The infamous RROD error affects a large number of Xbox 360 consoles, particularly the older models like the one shown in this guide. There are a number of fixes that we would like to cover on this site for anyone unlucky enough to be out of warranty. Out of curiosity, I got my hands on an “Xbox 360 bulk repair kit” from Team Xecuter, which was basically just a heatpad cut into 40 pieces, and documented my installation of it to the Xbox 360 motherboard.
Red Ring of Death – RROD
The RROD problem has gotten considerable media attention as it seems to have affected a very large number of Xbox 360 consoles, particularly the earlier models of the console. It refers to what you see in Figure 1; three red lights making up 75% of the inner circle – not to be confused with the full ring of red lights which can indicate, for example, that the AV cable is not plugged in. The causes of this problem are widely debated, with most explanations linked to the heat that can be produced by an Xbox 360 console internally when being used.
Some claim that the design of the Xbox 360 console, which puts the DVD-ROM drive on top of the GPU heatsink possibly affecting the airflow to it, is to blame when combined with the X-Clamps used to hold the heatsinks to the board. When exposed to heat, some claim the X-Clamps warp the board which causes the RROD eventually.
Warning signs for RROD include freezing up, audio problems and graphics glitches. In my own case, I experienced game glitches for about a week before I got the result that is pictured in Figure 1. However, the Xbox 360 console does freeze and glitch occasionally in my experience, and unless it is very prevalent, it does not necessarily mean the RROD is on the horizon.
Team Xecuter came along with an RROD repair kit that included screw drivers to open the console and 4 heatpads. Since I already have screwdrivers and tools to open the console, I bought a bulk repair kit for about €12. In it I had a heatpad cut into 40 chunks (enough for 10 consoles). So I decided to check mine. Let’s see.
Fully Disassemble Xbox 360
You have to be able to disassemble the Xbox 360 console to apply these heat pads to the chips. I don’t cover the full disassembling in this guide but we do already offer a guide to disassembling the Xbox 360 console completely from start to finish.
Introduction & Requirements
You will need a Torx screwdriver set. If you have looked around the Internet at different disassembling guides for the Xbox 360, you will notice that there is little agreement about the size of the screwdrivers you actually need (but they must be Torx). I disassembled my Xbox 360 with a T6 and T8 screwdriver, but other guides suggest T7, T10 and T12. Therefore, I highly recommend you get a relatively cheap set of TX screwdrivers from your local DIY store and use them as they fit.
You will also need a very small sized flat-heat screwdriver like the cheap one you can see in Figure 1 that came part of a €2 set from a discount store (do not use these to unscrew anything, because they will break, but having one as small fitting as the one shown is vital for releasing some clasps on the Xbox 360 case.)
Remove HDD Bay
As shown in Figure 2, press a finger down on the release button for the HDD bay and lift it out of the slot until it is totally disconnected from the case.
Hold the Xbox 360 as shown in Figure 3 and use one hand to pop-off the faceplate as shown. It will literally pop-off with enough force (and won’t snap) if you grab it from the bottom of the console and push it outwards with your finger tips as shown.
Remove Right (Bottom) Ventilation Shield
The ventilation shields need to be removed from the console. We will start with the shield on the right side of the console if sitting horizontally, or the bottom of the console if you sit it vertically. Look at Figure 4 to see the whereabouts of the first clasp to be released. Push the flat-head screwdriver (or anything that will fit) into the ventilation hole as shown (might not be that exact one with your case) while pulling the ventilation shield away from the console with your hand. Once you have that done, remove the clasp on the opposite side of the console (there are three on each side).
Then do the same for the Center clasp (as shown in Figure 5) and the Right Clasp (as shown in Figure 6) until the ventilation shield pops out of the case altogether. This can be a little bit tedious the first time you do it but if you keep trying you will remove it.
Remove Left (Top) Ventilation Shield
Removing the left (top) ventilation shield is a little bit harder than the bottom. First of all you should remove the two rubber pads as shown in Figure 7, which will reveal one with a hole you can use to pop-out a clasp later. Make sure to keep the pads somewhere where you won’t lose them as they are very small. They will simply stick back in later.
As shown in Figure 8 and Figure 9, you have to release two of the clasps by putting the flathead screwdriver into the two holes that can be seen in the pictures. Push in the screwdriver and angle it toward the outer case, then you can push the screwdriver outward and you will see the ventilation shield loosening. Pull it up with your fingers. Remember, again, push the screwdriver into the hole, angled toward the outer-case and then it is in as far as it can do without resistance, push it away from the outer case and it will release the clasp.
