Instructables

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

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Step 9: Testing, testing, three, six, tee...

Hook your 360's AV and power cable in, and plug the RF board(the circuit board that has the Ring of Light LEDs and) back into the 360, otherwise you won't be turning it on. :D

Turn it on without the fans plugged in, checking to see how fast the heatsinks heat up. Getting hot in less than a minute is excellent. Now plug in the fans and put on that plastic fan shroud. Turn it on again, and it should boot up normally, assuming you did the heat test(if you didn't plug in the DVD drive, the center LED will blink green).

If it goes RRoD instead, unplug the power cable, re-insert it and try again. If you cannot get the console to boot, press down on both the heatsinks with even force, and power it on again. If it boots, power it on with only one heatsink pressed upon. If it boots with that particular heatsink pressed on, power the 360 off, and keep re-booting until you find the problem corner(s) on the heatsink that need tightening.

The idea is to tighten any heatsink corners that aren't tight enough, in order to allow a good connection for that processor.

So if it boots up normally, and you can play a game for at least an hour without locking up, you've worked your magic, and the 360 can be re-assembled! Have a beer, rent a movie, eat some gummy bears, do whatever it is you do to treat yourself, because YOU DID IT!

The next step goes over some measures you can take to prevent overheating.
 
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fiddlemonkey9 months ago
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.
Joell5601 year 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!!
HTSauce1 year ago
ok, im useing 4 hex screws (matching thread to heatsink), with 4 rubber washerstopside & 2 metal one flush & one locking, & removed all previous applications of thermal paste, with a little bit of 70% rubbing alchoal, spairingly, & a stick cut to a fine point chizle tip, soft wood, its shinin like a mirrior finish with a near blueing to it, (oxidisation i suppose), any way i modded a fan in at a 45 degree angle & an outtake fan also at a 45degree angle from the top of the heatsink, running mush louder & quieter than the stock fans, & molded a grouve in the shoude to accomidate the outtake fan, i have thermal paste but have reached my buget as far as supplysfor the gpu, i was able to find 2 matching pairs of the same thread , but diffrent bit, , but all diffrent legnths, i cut luvers nessare for accomidation,

my question is, inder the gpu heatsink, is it nessary to appaly washers to this application, or (with said application of thermal paste) only appalying even cross tension with bottom mounted screws? or are "spacers" needed?

second, i cut the bottom of the enclouser case entitleing the airea of the x molds, intending on grounding out each screw head to the case, but figured that would aid in air flow temp, would i have bottential probibility of mobo fluxuation or warping? beeing 2-3 inches from support to support? im also doing a back side case mod where ill be cutting out a stencil of r2d2, painting my case black, eching where needs be wight, & cutting out the blue aireas & installing a wight film papper with a few blue leds, on the opposing side ive cut a window over the cd tray, cut the disk drive 2/3, revaling most of the spinning disk, , the intake out take fans are in a v formation at 45 degree angles from the top of the heat sink, having then diagonally through the case, im adding a window over the cpu heatsink top with plexi & a blue led pointing upward, , i also made hidden blocks that deflect direct light from hitting cd lazer airrea, i plan on j tag after i fix rrod & makeing a base stand out of an old external usb hdd, & painting it to match, i wanted my own dark side r2d2 edition xbox because i cant afford a new one that looks cheezy to boot, i got this broken one free, :)

thanks for the help & sorry for the lecture
IAmArtist2 years ago
idk what I am doing wrong here... I applied the thermal paste found some washers, screws, and bolts i could use. NO matter how i tighten or loosen I am still getting the 3 red rings! It is fustrating! My heatsinks get hot fast. The flatter silver heatsink takes a little longer to heat up compared to the bigger, square'ish one with the copper going through it, however. Idk if that could be the issue right there... I am still using the x-clamp for the flat, silver heatsink too ( couldn't finnd screws to fit it and no money to buy any). And I know I applied more than enough thermal paste to the chips. Any help would be great! I haven't played with my xbox for almost a year now since it decided to go south on me.

