Instructables

How to Disassemble a Xbox 360

Picture of How to Disassemble a Xbox 360
This instructable requires overcoming the fear of playing with the innards of a $350 piece of equipment. The system is built with a sturdy steel chassis and requires Torx T8 and T10 screwdrivers to open.

Knowing how to open your Xbox 360 will enable you to add whatever mods you like. I will be writing instructables on changing the LEDs in your ring of light, and adding cold cathode lighting to heating vents. You will also be able to access your DVD Drive and flash it to play backups, fix the Red Ring of Death, or upgrade various equipment in the console.

Get ready to delve into Microsoft's successor to the Xbox, and have some fun in your future projects.

*** I am not liable for any damage or injury that occurs from following this instructable. The Xbox 360 is a piece of advanced equipment and can be irreparably damaged. Though the risk of breaking your system is highly unlikely if you follow the steps correctly, please do not complain to me if you brick your console. ***
 
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Step 1: Parts Needed

Torx T8 & T10 Screwdrivers - The console is held together with Torx screws, these screwdrivers are easy to find and quite cheap. If you are hoping to open a Xbox 360 controller, you will need a Security Torx T8H. The best ones I've found are from Llamma's Tool Section.

Small Flathead Screwdrivers/Paper Clips - Used to hold open the friction locks of the 360 front cover. You can also use paper clips if you desire.

360 Opening Tool ($7 - Optional) - This is a specialty part used to pop the rear locks and remove the heating grills. This is worth the $7 pricetag found at Llamma's tools if you open systems repeatedly. Another option for an opening tool is a small flat-head screwdriver, you will have to pop each friction lock one at a time, but almost everybody has a satisfactory screwdriver. Removing the shell gets frustrating and tiresome if you open lots of boxes, but if you don't feel like spending $7+s/h and waiting a week for a tool you will only use twice, don't bother with the Llamma tool.

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wolfearmy1 year ago
re apply some thermal paste to the cpu gpu under the heat syncs. there is alot of info on how to do it. this only works if youre son has 3 red flashing rings anything else is a motherboard problem
jicjax1 year ago
Hi
My xbox 360 has suddenly started to make a constant clicking noise when trying to load a disc, and now it's unable to read any discs. Looking online people said that it is due to a dirty lens? I don't know how to clean it or how to disassemble it.. could you help please? :)

Thank you!
cutshopguy2 years ago
Hi QMD,
I enjoyed the tutorial. My son has an XBox 360 which has manifested the Red Ring of Death. Using the techniques described above, I'm trying to psyche myself into trying to sort out the problem. Can you point me in the right direction - I mean I still don't have a clear grasp of what the actual malfunction is?
Thanks
QuackMasterDan (author)  cutshopguy2 years ago
Greetings, you're now facing one of the most challenging questions that has been discussed for years on Xbox 360 forums. The RRoD stands for General Hardware Failure, basically, unknown error. The most common reason for the RRoD, is the BGA (Ball Grid Array) on the underside of the GPU chip (rectangular flat heatsink) has had one of the balls shrink or crack due to heating and cooling over time. The fix is to effectively re-melt the BGA so the balls flow back in to their normal spots. The reason one of the balls has cracked or shrunk, is due to a very slight (~0.1mm) bend from the Xbox 360 X-Clamps on the GPU, that puts torsion on the chip.

Now for the fix. The best solution, honestly, is to pay someone who owns a wave-reflow station to do it for you. The station basically blasts superheated air onto the GPU to remelt the BGA. These repairmen can be found on the Scenyx forums. Watch out for Craigslist repairmen, most of them have absolutely no idea what they are doing, except the ones who own a reflow station.

If you don't feel like shipping away the box or having someone else repair it (which again, I recommend as the best option), you can always try the semi-effective Llamma fix, which involves removing the X-Clamps and replacing them with screws, and overheating the GPU so that the BGA slightly melts properly. Caution though, this is an extremely early-developed fix, and it tends to only work about 50% of the time. Link:
http://www.llamma.com/xbox360/repair/ring_of_light_x-clamp_fix.htm

Also, stay far, far away from YouTube when you're researching. There is an extreme amount of misinformation. The best places for knowledge are the Scenyx forums, EliteModScene, and XboxHacker.