Figure 10 and Figure 11 show how, just like before, you can use the flat-head screwdriver or something that will fit to release the claps through the ventilation holes on the outer case, only this time one of these holes will be positioned where you previously removed a rubber padding. Keep working on this until the ventilation shield comes off, then lay the console down horizontally.
Release 4 Clasps on Front of Console
Figure 12 shows where each side of the Outer case is clasped together in red. The green marker on the picture shows where the Microsoft sticker will be. You need to simply peel off this sticker to be able to open the console any further. As for the red clasps, if you look closely at them (click picture to enlarge it) you will notice they are quite easy to release with a flat-head screwdriver or something that will be able to fit. Simply pop all four off until you have that half of the case opened as shown below in Figure 13.
Remove DVD Eject Button
You need to pop the DVD-ROM Eject button off when the front clasps of your case have been released. To do this, look at Figure 13, simply use the flat-head screw-driver. Push it in underneath the black clasp and simply push it off, you will not break it. Then put the DVD-ROM eject button somewhere safe. Make sure not to allow the front clasps rejoin and turn the console around to release the clasps on the rear of the console as shown in Figure 15.
Remove Rear Latches
Figure 15 shows the back of an Xbox 360 (Xenon model) and highlights in red where you can find the spaces you need to push the tiny flat head screwdriver into to release the clasps. Please note however that newer models of the console will have a slightly different arrangement at the back but the concept is still the same.
In Figure 16, it shows how you can push the flat-head screwdriver into the small rectangular spaces provided. Push it right in there and don’t worry about making tiny bits of noticeable damage to the outer case, this is unavoidable. For each space, you will hear a loud clicking noise when the clasp has been released. It helps to be trying to lift the case off when you are doing this so as to not allow then re-clasp, which is very annoying and will happen.
Figure 17 shows all the clasps released and the case being held just barely on the console.
Remove Bottom Of Outer Case
Once you have released the front and back clasps holding the outer case together, you can simply lift off the bottom half of the case, exploring the metallic inner shell of the case for the first time.
Remove 6 Silver Screws
Look at Figure 19 (click to enlarge if needed) to see the location of the 6 silver screws that you must remove from the console. I used a T8 screwdriver from my set, but other guides suggest it is a T10 that is required. Use whatever screwdriver from your kit fits the best and remove the screws as shown in Figure 20.
Figure 21 shows how the screws, while the same size, are slightly different in appearance. The four from the right inward are slightly different because they hold the DVD-ROM drive to the board and case. This is something you should remember (look back over) on re-assembling of the console.
Remove Top of Outer Case
After you have removed the six long silver screws from the case that were shown in Figure 19, you will be able to simply turn over the console and lift off the outer shell (Figure 22), exposing the inner shell for the first time, as seen in Figure 23. What we can see immediately is the DVD-ROM drive, the Fan Shroud and theCPU heatsink.
Note: Do not forget to remove the sticker highlighted in red in Figure 22 or else you will be unable to remove the DVD-ROM drive.
Remove DVD-ROM Drive
In Figure 24, it shows how you can just simply pull the DVD-ROM drive out of the case now. It is not screwed down and is only being held by one sticker highlighted in Figure 22, and is connected by a power cable and SATA cable as shown in Figure 24. Remove the SATA cable and power cable from the back of the DVD-ROM drive as shown and then simply lift out the DVD-ROM drive from the case, as shown in Figure 25.
Remove SATA & DVD-ROM Power Cable from Board
The DVD-ROM power cable and the SATA cable now need to be removed from the board altogether. Do this with your fingers as shown in Figure 26. The first time they are removed might require a bit more force than feels comfortable, but if you try to spread it evenly, you will not do any damage to the board, so don’t worry.
Remove RF Module Unit
Figure 27 shows the white plastic cover over the Xbox 360 power button and four LED lights. This is just clipped on and can be removed with your fingers, simply pull it o0ff as shown in Figure 27.
Figure 28 highlights three screws that you will need to remove with a T6 or whatever fits from your Torx kit. Figure 29 shows where to pull the RF Module off the casing from. Simply get the tips of your fingers in behind the RF Module at the bottom-left as shown in Figure 29 and pull it off from there.
Remove Fan Shroud
The big white Fan Shroud shown in Figure 30 is next. Simply use the flat-head screwdriver as shown to pop the Shroud away from the clip that keeps it attached, and then simply use your other hand to pull the shroud out of the case, it is not attached in any way.
