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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fix the RRoD with a Heat Gun Reflow

So now you have your Xbox 360 completely taken apart and you want to fix your Red Ring of Death. The Red Rings of Death is usually caused by solder joints under the microchips that become weak and break as a result of the constantly fluctuating temperature.  What we are going to do is reflow the solder under the chip to reconnect the broken points.




First we're going to remove the thermal paste. This paste is used to transfer the heat generated by the CPU and GPU to the heat sinks (which then the fans cool). I use 70% isopropyl (rubbing alcohol). For really dry/tough paste, try a bottle of Goo Gone, just be sure to wash the surfaces with isopropyl afterwards. Just put a small amount on the end of a Q-tip and rub it off.


When finished, the chips will be a shiny, mirror-like surface. Make sure to also clean the bottom of the heat sinks. A small amount of excess paste around the silver part won't harm it. The chip shown on the left is the GPU, and the one on the right is the CPU. The RAM chips are the 4 black rectangle-shaped chips around the GPU. The ANA/HANA chip is the one at the top of the above picture - near the A/V port.


We're going to be using a heat gun and a griddle to heat the board up and melt the solder. I picked them both up at my local Wal-Mart for about $40 total. I also place a cookie cooling rack on top of the griddle to elevate the board from the hot griddle - you don't want the board to touch the griddle itself! (Don't laugh at our pink tiles!)


Since we're using a lot of heat, we're going to need to protect certain components on our board. The capacitors on top of the boards (the cylinder-looking components) can be easily damaged by excess heat, so we're going to make a shield out of foil and bubble wrap!


I made this shield using 1 layer foil, then 1 layer bubble wrap, then another layer of foil. This will provide an air pocket within the foil to absorb more of the heat. You'll want to cover everything except the chips shown in the image.

Heat up your griddle to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it's heated, place your covered board on the rack that's on the griddle. Let heat for about 5 minutes before proceeding. This will prevent the board from warping during the next step.

My heat gun has 2 settings - 750F (400C) and 1000F (540C). I will be using the lower setting of 750F, as the higher setting can and will damage the board.


Leaving the griddle on, use your heat gun and heat the chips on the board. Do NOT hold it still over 1 spot for more than 1 second - keep it moving sort of like you're blow-drying hair. Short, quick movements are key! Depending on your error code, you will want to focus more on certain chips than others.

After about 5-8 minutes of this, you'll want to let your board sit PERFECTLY STILL for about 40 minutes. This step is imperative - the solder is in a molten form and any movement could cause the solder to bridge with each other where it should not. Just wait until it's cool!

Once the board is cool, use a thermal paste (I use Arctic Silver 5) on top of the CPU and GPU. Only use about the size of a grain of rice. Also, you do not need to apply any to the heat sinks themselves.


Now spread the paste into an even coat over the silver parts of the chips. It should be almost transparent. I cut a piece of card stock off some junk mail I got earlier!


Reattach your heat sinks and X-clamps. When putting the X-clamps into position, your should attach opposite sides as opposed to a clockwise or counterclockwise motion. For example, do the top-left and bottom-right parts first, then top-right and bottom-left next.


Put your board back in the metal casing, plug in your fan, then plug in the front power panel.


Now plug in your A/V and power cable. If you do not plug in the A/V cable you will get 4 red lights.


Push the power button and pray!


Success! Now follow the steps in my Xbox 360 disassembly tutorial in reverse to reassemble your console. This fix could permanently fix consoles afflicted with the RRoD, but in some cases, the solder is so weak that all new solder is required under the chips, but that's a whole new tutorial. If your console still has a RRoD, check the error code (see my tutorial) and, if necessary, reflow the board again. I've had consoles that required 3 or 4 reflows before working correctly again, but after so many reflows, the solder can become brittle and weak, so try to make each reflow count - don't rush.

Until next time...

106 comments:

  1. more good info keep up the posting =D

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  2. wow, i think only few people are capable of doing that

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  3. i was always wondering how it looks like from the inside...

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  4. Pretty awesome technique man.

    +follow http://ellectrics.blogspot.com/

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  5. I always wanted to fix my 360 on my own, but I was too scared to damage something, so I sent it to an expert. (I recommand that for all the tech-newbs out there^^)

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  6. Always good to have this kind of information lying around, especially considering how unwilling manufacturers can be in helping.

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  7. I actually fixed my PS3 With a heat hgun but it burned out like 2 days later and had to fix it every 2 days, wasnt worth it.

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  8. this is very useful. I've gotten the rrod once but Microsoft fixed it for free!

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  9. I haven't done this, looks easy

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  10. Finally did this, xbox is still going great. Hoping it doesn't crap out again halfway through Duke Nukem Forever

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  11. cool, i never had that problem though... PS3!!! but I did have to change out the laser for the blue ray drive after about 4 years

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  12. Oh wow... Thanks! Didn't know it was possible to fix it at home haha

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  13. Great guide, had red ring a while back buying a used Xbox from some smoker, luckily the warranty didn't run out yet though.

    Awesome guide, great pictures.

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  14. Wish I had known this back when my sister's red ringed, would have saved time and money. Will keep this in mind for the future!

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  15. I remember I had to re solder the connection for the power cord for my laptop. It was really hard cuz everything is so small.

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  16. Great information. Mine broke recently and I was wondering how I could fix it myself.

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  17. thanks for the help, if i ever wanted to fix it now i can :)

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  18. I am going to be a big fan of this blog if it keeps adding good content. I've got an old 360 sittin around only reads discs when it's damn good and ready to. it's a pain in the ass.

