XBox 360 3 Red Lights

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

It has to be said that the most common fault of the 360 is 3 red light or ‘red ring of death’ or ‘RROD’. Looking around the internet and Ebay there are countless people / shops etc. offering a ‘repair’ for this fault. Microsoft with all their knowledge and resources don’t attempt a repair for this, they issue a new motherboard, keep this in mind and I’ll get back to this point later.

Why does it happen ?

It’s down to basic physics – there are two metals involved one copper the other aluminium, when they heat up they expand and move. The graphics or GPU gets very hot the more graphically involved the game is – it’s been said that ‘gears of war’ is a 360 killer …it’s because the graphics are so good.


Notice the 'legs' of the chip are underneath and inaccessable when fitted

Once the chip or GPU has heated and cooled a few hundred times it starts to break the solder contacts connecting itself to the motherboard – instant 3 red lights ! If it’s the CPU or processor (same thing happens) it’s 1 red light or E74. Now most people will think ‘OK I’ll just re-solder it or re-flow it?’. Unless you’ve got £2.5K worth of equipment (your average bedroom technician won’t!) and around an hour to remove the GPU (reball it) and presuming the tiny pads are OK (they tend to break off) and then hot air re-flow (with the correct jig) and then rebuild it ……… you may just be in with a chance of  repair.

You can see the process done correctly in the following video….

Beware of false promises

There are many places around that offer a ‘fix’, this usually involves heating it with a heatgun and clamping it with an ‘x-clamp’, all this does is force the broken solder joints together, this is not reliable at all as it’s not soldered together mearly touching. Have a look at the warranty period they offer, it’s usually no longer than 60 days,that’s how long the average x-clamp lasts! Buyer beware!

The Important Bit

old xbox 360 seal

The old xbox 360 seal

Microsoft have a warranty for this fault and also for E74 faults.

This means that if your warranty seal is intact  then you are entitled to a free repair – this will be a new motherboard – the only real 100% guaranteed  repair. The machine will be collected by courier and returned a couple of weeks later.If the seal is broken or your machine has been banned from Microsoft Live , you will find the console is returned back within a week to 10 days without being repaired with a letter explaining why.


The new XBOX 360 seal

The new XBOX 360 seal

Seal Broken ?

If your seal is broken whether it’s in warranty or not .. then a repair is possible – this involves reflowing the chips that are causing the machine to malfunction.

Further reading

For more information visit our XBOX 360 repair page and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

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