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Xbox 360 Problems Might Be Due To Manufacturing Issues


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#31 brooksie48

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 12:39 PM

I've been trying to do this but I'm stuck at one point. How do I dismount the cooler?

#32 EllsinoreOutlaw

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 12:51 PM

QUOTE(twistedsymphony @ Aug 11 2006, 12:37 PM) View Post

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.



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.



What does it mean when you can't get screen on, after you push power and 3 Red Lights? I bought this 360 from a friend.

Thanks

#33 brooksie48

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 04:04 PM

Ok I just heat gunned it, and now I have to let it sit for 30 minutes. Pray for me!

#34 brooksie48

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 06:09 PM

QUOTE(Baseballsbest @ Sep 5 2006, 10:27 PM) View Post

Hey, I've found that after you've completed the hot air fix, it's best to run the console on it's LEFT SIDE only. The reason for this is because many consoles work well for a long period of time before recieving code 0102. Over time, the solder begins to feel the effects of the terrible cooling system and eventually looses connection. By turning the console on it's left side, you ensure that gravity will only pull the chips deeper into the solder instead of severing the connection. It wouldn't hurt to grab a NIkko intercooler after the fix to help prevent a reoccurence.

Keep in mind that WE shouldn't have to go through all this crap. We should have a reliable product for the money we paid. I was upset at first, but then realized that this was the only way I could prevent Microsoft from getting MORE of my money. Big ups to TMF for taking the initiative to find a DIY solution.

-James

wouldn't that put it laying on the hdd?

#35 brooksie48

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 07:19 PM

QUOTE(brooksie48 @ Sep 6 2006, 12:16 PM) View Post

wouldn't that put it laying on the hdd?

wow, my 360 is already broken again

#36 Baseballsbest

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 07:20 PM

QUOTE(brooksie48 @ Sep 6 2006, 01:16 PM) View Post

wouldn't that put it laying on the hdd?


No, it would be laying on the HDD if it were upside down. The 360 is designed to either stand up straight, or lay on it's left side. Look on the side of your 360 and note the small black rubber grips in the corners.


#37 phil44

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 07:34 PM

QUOTE(Baseballsbest @ Sep 6 2006, 04:27 AM) View Post

Hey, I've found that after you've completed the hot air fix, it's best to run the console on it's LEFT SIDE only. The reason for this is because many consoles work well for a long period of time before recieving code 0102. Over time, the solder begins to feel the effects of the terrible cooling system and eventually looses connection. By turning the console on it's left side, you ensure that gravity will only pull the chips deeper into the solder instead of severing the connection. It wouldn't hurt to grab a NIkko intercooler after the fix to help prevent a reoccurence.

Keep in mind that WE shouldn't have to go through all this crap. We should have a reliable product for the money we paid. I was upset at first, but then realized that this was the only way I could prevent Microsoft from getting MORE of my money. Big ups to TMF for taking the initiative to find a DIY solution.

-James


Sounds like it could help, re-did the fix and now have it horizontal.

Hopefully this time it will stay fixed (although I doubt it tbh)

Cheers for the tip.


#38 brooksie48

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 08:31 PM

QUOTE(Baseballsbest @ Sep 6 2006, 01:27 PM) View Post

No, it would be laying on the HDD if it were upside down. The 360 is designed to either stand up straight, or lay on it's left side. Look on the side of your 360 and note the small black rubber grips in the corners.

well thats how mine was in the first place before it broke

#39 ewok666

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 01:45 AM

QUOTE(brooksie48 @ Sep 6 2006, 06:16 PM) View Post

wouldn't that put it laying on the hdd?


Doesn't work anyway...

I wouldn't call it 'the left side' either, I'd say that the sides are them SMALL pieces and the bottom is the large one.

If the 360 is in the NORMAL position, the DVD is taken out by moving it up.
If the 360 is on its side, the DVD is taken out by moving it sideways.

But that's just my thinking.

Anyway, I heatgunned my old 360 a number of times and ALLWAYS had it sitting in the normal position (so it was wider than it was tall. I died again and again and I do NOT think that this is a good position and here's why:

The hotest spots on the outside of the 360 are where the CPU and the GPU are soldered onto the motherboard. If it's in the normal position these hot spots are only a couple of mm away from whatever the 360 is sitting on and even on smooth, well ventilated material, the 360 gets a lot warmer when in the normal position.

Someone could measure temperatures to back this up but feel free to try this yourself.

Cheers



#40 twistedsymphony

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 06:23 PM

I would think that if it feels warmer on the outside that would be better, meaning that more heat is radiating from the chip instead if sitting in there baking it. (heat rises so while space under the console is good it's not as imporant as other factors).

IIRC xboxexpert temperature tested the console and found that the heat pipe was more efficient when the console was sitting horizontal. it makes more sense that it would be from a physics perspective anyway.

#41 IH8M$

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 06:24 PM

My 360 also died the other day. I was able to turn it on at times, but it would then freeze and give me red lights. If I waited a while for it to cool down I could turn it on again for a while, but the process just repeats. I was getting error code 0102. I figured it was something with it overheating so I took it apart and replaced the thermal pase on the heatsinks. There was foil on one of them so I got rid of that. I heard about this heatgun fix, but only had a hairdryer so I heated the console up for a bit. I put the console back together and turned it on. I was able to play COD2 for a while, and then it died again. I assume it ran longer this time because of the new thermal paste, but I'm all out of ideas. I was considering buying a heat gun, but am not sure what to do. Is there anything I can do with a soldering iron to fix this? I'm starting to think I'm better off just buying a new one with the warranty and eBaying my broken one instead of putting more money into the broken one.

#42 ewok666

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 07:53 PM

QUOTE(twistedsymphony @ Sep 7 2006, 06:30 PM) View Post

I would think that if it feels warmer on the outside that would be better, meaning that more heat is radiating from the chip instead if sitting in there baking it. (heat rises so while space under the console is good it's not as imporant as other factors).

IIRC xboxexpert temperature tested the console and found that the heat pipe was more efficient when the console was sitting horizontal. it makes more sense that it would be from a physics perspective anyway.


Cooler on the outside generally means cooler on the inside as well. The surrounding air cools the case walls, the case walls in turn cool the inside. That's why aluminum cases for PC's are good ;-)

If the box sits flat, the bottom heats up but the heat has nowhere to go......where do you think it will go?

Don't know about the heat pipe....may be true but that's irrelevant imho. The general temperature of the inside of th unit is of interest. I do not think that the CPU temperature is an issue.

Cheers

#43 jcdbc

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 08:42 PM

i took my xbox360 apart and didnt see any problems with it, and am having the same problem. after spending all the money i have on it, and not getting to play very often, this problem makes me very angry.
the people at the help desk said they would fix it for 130 dollars. instead of paying it, im thinking of getting a lawyer,and since this is a common problem, they probally know about it, sp i will be asking for punitive damages too.
anybody up for a class action, it costs nothing if we loose, but will pay out if we win
jason
jcdbc@yahoo.com

#44 devilsfan666

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 03:55 PM

QUOTE(ewok666 @ Sep 3 2006, 07:11 PM) View Post

Has anyone else tried this fix?


IM about to try this today-got a broken unit from ebay with this issue.System works fine/no errors as long as I keep pressure on the a/v connector-other wise I get no/scrambled video signal.
I will let y'all know how it goes.....

#45 sebek1

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 02:08 PM

This hot gun method worked for me and i didnt even take down the coller from the gpu. I just pointed the gun at the botton.




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