Good Luck.
TheeMadCow2 years ago
I got a problem with a 360 fan. The terminals that the fan attaches to are only putting out 1.8v, I havent tested the voltage on the line powering the disc drive but right now the only thing i can think of doing is preforming the 12v fan mod to get my cooling fans running again. Does anyone have any idea about whats going on here? Could this problem be caused by the external power supply? I would like to get a bit more information before carrying on so any help will be appreciated.
QuackMasterDan (author)  TheeMadCow2 years ago
I forgot to add on, the power supply has nothing to do with it. It delivers a few 12v lines to the motherboard, and everything sources and reduces from those. If the PSU was broken, nothing would work and you'd get a red instead of a green (active) or orange (idle) status light on the PSU. Try testing the fans first by just touching a positive wire to a 12v line. If they don't turn on, obtain new fans (again, the Talismoon Whispers are recommended, but llamma would probably have stock fans for cheaper). I have motherboard schematics for wiring in my Cold Cathode tutorial.
QuackMasterDan (author)  TheeMadCow2 years ago
The fans have four wires, a set for each fan, the positives are blue and brown I believe. They're both connected to a voltage regulator, which varies the speed of the fans based on how hot the box is. They generally run from 3.3v->10.2v, though they can take a little above 12.0v. You *might*, and I really emphasize the might, because it's probably something else, be able to replace the voltage regulator for the fans, but that's a lot of work to find the right part.

Just go for the 12v fan mod. Note though, that it sounds like a jet taking off. I've had to wire it for a few customers before, they are just glad it works, and deal with the noise. 

It could also be that your fans are defective (I've had it happen before), I recommend the Talismoon Whisper fans anyways, they push twice the airflow at 2/3rds the noise.

I've attached a picture of the transistor I believe delivers the voltage to the fans, though really, it could be any part in a whole chain of ICs.

Good luck, feel free to bounce any more questions off me if you need help, I'll try my best.
Jasper.jpg
mrfate692 years ago
Replaced the X Clamps and re-applied Thermal Compound to the heat sinks and processors - XBOX FIXED!
David973 years ago
my xbox lazer has died and it has pased its warrenty. I was going to buy a second hand (red ring of death) one to replace it. would it be possable to replace it without dammaging it?
QuackMasterDan (author)  David973 years ago

Yes, it's possible to change the laser. And by laser, I think it's better to use the phrases "laser head" or "laser assembly". You see, the actual laser itself is attached to an assembly (metal box) that contains super-tiny motors to adjust the lens and keep it close and level to the spinning disc.

To fix the drive, you'll need to replace the assembly. You can obtain an assembly two ways. The easiest of which, is to find another drive of the same model (e.g. Lite-On 74850), and simply swap them out. The other, is to purchase the model number of the assembly itself (I do not know the models of assemblies used in 360 drives, but I know they are fairly common, stock parts you can buy from China [eBay]).

You'll disconnect the cables that go to the assembly, and put the new one in. I know there is some soldering involved, but it isn't super complex stuff.

I have never replaced a laser assembly myself, but I know it can be done, and isn't super complicated. Google is your best friend at this point.

The other option is to call 1-800-MY-XBOX and see if Microsoft will replace it under the warranty.
Thanks... soldering shouldnt be a problem. I know how to do it and my dad is a eletrictrition so he has the tools.
danymw3 years ago
is my gpu glued? because i can't get it out easily, the thermal paste must be cheap
QuackMasterDan (author)  danymw3 years ago
You remove the screws, you carefully pry off the x-clamps holding onto the bolts underneath the motherboard, and you grab the GPU heatsink by its sides and kind of wiggle/slightly twist it off. It shouldn't be too hard to come off, quite the opposite actually.
i know how to remove the xclamps, but this one was really stuck.
i removed 5 gpu's until today when i found this one, i mean i tried every possible twist and pull without getting the heatsink out with the gpu on it. i left it like that, heat up the cpu with heat gun, apply new thermal paste, and no more rrod.
QuackMasterDan (author)  danymw3 years ago
Bizarre, well, glad you got it off. I'll keep that in mind if I ever run into any stuck ones. Did you apply the heat gun to the top or bottom of the heatsink, and did you try running a game to warm up the chips?
i used a heat gun and unrroded 3 xbox today while writing the first comment, so that makes me a total of 5 working xbox. two of them can be jtaged. i won't bother because they won't last long enough to profit.
Great tutorial. This, paired with http://www.instructables.com/id/Fix-the-Red-Ring-of-Deathwithout-towels/ helped me get rid of the RROD. Thanks.
Two words: water cooling
QuackMasterDan (author)  killersquirel114 years ago
Water cooling isn't necessary for a Xbox 360, no one can overclock the CPU or GPU, and any user capable of installing a water-cooling mod in a Xbox 360 would not need my guide on how to open a system. An overheating-caused RRoD is strongly minimized with the new Jasper motherboards using fewer parts and a 65nm CPU & GPU. Replacing the fans with a Talismoon Whisper Fan kit would be much cheaper and easier than water-cooling.
yeah but you can be like "Oh yeah? well my XBOX is Water Cooled!!"

Pure bragging rights
QuackMasterDan (author)  killersquirel114 years ago
Bragging rights require accomplishing a a difficult task or having skill worth being proud of. Installing a liquid oxygen cooling system to overclock your Pentium 4 to 7GHz is something to brag about. Installing a water cooling system on a stock Xbox 360 isn't that difficult, the box is a low-performance computer, there's simply no reason to.

