Xbox 360, Microsoft’s video game console is subject to many issues besides the general hardware failure nick named the Red Ring of Death. Since its release in 2005, Xbox 360 is under controversies for the higher failure rates and Microsoft not only had to extend the warranty period of the device due to failure complaints but eventually launched an upgraded version ‘Xbox 360 S’ covering the issues like red ring of death error.
This very common problem of the Xbox 360 is when three flashing red lights from three o’clock to twelve o’clock appear around the power button on the front of the Xbox — the upper right quadrant is the only one that does not flash red. This is commonly referred to as the Xbox 360 red ring of death and indicates that the unit is experiencing a general hardware failure.
Basically, there could be any number of things wrong with your Xbox 360. However, the most common cause of the red ring of death is GPU and/or CPU failure caused by the Xbox overheating.
Below is a list of some of the causes of the Red Ring of Death:
- Hardware failure – Hardware failure is the result of malfunctioning of any component on the motherboard and is indicated by a one led flashing around the power button. Usually an error code is also displayed on the bottom of screen referring to the component causing the failure like E74. This is more commonly known as one red light problem. The light that flashes red is Q4. Though it is not critical as the red ring of death error but in 2009 Microsoft had to amend its warranty and covered the one red light problem in it.
- Overheating – When the console gets overheated and the temperature of the console gets higher than a predefined level it shuts down the CPU and GPU simultaneously and starts running the fans at full speed to cool it down. In the meanwhile the two red lights start flashing until the temperature gets down sufficiently. Once the device is cooled down it is ready to be run again. To avoid this kind of situation continuous long duration gaming sessions should be divided into smaller sessions and in between the sessions the console must be powered off and unplugged. It is best to keep the console it in a well-ventilated area.
- AV cable error – All four lights flash red when the AV cable is not connected or connected but console cannot detect it. It is a sort of status message than a mere fault so when you will connect back the cable the lights will automatically goes off and console returns back into normal operation.
- General hardware failure or Red Ring of death error – The red ring of death error is deadly dangerous and can turn the console into a brick. When three red lights start flashing it is time to take action. General hardware failure is indicated by flashing of three lights. It could a failed GPU, CPU any other component on motherboard causing the problem. Any sort of vibration or over heating results in the movement and expansion of the material and this causes the GPU to leave its place from the motherboard. Thus the GPU gets loose on motherboard and red ring of death error appears. You must learn how to resolve this problem right away before it’s too late.
As you can see that the Red Ring of Death is a very serious problem that you should not ignore. Now, if you are seeking a solution to the dreaded problem then you have a few options at your disposal:
- You can send you console back to Microsoft and have them fix it. This is an easy process however it can be a lengthy one, as it could take up to 8 weeks to get your console back. Also you will most probably receive a different refurbished console which could encounter the same problem in the future.
- Repair the red ring of death yourself, with the aid of a quality Online Repair guide, that will run you through the repair process step by step using online videos and tutorials.
So what is the best option? That is totally up to you and you can decide on whichever option you wish to choose. Option 1 is your best choice if you still have warranty and don’t want to attempt any repairs yourself. If you don’t have warranty and still don’t feel comfortable doing the repairs yourself, then you will have to pay around $150 to have it repaired professionally.
But seriously, why would you want to wait months to receive a repaired Xbox 360 that may not even come back repaired? Instead you could fix it yourself within the comfort of your own home with an easy to follow repair guide, like the one below:
Download the Microsoft Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death PDF Fix-It Guide here:
If you are on the technical side then you might want to try this. You will need the following tools for this one:
- 8 5x10MM Machine Screw (to secure the CPU heatsink)
- 16 #10 5MM Nylon Washers
- 16 #10 Steel Flat Washers
- Torx T-10 and T-8 screwdriver
- Phillips-head screwdriver
- Small flathead screwdriver
- Arctic Silver 5 Cleaning Kit
- Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Paste
The principle here is to replace the old thermal paste on your CPU and GPU and then create more room for your heat sink. Remember to perform this with caution so as not to cause further damage to your unit.
There you go, your red ring of death should now be gone.