty . But i've try somethng that no 1 would even think of using .....Lighter fluid put a dab on a q-tip and watch the how clean the GPU/CPU come shiny and clean under a couple minutes ...........So u can try it for ur self , it worked for me ........
sped1052 years ago
Do NOT use a metal scrubber on the heat sinks! You want a perfectly smooth surface to maximize surface contact area. The crappy thermal compound used on the xbox can be tricky to get off with alcohol alone depending on when yours was made as they've used different compounds. Start with a drop of Goo-Gone citrus cleaner and give a min to soak into the compound on the heat sinks then use a plastic credit card or similar to scrap it off followed by a cotton ball and 90% alcohol. Do the same for the processors but use a q-tip with both solutions. Be gentle and take your time
technically speaking a totally smooth surface would have considerably less surface area than one with grooves. that's why heat sinks them selves gots all them grooves. how ever something about using a metal scrubber on potentially sensitive electrical components doesn't sit well with me either.
Boy-Scout4 years ago
Dies should be mirror shiny when clean.  Be patient.
tigerz4 years ago
which heatsink is for gpu and cpu?
2+2=5 tigerz4 years ago
The taller one is for the CPU, the lower one in two parts is the GPU; it's under the DVD drive.
I used to do motherboard repair work, and to remove any residuals we'd use 90% alcohol (it dries very quickly). I use the 90% and q-tips to clear any old thermal grease off the heatsink and cpu/gpu, and works cleanly. Also Arctic Silver is a excellent thermal compound.. a little pricey but well worth the money, just remember you dont have to gob it on, when the compound heats up it spreads out very thin (due to the actual silver in it). There should be diagrams somewhere instructing the placement of the compound onto the processors.
2+2=54 years ago
I used Stoddard solvent, it's usually in the house, and swabs. It takes a while to remove all the excessive paste though...
crd224 years ago
I used rubbing alcohol on a cloth and cleaned both the chips and heat sinks with it. I also needed to use my fingernails to get some of the tougher gunk off the chips.
if you clean with a toothpick to get the dust out, try using like 5 toothpicks side by side and make quick swipes. I had mine clean in no time using this method
Vittorio884 years ago
WD-40 works great too, just be careful when using it on or near the processor because I believe it can be conductive. As long as you take care not to let the WD-40 leak to under the processor where the pins are.
neoncyber5 years ago
I would be more gentle and recommend using Arctic Clean thermal compound remover and thermal surface purifier. It's fairly cheap http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835100010 and it allows you to easily remove the gunk left over with a Q-tip or lint-free cloth. Just apply a few drops of the first one on the heatsink areas and on the GPU/CPU, wait 1 minute, and wipe off. It goes off quite easily, then just apply a bit of the second one. Works great to re-apply Arctic Silver back on. Plus it leaves behind a nice orangey smell! A toothpick scraping on a processor is not such a good idea unless you have good eye hand coordination and patience. If the Arctic cleaner is too rich for your blood, you could also just use Isopropyl Alchohol (rubbing alchohol) on a Q-tip or lint-free cloth. Don't apply the alchohol to the CPU/GPU directly however (may be too strong for some electronics). Those are just my 2 cents.
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