Why I Haven’t Repaired My Xbox 360 and Probably Won’t

Christian Cawley 18-05-2012

In the corner of my room, collecting dust, sits the component pieces of my Xbox 360. Purchased as a Christmas present for me and my better half in mid-2007, it has been in a state of disrepair since Christmas 2011 when it decided that – for one reason or another – it didn’t want to play anymore.


As most of you reading this will know, most Xbox 360s from that era came with certain… “issues”, problems in the manufacture that were eventually addressed by Microsoft, who kindly (!) offered a free repair… as long as your Xbox went rogue within a particular timescale. Happily, our Xbox 360 was made of sterner stuff than most, and lasted longer – well, long enough for the terms of Microsoft’s free repair to run out of time.

So when December 2011 came around, we were left staring at the forbidden RRoD error notification halfway through a session of Quantum of Solace

Yes, The Dreaded Red Ring Of Doom

Hit by the legendary Red Ring of Doom/Death, whose devastating effect on an Xbox 360 often leads to them being barely uttered, save for awe-struck whispered tones as if referring to some ancient beast from Middle Earth, it was the end of that particular gaming session, and indeed the rest of the night.

Heading towards midnight and with six-month old babies to deal with a few hours later, we opted to get to bed and approach the problem the next day.

Whether this delay was a mistake or not isn’t completely clear. Certainly there are plenty of suggestions on the web as to how one might fix the problem in the absence of extended care from Microsoft and any desire to spend money on shipping and repair.


Why I Haven’t Repaired My Xbox 360 and Probably Won’t muo xbox360rrod opinion1

Checking online for a solution, the following (albeit extreme) ideas seemed the most likely…

Fix A: The Towels

Having been schooled in the 1980s I was pretty confident that the idea of turning on my Xbox 360 while wrapped in towels and waiting until it started working was a pretty mental idea.

At the very least there was the possibility of causing further damage to the console, and that was before we consider the possibility of fire. Not a good thing, really.


The thinking behind this disguised pyromania is that the heat created inside the case would reseat the GPU, attached to the motherboard with solder rather than pins. This loosening of the solder balls is what causes the instance of RRoD that we were experiencing, and short of creating Mordor-like temperatures inside the case to fix the processor cleanly to the mainboard, the Xbox 360 would remain an expensive doorstop.

But once reseated, couldn’t the GPU come unstuck again?

Fix B: The eBay Kit

As a matter of fact, yes it could, which is why some enterprising eBay sellers have been able to make money setting custom-built screw clamps that can be used – in conjunction with a paint-stripping heat gun – to firmly fix the GPU to the motherboard, heavy-duty style.

Why I Haven’t Repaired My Xbox 360 and Probably Won’t muo xbox360rrod opinion3


In fact I even splashed out on the reasonably priced alternative to a trip to Germany for my Xbox 360, and can see the parts from here, complete with mean-looking, thick screws to hold the heatsink tightly to the GPU, with thermal paste also included. I’ve even gone so far as to strip the Xbox 360 down into its constituent parts, ready for the act of briefly heating the GPU, placing the heatsink on top and screwing the new clamps into place.

But there is one thing missing. I don’t have a heat gun.

All For The Cost Of A Heat Gun?

As techy things go, I’m usually pretty adept, and the same goes for fixes. However despite the money I’ve spent on my Xbox 360 and the time I’ve spent playing on it and enjoying music and video streamed from the PC, there is something stopping me from getting my act together and repairing the console.

Perhaps it is the fact we now have a Nintendo Wii, although graphics-wise, that’s unlikely. More unlikely is the fact that I’m a big fan of Windows Phone, and regularly spend time topping up my Gamerscore on that platform rather than via Xbox Live on my games console. Obviously, using both platforms would be more effective.


Maybe it is the cost of buying the heat gun; perhaps it is the fear of failure. Could a grown man be afraid of the crushing disappointment that might strike upon first switching on the Xbox 360 after the procedure only to find that it didn’t work?

