Microsoft has had a pretty bad wrap with their Xbox 360 gaming console. Right from the start, the console has suffered a multitude of different hardware failures and design flaws. These problems cause the parts to get too hot and become faulty. I'm sure everyone who's had an Xbox 360 has gotten at least one Red Ring of Death or E74 error.
Over the years, I have fixed many Xbox 360s, and through experimentation and documentation, I've figured out a few ways to fix them that can prevent and fix any Red Ring or E74 error. This is assuming that there are no other hardware failures resulting from overheating.
In this Null Byte, I'm going to show you my slew of tricks that has fixed over 100 Xboxes to date. The best part? We can do with just a few pennies. I have seen a few variations of my trick, but they involve making permanent changes to the case and don't work as well, so try this out first…
Overheating. The RRoD is sometimes caused by excessive dust, but is more commonly caused by heat warping the GPU or CPU away from the motherboard. E74 is caused by the HANA/ANA chip warping away from the motherboard.
This method will prevent overheating and fix most RRoD and E74 errors.
- This will void your warranty if you currently have one.
- Electrical tape
- Lots of pennies
- Thermal paste (Arctic Silver 5, can be bought at RadioShack)
- Torx 8 and 10 screwdrivers
- Super glue (optional)
Step 1 Open the Xbox
There are loads of tutorials on this, so I will spare myself from having to make one and show you this lovely tutorial by FixYourOwnXbox. We need to strip everything, including heatsinks. Also, when removing the motherboard, take off the squishy Band-Aid-looking pads from the RAM chips on the underside.
Step 2 Applying the Fix
These pennies are going to be made into heat conductors and absorbers. Sadly, those pennies are better than Microsoft's supplied pads. They also prevent and reverse flexing in the motherboard because they are solid.
- Wrap 4 sets of 2 pennies each in electrical tape.
- Apply a thin layer of thermal paste to the black RAM chips where the old pads were.
- Now, put the pennies where the old pads were, and apply the optional super glue to them (only a little) to help them stick when we put the case back together.
- Scrape the old thermal paste off the processors and heat sinks. Apply thermal paste (sparingly) to the chips under the heat sinks that you removed earlier. This will conduct heat better.
- Put the heat sinks back on, as well as the x-clamps. If you have the RRoD error, you can put your Xbox back together (more than likely). Screw in the black screws on the bottom of the case really tight and test it before the case is fully reassembled. If it doesn't work, adjust the screws until you find the sweet spot.
- To fix the E74 error, we need to apply pressure to the HANA/ANA chip. Make another stack of pennies that can go under the white heat duct, enough so that it pushes the duct up a noticeable amount.
- Place the duct and DVD drive back in the case, and make another stack of pennies so that it pushes on the top of the case when it's back on.
- Put the case back together completely and screw in the screws slowly. The pennies will put enough pressure on the HANA/ANA chip so the 360 runs. About 20 minutes of running the Xbox should fix it permanently. The pressure of the pennies pushing down on the hot chip will ensure when the solder gets too hot, it reforms with the chip in the optimal position.
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