Instructables
Picture of Reflow Xbox 360
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So your Xbox got the dreaded Red Rings of Death... What to do? The way I look at it you can do one of three things. 

1) Send your console in to a big corporation, wait a month, and get a console that'll break in another month.
2) Throw it out or try and sell it. You could make $40 or so and put it towards a new console.
3) Try and fix it yourself. Now there are several paths you can take to "fix" your box, and hopefully this instructable will make this task less daunting (and explain the right way to do it)

So lets get started!

 
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Step 1: Fixes that DONT WORK

The problem behind the Red Rings (9 times out of 10) has to do with cracks, whiskers, and other issues with the solder balls under all of the BGA chips on the 360 MoBo caused by constant heating/cooling cycles. 

The Towel Fix-
People think that by wrapping their 360 in a towel and running it for excessive periods of time, the internal components will reach the melting point of lead-free solder (217C), and the bad joints under the BGAs will reflow, fixing the problem... I'm not even going to explain what's wrong with that picture. 

The Penny Fix-
By putting pennies underneath the GPU heatsink/on top of the RAM chips, the extreme pressure on the RAM BGAs will (in some cases) push the chip down enough that the bad joints make connections. Now this is all good and dandy save the fact that neither the solder balls nor the RAM were meant to take that kind of pressure, and this fix will only lead to more broken joints.

The "X-Clamp" Fix-
This fix utilizes the same basic principle as the penny fix. By removing the stock heatsink clamps, you can hold the CPU and GPU heatsinks on with machine screws. The idea is that you can over tighten the bolts causing the heatsinks to exert more pressure on the processors, pressing the broken solder joints down until they make connections. The issue with this is that more pressure inevitably leads to more broken joints... which leads to more pressure, which leads to more broken joints... the vicious cycle continues until you get micro fractures in the chips and your console is dead for good. 
omendata9 months ago
Dont waste time using a heat gun or any of these towel or clamp methods on the chip - bad bad bad idea!

Take the chip off the board - clean the board chip area and the chip itself completely of solder using a heat gun and some bga flux then use copper braid to get the last remnants off!

It is then a matter of re-balling the chip using a stencil.
Putting it back on the board is slightly tricky getting it lined up but all thats left is to flux it and melt it back on.

There is a good tutorial on the net from a bunch of guys who supply all you need for about £30 - you will of course need a decent reflow solder station.

If you are not prepared to do it right then hand it in to a specialist!
Thunder63222 years ago
I only own a heat gun that has twelve heat settings on it. Is it okay if I don't use exact temps. I have never done this before, but I am planning on it.
i also tried this with my laptop and a crappy 2 temp heat gun. first temp was for 100 seconds, and the second was done incrementally closer to the gpu for 20 seconds, then 100 more seconds on low while backing away from it. to this day it is still working.
Do you remove the gummy looking pads that cover the four chips on the underside by the x-clamps when you secure it to the griddle, or is ok to leave them on during the reflow?
bshi022 years ago
I live in korea and It is nearly impossible to buy below items or alternative for following this repair guide.
Aoyue 968 Reworking Station
-Rework Nozzle #4141
-Modified Presto Griddle

I plan to do traditional soldering way(by hand BGA soldering), instead of doing this reflow process which require many equipments.
Is it possible only to use 30 watt soldering iron for resolering solder joints near or underneath of GPU chipset?
and this traditional soldering can take place of reflowing process?
I'm sorry for my weird English and double posting on step 10,and thanks any replies in advance.
No,

As the joints that need soldering are mounted underneath the chip, in a matrix format, it wold be impossible to get your soldering iron under there and resolder every single joint.
ken261012 years ago
My 360 doesn't even get the RRD. We get nothing at all. We had the power supply tested and it is working just fine. Anyone got any suggestions?
Maybe your connections from the socket for power to the board is busted
94todd2 years ago
the towel method DOES NOT MELT THE SOLDER, the lead free solder has a melting point that when doing my xbox mod, i had to buy a new solder gun because the one i used didnt get hot enough, what this does is it trips a temp sensor and turns off the console, this can also be done by opening the console and unplugging the fans, which i have personally done several times, or by putting some kind of non metal stick through the holes in the back to lock up the fans. if the console got hot enough to melt the solder, it would melt the plastic components of the console, as well as probably quite literally burst into flames.
Could I use this same process on a PS3?
bshi022 years ago
I live in korea and It is nearly impossible to buy below items or alternative for following this repair guide.
Aoyue 968 Reworking Station
-Rework Nozzle #4141
-Modified Presto Griddle

I plan to do traditional soldering way(by hand BGA soldering), instead of doing this reflow process which require many equipments.
Is it possible only to use 30 watt soldering iron for resolering solder joints near or underneath of GPU chipset?
and this traditional soldering can take place of reflowing process?
I'm sorry for my weird English,and thanks any replies in advance.
wildboy1.52 years ago
thank for the inf
wildboy1.52 years ago
im with you i hate it
Anasazi293 years ago
I cant get this to work. I bought all of the exact items. I have about 12 xboxes. I have tried 3 so far and nothing. still RROD. I check the error codes they have and all of them say CPU/GPU overheat. I cant figure out what I'm doing wrong. I even did a test motherboard and lifted the gpu off of one by up'ing the heat to 530.
out of the 3 that I've tried, I have tried each several times. 10 - 15 times total, so far.
I'm going to turn the air flow up and try hotter. and go from there.
Airflow rate makes a huge difference and varies between stations, another reason to just give it to a pro/specialist. Nice tut, but I would use slightly longer times and you make no mention of flux, once you have burnt that out (which might have already happened.. dam unleaded solder) then all the heat in the world wont fix ur box! But if I need to tell you that then you probably should just pay the 50dollars and give it to a pro and make it their problem, plus they should give u a warranty. If you follow this method (and this has to be one of the best ones I've seen) then you might get up to another year or so out of it, if it's done correctly you should NEVER get another RROD ever again! (at least not for 10-20 years by which time ur 3rd DVD drive has died anyways ;-)
Dude if you really have 12 xboxes and you cannot get one to work then you are definitely doing something wrong. email me you phone number and I'll take a few minutes out to show you how--I get 9 out of 10 xboxes fixed from 3 rrod (1 rrod is fixable with reflow but only last so long, eventually it will stop working for good). Email me @ staller519@gmail.com.
ten774 years ago
If you mess up ur x clamps, just replace them with bolts http://www.instructables.com/id/Fix-your-Xbox-360-360-MKII-x-clap-replacment/
two fixes for the price of one!
Danthaman ten772 years ago
Bad idea!! Good way to kill a mobo, those X-clamps are tensioned for a reason!! Just give it to a (good) local pro.. I could go-on all-day why it's a bad idea to try this urself... money/time/health/xbox/sanity but don't listen to me.... Go ahead don't spend the one-off 50 or so dollars and get a warranty, waste it on tools etc.. that you will only use once if you get it right.. which isn't likely unless you have the qualifications/experience/methods etc.. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for DIY if you're studying specialised SMC techniques at tech-college etc then this is one of the better tuts I've seen, and if you read it properly you would know why using so-called 'x-clamp' kits are a bad idea..
Anyway.. GTG fix some DIY RROD stuff-ups... Good Luck :D
jotausa4 years ago
Hi everyone I follow the steps to reflow   my xbox 360 but still has the three red lights,
am I doing wrong
Trying to do it yourself... Seriously, there's a lot of good reasons to get this done by a pro, it's kinda like exhaust on a car, even if u spend years learning how to do it correctly (something that can't be even 50% covered in an internet tutorial) then you still have to pay for the equipment etc.. not to mention health issues all to find-out it's still not right.

This is one of the better tuts I've seen, but even if you work somewhere with all the BGA- re-work equipment, it's probably not worth it.

