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Xbox 360 Problems Might Be Due To Manufacturing Issues


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#1 twistedsymphony

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 06:30 PM

I'm sure most people have heard about some Xbox 360 units having problems; horror stories about 3 flashing red lights. There have even been articles arguing that the issues are due to the console overheating. Call MS Customer support and you might hear them tell you to unplug everything plug it back in do a voodoo dance and see if it helped. These things will work on occasion but their success is rare and haphazard at best.

While I'm sure most people can recognize a flashing red light as being a problem, many may not realize that there exists a hidden error code that can be extracted when the Ring of Light gives you the evil eye. I wont go into details about these codes (there many of them) but I have written a guide explaining what all the different error codes mean, or at least what we know so far. The most common error you hear about with the Xbox 360s is 3 red flashing lights around the power button, more often then not the hidden error code on these units is found to be 0102; "Unknown Error".

The solution most people attempted (with limited success) was to improve the console's cooling capabilities by adding more powerful fans or using a more efficient thermal compound between the heat syncs and the chips. You may remember some fleeting news reports about thermal compound that still had foil on it, later discovered be by design and not by error. Looking at the error codes though, overheating being the root problem just doesn't make sense. For one, 2 flashing red LEDs represents an "overheating" console according to documentation right on MS's own website. 3 Red lights is a pattern dedicated to a hardware failure. Also there are a number of different hidden codes that represent overheating and 0102 is not one of them... So what does it mean?

Recently an Xbox-Scene member who goes by "Team Modfreakz" discovered that his console with 3 red lights and error code 0102 also had graphical errors and putting great pressure on the memory chips the errors would disappear. This is important because the memory chips, the CPU and the GPU all attach to the mainboard though what's called a Ball Grid Array or BGA. Basically when manufactured there are hundreds of tiny solder balls on the bottom of the chips, the chips are laid into place on the motherboard and then sent into an oven. The oven heats up the solder and in doing so connect the chips permanently to the mainboard. This is used for its low space requirements and ease of manufacturing, the Xbox 1 and many other products use this as well.

What's interesting about Team Modfreakz discovery is that it proves that (his Xbox 360 at least) did not have a good connection between the chip and the mainboard. It's no unheard of for a BGA connection to occasionally go bad or not come out of the oven as it should. If the solder balls were not properly heated in the oven it can easily create a weak or finicky connection between the chip and the mainboard that might be dead out of the oven, or get worse overtime, or even change in reliability based on changes in temperature and humidity etc.

Team Modfreakz decided to use a heat gun and simulate the effects of an oven in an attempt to "reflow" and thus repair any bad solder joints in the BGAs. It would seem that this method was quite successful. Later Team Modfreakz released a video demonstrating the proper procedure for re-heating the mainboard.

http://video.google....6...20fix&hl=en

From What I've seen, many of the people who have attempted this have had great success in repairing 3 red lights and 0102 error code Xbox 360 consoles. While it does not have 100% success it seems to have worked well for many people who were able to get rid of their console problems altogether. The method is quite dangerous and easy to screw up it is certainly NOT for the faint of heart. I would recommend anyone who has problems either return your console to the store to have it replaced or call MS at 1-800-4MY-XBOX to have the console replaced or repaired. I would only recommend attempting Team Modfreakz's method as a very last resort. If you do attempt it, you do so at your own risk.

While not 100% reliable it does seem to have a higher success rate for this particular error code then any other previously suggested solution. Nothing can be proven for sure but it does raise interesting questions about MS's manufacturing process. Have there been consoles that were not properly "baked"? If so, was this problem limited to a small batch of consoles or was it a widespread miscalculation across multiple facilities? One can only hope that if this is in-fact a widespread manufacturing error that MS has already identified it and made the necessary changes to keep it from happening again. If this is something that hasn't yet been looked into by MS... as an Xbox 360 owner I would like to suggest that they do.

Edited by C o s m o, 01 January 2007 - 03:16 PM.


#2 68HC000

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 06:35 PM

The 360 is the most troublesome console I have ever seen. Never has any other console required a solder reflow method to keep it operational.

It seems there were so many theories about the three red light errors, but people have tested this one, and most of the time it resolves their issues. The other successful fix i've seen is the thermal compound upgrade fix.

Thanks for pinning this BTW.

-68K

Edited by 68HC000, 11 August 2006 - 06:38 PM.


#3 Tito2k6

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 08:02 PM

I can testify that this is a problem that many may not encounter for some time.

I had my system since December with no problems. It started hanging up in games and during startup just last week. Then two days ago it locked up and I got the red lights/102 code when I restarted it.

My point is this: My system has rarely been moved, is well ventilated, and worked perfectly for 8 months. Therefore, ALL 360 OWNERS should be aware that this can happen at any time. I don't want to start spreading fear, but you could be next.

I know many had problems at launch, but MS's problems may actually become worse as time goes on.

I thought I was one of the lucky ones.

PS Interestingly enough, when I leave it on for several minutes with the red lights flashing, I can usually get it to start. It's like I need to buy some starter fluid or something biggrin.gif

"Maybe I should get out and push!"

#4 leorimolo

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 08:10 PM

tito your xbox I belive does have that problem atleast mine has it. It all happened exactly the same way as it happened to me. Excellent guide twisted. congrats

LEo

PS you sig is huge fix it

Edited by leorimolo, 11 August 2006 - 08:10 PM.


#5 phil44

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Posted 12 August 2006 - 07:23 PM

Same problem as the guys above and after eight months of flawless operation too, had flashed my drive so thought my only option was ebay and selling as spares repairs, heatgun fix totaly worked on my machine so alls well there.

