How to Fix Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death - RROD fix that lasts Long-term. Penny trick, Thermal Compound Heat sink Tutorial
Fix the Red Ring of Death Tutorial
About the Red Ring of Death (RROD)
The Red Ring of Death (RROD) is the red light sequence displayed on the Xbox 360's "Ring of Life," which signals a malfunctioned part. Malfunctioned parts are usually caused due to the amount of heat your console generates, resulting in overheating of the hardware. Over 40% of the Xbox 360 consoles are bound to meet the ring of death, but the good news is that over 90% of these consoles can be fixed without spending loads of money on parts or a new console.
Safely Disassemble Xbox 360 Console for Repairs
The process of opening up the Xbox 360 console is a bit tricky, but I wrote a HUB awhile back going in-depth through the process. "Having the right tools makes the job quick," that quote is very important when taking apart the console. Before I had the right tools, I tried all kinds of methods to get around spending a few dollars on the necessary tools.
Before you can repair your console, you must take it apart first. If you are unsure of how to go about disassembling your Xbox 360 console, check out my Opening the Xbox 360 Hub.
Sticky Pads and Black Chip Locations
Penny stacks as Heat-sinks and Ventilation Barrier
This fix is literally a "penny fix." This process is done inorder to fix the RROD and prevent it from happening in the future.
- Hot Glue Gun (Or thermal compound)
- 12 Pennies
- Electrical Tape
Pennies are used to space out the shell from the motherboard, as well as transfer some of the heat away from the microchip's on the back of the motherboard. A stack of 3 pennies provides the perfect height for clearance and proper air venting beneath the motherboard.
What to Do:
- Take 3 pennies and stack them on top of each other to form a stack. Repeat this 3 more times so that you have 4 stacks of 3 pennies.
- Wrap each stack of pennies with electrical tape so that none of the penny is showing. You should be able to do this easily with 2 strips of electrical tape.
- Flip your motherboard over so that the heat-sinks are faced down and the bottom of your motherboard is facing towards you. You should see two metal pieces that are shaped like X's. These are called the X clamps and they hold your heat-sinks into place.
- Around these X clamps, you will see 4 black chips. Most consoles have sticky pads covering the chips, they are white with a red top layer. These sticky pads need to be pulled off of the chips.
- Once the sticky pads are removed, exposing the 4 black chips, you will be adding the penny stacks as a replacement. Put a nice blob of hot glue on the bottom of the penny stacks, and place it onto each of the chips. Don't get too carried away with the size of the glue spot, simply place enough glue onto the center of the stack so that excess glue won't seep over the chip and onto the actual motherboard.
- Once each stack is placed on the chips, let the glue dry for 5 to 10 minutes. Once you have given the glue time to dry, gently tug on each stack to make sure that they are secure and wont easily pull off.
These penny stacks act as a reinforced heat sink for each of the chips, which absorbs the heat produced. The stacks work much better than the sticky pads that Microsoft puts on the motherboard during manufacture. The pennies also don't change size, which allows for spacing between the metal shell of the case and the motherboard.
When you add the penny stacks to the black chips, the space created is much larger than the space created with the sticky pads. When you put the console back together, make sure you leave the 8 Black Screws off. These 8 screws are the center screws of the metal casing of the shell. If you try to put these back on with the penny stacks, it can cause the motherboard to bend or snap if the screws make contact with its intended socket.
How to Fix the Xbox 360 E74 Error and the RROD
Sometimes the penny trick won't always fix the RROD. The penny trick is highly recommend to prevent further damage to your console, but the RROD can also occur due to overheating of the graphics chip and processor. This usually happens because of the manufactured thermal compound drying up. Thermal compound is supposed to remain a thick-gooy liquid, but overheating causes it to dry up and greatly decreases it's effectiveness of transferring heat.
- Thermal Compound (Arctic Silver - Can be purchased at stores like Radio Shack)
- Anti-Stick Solution (Googon - Can be purchased at stores like Walmart)
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Toothpick or Gental Scraping tool
- A few rags
The Anti-Stick solution is used to remove the old thermal compound, but isn't exactly required. Rubbing alcohol is used to reverse the oily residue left from the Anti-Stick solution so that the new thermal compound wont slide around. The toothpick or gental scraping tool is used to help pick away the old thermal compound.
What to Do:
- Remove both of the X clamps by taking a flathead screwdriver and gently prying/twisting the four anchor points.
- Once both X clamps have been removed, take off the two heat-sinks attached to the motherboard. (Heat-sinks are the big metal pieces located at the center of the console)
- Use the Anti-Stick solution and a rag to wipe off the old thermal compound that got stuck to the bottom of the heat-sinks. Feel free to use your Scraping tool to also help remove the old compound from the heat-sinks.
- Use your Scraping tool to gently scrape away the thermal compound on the two chips that the heat-sinks rest on. Simply scrape the compound, then dab it with a rag to remove the loose particles. This step takes patience and precision to clean the chips. Anti-Stick solution can be used on the chips with caution. Spray the solution on a rag, and use the rag on the chip. DO NOT SPAY THE SOLUTION DIRECTLY ON THE CHIP.
- Once both chips have been cleaned and if you used Anti-Stick solution, use rubbing alcohol on a rag, and gently dab the chips. The more compound removed from the chips, the greater success of the fix. Don't get carried away with the Anti-Stick solution or the rubbing alcohol, too much could cause permanent damage.
- Once the chips have been cleaned and sanitized with the rubbing alcohol, apply a little less than a dime size of thermal compound to each of the chips. You could also add a small dot of compound to the heat-sinks, but only if you know where the heat-sink makes contact with the chip. Using too much compound causes it to seep out onto the motherboard, which will cause heat to be transferred to unwanted parts of the motherboard.
- Once the new thermal compound has been applied, place the heat-sinks back in the correct locations.
- You can try to reuse the X clamps, use new X clamps that you've purchased, Or use screws with plastic washers to secure the heat-sinks back into place from the bottom of the motherboard.
Congratz! You have officially completed the repair. Now all you have to do is put everything back together carefully.
Conclusion and Warnings
By doing these two methods of repair, it WILL void your warranty for your console. These two methods are not guaranteed to fix your console permanently, but have a success rate of around 90%. It is advised to do both methods for the best results. By doing both methods, the success rate greatly increases and prevents further problems with your console.
When testing to see if your fix worked, some consoles will overheat after a short time, displaying the RROD error code. Turn your console off, then back on and it should work fine! For some reason the fix is sometimes delayed and causes the console to display an error, but this is common. After about 10 minutes, a few of my consoles overheat and flash the RROD. I restart it and let it run for about 10 hours and no problems.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment on this hub, or shoot us a message! Goodluck!