Find a good pro Xbox repaired locally and make it their problem, For 50 or so dollars it's just not worth the hassle plus u should get a warranty.
three red lights isn't the 'red ring of death'. it's some other internal failure. actually, maybe not. i remember one itme my friend's 360, i think we accidentally pulled out the controllers while playing a game, and three red lights came on. we panicked, but we said, 'it's not the ring, it's only 3 lights.' To make the 'red ring of death, ALL 4 LIGHTS have to be red. Best way to fix your problem, buy a PS3. Free online and better graphics. What's not to like?
red ring of death is 3 rings, I know this, 4 rings means either no AV cable detected(or it is inserted incorrectly), which is easily fixable, just unplug the video, and hit the on switch, tell me what it says, plug the video cable back in, and it works. 3 rings actually means "General Hardware Failure" they can be falsely triggered, as in your scenario(I can force a 360 to display RROD, the 3 rings, but I won't tell you how), but you did have RROD.

And I know it is RROD, I am on my 2nd 360, my first one 3 ringed on my, I also had a dead video cable once, it 4 ringed, and I have never had it overheat(which is 2 rings). 1 also is RRod, but generally is a different problem(usually involving the GPU).

So no, you are wrong, RRod Is 1 or 3.
I think we established that.....2 months ago. If you'd read the comments, you may have noticed hoihoi151 correcting me....now I don't mind being corrected, but another person stating the same thing 2 months after someone else, that's kind of annoying.
3 rings is RROD. you're going to hear it until the end of time :)
Wow.... way to argue your point....

Yes, RROD is 3-lights
Wrong bro.
(removed by author or community request)
Heyy, thanks for commenting. Not like this had been resolved another inch or two down the screen, or anything.
3 lights is the ring of death. its hardware failure.
hmm, but it's not a ring, it's 3/4 of a ring. plus, my friends 360 put three lights because we accidentally did something to the controllers, but we plugged them back in and everything was fine, soo...........if 3 lights is the 'red ring', then they should really call it something besides the red ring.
yes its 3/4 ring. rrod is a slang term for it. they couldnt call it THE 3/4 RED RING OF DOOM/DEATH 1 red light. System error 2 red lights over heated 3 read lights general hardware failure (rrod) 4 read lights AV connector is unplugged. sourced directly from microsoft.
sometimes the rrod is not in fact overheating but a different internal issue, i have been fixing xbox's for 4 years now so i know a bit about them, if doing the re-flow does not work check your Hannah chip it is the large black chip located near the av port here is a link to a picture the red box is the Hannah chip http://i162.photobucket.com/albums/t259/option350z/f_360elitemobm_b1b37ef-1.jpg check for shorts or pins coming off, heat gun it too! if this still! doesn't work (which my personal xbox did) check your capacitors generally the 6.3v 2200 uf ones are the only ones that do this but check the tops of them if they are bubbling outwards replace them, and if this still does not work then you are just doing something completely wrong or there is an issue with your physical cpu/gpu chip or there is a problem with the etch happy fixing!! by the way great instructible! keep up the good work
Thank you.
What do you do if your hd only work intermitently but standard def works fine?
you open your xbox 360 and check the solder connections resolder it on anyway (heatgun it if you want) check connections again, check the etching. then put the xbox back together power it up see if it still malfunctions then get a new cable hope this works for you!!!
mgiljum jotausa4 years ago
yes
Danthaman2 years ago
You guys should really just give it to a pro and pay the 50-80$ .. you get a warranty (usually) you don't have to outlay hundreds of dollars you need to do it anywhere near effectively or have to do the SMT certification, you don't risk lymphoma that many techs get from SMC flux and you don't have the Head-f@$#

Find a local pro, that's a better use of your time, be careful there are lots of shonky operators you can go on xbox-scene and find one near you, ask them what equipment they are using and what qualifications they have.

BELIEVE ME IT WORTH IT! Then you can get back to playing, if done correctly (Full BGA repair with leaded solder, not reflow) then your Xbox will easily last another 10-20 years without ever RRODing. Also not all RROD's are the same it takes a lot of experience and technical knowledge to know how best to approach it. Pro's spend a lot of time (and charge extra) fixing other ppl's RROD-repair stuff-ups, sometimes it will work for a while but often M$'s design-flaws mixed with ppl's ignorance mean that it (usually)will get worse each time.

This guy's on the right track, but if u didn't already know the stuff here (that he got right that is..) then u probably shouldn't be wasting ur time/money/health/xbox when u can make it some else's problem :D

gfarnsworth3 years ago
methyl ethyl ketone is the best cleaner as it cuts through the thermal paste and draws most of the moisture out of the board for the re-flow which prevents de-lamination (cracking under stress)
joelyboy943 years ago
hi everyone,
could someone please help me find an electric griddle with temperature control with temperature markings on it from the UK please??
I can't find any!!!!!!

btw great instructable :)
Cy3uS3 years ago
Hi, due your x-clamps removing method I scratched the bottom of the motherboard and now around one of the holes I can seee the brown color of the bakelite, have I still any chance to repair my xbox? And last but not least, since you don't apply bolt and washers, how do you measure the angle for re-bending the x-clamps? Thank you
ishmal11033 years ago
is it possible to do this WITHOUT the $170 work station?
would a heat gun work?
To get the best possible results using this setup would be to get a variable temp heatgun. However, a rework station is your best bet. There are inexpensive models that aoyue makes that are around $100.
zack2473 years ago
i got the 0200 error code, and apparently that requires a gpu reflow, and i did a reflow with a heat gun, and the solder melted and cooled ang its still gving me the error, is the gpu totally fried?

what am i doing wrong? i cant afford bga reflow kits
hi, great tut,

i tried it, failed,really unhappy. could do with some of your skill's.

i had error 0102 to begin. reflowed it.

got a green light, was very happy, then it just kept flashing,

i got no picture or sound, dvd wont eject.

then it turns to RROD and error 0022!!

its driving me mad. ive reflowed the gpu,cpu,ram and hana chip.

any advice would be great
xbox360repair (author)  phil Ireland4 years ago
 0022 is usually due to a warped board, or from applying too much heat. Did you secure the board to the griddle with nuts? What heating profile did you use?
I'm having the same problem. I had error 0102 from the beginning of the reflow. Now I'm getting a RROD and error 0022!! I just setup my work station very similar to yours; I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. The GPU is the only chip that I reflowed.

Any advice would be great appreciated,
Why your center light was flashing is that there was no connection to the DVD drive.

you should check your cables to the 360 MOBO and the disc drive That will cure that.

f
blavoie773 years ago
Actually, the link you're giving for the "Modified Presto Griddle" isn't exactly the one you're showing in the picture, unless the camera angle fools me.

You linked to model 07045 (or 07046), which has dimensions of approximately 19" x 15". However, judging by the one displayed in the picture and knowing the XBOX 360 motherboard dimensions, it looks like you have model 07030, which is 20.5" by 10.5".

I initially thought I needed one that was 19" x 15", so I searched an equivalent here. Presto griddles aren't distributed in Canada, and ordering one from the States would have cost over 70$ excluding duty. The only one I found that had dimensions close to that was General Electric's "Family Size Griddle", which is no longer manufactured but still available in some Canadian Wal-Mart stores for 49.99$. However, it has horrible reviews for not distributing the heat evenly across the griddle, so if the goal is to prevent the board from warping, it definitely isn't appropriate.

On the other hand, there are a bunch of available 18" x 10.5", like Rival, George Foreman, Durabrand, General Electric, Black & Decker, Toastess, etc. Upon close examination of the picture in Step 8, knowing the XBOX 360 motherboard is approximately 12" x 10" in size, I figured you have the 07030 Presto griddle, because once the motherboard is in place, it looks like you roughly have one inch remaining at the top, and perhaps 3-4 inches remaining at the left of your picture.

