Friday, January 16, 2009

Xbox 360: 3RL, 2RL, 4RL ... Go!

About a week ago I mentioned that my feeling was "victorious". To me there ought to be a 1 in 4 chance (25%) of actually getting one of the consoles fully functional ... even better there were actually 2 out of 4 working!

The Other Two, were reporting the dreaded 3RL (three red lights) or 3RRoD (three red rings of death). What a bummer...

No problem, checking the serial on Microsoft's page show that the units are still under warranty. But hold on, looking closer at the cases showed that they'd actually been opened!? So much for shipping it back to the manufacturer for a fix. Curses!

Local fixes for this problem on Craigslist average prices are from $30 ~ 90. If I brought them back to Greenhills next month it would cost me some PHP-2.5k (roughly $50). There is no way I'm going to pony up that much cash given how much I'd originally paid for each system computed individually.

So what does an ambidextrous, good looking, smart, technologically advanced, knowledgeable person do? He looks to the world's largest library (the Internet) and starts to read up on a fix. Thanks Google.

Lo, and behold! There are several tutorials online and a few communities that sprung up due to this well known dilemma.

According to this link, we'll need a shopping list of items from Home Depot, Lowe's, OSH, or Fry's, and even New Egg:

Home Depot
8-pcs. Machine Screw Pan - Phillips 5 x 10mm (UPC - 030699 801282)
16-pcs. Flat Washer Nylon #10 (UPC - 030699 869381)
16-pcs. Flat Washer Steel / ZINC Plated 5mm (UPC - 030699 363087)

8-pcs. M5-.80 x 10 Machine Screws #138433
16-pcs. #10 Flat Washers – Nylon #139065
16-pcs. 5mm Flat Washers – Metal #138319

New Egg
Artic Silver 5 Thermal Compound

100% Isopropyl Alcohol
Cotton swabs

I started working on this last night around 10-PM and stopped at 4AM for lack of parts. For everything I used LawDawg0931's document as a general guide for xclamping. To open up the Xbox 360 internals I used Aweirdguy's visual instructions. For the meaning of the 3RL codes I used K1lltacular's impressive notes, also mentioned by Aetius.

Victim #1: Casing good, slots touched, seams scratched
I did some internal cleaning on this unit with alcohol and cotton. Noticed some light tarnishing which I cleaned up. After plugging in to check I suddenly got 4RL's meaning a video problem. After connecting the cable the damn thing just started up. Woohoo! No need to xclamp. Patch and updated.

Victim #2: Casing bad since half part is the wrong one covering the AV slot, seams scratched
Once again did some internal cleaning and this unit looks to have been blog gunned with hot air -- one of the recommended fixes. What's more this unit has already been xclamped but using inferior parts. Hex bolts and split washers of the wrong size used. Who ever did this is a moron. You simply don't compromise when fixing electronics. Idiot. At this point I had to run around to three-(3) Home Depot stores and the OSH nearby to complete my parts list. Why? Because everyone seems to be xclamping and short of ordering online this was the fun way. I was once more disgusted after removing the heat sinks on the CPU and GPU since it was a mess. He (how many women electronics enthusiasts do you know?) didn't even take the time to clean-out the original gray compound before dropping in a glop of white "something". I hate this nit-wit. So after cleaning up the goo with alcohol and adding a grain of Arctic I noticed that the machine screws were flat-heads and not pan-heads ... nuts another trip to HD this morning. With luck all parts were just available for one shot, which is all I needed. Putting everything together and doing the baking trick was no use. Why? Simply because the Xbox 360 and battery cuts-off power after a 2RL. I tried it once more and even used the fridge so I could re-start earlier and cool the processing units on-board. Still no luck so I went back to the worldwide library and tried Llama's other tip on baking, which still didn't work.

After thinking a few minutes and trolling the boards I read something about the towel trick. There's enough commentaries that say it doesn't work but given this was my last resort before calling a professional, why not try? To me it sounded crazy looking at my new baby Xbox 360 in swaddling clothes, LOL, but thats what I did. Instead of 20-mins I left it at around 35-mins while I earned my keep at work. I left it to cool for some 15mins and made sure that it was upright for ventilation. Woohoo! It really f* worked?!! Patched and updated. Now all I need is to get a new case for it and we're good to go.

At the same time thanks to YouTube, found one of my favorite songs from high school. Enjoy!


  1. Hi there and thanks for the great read :) sounds like you had a good run around sorting out your 'issues'.

    I have a faulty 360 arriving next week and am hoping that I can sort out its 'issues'.
    I've modded many other consoles before but this 360 shall be my first - hopefully of many.

    My question to you is regarding good quality gear. Are you able to tell me exact screw measurements and washers as well as what the thermal sponging is called so I can cover the other chips?

    I want to make sure I purchase the correct items and do this job properly and I really don't want to fork out the cash that these mod sites are charging for their pre-prepared RROD 'kits'.
    Just seems ridiculous when you can go to an Electronics store and just buy the bits seperately.

    I have one other question if you don't mind;
    Baking techniques. I've read many articles on how to, but what these articles fail to mention is why its even neccessary.
    Can you shed any light for me here?

    Once I've got this machine running smoothly I shall be looking at the JungleFlasher program as I hear its the market leader for 360 soft/flash modding.

  2. I had to go through various forums and probably a hundred google searches for the sizes. Look at the fix kit contents list, you can then go over to Home Depot or Fry's with your parts list (thats what I did).