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...