Could you just confirm the exact dimensions of yours?

Thanks!
manny35643 years ago
Is reball possible using the Aoyue 968 Rework Station?
inturbo3 years ago
Could you measure the temperature of the pcb? Can this griddle heat the board to 150C?
Carlos22953 years ago
do you have to use the rewor station, is the heatgun and griddle enough? What is the purpose of the griddle also. If you could explain that to me also that would be great.
r00x3 years ago
Good to see a proper guide to Xbox repair. I just got my hot air reflow station this morning! A bit late, as I repaired my Xbox last night with a heat gun. Compared to your guide, that involved rather less finesse ;)
bassemads r00x3 years ago
Actually that goo you're talking about is thermal grease, and it's a thermal conducting paste that is used to ensure maximum thermal conductivity between hardware and cooling systems in computers as well as other electronic devices. It can reduce the temperature significantly.
oldmanjut3 years ago
What type of drill bit did you use to make the holes? also are there elements in the griddle that need to be avoided when drilling?
Luongo1233 years ago
How long does this fix usually last?
Luongo1233 years ago
How long does this fix usually last?
billyrawktm3 years ago
tbh 291 and temps like that dont matter u could just set the station u have to 290 because i have aoyue 852a++ station and it only goes up 10oC each time so i just set it to the nearest 10oC
Luongo1233 years ago
Use a microphone stand. It works perfectly
A113 years ago
I've read all over the internet that goo gone and other greasy substances shouldn't be used on a cpu or gpu, it reduces their thermal conductivity.

Good guide though.
It sounds like we're baking A cake at the end :D I'm hungry now...
kennygrant13 years ago
the problem alot of you are having is from putting the x-clamps back on. they push up on the cpu and gpu chips and push them into the heat sinks. thats why it overheats. if you replace the x-clamps and do reflow your xbox wont ever get the red ring. EVER!
FalconFour4 years ago
Worthwhile note: I've read very, very explicit and loud warnings stating that if you start up your 360 without the DVD drive attached, it'll automatically and silently ban you from Xbox Live because they assume you're attempting to mod it. Just a piece of advice!
The unit actually won't power on past an error code without the DVD drive hooked up. The unit in the image above is likely JTAGed and will be banned for that long before the DVD drive would even be an issue. JTAGs can boot without a drive.
zack247 znibbor3 years ago
what does it mean to have a xbox "jtaged"
znibbor zack2473 years ago
It's a different type of mod. I don't know specifics, but it makes the 360 more like an Xbox1 in terms of what it can do. Sadly, it can only be done with some 360s (older ones). I might be interested if I had an old box.
xbox360repair (author)  znibbor4 years ago
I don't mean to be harsh, but that is downright wrong. Any console will boot just fine without a DVD drive, you get the flashing green light on the RF board, but otherwise it runs as normal. I have done over a hundred repairs, every single one of them tested without a DVD drive plugged in, and not a single one banned.
I've played it for like 2 weeks with it plugged out while I shipped it to get the drive flashed, never got banned :P I reccomend being cautious though, in my case, nothing happened
not true ive modded and fixed mine and done that it doesnt do a thing!
What I've read suggests older models will set a flag if the DVDRom is not hooked up. Once it reconnects to live the box and account will be banned. So best practice would be to connect everything including the fans before powering the XBox.
If anything NEWER models would have that anti mod fail safe, because they had time to realize how the DVD player were getting cracked to play backed up games. How would plugging in the fans change anything?
This is not true, I have started many a console without the dvd drive attached, and even connected to live with it not attached. (I fixed MY first 360, was ignorant and forgot to plug DVD drive in.) This was recent too. Just clearing that up!
but your dvd drive could be kaput and i left mine off for bowt 4 days n im still on
Sandisk1duo3 years ago
Do you Reflow the HANA/ANA chip?
mynamesux3 years ago
Updated error code list here http://xbox-experts.com/errorcodes.php
alot more informative
loki.684 years ago
Hey, i have found that the X-clamp fix works beautifully, the trick, is good washers and new heat sink paste, also, a bit of super fine sandpaper on the bottom of the heat sinks work well. once the fix is applied, a really light bake to re-fuse the solder and your done! been doing that fix since it came out. made a motza on it and considering i have done at least 30 xboxes and only got 2 back that didn't work again, not to bad :)
Still interested to see how your fix pans out, I'm going to be giving it a go ;)
Kickstart794 years ago
My xbox 360got the red ring of death and microsoft got it fixed in a month and gave me a 3 month gold membership for free and it hasn't broken again
Well yeah... The only time you should attempt to fix your Xbox is either when you're rich, work with these types of electronics for a living, or if your warranty is expired. There's no reason to take apart an Xbox if you have the chance to get a new free one.
maybe if it is Jtagable, as your return will not be, and I don't exactly want to wait a month either, and, after my friend, who is on his 4th 360(which broke before, He X clamped and 12v fan modded it, so technically 5), he got impatient, so he DIY'ed it, and save some time.
mantragloom4 years ago
I`ve gotta say..nice guide.I`ve repaired 5 Xboxs for people using the x-clamp removal technique and never had a problem with them.The secret is getting the right plastic washers.
On my hot air unit ,i don't have that nozzle like here. What should I do ? Please tell my an alternative .
As for the thermal paste bit: I would say MX-3 (or when it becomes available, MX-4) is a better choice - unlike AS5, it's actually nonconductive and noncapacitive (no risk damaging your Xbox if it hits the SMDs around the die). Supposedly has better durability too, though I haven't seen tests on this one.
regipalka4 years ago
bbobp34 years ago
I have a issue with my 360 and any advice at all would be appreciated. I have the 3 rings and have tried the x clamps and haave noticed that the power brick has remained with a orange light and seems like there is no power being pushed to the board but I still get the 3 rings so i'm at the point of giving up. Is there any info from your experience to help me out?
open your power brick and check the etch and connections make sure none of your parts are bad if that doesnt work check the connection on the mobo portion of the xbox if that still doesnt work get a new brick
thedrumgod4 years ago
I like the tutorial, very professional, am am leanring how to reflow chips myself. However, after all is said and done, how does this prevent it from overheating and the chips lifting and the joints breaking again with the inefficiency of being able to cool the system properly thanks to microsoft?
Do a Google search for: xbox 360 12v fan mod
After doing this mod to over 50 consoles that I have repaired, I have not received one call about it happening again.