Also, when I don't have the heatsinks on it flashes with 2 reds instead of three. When I put the heatsinks back on then it goes to 3 reds again. Maybe There is to much pressure or not enough? idk...
OK I got it working... is it possible to have to much thermal compound (paste) on ur CPU and GPU chip??? Cause it worked for a little bit... i turned it on and off three times... Then when I put it back into the frame it stop working again... idk if it was to tight or to loose... Any Help???
jwright312 years ago
Hmm cant get the red lights to come off still.....wont even power up, it turns on for a split second, then the red lights come right now....
press the eject button and sync button and the lights will flash in different ways 1 = 1, 2 = 2, 3 = 3, 4 = 0. do that 4 times then take that code you get to this site "http://www.llamma.com/xbox360/repair/Xbox-360-error-codes.htm" and that should help you out
jchanis3 years ago
removing the xclamps worked great .. got some issues with the screws .. u should NOT overthigthen the screws. if the screws are 2 tight the cpu/gpu will not have a proper connection right after doing this i was able to play for 2 straight hours working great .. just find the right tweak for your heatsink's brandnew screws
At first I received 2 red lights... So, I went back and played with the screws. Then I received 3 lights... After playing with the screws on and off, and reapplying thermal paste. I GAVE UP. Put it all back together... Tried it one more time, and it worked. I don't know why, and I don't care. But try it and it may work for you.
adledog4 years ago
For everyone having the 2 red light problem, try two things: 1: Adjust the screws, in my case the screws were too loose, so the system went to two rings by default 2: Put the fan guard back on! It helps a ton, I'm currently testing how long I can play for but the fix seems to have worked=] Thanks a ton to the poster and I also thought Id share this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuIl0kGf7dM Its a video walkthrough of the same process and it helped me a ton. Good luck to everyone else!
Appreciate the tips, but I tried both of these and no luck. It goes to 2 lights instantly. The screws are definitely tight enough and I just put the fan guard on and it didn't seem to help. I suppose it's possible that it needs more time to cool and then will start, so I'll try that and post again if it helps, if not any other tips on this would be appreciated.
Just a little update, I removed the heatsinks, reapplied thermal paste this time I'm certain there is more than enough, hooked everything up, put on the fan shield, still get an instant overheat (1 and 3 lit) error.
After giving it some cooldown time it took about a full second before the fans spun up faster and the error came up. I might try re-doing the thermal paste though I feel like I did it right. I followed the directions on the package to the letter and I've put on thermal paste before without a problem. It definitely looked like there was a good coating, and at this point that's all I can think of. I mean if I'm understanding what causes the RRoD correctly then it'd still be happening if the heatsinks weren't flush with the processors, so I guess at least that works but a lot of good it does me if the thing still won't work.

