Introduction: Fix the Xbox 360's Red Ring of Death

Picture of Fix the Xbox 360's Red Ring of Death
NOTICE: THIS METHOD IS BY NO MEANS GUARANTEED TO FIX ANYTHING. In fact, it may even be more likely to DAMAGE your system than fix it. STOP with the comments, I know this process is not scientific or exact. Hell, I'm probably wrong about most of the information here.

Like 30-33% of Xbox 360 users, I have had the misfortune of experiencing the red ring of death on the front of my Xbox. What this means is that your Xbox 360 is experiencing a hardware malfunction. There are several different ways that are rumored to fix this problem, however I will demonstrate the most widely used method, more commonly known as the "Towel Method"

This method is only temporary, there have been reports of users using this method frequently to keep their Xbox running. I urge that you contact Microsoft customer support and have them mail you an empty box (coffin) to ship your precious console off to Texas where it will be repaired.

Before you watch the movie or view the instructible, note that I have already used the method depicted here on my Xbox successfully, so I can't exactly replicate it (now that it's fixed) for the movie. When I get the Rings again I will redo the movie to show you exactly how it works.

For now enjoy my badly made and extremely corny movie.

Also Important
I don't suck at Guitar Hero, this was only a demonstration where I goofed up once because it was like 2 a.m. when I made the movie. For proof that I don't suck, I direct you to another of my videos. For additional proof of the same song but up close on the fingers, please go here.

Note: for whatever reason, my sound cuts out at the beginning of the movie, but the first sentence is: "Like 30-33% of Xbox 360 owners, I have expiuerenced the red rings of death." Enjoy!

Step 1: Diagnose the Problem.

Picture of Diagnose the Problem.

Different lit and unlit quadrants mean different errors in your 360. Below I have made an extremely badly drawn chart to show you what your error message means.

All four quadrants lit and blinking: A/V Cable malfunction
Solution: Push it in farther or buy a new one

Second quadrant unlit, all others lit and blinking: Overheating malfunction.
Solution: Use this Instructible, it works!

Third quadrant unlit, all others lit and blinking: General hardware failure.
Solution: Send it to Microsoft, this Instructible will NOT help.

If your Xbox has the second quadrant unlit, proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Preperation

Picture of Preperation

The materials needed for this fix are simple, two to three towels.

To prepare your Xbox, remove any controllers attached, discs in the drive, and your hard drive if you have one.

Lay the Xbox on a towel and wrap it up tight. Proceed to layer one or two other towels over this one to ensure that it's nice and toasty.

Step 3: Now We Wait...

Picture of Now We Wait...

Set a timer for 15-20 minutes and sit back and wait.

While waiting I took more takes of things I did awful for the movie, but you could....

1. Listen to music
2. Take a jog
3. Work on another Instructible
4. Surf the web
5. Start creating a beginner electronics project
6. ???
7. Profit

Step 4: Play!

Picture of Play!

If this method didn't work the first time, wait for the 360 to cool off then repeat the method waiting 20 minutes instead of 15.

I can't stress enough that this is a temporary fix however, and I strongly urge that you go to Microsoft's website and visit their customer support page. Microsoft has extended warranties on all 360s that receive this error by three years, so you should be covered for the damage.

Now go play some games!


Jay15 (author)2010-12-06

dude ur voice sounds exactly how i imagined it while reading it lmao oh and last yr on dec 25 i got a xbox360 (i kno how late) and the very first time i turned it on guess what, RROD ! so i call up my gamer of a lil cousin and he said immediatly unplug it or itll crash and i did that only 3 times have i experience it and i did what my cousin said and it works fine after that, i didnt need the towel method at all so just unplug ur xbox like the power cord thing and ull be all good cos that kills the power going thro and that way it wont break! :) im a girl so im a handi tard haha

Blackhawk7992 (author)Jay152012-08-04

was it the hardware RROD or overheating one?

slinger14 (author)2009-02-04

if you guys actually want a good system return your 360 and go out and buy a PS3. for one they don't break ( and if they do there is an extra processor as a backup) . you don't have to pay for Xbox Live because PS network is free and a lot better. and you don't have to buy all the Xbox exclusive products from overpriced microsoft like the hard drives of a bluetooth head set ( on PS3 any set works as with any laptop hard drive)

Blackhawk7992 (author)slinger142012-08-04

can people stop saying ps3 or xbox is better then the other i mean they both have there pros and cons i mean come on there just consoles no need to try and make people buy something they dont want to