If you would like some bragging rights, try working on a custom case mod. Learn how to use automotive painting methods for a beautiful finish, cut a window, install some lighting, hack your DVD firmware, replace the 20GB hard drive with a 120GB laptop drive off the internet, or create an entirely new case.

I believe I already have bragging rights for my box as it's unique, I've received numerous compliments on it, and creating it took some effort and knowledge.
Picture 004.jpgP1000113.jpg
 Now that's something to brag about.
QuackMasterDan (author)  SabreLightning4 years ago
Though the 360 looks great, I barely play it anymore. The 360 is for my roommate and friends, as I'm primarily a PC gamer. My new pride and joy is the computer I built in January, which runs Crysis at max @ 60 fps ^_^. And I'm going to be upgrading my bicycle again when the 10 C rechargeable batteries arrive. I've also attached a picture of it in its old state. As a note, modding the lights in Xbox 360 controllers is a great present to friends. It costs me about 10 minutes of time and 40 cents of LEDs, for something they will enjoy often.


compy1.jpgIMG_0687.JPGIMG_0260.jpg
My friend built his own computer years ago. He wanted to see how it would run compared against newer computers. It also ran Crisis at max settings no problem. I think he has had for 5 or 6 years now. The only changes he has mad are a heat sink and a hard drive.
lol all right now you just made me jealous xD

if only i had the time/money to work more on stuff like that...
 Best my box has is some green whispers. Gotta love 'em though. But I'm proud of my controller. 
Controller.jpg
QuackMasterDan (author)  SabreLightning4 years ago
 Nice job on the controller. I'm going to guess you used strips of tap while applying red, white, and black paints?

What kind of paints did you use (brand, model)? I've heard Krylon fusion bonds well to the plastic, but can leave the controllers excessively smooth, and that automotive grade paints (meaning at least three layers of primer, paint, and finish) are the best.
 I was told to use Automotive paint like Dupli-Color, which required me to also buy adhesion promoter, but I thought that was too much work and could cost more than I wanted to spend. I simply bought red, white,  and black Krylon Fusion with a Krylon clear coat (which, so far has been fine as it was sticking to the paint, not  the plastic). I waited a whole day between coats, and rubbed the controller shell down with rubbing alcohol to remove oil and dirt before I started. The paint job turned out fine, I wouldn't call it excessively smooth, but it has a silkier feel. And yes, I simply used an x-acto to cut masking tape to the widths I needed. I gave the whole thing a black base coat, then covered up the areas I wanted to be black with tape. Then a white coat, and applying tape to the parts I wanted white. I sprayed the rest red, then added a clear coat to protect the finish and give it a little shine.
Dan, Your last pic shows two connections on the bottom of the board for 12V and a common ground. Do you know if these pads are inactive when the Xbox is off. I want to use these pads, but only if they power up when the Xbox is turned on and power off when the Xbox is turned off. Thanks, Ryan
QuackMasterDan (author)  Friggin Smift4 years ago
When the Xbox 360 shuts down, so will those two pins. The only exception is if you are keeping the 360 idling by running a Play n' Charge kit, in which case it will appear the system is off, but it is really powered to charge controllers. To put it simply, yes, when you press the power button, whatever was drawing power from those pins will turn off along with the box.
Awesome, thats what i was hoping for. Thanks for your quick reply! Regards, Ryan
QuackMasterDan (author)  Friggin Smift4 years ago
Thanks for your question. In fact, I just updated the picture to show what all of the pins do, hope it helps.
EnigmaMax4 years ago
neat instructable, I needed this to flash the hard drive.
QuackMasterDan (author)  EnigmaMax4 years ago
That reminds me, I should add in directions on how to remove the heat sinks and take apart the attachable hard drive. When I get back from Switzerland I think I'll add those into the guide. Glad it worked out for you.
 I'm having a really hard time with the rear locks, and I have to use a small flathead. Any extra advice?
QuackMasterDan (author)  SabreLightning4 years ago
Pop off the two above the power plug first, and use force to keep the two halves of the shell separated. Don't just push into each lock by itself, you need force prying (not too hard though) apart the shells, so after each pops, it remains unlocked.
Is it vital to reinstall the friction tabs and metal tape?
QuackMasterDan (author)  SabreLightning4 years ago
 The friction tabs (the plastic ones) simply hold the case together and make sure everything lines up/looks nice. The metal tape is to prevent the drive from wobbling around during transport, and the metal friction clips (DVD drive ones) also prevent wobbling and vibration. No, you don't need them at all, but why throw them out?
kyle25954 years ago
Is it possible to only use the Torx T8 screw driver, or do I need the T10 as well?
QuackMasterDan (author)  kyle25954 years ago
The difference between the T8 and T10 is pretty big, and I would strongly suggest getting both a T8 and a T10.

That being said, it is possible to turn a T10 screw with a T8 screwdriver, though its really bad for the T10 screws and will likely strip quite a few of them. So yes, a T8 can partially work, but not for very long since the torx spikes will begin to break off.
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