I didn't give it a HUGE amount of time so I'll try it one more time tomorrow morning, but at this point I'm pretty confident something is still wrong.
I followed all of your steps and it still gives me the rrod. When I turn it on it goes straight to thte rrod and turns the fan on for about half of a second. I doubled checked everything and I still cant find what is wrong so please help.
legionthree3 years ago
I ran through all the steps and Ive been fiddling with the screw settings and still no luck. I cant even get the heatsinks to heat up. Any hints?
Following all the steps above I still got the RRoD. I unplugged and plugged it back in about ten times to no avail. I then tried pressing on the GPU and CPU... still RRoD. I gradually tighened all the screws to their max, repeating the above steps at eath 1/8th turn... Still 3 RRoD. Any suggestions?
Metin1004 years ago
We finnally fixed it but we didnt put in all of the other little srcews so we got RRoD. After we put the other screws in and played with the big screws and got them just right, we had to turn it on and off for a few times and BAM! It worked like new! We played for about an hour without if crashing or freezing. Thank you so much! :)
korou4 years ago
I followed this guide religiously and I got it to work. However, after about an hour of play, the rrod hit me again. I turned it off for 30 minutes and came back to it and it still had the rrod. Thinking one of the screws were loose, i repeated all the steps again. Except this time I can't get it to work. Any help would be appreciated
I have done everything in this guide here -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-wni_SNFXU Steps 1 through 3. And I have tightened the screws down ALL the way down. Still 3 rings of death. I tried pressing down on the gpu and cpu unit while running it and still 3 rings of death. Somebody please help.
Nvm. I messed around with the screws and got it to work. I put it all back together and it works like it used. Perfect. Thank you guys so much.
messex4 years ago
A little note on here to save the next guy some trouble. I forgot to put the plastic fan cover back on. Without it to direct the air flow I was continually over heating within the first 10 minutes. Once I put it back on it ran like a dream
gluttonman4 years ago
Ok so, I followed the guide (which was great, by the way) and the red ring stopped coming on first time we tested it. The only problem is that now, no matter how I plug it into my TV, it comes up with an "unusable signal" message, and no controller will sync, even wired ones. I was wondering if you have any advice that may be able to help me.
zeplad4 years ago
 So i followed this guide and it worked really well. It will run without crashing the only problem is that the color will randomly get messed up then randomly go back to normal. Could this be an issue with the tightness of my gpu? Any help would be appreciated!
Famousamos4 years ago
Help Needed, I done everything instructions but still no help, 3 flashing lights when down to 2 flashing lights. But when its time for me to plug the fan back up and turn it on again it goes back to 3 flashing lights... Can someone help me?
hosic4 years ago
Hey guys, what do you think i did wrong here. Did whole process, put board back in housing, put fan on top on gpu and let it go for about 30 minutes with the fan spinning. after that, put everything back to gether, fan in right place, dvd rom and the cover in front of fan, turn it on and it does not even think about loading, just blinks the three lights and fan does not turn on anymore, sometimes maybe a half of spin. Where did i go wrong, tried adjusting the screws and nothing. Does the actual MB need to be screwed case housing?
bharris25 hosic4 years ago
 I tightened the screws too tight at first and got the red ring but it started working just fine when I backed em off a little.  I'm glad that worked, and that I didn't decide to shoot my xbox...
jquest6 years ago
i can't believe this worked. i turned it on and played for an hour and a half and it was still all good. when i first started getting the red ring it would boot but it would freeze once i got started playing. then i kept trying to turn it off and on and after i while it would only get as far as the xbox logo in the beginning and bam the ring would flash. anyway i just wanted to thank jake biggs. awesome guide man. i am very greatful.
Jake Turner (author)  jquest6 years ago
No problem bro. It should last for a while, It's been 7 months almost since my RRoD, with only two occurrences that happened after a power blip (off then right back on) as I was playing. But a reboot solved them. Anyhow, if you need any questions answered or just wanna chat, send me a PM. -Dr. Professor Jake "Biggs" Turner
Thanks for the instructable Doc, need a tip on the console continuing to freeze after this fix?  Can get only about 5 min in or so, it isn't giving me any red lights, console will just freeze up, usually during a game loading.
I checked the sinks and they are getting hot within 1 min., boot up goes fine as well.  Do I need to just keep playing round here with tightening and loosen, anything else I could check?
Jake Turner (author)  WarNole964 years ago
I would say just keep playing with the screws, you might wanna focus on the CPU screws judging by the freezing issue.
hba12814 years ago
i did everything, except the washers, i cut them down and superglued them and the heatsinks got hot and it went from 3 rings to 2. but after it cools, they dont go green! any advice will help. how far did you guys screw down the gpu and cpu heatsinks? 
Boy-Scout4 years ago
I finished this tonight!  I used 8 MM screws for the graphics chips and I screwed the processor heat sink right to the MB with 16 MM screws. 8MM to 10 MM would have been enough.  I figured the 4 screws in the middle would hold the MB in place. 

I had to reduce the washers to 2 topside.  any more and I was losing contact.  I would also recommend using nylon washers for the GPU cuz there are traces that would be shorted otherwise.  I also had to clip pieces out of the nylon washers to avoid components and the CPU washers.  Nylon is MUCH easier to clip than metal too!