KyrieNova (author)slinger142012-01-18

PS network doesn't have a good a gaming community. Thats why xbox can afford to charge for its services. This post is kinda old, but now as im sure you know, xbox has more services accociated with it, like facebook,youtube, zune and much more :)

mechaninja (author)KyrieNova2012-02-17

Agreed. PSN isn't very reliable, and is down for various reasons very frequently (Hacks, jailbreakers, modders, that guy at the server farm who always seem to spill his coffee on the PSN sever...). Also, PSN costs money after the first year to continue receiving good service, other wise your service is slower and laggier. Playstation 3 would have done a heck of a lot better if ALL the versions had backwards compatability, not just the first run consoles. (author)slinger142011-10-26

I was worried mine would die after about a year because many reported it, but it is now two and I am glad I bought it. I don't have to pay for my network, wifi was built in, it has Bluetooth, it still hooks to my computer on the network and I can watch stuff. Basically it was the best thing I have ever done.

IndirectSphinx (author)slinger142011-09-26

Actually, the PS3's do break. They suffer from something called the Yellow Light of Death (YLOD), and plus their network is always acting up, or someone is hacking into them.

A Scary Ninja (author)slinger142009-04-18

Thats all well and good, but all my mates who have ps3's say that they are good for single player games. But the online multiplayer is not very fun because nobody talks and everyone is to serious, The xbox is more of a community. And also, the cash you spend fixing your xbox is less than the extra cash you would have spent buying a ps3. But yeh the ps3 IS a better system, its a shame you can't have both a community and a good system to run it.

daelans (author)A Scary Ninja2009-07-10

i dont actually have a ps3 but many of my friends do and i play theirs a lot :p and the xbox is much more... less straight forward (if you understand that) then the ps3, but gameplay and graphics and audio (at least on the games i played) are much better on xbox, but the prices of things are outrageous, like $100 for the wifi adapter, its crime.

stratisfire (author)daelans2009-09-14

but you can just buy any old wifi adaptor for 8 bucks just dont buy a microsoft brand one

daelans (author)stratisfire2009-09-15

youd think that wouldnt you. thats what sux about microsoft, there stuff only works with their other stuff. good idea tho (not really, i mean its not ike everyone else who saw the prie didnt think that) and dont say just connect to a laptop and hop connections, you cant, i tried that too.

Knex Guru (author)daelans2010-01-27

You can just connect a laptop and bridge connections. 

C.D33 (author)Knex Guru2011-01-06

it tired this and i get an error message
can u help?

Knex Guru (author)C.D332011-01-09

Start, Connect To, Right click Wireless Network Connection, left click Properties, go to Advanced, check the boxes under Internet Connection Sharing, click OK.

 so true PS3 users are overly serious i had one and for 1month on Cod4 no1 even said a word shocking they must be on some serious ranking up

playstation fan boy?

thewolftamer (author)slinger142010-01-18

Is this in any way pertinent to the red ring of death?  No, it isn't.

bighead5454 (author)slinger142009-08-26


Gangsta Snug (author)slinger142009-07-28

play station fanboy?

Panther (author)slinger142009-02-05

Ps3's don't break?

I guess you have never experienced the yellow light of death. Also sony has not extended the warranty on their units. So nice suggestion - but they break like any other piece of tech.

TheRawData (author)2009-12-22

haha, while waiting... I stared at it.  Are you allowed to do that?

Xbox Red Ring

AustinL97 (author)TheRawData2012-04-02

I would probably do that too...

dhalliday1 (author)2011-09-03

hell yeah towel method. I never use my xbox360 but i would prefer it to be a working xbox than a dead one. Cheers.

soc622 (author)2011-08-19

The only way you will fix and xbox with these symptoms is to use a rework soldering station and reheat the bga chips to get rid of any dry joints. If you want to fix it once and for all take the chips of clean the lead free solder off the board and replace with leaded solder. If you want to go to all that trouble replace all the caps in the psu they will be dodgy low esr caps and put something like panasonic caps in there this will ensure the psu will run smoother

kelson12345 (author)2011-07-28

If Halo was a woman, i would marry it. And have lots of little Master Chiefs...