Thanks for the excellent guide xbox360repair!
I increased my back fans to 80% and I installed  two bottom fans running at 60% and it works great. I  have never had any RROD since that point and the system itself is much more quiet
you have the right idea! i actually just got 2 12v fans and hooked them up to the dvd roms power cable which i modded (just use google for the pinout) i think itds 10 12 9 11 but im not sure so just google it yourself then just put the fans where you want them!
I would highly suggest getting a talismon whisper legacy. It will definitely keep your 360 cool. Also Lian-Li have created a mini tower case for the 360 as well. It has a big 120nm fan.
Adam-4 years ago
Just a small tip, instead of using clamps and pieces of wood I tried an adjustable microphone stand instead. The heat gun fits into the grips perfectly and allows for me to adjust my heat gun anywhere I want on the board with ease. By the way, your setup and instructions are awesome. I'm attempting to start up my own business down here in Jersey. I hate paying Microsoft money, they're intentionally making their Xbox's break in my opinion; but anyways, thanks again for the advice. Adam http://fixmyconsole.vpweb.com
hackerjoe4 years ago
oh by the way did you do a tutorial for the stand for the nozzle ? and also what was the exact setup for the griddle? 1/4 inch plus or minus ?
hackerjoe4 years ago
Wow nice tutorial ---- Just a FYI --- Kohls has the griddle for $18 this week so I picked one up :) I'm ordering a 968 soon from SRA he sells on Ebay and its a little cheaper. Does this unit perform well ? I also asked about getting a nozzle thrown in for $20 to save on shipping. I have a few consoles I'd love to try this on. I have a few stubborn RROD's Have you done any reballing with the 968 I was told the vacuum tool wouldn't lift the CPU/GPU as they are to heavy for it? Thanks
oxbeast12104 years ago
Hey great guide works perfect  im just wondering if you know of any guides that show how to build or use something else as a holder for the nozzle and handle urs looks great but i cant tell how its set up 
thanks
For a superior repair you really need an infra red heat source. Here is a video of my staff successfully reworking a mainboard with an infra red heat source - is a lot more focussed than hot air - and you don't risk damaging heat sensitive components. Fwd: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZyeBjK6RJE
not to start a flame war, but a company which sales hot air reflow, claims NASA prefers hot air over IR
Great vid broski....You UK guys are on point as usual.
xbox360repair (author)  oxbeast12104 years ago
 I actually just built a new stand, and I'm working on a guide for it, I'll let you know when it's completed!
Any update on the new stand?

I haven't built my setup yet, buy I'm thinking that you can somehow connect this part underneath the griddle to clean things up a bit....

http://store.sra-solder.com/product.php/6378/0
mgiljum4 years ago
the one's listed in depth on the next step page.
oxbeast12104 years ago
hey once again thanks for the great guide fixed a few of my friends 360's now  and so far so good none of them have broke again . hows that indestructible for the holder going ?  mine needs help lol ...
but none the less your method woks great!!
thanks again 
i haven't been charging my buddies i feel bad since they paid so much for the system but most of them have given me  donations  which helps offset the cost of the station   :)

i figure since your so knowledgeable about this stuff do you think this method would wok for a ps3  Ylod ?
im going to try it see what happens  i know its different from a 360 but  ive got noting to lose   lol except a broken ps3 
I would say, with the PS3, give it a go. If you're experiencing a relating issue. I've heard issues where individuals have to reflow their ps3 processor as well. or other parts.
fire6664 years ago
Man i took a baseball bat to my x box 360  because  it got a ring of death.  my method  works.
n0rthstar4 years ago
Who didnt expect the "I can fix it for you, for a price" line at the end, that was priceless and not unexpected at all.

Looks to me like you are doing the heatgun reflow fix, theres nothing different to others doing that by hand, although its not something i have done or needed to do myself.

Its rubbish that the xclamp removal and replace with screws fix doesnt work, has for me, and many others, 2+ years and going strong.
The xclamp removal and a tightening of the screws till its snug and NOT "over tight" is the perfect solution for 95% of xbox's.
xbox360repair (author)  n0rthstar4 years ago
I am NOT forcing anybody to send me their xbox, nor am I withholding information that would deter anyone from using this method to repair their xbox. I'm explaining the whole process to anyone who wants to learn it. This is what I do for a business, so why shouldn't I put my email at the end of it? It's not like I plastered the entire guide with "Pay me to find out what to do here". 

Also, this is not the "heat gun fix". It is a professional way to fix a console. If you feel comfortable using a crude, non-variable temperature gun to fix yours, then by all means be my guest. 

Well isn't that great for you? I have a decent background in engineering, and have also performed extensive research on the topic, and I can tell you with all certainty that the x-clamp fix is inherently flawed. Oh, and any degree of snugness is "over tight", FYI. The principle behind the fix is that your pushing the chip down until broken joints can make connections. Now if its not tight enough to do this with the x-clamps, basic logic says it is over tight. 
Im not knocking the method, im sure the way you do it is professional and works for your customers, if they are getting a fixed console for a decent price then im sure they are happy.

The only problem i have with your instructable is the way you have discounted the removal of the xclamp fix and even the pennies, which DO work (mine has for 2+ years as i stated), that and the penny fix (which is more fiddly) does work, but you flat out said they dont, like saying ONLY your method works and thats that... thats what i have a problem with.

Oh and the word "Snug" means "to fit comfortably"... not over tight. The XClamps were a bad choice by M$, every man and his dog knows that.
Hi everyone I have a xbox 360 3 red lights I tried to reflow with aoyue 852a ++ digital Hot air after finishing the xbox still with 3 red lights
Can someone help me?
My email is jotausa@juno.com
xbox360repair (author)  n0rthstar4 years ago
 I say they don't work because from an engineering and design point, they don't. They're flawed in principle. Thats great for you that it worked. But the fact of the matter is, its not how you should do it. You invest all that money in a system, its worth it to get it fixed right.

Oh, and snug bolts are over tightened. Looking at it from the amount of pressure applied to the processor by the heatsink, as a direct result of "snug" bolts, they are overtightened. 

If you knew anything about electronics, or engineering, you would know that the x-clamps are not flawed. 
Im not an electronics engineer and dont pretend to be, but as i say, you completely discount a fix that does work, nothing more to be said on that, so we have to disagree.

As for the word snug yet again, you need to look up what the word "snug" actually means. Im sure anyone COULD over tighten screws but im not saying i do or that you should, i most certainly have not.

If you look at how computer heatsinks fit on a motherboard, they fit quite differently, the fit is a lot more "snug" on a PC, its the give in the Xclamps which allow these joints to pull away as they become brittle when cooling down, and surely that will happen again in time to these reflowed boards... So reflowing or an Xclamp removal either way is temporary, although you can just redo the screw fix again, and even if the time between redoing the fix is 2 years then i'd say its worthwhile.

Anyway you are right about the solder joints (and is widely accepted by most people), which is the problem with all defective 360s, so whichever way they are fixed without having to rely on M$ for a shoddy replacement when it breaks down yet again cant be a bad thing. I think we can all agree MS did a bad job with this console, but its good when it works properly with some great games.
Im aware Im a little late to the discussion, and i suspect i might get flamed

I believe this instructables poster is allowed to advertise the fact they are able to fix 360's for a price as they havent put it all over the guide, and they shared their knowledge first. I believe its called "give and take" :)

For a starts, a professional reflow station has very precise control over the tempreature and velocity of the air exiting the nozzle which means you can heat the components precisely without the risk of blowing others off the board. by comparison, a consumer heatgun has a largely innacurate tempreature control (Bi-Metal strip) and normally a high air-flow velocity. You CAN acheive a repair using a heatgun, however, if you want to be able to repair 360's on a larger scale (ie, just more than 1 or 2) and you are going to charge people money for the service, you need to know that its going to work first time in the majority of cases.

The X-Clamp fix: It works. Theres no denying it. Its reliabilty is more questionable though. Now for some people, there 360's, such as yours, will work for years afterwards. For others, it will work for a couple of months and then fail again. I know this from personal experience.

I need your definition of "snug" in a measurable unit please, ideally in Foot-pounds or newton-meters  - simply saying snug is vague and doesnt give a repeatable charectoristic. Did you use a torque wrench/screwdriver to secure all the fasters to exactly the same pressure? Otherwise you have un-even loading of the die which in a worse case scenario can crack it.

CPU heatsinks in a computer fit much more "snugly" as processor datasheets accurately define how much pressure can be evenly applied to the die of the part, and heatsink manufacturers use this information to construct the fasteners that evenly apply pressure to the die, with the right amount of force (IE below the manufacturers stated maximum) whilst also applying enough pressure to hold the heatsink in place.