Actually, I don’t think it’s any of these. In truth, I think I fear the only thing worse than failure:

Why I Haven’t Repaired My Xbox 360 and Probably Won’t muo xbox360rrod opinion2

The fear of the bloody Red Ring of Death occurring again, and knowing that once and for all my Xbox 360 is dead; at least right now as it sits in a corner of my room, collecting dust, it still has a chance…

Have you been interrupted by failed technology at the most inopportune moment? Do you have broken technology lying around your home? Have you successfully overcome the Red Rings of Death with these or any other methods?

Let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: Droobey

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  1. Albert
    September 25, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    I went Here to solve my xbox problems. Everything is running fine now.

  2. Tim Brookes
    June 5, 2012 at 1:14 am

    The second my current 360 dies I will go out, same day, and buy another one. I've invested plenty of money in games (both disc and Arcade), I have a Kinect and my Xbox Live Gold subscription is years old by now.

    Simply put, it's a great system (with hardware problems, agreed) with the best controller ever designed, in glorious HD, with games on demand and it even does YouTube and Netflix if I really want it. The PS3 and Wii really don't come close in terms of current-gen competition, though I will eventually get a cheapo PS3 to play Heavy Rain, LBP and a few other exclusives.

    I've done an article similar to this highlighting the fixes (X-clamp) and the research I put in was enough to convince me never to bother trying to fix the three-red-rings. I think a few years ago it might have been somewhat worth it while the console was retailing for a higher price, but these days with a new generation round the corner Microsoft will be giving them away before long.

    tl;dr buy a new 360 ;)

  3. Richard Carpenter
    May 19, 2012 at 6:27 am

    My 360 red ringed on me last year. I used the x-clamp fix, and have not had any issues since. But I have to say opening the case was a pain... but only took about two hours to completely pull it apart, fix it, and put it back together. I had a few glitches along the way, but the 360 is still working. I seriously hope I don't have to repeat the process though and I would no recommend anyone doing it without some experience working or building PCs unless the want a new paperweight.

    Also, I don't recommend using a heat gun (I didn't on mine) on the console, It is really not good on the motherboard at all.

  4. Tom
    May 19, 2012 at 4:03 am

    2 years ago my fatty PS3 suffered the same fate... but with a DVD of my sister-in-laws inside.

    With the help of a few YouTube videos by "Fix My Playstation" I was able to get it running again... after which I quickly did a system transfer to a new Slim PS3 (which doesn't suffer the overheating problem). I still need to send the Fatty out for repairs, as it's the older 60gb version that also plays PS2 games... I still have a backlog of old games to play... but, I can say that the "cheap" repair will last for about 6 months before the chips come loose again.

    I say it's worth it to do the even the cheap repair yourself... if anything, it makes for some awesome geek cred.

  5. Yeahvin
    May 19, 2012 at 3:58 am

    My rrod experience is not exactly due to heating problems. I had a modded xbox 360 that can play bootleg games. My cousin downloaded a game from the internet and burned it to a disc unpatched. He inserted the disc and it automatically installed an update. Lo and behold the dreaded rrod appeared. Now it just accumulates dust in the basement storage

  6. Marco
    May 19, 2012 at 3:10 am

    in the year 2007 various notebook were sold with NVidia 8600 GPU and almost all of them after 1-3 years went dead for the same issue of the Xbox (different chip same problem of loose soldering).
    The problem of Xbox is not uncommon I have my Asus X31E Ultrabook shipped yesterday for repair because a problem with the motherboard, it went dead (keyboard light on , no power on) and do not boot, many have this problem and seem correlated to a problem of the GPU overheating and damagin itself or some component nearby on the motherboard.
    Heat related problem on some component is a great issue and having a 1200 Euro notebook dead for a contruction or projectual problem is not simple to accept but the warranty will cover that ... i hope.