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  19. Nice...I think this means that I can break out my old 360 and get to work!

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  20. Nice guide, as an avid 360 fan, i'm glad i found your blog. Will you do a post on firmware updates?

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  21. Sweet thanks for the info, I know this will come in handy again soon enough, although I hope it doesn't.

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  22. Good tutorial there, this could help out a lot of desperate people out there :)

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  23. My mate's been through 3 Xboxs due to RRoD, I'll be sure to foward this blog to him.

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  24. Fair play here, my PS3 got YLOD and I just had to throw it away, but I hear there's a similar method to the above that fixes PS3 too, wish I had a go at it.

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  25. I had to learn this, as most who are half good with computers do. Please keep blogging, I have a feeling I can learn alot more from you :D

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  26. thanks for the info people keep asking me to help em fix the red rinfs but i cant be stuffed lol

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  27. I'll bookmark this, I give my xbox another 6 months...

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  28. Thanks man, this is a really detailed guide. I've got it saved in case I get RRoD in the future.

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  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  30. That sounds complicated..anyway, good stuff on here, will follow.

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  31. haha that's sick, and pretty daring!

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  32. Whoa, I can already tell that I'm going to really like following this blog. Wish I had read this article a couple years back, would have save me some cheddar!

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  33. Sweet! I've gotten the red ring 3 times! Thanks!!

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  34. nice il be using this if i get the RRoD. followed!

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  35. Thanks for the info, i really needed it. I'll be sure to use this

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  36. if i had a 360 i would be sure to do this, luckily i have a ps3

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  37. cool stuff. I'll try this on my 360

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  38. Great write up. I've fixed a few with the same process.

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  39. thanks man!
    might be able to revive my 360!

    check out my blog if you have time :D

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  40. I gotta give this a try - my 360 fried a while ago, haven't touched it since.

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  41. Great info! Will use this if my xbox breaks :)

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  42. damn, I wish I'd known about this before I bought a new 360

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  43. OMG WOW! thank you for this :DDDDD I CAN FIX MY XBOX!!! followed ;D

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  44. wow, i'd be too afraid to try this. awesome info on how its fixed though!

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  45. I have also seen some using 90% isopropyl alcohol in removing thermal pastes. Just saying! :D

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  46. Don't own the Xbox myself, but this guide is nice and detailed. Good job!

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  47. You sure know your stuff! Especially the tip about the bubble wrpa and foil. Good stuff! Followed.

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  48. wait. you can fix an Xbox? oh wow! :)

    I knew that once they give the RRoD the only way was to destroy the console.... too much internet I guess.

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  49. Should have one of those laying around here going to give it a shot thanks mate! Will reply results if there are any haha

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  50. too bad I already got rid of my broken xbox : /

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  51. I love tinkering with hardware: one of my favourite hobbies!

    I tried to fix my RRoD: almost burnt myself, haha...

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  52. Nice guide for those who own a XBOX! I own a PS3, and I got the YLOD, can you do a YLOD fix post in the future?

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  53. awesome. I like to mess with stuff too. But mostly broken. :P

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  54. hopefully I wont have to do this to my xbox but i will have this handy just incase it ever happens to me!

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  55. Woah! I am definitely going to have to try this with my 360!! Such useful information you have one here

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  56. Man, wish I had know you could do this earlier -_-

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  57. You genius, I hope to see more posts like this one.

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  58. I like what I see.
    Would love some PC related posts

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  59. I tried this... once. It worked.

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  60. Nice post, im following you.

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  61. Awesome. RROD was a big reason I decided against the 360 originally.

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  62. Quality post, good job. Maybe I'll pull my busted pos out and see if I can fix it.

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  63. Guess I'm lucky I never red ringed.

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  64. Good read. I tried the oven reflow method but used my friend's oven which doesn't actually dial in the correct temperature (I believe it's actually 50F hotter than the dial tells you). Unfortunately, I did not know this prior to the reflow and as a result some tiny resistors were lost.

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  65. This is some really cool information.

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  66. this post has some cool pics =D

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  67. I ended up digging out my old 360. Going to try this on the weekend. Hopefully I can save it :)

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  68. I had a rrod once but it was gone a little later, I'm still still thinking it will come back one day if it does I'm going to try this.
    I am now following.

    check out mu blog http://the-peoples-opinion.blogspot.com/

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  69. Just shows that an XBox is just a PC... just a bit downgraded.


    I used a lot of "just" in my post lol

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  70. I'm gonna have to bookmark this in case my box ever burns out. I lost one already, but the entire motherboard went out on it.

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  71. I have two broken 360's under my bed. Maybe I'll give this a try.

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  72. Useful, I have a broken 360 as of now, but I'd be scared about messing it up and permanently voiding the warranty

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  73. Nice, wish I cuda seen this earlier, b4 i got rid of my 360 -.-

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  74. Ah, this is why I don't have an Xbox, or any modern console for that matter hahaha.

    This is solid info though, and very helpful. Good work.

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  75. Wish i had this guide before mine broke. :(

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  76. I'm going to show this to my husband he needs this info! Thanks!

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  77. I dont have it but well good job with this tutorial.

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  78. Probably couldn't do it myself, just going to bring it to a shop!

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  79. im still amazed by your skill .-.

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  80. Excellent guide! I'd be terrified to put any kind of electronic stuff on a griddle, myself!

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  81. oh ya ive done this before, great way to fix it!

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  82. is it necessary to remove the heatsinks?

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