I tried the holding the screws with tape, but that was too clumsy for me.  I just clamped the board to a table with one of sets of hole hanging over and inserted and screwed from the bottom.  Much easier for me.
lahoreia4 years ago
Hi,

I tried the whole procedure up until step 9, after which I was still gtting 3 red fashing lights I played around with the heat sink screws, and now the system powers on...the geen lights cycle (as if the system is about to boot up)...but just then the fan blows at a high speed followed by 2 red lights. At this point, the power supply also goes to stand by mode (orange light).

I have tried many things now...like tightening and loosening the screws...I disassembled the heat sinks again. Cleaned the chipsets and re-applied the thermal paste...but to no avail.

I am trying to get the seconday code, by pressing the sync button and eject...this leads to all 4 flashing red lights. Any subsequent eject button push does not do anything.

Btw, while playing around with different screw tensions at one point the system did boot all the way that I was able to see the dashboard. But then I could not sync the controller with the console...and eventually, the 3 red flashing lights.

I have spent almost whole day with this thing and I am about to quit the effort. Any help/pointer will be highly appreciated.

Thanks!
auburnkuse4 years ago
wish i can pop a beer, i just cANT FIX my xbox but ima try this out one moe time :) thanks
worriedman5 years ago
Great tutorial. My feedback: The #10 Washers that I got were TOO BIG. The screws/bolts on each facing-side of the processor beds were overlapping... making the screws tilt. This happened on both the underside of the motherboard, and on top. I used 4 washers on each screw underneath, and two on top.. It was 2am (stores closed), and I was on a roll...So I had to pie-slice the stacks of washers (8 washers underneath, and 4 on top) with sharp pliers, in order to make the stacks sit flush. Once everything was ready to 'try out' ... I was nervous. Hoping I did everything correctly. When I booted up, I got three red rings. Deflated!! So I loosened the bolts on the GPU side, a half-turn. I then realized that I hadn't snapped the HD into place (not sure if that matters, but I popped the HD on just for good measure). So I hooked it up again, and BAM it worked. About 15 mintues into my first game of PES 2009, the game froze with a strange sound... so I loosened the GPU bolts about 20 degrees, and its been fine since. What a great tutorial. I feel like superman.
washers.jpgwo.jpg
Good call on snipping out a "pie slice".  I ran into the same problem with the wide washers, tried just leaving one of the eight bolts washerless.

Obviously, this did not work at all because the motherboard warping was not solved.

I snipped eight of them with pliers, reinstalled everything from step 7 onward, and it appears to be working.  I am doing the "bake" right now, as the llama tutorial suggested (just in case), but it has already taken it seems.
Yeah the 'pie-slice' deal ruled. My machine is still running flawlessly.... I didn't do any 'bake' thing... I don't recall that being posted when I did my fix.

I'm wondering if the #10 washers we got were the wrong size... or if perhaps our motherboards were different. My machine was a "Core" from 2005, waaay old. Mayhaps the bolts/schematics changed since then for all the newer console editions.


Mine was/is a launch day console.  It is possible that we have different motherboards than everyone else, but since my washers are bigger than the orange "landing area" on the motherboard, my guess is that the washers were too big.

I sent mine in twice in 2008 (under warranty) to be repaired, so I'm not sure whether the current motherboard is original....I know at least the GPU heat sink was replaced.



On the "bake":  This tutorial does not list it.  However, there is another tutorial by Llamma which is very similar to this one, but suggests overheating the GPU to reflow the BGA solder connection.  Mine was already working after this tutorial, but there was little marginal effort to take this extra step so I did it anyway.

Anyway, thanks for the "pie slice" suggestion, it worked perfectly.  Too bad there is not a way to bump this for those who have the same problem.

Riser4 years ago
Fantastic, worked well. I'm out in the middle of nowhere at the moment and couldn't get hold of any thermal paste. Found silver antiseize did the job. Don't know how long it will last though. Been going for an hour at the moment with no probs.
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