From an engineering standpoint, you could argue that the X-Clamp fix /does/ work, however, it does not address the underlying electrical issue that has caused the failure iin the first place. You need a combo in an ideal world - reflowing the bad joints AND the X-clamp fix if you could find a datasheet that accurately describes the maximum amount of pressure you can apply to the processor/GPU without failure.
I'm kind of on your side on this one, n0rthstar. I just fixed a friend's 360 with bolts in place of the xclamp. I found a thorough tutorial on the tube and followed it closely. Well, I did miss the final step, but anyway, the guy stated that the real source of the problem is under the video processor. He said that the real problem is that the xclamp pushes in the center of the x under the processor and eventually warps the board upward toward the heatsink. I took his word on it at first. The bolts make sense that they provide an even pressure from the top of the processor. Then again, it could just warp the other way, I suppose. At the end of it, I got 3 red lights again. After loosening, tightening, loosening, taking off all that compound I spread around and replacing it with a dab on the processor, loosening, tightening, loosening, and tightening again, I realized that the final note in the directions were to leave it on no matter if it boots up or shows an error. This was in order for the processor to overheat again and flatten the board out. Well, I had turned the system on and off probably ten times, and on the 12th try, or whichever it was, it came on. I left it on for over 30 minutes, and it works now. That means that letting it overheat really was the step I left out.

Now the flaw in this proposal is that overheating was not for the board, but could have been for the solder. The thing is, it just doesn't get that hot. I really don't think the processor could get hot enough to melt the solder around it. It would fail, no? Besides, we wouldn't need a flow station for the above tutorial if we could remelt the solder connections simply by overheating the processor.

So in short, I think it could be a combination of problems, but the bolts seem to do a nice job, although for whatever reason (actually the reason is that M$ makes a very inconsistent product) it just doesn't work the same for each console, if at all. If tightening them down presses the processor into the connections better, it shouldn't have had an error the first 10 times I turned it on. It would have boot right up. It was letting it get warm again that actually finished it off. This would make some sense in general for other mods like the towel wrap.

I should note that I did absolutely nothing to the CPU (I hope that's the correct term). I only sat the fan over it while trying to boot the system after the mod.

xbox360repair : You have been kind enough to go through every detail of how you fix these things for people. You deserve every bit of advertisement this server will allow. I would have put it in bold :)
rfurgy nanooman4 years ago
You're correct the overheating step of the X-clamp mod is an attempt to melt the solder again. CPUs and GPUs can in fact heat up to the point they can actually melt a hole in a motherboard and pretty much start it on fire. Because of this fact there is now a safety feature built into almost all processors. There is a set red line for the temp at which time the processor with throttle back till the chip cools off. If the chips in the Xbox360 have this safety feature, the overheating step will not work for reflowing the solder joints. It may cause enough shifting in the chip to get it to make a better connection though.
The x-clamp fix actually doesn't work very well at all.  It will always end up dying on you at some point.  I have had 3 Xbox 360's with the x-clamp fix and fail on me.  Reflowing or reballing is really the only true way to fix it.
jotausa4 years ago
Hi everyone I have a xbox 360 3 red lights I tried to reflow with aoyue 852a ++ digital Hot air after finishing the xbox still with 3 red lights
Can someone help me?
you rock man your the man man
what equipment?
There is one basic thing here I have yet to see or have anyone talk about and that is ESD protection. For 20 bucks at your local Radio Shack you can buy a mat w/ ground strap. I have yet to see anyone use something so simple or even discuss the risks associated of working on electronics without taking precautions against ESD.

90% of the time I work with one. It not only protects from ESD but the mat itself protects the equipment your working on and provides a grounded surface for parts such as MoBo or other critical parts. I read on her some noob recommending putting a board on a piece of newspaper...hmm better write a check for a new board cause that one MAY work but I wouldn't guarantee it!
Simply grounding yourself is the easiest solution. Don't work on carpet.....buy one of those bracelets that will connect to the case via clip....all super easy.
I couldn't see myself buying something that I could have built for a fraction
of the price plus it's  far better suited to re-flowing Xbox G.P.U. then the standerd
re-flow machines . So I built  one to prove the concept and then intergrated
all the electronics , it ain't pretty but it does the job with good repeatability.
360 inside1.jpg
Doxsey4 years ago
Any update on the stand guide? My stand is terrible and I need to build a new one and I am looking for some good advice. Thanks for all that you do!
phisean4 years ago
 Ripped from
http://forums.llamma.com/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=21225

xbox360repair (author)  phisean4 years ago
Actually not 'ripped'. 
I have read all 100 and some pages, and also contributed to the discussion there. 
This tutorial is original material, I took all of the pictures, and provide a detailed account of my process.

Quite honestly, I resent that you say I ripped it from a forum.
buckneri4 years ago
mine red rings all the time... i have taken it apart and put two of the larger heat sinks, one from a banned unit onto the board so my dvd drive doesnt fit back into the case. I run it all open and whenever i turn it off and it cools down too much i have to unplug the system fan and let it over heat for about 10-15 min and then i can plug the fan back in and reboot. once i have it running i usually just let it stay on all the time like my computer... it goes into standby and whenever i come back to play no issues.. i think its just crap solder that cracks when it cools down too much...


Shadowchan4 years ago
Very well done tutorial.. but seeing as I dont think the cook in the house would like me drilling holes in her griddle.. Is there any OTHER solution I could use?  I could possibly prop the MoBo on my wood stove in my basement, but i fear that could get TOO hot and disconnect something else soldeing wise.   Any suggestions? 

I'm working on an '05 Foxconn model. It has the secondary error 0102.
milsorgen4 years ago
 I have an original unit that ran like a champ, couple years of use with nary a RROD in sight, but then the DVD-ROM started to go and now I haven't been able to get it to read a game disc for a very long time.

I was thinking of eBaying a broken one with the correct model of DVD-ROM and trying to swap the drive PCBs so I can get the new mechanism but retain all info associated with my hardware.

One of these days I'll look into that more...
airjesus0234 years ago
hi this dont pertain to the discussion but i was wondering if any1 could help me out.  i got my xbox back taken apart.  i replaced the drive and went to put it back together but theres what looks like a little black sensor with 3 short wire leads coming out of it that is left over and we cant figure out where it goes if it even belongs in the xbox. also not sure if it belongs in the DVD drive considering it was taking apart too.  If anyone can help me out that would greatly appreciated
rfurgy4 years ago
Awesome instructable, never heard of reflowing till two nights ago and have already fixed one Xbox 360 in this manner since.

I wanted to see if I could do a setup without having to purchase anything. I used a 1/4" aluminum plate I had sitting around to bolt the mobo to. Which was set on top a large fajita maker (non direct contact caused for a much longer preheat time, but worked and eventually got the plate close to 200`C :P) which was set at it's highest setting. A piece of aluminum foil with a square shaped hole placed on top the mobo as a heat shield. A deep frying thermometer, and a heat gun (I placed the tip of the thermometer right next to the chip and would occasionally apply the heat to it to get a more accurate reading of the temp). I know this list sounds crude but it worked. My house normally has lots of things for me to get creative with but if I was able to find stuff to make this happen just give it some thought and you may come up with something that will work for you.

Just want to touch on what I found and things I know from working on many computers.

1) The temps listed in this instructable didn't sit right with me at first. So I did a google search for "lead free solder melt point" and found that most common lead free solder melts at 180-190`C. Then inspecting the solder I use, it has a melting point of 220`C (purchased for fixing electronics). I tested my heat gun and was able to melt my solder in about 30 seconds from an inch away. So the temp of the chip shouldn't need any more than 230`C for about a minute or two. I saw a post that someone had wrecked 3 Xbox's so far doing this and it may be because of too much heat being applied.

