Most Xbox 360 owners would have heard of the dreaded “Red Ring Of Death”, a glowing light which appears on the front of the console. According to some sources, one third of all Xbox 360 consoles suffer from general hardware failures which cause the red warning light to displayed. However, what many 360 owners are not aware of is the fact that different types of red flashing lights actually mean different things, some more serious than others. Today I am going to tell you exactly what each specific red light configuration means for you and your Xbox, what the causes of each are and what can be done to fix the problems.
Before we can begin you need to inspect the front of your Xbox 360 console and get accustomed with the light display circle. Look carefully and you’ll notice that its broken up into four sections, all of which glow green when the console is functioning correctly. For the purposes of this article section one is the top right hand corner section of the circle, section two is the bottom right hand corner, section three is the bottom left hand corner and section four is the top left hand corner.
If section two of the light circle is the only one glowing red then the console has simply overheated. As many gamers are aware the Xbox 360 is notorious for overheating due to a somewhat inefficient heat removal system. Using the 360 for extended periods of time can cause the console to overheat and the only solution is to power the console down for an hour or so until it has cooled down. To help prevent overheating from occurring in the first place it is advisable to move the console to an area where it receives plenty of air flow and is raised off the ground.
If all four sections of the light circle are glowing red then the problem is even easier to fix. All that has occurred is that the AV cable has become disconnected from the back of the console. Completely remove the Xbox 360 AV cable and plug it back in until a clicking noise is heard. Restart the console and all should be working as normal. However, if the console still displays the four red lights then you should ring the Xbox 360 technical helpline (1-800-4MY-XBOX for American gamers, 425-635-7180 for international gamers) between 6am to 10pm Pacific time.
The real problems start when either section three, or all sections but number one of the light ring are glowing red. This means that your Xbox 360 console has experienced a genera hardware failure and is basically unusable. One of the most common causes of general hardware failure in the Xbox 360 is the malfunction of the Nyoko intercooler. Another common cause is the fracturing of the lead-free solder used during the construction of the console.
No amount of rebooting or cursing will fix the problem, and there are only three options to get yourself gaming again. The first is to purchase a new 360 console. However, this will be an expensive option and there is no guarantee that the new console you purchase will suffer the same problem as the old one. If you do choose to buy a new Xbox 360 then it would be wise to get an additional warranty to cover you in case you once again suffer the “Red Ring Of Death”.
Another option would be to send your faulty Xbox 360 back to Microsoft for repair. To do this you need to call the technical helpline (1-800-4MY-XBOX for American gamers, 425-635-7180 for international gamers) and explain exactly what the problem with your console is. A box will then be shipped to the address that you gave to the technical specialist that contains the instructions for shipping. Pack the console only (remove the hard-drive and all cables, controllers and discs from the drive) into the box unless otherwise stated in the instructions. Ship the box to the address provided and get yourself ready for the wait. It will take a few weeks to receive the refurbished console, and far longer if you live overseas. Some gamers have been unfortunate enough to have shipped their console for repair, only to have the replacement break down on them as well. Still, if you’re the patient kind of person then it’s worth giving it a shot!
However, if you’re the sort of person who wants to get back to gaming as soon and for as little money as possible then the best option would be to attempt a home repair job. Now you’re probably thinking that it can’t be possible to fix an Xbox 360 from home. I’m not gonna lie, it’s not as easy as it should be, but there are a number of excellent guides to DIY 360 repair that can be purchased online for a reasonable price. Of course there is some risk involved – opening your console will automatically void the warranty so the cautious Xbox 360 gamer would be wise to send their console back to Microsoft. For those who wish to get back to gaming quickly and cheaply home repair is a truly viable option and in most cases requires no special technical skills.
James Philipson has been a keen gamer for over 15 years and has also worked in the electronics industry as a technician and product developer. Over the years he has repaired thousands of electronic devices and has designed a number of new products. He became interested in the technical aspects of the Xbox 360 after a number of his friends’ consoles experienced hardware problems.
Visit his information page at [url not allowed] to learn more about the Xbox 360 and how it can be fixed from home.