Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fixing Your Own XBOX 360



- So my old falcon based XBOX 360 Arcade finally died with an E74 error (usually means gpu or ana/hana hardware scaler chip problem). This is the third xbox to die on me but the first one out of warranty so I was thinking maybe I can try fixing it myself. If your 360 is still in warranty then I would highly recommend you just warranty repair your 360. This fix should work for RROD too.

Things you need:
- XClamp Repair Kit for about $10 from amazon.
- I already had some Arctic Silver 5 which if you build pc's you should already have. The repair kit comes with thermal paste but I prefer as5.
- Isopropyl alcohol. Again, the kit comes with cleaning solution which I did use but I like to finish off with a good wipe of Isopropyl alcohol.
- Heat gun for about $32 from amazon. They go as cheap as $10 when on sale though. Just make sure it has 2 temperature settings.
- A nice Torx driver bit set. I bought this one from radio shack for $16 a while back (needed it for other projects.) Specifically, you need a T8 and T10 which this set has. The repair kit comes with some but I hear those are cheaply made and you do NOT want to risk stripping the screws on your 360 or you will have a very hard time taking it apart.
- A good jewelry/precision screwdriver set.
- adjustable wrench for removing the existing screws attached to the heatsinks.

- The repair kit comes with a sheet of paper with a URL that directs to 2 pdf's: one for disassembly and one for repair. Go ahead and look over those. But the most helpful things are this series of youtube videos. The disassembly video was spot on. I used my jewelry screwdriver for most of it. I used the tool from the repair kit for taking off the back panel which made popping in all the tabs really easy.
- So after taking apart the 360, removing both heatsinks, and cleaning everything really well (I used both solutions from the kit and then finally some Isopropyl alcohol) it was time for the heat gun (you do this in place of the baking process from the pdf).
- I more or less followed the heat gun video. To create my heat barrier I just cut up a cardboard box into strips, taped it around the chips I wanted to heat like show in the video, and then covered with aluminum foil. I then took a baking sheet covered in more foil and stuck the motherboard on that. I then put the baking sheet on top of some pot heat pads. I suggest you do this outside since it's probably not a good idea to breath in a lot of vaporized solder or whatever smell this process creates.
- Make sure you keep moving the heat gun in circles. Never hold it in place for even a second.
- Let it all cool off for 45min before putting the heat sinks back on and follow the pdf instructions to make sure you get the order of the washers correct.
- Reassembly goes a lot faster. Note: You don't need the black 8 X T8 torx screws anymore. This is also covered in the pdf.

I've played several hours now without any issues. It's as good as new. In fact with the xclamp fix I'm guessing it is better than new. Now that I've done it I'm sure I could do it a lot faster. The entire process took about 3 hrs. I still have an original xenon XBOX 360 (no hdmi) that I'm just waiting for it to die. If it does it's good to know I can fix it for $10 and a couple hours of work. It was not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. If you've built pc's before then this repair should be pretty easy. Besides, it was kind of a fun project to do, and you learn all about your xbox 360 inside and out.

UPDATE: 3/30/2011
- I've put in probably over 25 hrs of play on this repaired xbox over the past 2 months, and it is still working great!

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