Pretty miffed MS are charging some people to repair a problem that is in essance a manufacturing blunder.

Thankfully I got a spot on result from the heatgun repair.

Edited by phil44, 12 August 2006 - 07:26 PM.


#6 pimpmaul69

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 10:54 PM

i can testify that Team Modfreakz is absolutely 100% correct as i amd a console repairman and fixed several error code 0102 by using a heatgun

#7 bigdee89

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 02:19 AM

I bought mine July 26th, 2006 and it died August 16th 2006. Nice eh? mad.gif

#8 Tito2k6

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 03:30 AM

QUOTE(bigdee89 @ Aug 17 2006, 02:26 AM) View Post

I bought mine July 26th, 2006 and it died August 16th 2006. Nice eh? mad.gif


You're lucky. You're still under warranty and NOW understand the importance of buying an extended warranty. You better buy it while you have the chance. tongue.gif

Edited by Tito2k6, 17 August 2006 - 03:30 AM.


#9 bLiTz 2k

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Posted 20 August 2006 - 09:26 AM

Most people know this fixes error 0102, however has anyone tried it for error 0110? Thats the error im getting and not many seem to have surefire ways to fix.

#10 Farbrorn

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 12:21 AM

My only question about this is, how hot should the memory modules get? I've done the hit air rework like 6 times now, last three times i've been measuring the temperature. Last time I just passed 230 degrees celsius, I didn't dare go any higher due to heat going into sensitive condensators. This time it seems to work well, but this time i've also made sure the 360 isn't going hot. Anywhere, or anywhere.

Fans going at full 12V, keeping the GPU at a maximum of 46 degrees celsius, and the CPU at 35. The memory modules keep steady at 35 with passive cooling (on the back of the motherboard too). I've drilled some holes for them. Also, in some tutorial i've read theres was a guy applying arctic silver to the GPU and the memory chips located under the GPU heatsink.

I remember reading that the memory is at the same height as the GPU cores, but I discovered that it was not the case. I had to use a couple of heat conducting and self-adhesive insulating washers (normally for TO3P casings) on the sink to get contact with the memory under there. Also used thermal compound on them.

And to top it of, I took a piece of aluminium sheet metal, bent it to fit the GPU heatsink perfectly. This actually dropped it another 5 degrees celsius. MSs "out of the box" cooling really sux, draws air from everywhere. And the fans never go as fast as they should. I'm really scared that my second 360 will start acting up because of the amount of heat coming out of it. The exhaust temperature of an "ok" 360 is around 50 celsius, after running Burnout Revenge for a couple of hours. It cannot be healthy for the GPU to work at 70+.

I've been looking for a way, without water cooling it, or spending any real money on it. To make it not give me the 0102-error all of the time. If it dies on me again, i'll be going over 300 degrees celsius. And if that doesn't fix it. I'll take a crap inside its case, assamble, and mail it to MS. I'm sick and tired of this shit now. ;D

btw, i've got pictures of most of the "testing" i've been doing if anyone's interested.
Also have pictures of a homemade air channel, built of aluminium to thunnel air from a 60mm fan sitting by the CPU to the GPU. I scraped it after it came in the way of the memory chips and its cooling. Haven't done any actual testing on it, if it really did any use or not. But it blows air quite good, so it should do some good.

#11 ProphetOfPain

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 08:29 AM

biggrin.gif Heatgun fix worked for me! I have a question though. Should I mess with the heatsink compound? Didn't seem to "juicy" and I know it's typical to harden around the edges, but was moreso than I liked, but then again I never seen dark grey compound like this before. So simply, is it common practice to regrease the cpu while getting in there with the heatgun. This is a console from 11/05 and i'm wondering what's the best way cool better so error 0102 stays away smile.gif Great guide, i'm 1 for 1. smile.gif

#12 chapin_fourlife1

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 06:19 PM

At what temperature should I have the heat gun

my goes from 45c to 500c uhh.gif

#13 twistedsymphony

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 08:41 PM

QUOTE(ProphetOfPain @ Aug 24 2006, 03:36 AM) View Post

... Should I mess with the heatsink compound? Didn't seem to "juicy" and I know it's typical to harden around the edges, but was moreso than I liked, but then again I never seen dark grey compound like this before. So simply, is it common practice to regrease the cpu while getting in there with the heatgun. This is a console from 11/05 and i'm wondering what's the best way cool better so error 0102 stays away smile.gif Great guide, i'm 1 for 1. smile.gif


The compound that MS and most consoles use is a little different then the stuff you find on a PC. the Grey Compound should be of a loose and rubbery consistency, almost like semi-hardened play dough. If it has the metal Foil (meaning it comes off clean with a shiny foil layer between the compound and the processor) then theoretically you shouldn't need to replace it. Otherwise it IS recommended that you replace it, IMO I'd replace it even if it did have the foil because the foil itself (while there for a reason) bungs up the process.

I'd recommend some Arctic Silver 5, and be sure to carefully read their instructions so you apply it properly. (or you could screw it up)

#14 wingli373

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 11:50 PM

another xbox360 saved buy the mighty heatgun. happened to pick up a heatgun for $9.99. it fixed the error code 0102 biggrin.gif biggrin.gif biggrin.gif

#15 bigjimmy

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 01:31 AM

Good to see theres at least some hope if your 360 gives the 3 red lights of death. I can remember a few months back when if you got the three red lights you were screwed rolleyes.gif . Good work!!




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