2) If you are fixing a RROD on your 360 I highly recommend getting rid of the X-clamps. If the problem is the solder breaking and the chip separating from the board then the last thing you want is something like the X-clamp holding the heat sink which allows it to flex and move. Heat sinks on computers are almost always fastened from above with a considerable amount of force. What the X-clamp fix actually does is remove the chance of the chip shifting and separating from the board as well as the heat sink from shifting and compromising the thermal compound seal that is made between the chip and the heat sink. The key is to have the right washers between the heat sink and the mobo. This will allow for a much more secure fit as well as less flexing of the board compared to the X-clamp.

3) From an engineering stand point, there are many flaws in the Xbox 360.
 
   A) No air flow behind mobo, all desktop computers have enough space behind and around the board to allow the back side to breath. Some mobo trays even have a hole manufactured in them that is located directly behind the CPU. This is what cutting out the X section of the metal case is attempting to fix. Which is still only so effective do to the lack of space around the edges of the board. But even that little extra evacuation of heat from the system could mean life or death.

   B) Poor application of thermal compound. There should only be enough compound to make an air tight seal and squeeze a tiny bit of extra out the side. When I say tiny amount, I mean TINY AMOUNT. As in if you took it back apart the compound should not squeeze past the bottom most of the angled area on the side of the shiny portion of the chip. (Which in most cases is less than 1 mm). Excess compound will only serve to heat the chip instead of cooling it.

   C) The X-clamps are flawed for the simple fact that they are actually made to be screwed into a CPU bracket which then would have a heat sink being clamped to it from above with much more force than these clamps offer the heat sinks in the Xbox. In fact, the heating of these along with the chip and board will only create a variance in it's performance. The main reason the chips are separating from the board in the first place.

   D) The fan shroud. Most heat sinks in computers have a fan that is attached to it and blows directly on and through the heat sink (which is the best way to air cool a CPU or GPU). Then on computers that use the case fan to cool the heat sinks, there is usually a fan shroud that extends the entire length of the heat sink there by forcing the air flow through the entire length of it. Simply extending the shroud can cause the heat sinks to work 25-50% more efficiently. Another problem is that air (like electricity) will take the least path of resistance. The CPU has a large air channel which will cause the fan on the GPU side to draw most of its air from it. By super gluing a square piece of plastic in the shroud to create some sort of separation will cause more air to be pulled from the GPU area. If you use the side of the CPU channel that is on the GPU side as a guide for size, it will leave a gap between the divider and the board allowing the fan to still pull some air from the CPU side. The divider should then be angled slightly from the CPU side to line up with the middle of the clip that holds it to the fans (this ensures that the fan side of the divider sits directly between the fans. If you decide to extend the shroud, the important area is the GPU side (I used some aluminum sheet metal I had in my scrap to do this but have seen it done with aluminum foil).
*Hope this extra info helps you all out.*

Once again, Awesome instructable! Glad I found this, it could open a new path of fixes for the computers I work on.  In case there is any question if this is valid or not. Building and fixing computers is what I do. I have also personally used each fix listed above as well as below with success.

Two I didn't mention are:

   1) I actually added an additional fan in the Xbox. With not much room, it had to be small. The fan I used had flat ears by which to mount it. I then cut a circle hole and mounted it as far forward in the case as I could get on the USB (controller plug) side. This allowed the fan to help push fresh air in front of the heat sinks. If done right the piece that covers the side will still fit without hitting the fan and the fan also ends up hidden (effective while laying or standing the system).

   2) Because I cut out the X part of the metal case, I had also removed the gummy thermal pads that were used on the back side of the board. So I cut one of those in half as well as removed the fabric side, and applied it to the two memory chips under the GPU heat sink. This fix is still experimental but having those chips directly under the heat sink where heat can build up, isn't exactly a good thing. By what I know, they should stay cooler by transfering heat into the heat sink.
*This mod requires the X-clamp fix to ensure the pads are squished and that the heat sink is properly seated.*
maxs1394 years ago
Is this the same for both CPU and Graphics chip? Also. Can you do a tutorial for reflowing the HANA/ANA chip and southbridge?
Shambhala814 years ago
Tank U very very very much :))
Shambhala814 years ago
Im from Germany and Im going to order this griddle from ebay.A Guide on how to prepare the Griddle would be helpfull for me.Thx.
xbox360repair (author)  Shambhala814 years ago
Hey, I'll get on that this weekend, I'll let you know when it's done!
grandam884 years ago
fastest way i fixed myproblem was i threw it in the garbage, got in my car, drove to gamestop, then picked out a PS3. payed fr it. drove home and wala. video games again. throw away ur 360, its junk
Hobbzzzz4 years ago
I really wish I could try this, but unfortunately I lack most of tools you use, or at least the important ones.
circuitmage4 years ago

Renaming to "The Right Way to..." might be more precise.

My PS3 died in a similar fashion. I did the quick method of using a hair dryer in a box (convection oven method) of reheating. IT WORKED....for 1 more week. Next time I tried it melted the hair dryer and PS3 at 120degC and did not work. :(

Nice detailed instructable.


SladeOfDark4 years ago
i cannot wait to try this tommorow i would be up all night doing it right now but my rework station is at the cell phone/pc repair shop i work at.. got my griddle though :)
alright so i did the steps to a tee and no luck.. the xbox powers on blinks one number 4 light then fans speed up really fast and then 2 lights blink 1 and 3, then it shuts off :( man im beat up about this.
xbox360repair (author)  SladeOfDark4 years ago
 Hmm... What's your secondary error code?
Did the code change at all from when you first tried it?
Also, what profile did you use?
its me umer . well i have some problem in my xbox and that is 3red light = ring of death and secondly now its having one more problem that is not starting even , no light coming like its all off . i gave it to some repair man and he fixed this problem but now he is saying that , 3 red light is not solving in it and has to change the board . please reply me what i do for it?

Thank you,
Umer
just got done doing this ..board has cooled off..lets see what happens
xbox360repair (author)  SladeOfDark4 years ago
 And???
failed.. i dont know what you mean by secondary error code.. i started with 1022 and i did the reflow on the bga video chip, now after adjusting the tension on my heatsinks i can get it to stay on and running but it starts with bottom right ligy blinking red then goes to the 2 left lights blinking red.
xbox360repair (author)  SladeOfDark4 years ago
 Well,

2 red lights is overheating. Which is probably because of the heatsink bolts. Usually they're too loose. 1 red light is something like e74, if you can get it to stay on one red light for long enough to check the secondary code, that'd be helpful.

What heating profile did you use?
okay i used the rework station that i have at my shop to heat the Die .. its from this instructable "Reflow Xbox 360". i hope that answers your question. i will try and get it to stay on and do a test for the code with adjusting the bolts i can get it to stay on pretty easily. ive lost alot of confidence that i will be successful however thank you so much for your time and replies.
RLuster884 years ago
good to know it wont melt too much - i plant to try this later tonight, but ive gotten about 4 difrent errors over the last month, so if you dont hear back with a success story - assume my 360 was just POS to begin with lol
RLuster884 years ago
My only concern is that when using the griddle, the underside is being heated, and i understand how it will melt the solder BUT - can the solder itself drip, even if not touched? The concern is that if i get too much heat on acedent, the solder (and gravity) will do nose dive onto the plate. I will try this now (alas my mobo is probly jacked with many erros 2006 model lol) all in all - i feel this is the BEST RROD guide yet though. Gona link this on a few forums, plan to have a few more happy users soon ^_^
xbox360repair (author)  RLuster884 years ago
 Oh, well the griddle doesn't actually get hot enough to melt the solder. The only solder that melts is that in between the Motherboard PCB and the Chip that you're reflowing, so there's no risk that any will melt on the underside. Even if the solder on the underside were to melt, it shouldn't come off the board.