guitar_god08 (author)2009-04-02

Halo 3 is really boring and you get jerks on it. Cod 4 is awsume Guitar hero awsume and carnt wait for metallica version Bioshock awsume Bully Awsume Gta 4 ok there is aload of games that are AWSUME and there are some that are crap. Not saying any names ... (Cough) Halo 3.... lol

halo reach is worse

If i ever meet you, I will rip out your throat, pull out one of your eyes and make you watch yourself die. Halo is the best game on the planet. Period. End of story. If you have a problem with that, you can take it up with my 12 gauge.

jerk just cuse you dont like halo dosent mean you have to talk bad about it

sorry but that might offend people

Dude, Halo 3 is three hundred and fifty percent better than all those games combined, the only good COD is Black Ops.

frostybob (author)guitar_god082010-03-24

 why is it then that halo 3 is awsome?

suckafish (author)frostybob2010-10-07

You both spelled awesome wrong........

kylekosan23 (author)2011-07-22

OMG it's that simple thanx

atermaten (author)2011-04-11

THE best way is the 0,40 cent way, it's so easy. I fixed mine on this way;

oscarmel77 (author)2011-02-18

this method is garbage,... really.... look up llama's rrod method.... but instead of ordering x clamp replacement kit go to lowes and get 16 #10 nylon washers, and 24 #10 steel washers you will also need 8- M-5, 12MM steel Screws which i didnt find at lowes, but i did at true value. So read llama's guide and when u get to putting heat sinks back on arrange washers like this, first put screws thru uderside of metal case then two steel washers on each, then one nylon then mother board then one nylon then one steel and then heat sinks, dont over tighten and your x box should start right up without having to over heat it first, this works for me but sometimes the motherboard is so messed up from the x clamps that u will need to keep changing the paste so its best to learn this for yor box so u could keep it going forever, unless u buy a slim then u have warranty and no x clamps to begin with actually dont know if they have x clamps if they do then microsoft didnt learn from their mistake at all.....

Jspencer76 (author)2011-02-16

towel trick thsts your best?

ol987986 (author)2011-01-02

through the fire and flames by dragonforce was the alarm on ur phone :) i have the album (inhuman rampage) itz awesome :P

paintboy360 (author)2010-09-06

DON'T DO THIS AT ALL! it will heat up the solder in the x-box melting inside because of the heat but it may fry your circuits!

prankmaster109 (author)2010-09-01

does this work on elite xbox

Tommy. T (author)2010-08-31

Then why havent they fixed the new ones?

zack247 (author)2010-03-28

the reason (i believe) that the red rings of death occur is because microsoft wanted to get the xbox 360 out there into the market before they did all of the bug fixes, much the same way toyota wanted to release their new cars at the auto show... anyways, microsoft was in such a rush to get the xbox 360 on the market that they had to use lower grade products that wouldn't take as long to get to the manufacturing plant and costed less. of course, that is just my theory :)

hoihoi151 (author)zack2472010-08-10

The rings occur because of a mounting problem. as the xbox heats up certain parts expand faster then others. so hardware warps from the heat until it disconnects and/or fails. the towel trick super heats the whole xbox so that everything expands and melts at the same pace. it does work but ruins ur xbox anyway.

mattgallion (author)2010-05-27

 What a noob. Playing on medium.

devion (author)2010-04-11

 When u wrap it you say:''take usb and hdd out'' 
but when YOU unwrap it they are BOTH plugged in....!


auburnkuse (author)2010-03-22

ok wtf? he took off his harddrive... then when he ''unwrapped'' it the harddrive was on? and didnt mention about taking of the av cords WOW.

RANDOMUS3R (author)auburnkuse2010-03-24

Ye and the USB was back in... whts with it being so dark? Apparently he can afford lights if he has Xbox.... That was the fakest wake-up ever.:P

jadeowl33 (author)2010-02-23

another fix that my husband and I did was on you tube search for "penny trick" this involves opening and affixing homemade heat sinks tothe 4 processing chips.  It cost us less than $20.00 USD to repair and we had alot of fun seeing how our XBOX looked "naked".  It took less that 5 minutes once the case was off and all components removed.  I suggest watching this vid several times then attempting.  I had to get back to ME2 stat!!!

rotora0 (author)2008-11-29

my ebox has 1 ring not 3.wat do i do?

jadeowl33 (author)rotora02010-02-23

one ring is an AV plug issue or if you modded at all it is a disc reader hook up error.  unless you opened up you XBOX then you should check your box to ensure power/AV cables are inserted correctly/fully and not frayed or damaged.  hope this helps.

About This Instructable




Bio: I study engineering at Virginia Tech. Long time instructables fan.
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