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The Xbox 360 3 Red Lights
of Death Repair Guide:

How we fixed our Xbox360 within an hour

without experience!

The Fixer Upper

Table of Contents

Introduction 4
Tips 5
Tools and Hardware 6-7
Disassembling Xbox 360 8-23
Removing X- Clamps 24-25
Mod 1 – Keep it cool 26-29
Mod 2 – Screw it 30-34
Mod 3 – “Baker, baker” 35-43
Start it up 41


Dear Victim of 3 Red Lights of Death,

You are reading this E-book because you want to fix your Xbox 360 and eliminate the 3
Red Lights problem without having to send it out for repairs. You also do not want to
spend $140.00 and have to wait weeks to get back to your Xbox 360.

This picture guide and videos have been created to show you in full detail how to fix
your own Xbox 360 within the next hour.

The reason your Xbox 360 has the 3 Red Lights problem is because you have
encountered a hardware problem that is linked to overheating and the solder is not
holding up. We have tested and found methods that work.

This fix does involve taking your Xbox360 apart and requires tools and hardware to
fix the 3 Red Lights. Our fully detailed guide will make disassembling and assembling
your Xbox 360 very easy.

Good Luck!

 Follow each step as directed in the detailed guide.
 Have all tools and hardware ready before beginning.
 Make sure your work area is not on carpet; static is your worst
enemy when handling internal pieces in your Xbox 360.
 All hardware required is available at your local hardware store
like Home Depot, Lowes or Ace hardware.

Warning: Disassembling your Xbox 360

5 will void your warranty if it is not
already voided!
Hardware & Tools
Quantity Hardware Description
8 Machine Screws 5x10mm (5mm)

16 Nylon Washers #10 (5mm)

16 Steel Flat Washers/ Zinc Plated (5mm)

Quantity Tool Description

1 Torx T-10, T8 Screw Driver

1 Knife or sturdy flat pointy object

1 Paper clip

1 Flat Head Screw Driver

1 Arctic Silver 5 Cleaning Kit

1 Arctic Silver 5

1 Pliers

Step 1-Disassembling Xbox 360
Remove the Xbox 360 face plate by using your fingers and inserting them into the USB
door as shown on figure below.

This is what your Xbox 360 should look like after.

Step 2
Remove your hard drive on the side of the Xbox 360 by pressing on the release button
shown below.

Step 3
Removing grey side panels with a small pointy object (Paper Clip). Hard drive side first
shown in pictures but you can do either side first. The hard drive side is a little trickier
because 2 of the tabs are not accessible like the others.

Looking at you Xbox360 closely you will see the tabs carefully press down on the tabs
using a pointy object (paper clip).

By looking in the inside of these 2 access holes you will be able to see the tabs. Slip the
pointy object behind the tab and slight pry on the tab as you lift the panel up and
repeat on the other side.

The tabs access may vary from model to model. They might be accessible like the other
tabs if you’re lucky!

Next remove grey panel on opposite side using the same method as above by pressing
down on the tabs using a pointy object and lifting as the tabs release.

Step 4
Next you will need to remove the casing. The back of the Xbox 360 has 7 notches that
require the tip of a knife to release the tabs. The front has 4 tabs that can easily be
released with your fingers.

The figures below will show you where they are all located. Begin on one side and try
separating the case as tab is released, you will hear a loud click when they release and
continue down until they have all been released.
In the next figure we have provided a close up picture of the tabs.

After the tabs in the back have been release please do not pull completely apart as the
4 front tabs have to be released.

We will now move on to releasing the front tabs.

Once all the tabs have been release remove the bottom of your Xbox 360 flip the Xbox
360 on its top and remove the bottom portion by simply lifting on the case.

Step 5
Now that the bottom portion of your Xbox 360 has been removed you will need to
remove the eject button which is very simple. The eject button has to be removed
because it is fragile and it will break when taking the top portion off.

Note: The top portion will not come off without removing screws!

Below in this figure you will see how to remove the eject button.

Step 6
The top cover has screws that need to be removed before it will come off.

Below is a figure that shows you exactly which screws to remove with a T-10 Torx
screw driver (refer to tools needed). The red circles indicate long screws and green
short screws for future reference.

Tip: As you remove the screws place a mark where the small screws are located while
taking them out. It will make reassembly faster and easier.

In the figure below is what your Xbox 360 should look like after the lower and upper
portions of the case have been removed.

Step 7
You will then need to remove the DVD drive from the case. There are no bolts holding
the DVD drive in so just grab it and lift up as shown in the figure below. Disconnect the
two plugs in the back by just pulling them straight out.

Step 8
You will need to remove the fan shroud by using either a flat headed screw driver or
something flat and thin enough to fit in the slot.

Below is what your Xbox 360 should look like after the shroud has been removed. You
will need to remove the fans now by lifting on the metal to release the two tabs on top
of the fans. Disconnect the fan.

Step 9
Remove the plastic cover attached to the RF module, using your fingers simply lift. Un-
attach the top tab of the plastic cover and it will come right off.

These views are from the front of your Xbox 360

Step 10
After removing the plastic cover from the RF module you will need to remove the RF
module itself. There are 3 Torx 8 screws holding it on to the Xbox 360.

After removing the Torx screws the RF module will still be attached. What you need to
do is grab the sides of the RF module and pull straight out.

Step 11
Now that your RF module is off you need to remove the last 8 Torx Screws from the
bottom of the case as shown in the figure below.