Thanks a lot! I hope it helped you, let me know how your reflow goes!
FalconFour4 years ago
While the whole rest of the article seems to be very "SMD oven at home" done proper, I have to formally disagree with the "smooth the grease" advice. Do NOT smooth the surface of the thermal paste - EVER! Leave it as a bead so the heat sink can flatten the bead to a perfect flatness. Spreading it only causes air pockets to form - the grease is a LIQUID being flattened by the heat sink. The only time you should ever smooth out the grease is under certain conditions on a heat-spreader-equipped ("brick") CPU or other IC that's not a small die.

Whew, even that much, I highly doubt the average Joe can get ahold of a $1,200 reflow station. The X-clamp fix worked quite well for the one Xbox I've had to fix so far, and it only set me back $12 in tools and parts :)
this is a very good point i replace cpu's/gpu's heatsinks in computers nearly everyday and the most important thing is to just put a blob of thermal paste in the middle of the processor and not be tempted to spread the paste...i have come across many gpu's where they have spread the paste everywhere and the processor failed because it overheated and as sooon as the thermal paste was applied in a blob it worked great!!!
btw nice instructable although a reflow soldering oven starts at £200 on ebay....might be worth it....although your refolw soldering system only cost about £100....
xbox360repair (author)  FalconFour4 years ago
 Hey, thanks a lot for that piece of advice! I haven't experienced any problems yet, but I'll chalk that up to good luck and do it that way from now on.
Emislaurus4 years ago
Not that it matters for you as you know what you are doing, but some people might not be familiar with thermal paste. Arctic Silver 5 is great stuff but it is electrically conductive, and people who don't know the exact amount can have it smush out and fry things. I'd recommend Arctic Cooling MX-2 because it doesn't  conduct and has an 8 year lifespan whereas AS5 says it's best to reapply yearly.
codongolev4 years ago
 I feel a mini-business coming on.....
On Step-4, subsequence 4) you say "Do this three more times" ... do you mean, the pressing of the eject-button, or everything - from turning on the system to till the eject-button?
just pressing the buttons :)
xbox360repair (author)  Gasburner4 years ago
 Thanks for answering that question. I'll go back and change the guide so that step is clearer. 
No problem :)
tomo12344 years ago
speaking as someone who knows exactly how to take of bgas and pbgas and replace then  i will shed a bit of light on reflowing them the system used is a robotic system which basically is a hot air blower which heats the pcb up slowly around four mins before hitting with any real heat the rest of the machine is just to hold and place chips as you cant see the balls under the chip so cut a long story short if i was to reflow a bga i would get a bit of liquid flux drible it down the side heat the board for around 4 mins with a heat gun making sure i heat all round the bga then after around 4 mins go in close with the heat around 30 seconds then let it cool thats basically what the machine would do
sturmey4 years ago
This was a facinating step by step that explains very clearly what to do. I will probably never need to do this since I don't have an X-Box 360, but I may need to know this for some other project in the future.

Well done! This is a great instructable.
xbox360repair (author)  sturmey4 years ago
 Thanks a lot!
mossDboss4 years ago

Nice right up.

I replacing the X-clamp with with regular nut and bolts fasteners has worked for me. I have not had to retighten anything, though i appreciate the fore warning on the affects of such.

But when push come to shove maybe I'll try this method.
xbox360repair (author)  mossDboss4 years ago
 Thanks!

I've seen it all different ways... A friend of mine fixed his with it and it hasn't broken in a year. Another guy I know couldn't get it to work at all.


Im Not Even Going To Bother Reading This One,
Its Good If You Have The Equipment
But Realisticly What Xbox Gamer Is
They Would Rather Spend Their Money On Games

Use a  Towel
Or Do What I Done
Buy Another One
xbox360repair (author)  CheatsIP54 years ago
I went through hell getting my setup working, so I just figured that this could help some other people.
Yea Fairenough,
Spose it is the best way todo it
I Just dislike instructables that assume you have loads of fancy equipment.

Sry Dude
Nice instructable
Ratz CheatsIP54 years ago
hehe. Some of us have access to the work-stations at our Techs or Uni's, or know people at them too.

So is always worth a shot. May also motivate someone to write a Do-it-at-Home version of this for people without the fancy stuff.

To the Auth. very nicely written. :) 
CheatsIP5 Ratz4 years ago
Fairenough,
Ima do it in the garden shed guy lol
(yes i know how that sounds)
i like to find the cheapest and easyest way possible

a do it a home version would be...

wrap it in many towels an let it over heat ( at your own risk)
or wrap it in a towel and drop it from about 4 inches high
although im not sure how that would work
also the penny trick instructable works very well

However if you have the time,take a professionals advice
i take it you guys are more educated on these sorts of things than me,i dont go uni lol

n btw i was only giving sum constructive critisism,i havent done an instructable yet so im not knocking n e ones work.
xbox360repair (author)  CheatsIP54 years ago
 Nah, no problem.
Thanks!
paulm4 years ago
 if only I owned a nice expensive reflow station eh?
maxs1394 years ago
OMG! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!! I OWE YOU MY LIFE! I've been repairing Xbox's with a Heatgun. And it is NO FUN. I'm always so scared I'll blow up a capacitor. Or just F up in general. I've been trying to learn/find out how to use a BGA Reflow station. But I wasn't able to find a suitable and reasonably priced machine. Some too small others too big. And then i had no idea what temps and time. This gives me EVERYTHING I needed to know. So I say it again. I love you. You sir have made my day.
xbox360repair (author)  maxs1394 years ago
 Haha, its no problem at all!
I'm glad I could help you out, and if you need any advice, just post a comment somewhere. Theres a few things that I didn't go into depth about on the tutorial, but I'd be happy to explain them to you!
Your Very nice. Thank you. If i have any questions I will let you know.
Xbox sent me my console back in 2 weeks. Not close to a month. Get this... my warranty expired 3 years ago and they did it for FREE. I'm not about to dig in my Xbox and flip it up even more but for the rest of you that are good luck! : )         If they wouldn't of taken it back for free i was gonna hop on PS3's side haha!
ben_k4 years ago
Good Instructable!  All these guides to fixing 360's make me glad I don't own one.

As crazy as this sounds, another possible fix for problems caused by poor solder joints could be baking your Xbox's motherboard in an oven.  This would be easier to set up, and I have read reports of this working on computer video cards.
xbox360repair (author)  ben_k4 years ago
 I've heard about that one too!

I don't know if I'd ever try it, I'd imagine that heating it to the point of melting solder would blow some other parts on the board, but you never know. There's actually this really cool video on youtube of this guy fixing his Xbox with a blow torch.
 That is a new one to me.  That guy must have some guts to take a blow torch to his Xbox. =P
If I were baking anything with lots of capacitors I would be worried about them exploding.  The video card I read about had solid capacitors thought, so it might not be as much of an issue as it would be on an xbox, who's capacitors are not as high quality.

Here's a link to the video card baking if you are interested:

www.hardforum.com/showthread.php
xbox360repair (author)  ben_k4 years ago
I have an couple dead Xbox boards, and I'm really tempted to check the temperature tolerance of the capacitors... I've never blown one before though, so I don't know how explosive they are.
Thanks for that link too! I'll check it out.
The temperature tolerance of MOST caps are fairly high, but it does vary from unit to unit.  Those electrolytics have a purdy dang sturdy metal case around them, but if you look at the top part you'll normally see either an X or a Y imprinted on the top... that's a pressure release valve.  They heat up, the liquid inside expands and that top blows a little cannon of lava hot liquid out the top.  Normally they fail in things like power converters where they have banks of them and can heat up fairly easily, but if you've got it on a grill and then have the head of a re-flow accidentally get pointed at it, I could see it happening.  Just over preaching safety is all.
ronmaggi4 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
xbox360repair (author)  ronmaggi4 years ago
 Haha, thanks I lot, I'll get that fixed!
DanteDante4 years ago
Before one starts a re-flow—which I must admit had never occurred to me—here's one Xbox RROD fix that worked well for me, and also one other person I know. I had to execute this repair more than once, but my friend's kid has only had to do it one time. 
1. Power down your unit.
2. Place heel of your palm on the top center of the unit.
3. Raise your palm about 3 to 4 inches.
4. Apply sudden downward force. 
5. Turn unit back on.
That's right... the instructions are to whack your Xbox at top dead center.
Believe it or not, this sometimes works. 

