Posted by: cptfantastic | September 2, 2008

Xbox Back from the dead. Flashing Red lights.

UPDATE: CRAP! It’s still broken.  It only worked for about 2 minutes.  I found an alternative fix I’ll tty this week. 
My Xbox 360 stopped working this week.  I would hit power and the controller indicators (the green light ring) would blink red.  It was dead.  It is also out of warranty. 

I googled around and found lots of interesting rip-off websites that wanted to sell me repair instructions for $30.  I also found a bunch of you tube videos of different people showing fixes. 

Bottom line is this: If your Xbox is flashing red lights and won’t turn on at all… if it locked up a few times in the gaming sessions preceeding this meltdown – the problem is heat. 

I don’t know if it’s a tripped heat sensor or if it’s a motherboard sensor protecting the processor, but the problem is heat and the fix is to reseat your heatsinks.

NOTE: I’m not advocating repairing your xbox yourself.  You should send it into Microsoft and get it repaired professionally.

If you’re a big nerd, and handy, you can save time and cash by repairing it yourself.  I read about a number of the possible fixes, but ultimately choose the fix that involves the following steps:

  1. disassemble xbox
  2. remove X clips that hold heatsinks on
  3. clean and replace thermal compound
  4. stick some washers in to force the X clips to be tighter
  5. reassemble xbox

I’ve got some pictures here to show you how I got mine apart to help you not tear yours up.

You’ll need the following tools before you start:

  • Torx Wrench size 8 & 10
  • Thermal Paste (I like arctic silver and you can usually get from Radio Shack)
  • Nail Clippers or precision screwdriver

1. Pull off the face plate

Front o' XBox

Front o

2. Pry up the tabs on the front that were under the faceplate

3. Pry off the gray end caps (take your hard drive off first.)

4. Stick nail file from nailclippers or thin flathead screw driver into slots on the back until a pop sound indicates that you’ve released tension on all the tabs. 

Look for Red Circles

5. Your xbox should come apart like a clamshell with a metal box containing all the guts attached to one half.

6. Remove your eject button so you don’t damage it.  There’s a tab on the white plastic bit.  The part that sticks out on the far left side of the white part before it turns green.


7. Now you need to get to the insides.  Flip your xbox over and get the two Torx wrenches.  Underneath are 6 Torx-10 Silver Screws.  Those 6 hold the other part of the plastic casing to your Xbox.  Unscrew them and take a peek.


While you’re here you can just unscrew them all.  You’ll need to, but be careful as the GOLD Torx-10 screws are holding your motherboard down. 

8. The 8 Black Torx-8 Screws are holding the heatsinks themselves to the motherboard and casing.

9. You’ll now need to remove your DVD drive.  I find it much easier to unclip the connectors from the main board itself.


10. Now remove the White plastic channel that is used to guide the fans over the processor.

11. Remove your fans by gently prying up on the metal casing and pulling the top of the two fan assembly toward you.  (Unplug the fan of course.)


12. Before you can pull out your motherboard and get to the bottom, you need to remove the front assembly where the xbox power button normally is.  Remove the two screws that you can see, and pop off the white plastic bit.  Remove the third screw underneath and pull the front control panel off completely.


13. Now carefully pull up your motherboard.  Don’t bend anything.  🙂 

14. Flip it over and you’ll see the big X shaped clips that are holding on the heat sinks.  These are the things that have likely come loose.  Pry these off REALLY CAREFULLY.  If you pry hard and slip with a screwdriver, this could ruin your machine completely.

15. Pull up the heatsinks.  NEAT!

16. Clean the processors carefully.  Add new Thermal Paste. 

17. In the image above you’ll notice a small metal washer (#8 size) underneath my X clips.  Push the heatsinks down on the new thermal paste, drop some washers on the bottom under the xclips to add some tension to the x clips.

18. Press hard on the x clips to get them to lock into place.  (You might have to bend the clips a bit if you pried them off too hard.) 

19. Put it back together backwards and hope for the best. 

Hope this helps someone.  I had more fun tearing my xbox apart than I normally have playing it.  Good luck.

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