Disconnect Fan Power Cable and Remove Stock Fans
Figure 31 shows the Power cable for the Fans connected to the board. Simply push down on the clasp and pull the cable away from the slot. In Figure 32, it shows how there are two small clasps that hole the fans to the metallic casing. In order to release this, push the flat head screwdriver between the top of the fans and the case as shown in Figure 32, and push up the metallic casing while simultaneously pulling the fans outwards as sown.
Figure 33 just shows how the fans will be able to stretch out past the metallic casing that holds it in place without damaging anything on the board. Once you have it as shown in Figure 33, simply pull it out. The resistance you feel is not a screw, it is a small black plastic bolt that will slip away from the metallic casing when you pull the fans out.
Remove 17 Screws (9 Silver board-screws, 8 brown heatsink)
Remove Motherboard from Inner Shell
Figure 34 shows the silver screws you must now remove in red, and the 8 brown screws in green, for a total of 17 you need to remove. I used a T6 screwdriver for all of these. Make sure to account for all of your screws, shown in Figure 35. Once the screws are out, you can simply pull the motherboard out of the case as shown in Figure 36. Remember not to pull too hard on the CPU heatsink, as it is not screwed to the board and is being held down with one of the X-Clamps on the underside of the board.
Console Fully Disassembled
The picture above shows a fully disassembled Xbox 360 console, except for the HDD bay, which is shown on the next page for those interested.
HDD Disassemble Requirements & Remove Outer Screws (Not Required)
For the Xbox 360 HDD Adapter, I used a T6 screwdriver and a T8 screwdriver. Other guides will claim different sizes, so make sure to test similar sized Torxscrewdrivers from your set. Figure 39 shows the location of 4 screwdrivers you must remove, one which will be covered by a microsoft sticker you will need to scrape off with the flat-heat screwdriver.
Remove 4 inner screws & casing
Figure 40 shows the HDD bay with the top cover removed from it and highlights four new screws you will need to remove with a T8 or similar sized Torx screwdriver. Once you have removed the screws, simply take off the metallic shielding that covers the 2.5″ SATA HDD, which is connected inside to an SATA adapter.
NOTE: Just as a note for re-assembly – the SATA adapter that is connected to the HDD itself as shown in Figure 41, can rest on top of the other black plastic inside the case, as it can be hard to re-assemble without knowing this.
Keep your eye on the spring
I could not in good conscience neglect to mention that if you lose the spring shown in the red in Figure 42, your HDD bay will not slot on to the top of your console correctly and will be removed without needing to press the release button down. Make sure to be disassembling in an area where it a spring would be easily found if it should fall off. Try to make sure that the button apparatus does now fall apart (hard to do) and if it does, simply check the full-sized Figure 42 (click to enlarge) to see how it should look while re-assembling.
Remove HDD from casing
Figure 44 shows the HDD (SATA, 2.5″) fully removed from the adapter. This can now be connected to your computer if you want to access the files with Xplorer360 or similar
On the underside of the Xbox 360 motherboard, beside one of the X-Clamps there are 4 chips. On the model I am currently using, there are no pads on the chips, but on newer models you can find pick pads on these chips. You will need to pull off those pink pads from the chips to put on the heatpads from Team Xecuter.
Get Four Heat Pads
If you have the bulk kit like I have (Figure 5), then just pull away four of the square heat pads from it. The underside of them is sticky. At first, it does not seem like it will stick to the chips and hold, but if you stick it to the chips with enough pressure it will stay stuck, and later on the inner shell of the Xbox 360 case will keep it pressed on top of the chips. Some people have commented about the need to add glue, I would advise you do not do that unless you really have no other choice.
Stick to the chips
Figure 6 shows how the underside of the motherboard should look once you have covered the four chips with the heat pads. In my experience the pads stuck on just fine with no need for extra glue. Remember when you put it in the case, it will be pressing against the side of the inner shell, therefore once you have the board in there, they really should not come loose at all.
Does it actually work?
We recommend that once you re-assemble the console with the heat pads added, you need to leave it switched on with the three red lights flashing for up to 60 minutes before rebooting to see the desired effect. My test showed that it actually does work, and the Xbox 360 console I tried it on has been working just as good as before for a couple of weeks since, which is not enough time for me to comment on the long-term effects just yet, but my console was experiencing RROD and it was out of warranty when it failed. Either way it was an interesting experiment and one in a series that I plan to write for fighting off the RROD error.