Good Instructable, by the way!

(I returned my original Xbox back to MSoft a total nine times due to RROD... the "whack fix" was the final repair, and the unit still works to this day. My friend's kid's is a 360, and it still works after using the "whack fix" on a RROD about 6 months ago.)

S1L3N7 SWAT4 years ago
I wouldn't totally discredit the X-Clamp fix. My 360 finally died after 3 whole years of use without a single failure. It flashed the 1,3,4 red light pattern and I couldn't send it in to MS because it was older than 3 years. So, I fixed it myself.

I used some Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound to replace the crappy compound, then rather than drilling holes in the bottom of the case I put the screws right through the motherboard and into the heatsinks spacing them with plastic washers. I went to plug it in to do the overheating process on the GPU, but to my surprise it fired right up. It's been about 4 weeks since and it's been working great.

Although, I think the issue with mine was poor thermal compound application during manufacturing.  
Very nice guide explaining the reflow setup for toasted 360s. Also, thanks for referencing my Instructable on how to dismantle a case. I myself learned a fair bit and I consider myself to be pretty advanced in system modding.

+5 Stars for a concise, clean, and well photographed guide for repairing systems. Keep up the good work!
xbox360repair (author)  QuackMasterDan4 years ago
 Thanks a lot!!
Grimarr4 years ago
 Kudos on the excellent write up. 

While I may not own a reworking station, it probably wouldn't take much to find someone who does and would let me use it to fix my box should it ever break *knock on wood* 


Gksarmy4 years ago
 don;t have an xbox, though i can totally see how using clamps would be stupid.
and yeah, i was wondering why you'd go to the enormous trouble of figuring this out if it's cheaper to send it in, but i'm betting you charge less or something.

A+ job!
filmsay4 years ago
Looks way complex.

How does this work?
xbox360repair (author)  filmsay4 years ago
It really isn't that hard, just looks difficult. There's a lot less guess work than there is with the x-clamp fix (if you know what that is)...

So basically, the problem that causes the Red Ring of Death is messed up solder balls under the BGAs on the 360 motherboard. I don't know if you know what a BGA is, but it stands for Ball Grid Array, and basically the chip is held to the board by tiny balls of solder instead of pins. Now there is a design flaw in the 360 that results in flexing of the motherboard during heating/cooling cycles. The flexing can eventually break some of the solder balls under the chip.

A reflow heats the BGA over 217C which is the melting point of lead-free solder, and remelts all the solder balls under it. When they re-harden, the broken connections are gone, and it works like new. 

Other fixes work by pushing the BGAs down further so that the broken joints make connections, but this causes damage to the console in the long run.

Hopefully that made some sense!
How does this work exactly?
My guess is the grittle heats up and melts all the joints on the bottom, and the super-expensive machine is like some vaccum that cools down certain areas? or does it heat up certain areas? o_O
The latter one. The grittle heats up the underside of the board and the 'super-expensive machine' heats up the upper side, but only, where the BGA chip is. So other parts don't get stressed by the heat.

The rear side has to be heated too, otherwise there would be a high mechanical stress (the chip expands when heated) and much more heat would have to be transported through the chip to melt the solder (i.e. more thermal stress on the chip).

The real way to fix such a BGA soldering fault is of course to use an X-ray visual inspection tester to find the faulty ball and an BGA infrared welder.
(Not, that I have the slightest idea how to get such technology into a DIY shack...)

xbox360repair (author)  Cristian13374 years ago
The goal of the process is to heat up the GPU, CPU, or whatever's causing the problems to the point that the solder balls under it melt. The melting temperature of lead-free solder is 217C, and the griddle only puts out about 204C on it's highest setting. So to get that heat you use a hot air reworking station, which is the "super-expensive machine" haha. Basically you position a heat gun over the chip and follow a heating profile like the one that I described. So both pieces of equipment are heating up the chips, the griddle is there because bottom heat is necessary to help the solder reflow properly.
ten774 years ago
Great 'ible man! my only problem is that you try to discourage other fixes such as x clamps. the only one of your "fixes that dont work" that does not actually work is the towel fix.. btw: the xclamp method actually reduces stress on the mobo be evenly distributing pressure, not creating more of it.
xbox360repair (author)  ten774 years ago
 By "Don't work" I mean in a long term perspective. A reflow is the only non-destructive fix short of reballing the BGAs. And the X-Clamp fix relies on the fact that you are creating more pressure on the die to push broken solder joints down. Regardless of how even pressure distribution is, there is more of it. 

So yes, I do discourage the x-clamp fix because it is detrimental to the console in the long run. I mean, the success rate of a reflow on a console that has been "fixed" by replacing the x-clamps with bolts drops significantly. Mine drops by 20%, a true testament to the damage caused by doing this "fix".
Schmidtn4 years ago
I'm sure you're safe when you do this, but I'd still like to put up a warning when heating those electrolytic capacitors (the big black cylinders) .  They have a liquid in them (electrolytes, think gatorade, but for electrons) and when you heat them up enough they have a terrible reputation for exploding and causing a great deal of personal damage, not to mention what they do to your PCB.  So PLEASE be careful with that preheat griddle and where you aim the head of your re-flow.  Electrolytic capacitors are a necessary evil and should be respected in circuits.  Happy [re]soldering and gaming!  :)
ratgod Schmidtn4 years ago
I learnt that first hand, I sometimes use a paint-stripper gun to strip circuit boards, and one of the first few times doing it, I had a cap burst on me, needless to say, I wear safety glasses now and remove all electrolytics before I start.

Excellent tutorial, I had a 360 with the red ring feature, but I sent it back to toys'r'us for a refund and have never bought one since :P
xbox360repair (author)  Schmidtn4 years ago
Haha, thanks for the warning. I've heard of some people busting them on their board, but I've experienced zero problems. The griddle underneath the board really doesn't transer that much heat... I've measured the board temp with an IR thermometer, and most of the heat dissipates. 
And of course, the Rework nozzle only heats the GPU, I have yet to experience an exploding capacitor. Kinda depressed about that one... could be kind of cool.

Haha, but thanks for the concern!
fultron894 years ago
Very, very good 'ible.
I have to ask, though, in the end, it is probably cheaper to ship it in to Msoft, right?
I can't assume that anyone but someone who knows what they're doing would actually make up time if they attempted a reflow themselves...
I realize there's certain qualms people have about giving their box to a big corp., but really, unless you've voided your warranty already, there's no real reason not to let Microsoft pick up the tab for their faulty product.
(I had a 360 RR about 3 years after I got it, msoft paid for the box and shipping, and I got a new box back in two weeks. So i don't really have any negative experience to draw from, so I guess I'm biased :-)
xbox360repair (author)  fultron894 years ago
Oh, well it depends...
If you have your warranty, then it's definitely smarter to ship it into microsoft. Actually, even if you don't have a warranty, its $150 I think. This set up is more expensive for sure, but I do it as a side job. I know it took me forever to perfect, and I could not find a decent tutorial on getting it right. It was really a bunch of us just talking on a forum somewhere, tossing ideas around. 
But yeah, I kinda give those people a weird look when they bring me their xbox while its still under warranty...