Step 12
Once the screws are out you will now be ready to remove the Xbox 360 mother board
from the case. Place the Xbox 360 in front of you. Holding on to the heat sink you want
to pull up making the front of the mother board come up first. Make sure to handle
with care. It should come right out. In the case it doesn’t come right out look around
to see if there is anything getting caught on something.

Step 13
This is what you should have in front of you after taking the mother board out of its

Removing X-Clamps for Mod
Turn your Xbox 360 motherboard over revealing the 2 X-clamps holding your heat
sinks in place.


Please be very careful take your time and try not to damage the motherboard!
Step 2
It’s o.k. if the x- clamps got a little bent from prying on them! Once you have the X-
clamps removed the heat sinks will come right off just by lifting on them. Remember
once one clamp is removed you can pull that heat sink off and set it aside. In the figure
below I will show you how simple it is to pull out.

The Mod 1- Keep it cool
In this modification we will be replacing the cheap thermal compound with a better
one which is Arctic Silver 5. You can find this product at your local computer
electronics store for around $3.00 dollars.

We first need to remove the thermal compound either using the end of a plastic Q-tip
and Rubbing Alcohol which will take a little longer or use the Arctic Cleaning Kit and
have it done in a few minutes.

Mod 1- Remove Thermal Compound

When cleaning the thermal compound from the GPU and CPU you can simply use a
cloth with the cleaning solution or rubbing alcohol. You can also use a soft piece of
plastic like a Q-tip to remove excess compound. Clean them to a shiny finish and once
they are clean you cannot touch the GPU or CPU with your fingers.

Note: Also remove any thermal compound found on the bottom of the heat sinks!
Mod 1- Applying Thermal Compound
When applying the thermal compound onto your GPU and CPU you can use your
finger but wrap it up with a piece of a plastic (Plastic bag). All you need is a dab of
Arctic Silver 5 on your finger tip. The dab of Arctic Silver 5 should be the size of a BB
(small). A little goes a long way with this thermal compound.

You DO NOT want to cake the GPU and the CPU with the thermal compound thinking
it will keep it cooler. All it needs is a thin coat making sure you cannot see the
shininess of the GPU & CPU. That is when you know you are good.

Apply the thermal compound on all 3 chips.

This modification is now complete... Next we will cover our next modification to get rid
of the Xbox 360 3 Red Lights of Death.

Mod 2 – Screw it
In this modification we will be getting rid of the X-clamps and applying a sturdy more
secure way of holding the heat sinks to the motherboard. The myth behind this
modification is when your Xbox 360 gets really hot the solder under the GPU and CPU
melt and contact points are diminished. After the solder points are diminished is when
your Xbox 360 shoots a code. The code being the 3 Red Lights of Death!

You will have to remove the 4 pegs on each of the heat sinks with pliers or the correct
wrench. Turn the screws counter clock wise to unscrew the pegs.

Mod 2
After the pegs have been removed, the arctic silver 5 is on the GPU and CPU you are
ready to apply the mod. Now take the 8 screws and 16 nylon washers and 16 steel zinc
plated washers. Here is the sequence in which the washers have to be installed.
Zinc plated, nylon washer, motherboard, nylon washer, zinc plated washer.

Tip: The nylon washers should be the ones contacting the motherboard!

The first washer you want to slide onto the screw is the steel washer following with a
nylon washer.

Once you have your screws set up steel washer first then nylon washer inset the
screws where in the allocated holes on the motherboard to hold down your heat sinks.

Mod 2
Continue inserting the other 3 screws. It will be best completing one heat sink at a

To keep the screws in while putting the top side screws, standing the mother board
straight up and down. Now hold the bottom of screws with your palm.

Mod 2
Once all the nylon screws and the steel screws are in place, while in that same
standing position and your palm on the back, align the holes on the heat sink to the

Now place the heat sink on the screws (still holding the bottom of the screws with
your palm). Now flip the mother board so the heat sink is facing down (careful we
don’t want the screws to get miss-aligned. Now snug the screws with your fingers for
the next mod. We don’t want the screws completely tight just yet!

Rinse and repeat with the other heat sink. Remember just snug the screws with your

Mod 2 – Finished

Mod 3 – Baker, Baker
Important: Please read mod 3 in its entirety before beginning the mod!

Mod 3
You now have no more X-clamps and the repair is almost finished!

In this next step you want to put the mother board back in the metal case but will not
have to screw it in just yet.

Place the back end of the Xbox 360 motherboard down into the case first. Then set the
front down after.

Mod 3
Next you are going to want to install the RF module and the cover as shown in the
figures below. You do not have to screw this in yet it will stay if connected properly.

In the figure below is the CD drive back in place, connected the wires to their proper
places. There are two connections and both have different male ends. Do not screw
the CD drive in yet.

Mod 3
Now plug in the power cable and video cable. The video cable does not have to be
plugged into the TV.

Note: Do not install the fans!

You are now close to the final steps. After the cables are plugged into the Xbox 360 as
shown in the picture above you will need to plug in the power cable.

Mod 3
Extremely Important: In this step you will be turning the Xbox 360 ON without the fans
or any covers. You will see when you turn your Xbox 360 on the 3 red lights will still be
there for now!

You will need to let the Xbox 360 run until the 3 red lights disappear and 2 red lights
remain. You will need to leave the 2 lights on for 1 more minute after the 2 lights come
on before you turn you have to turn your console off. The 2 red lights mean the Xbox
360 is overheating thus causing the solder balls under the GPU and CPU to slightly melt
to make complete contact between the two points.

Mod 3
In the figure below you will see an example of the 3 red lights that will be lit when you
turn your Xbox 360 on with no fan, fan shroud or case. (There is no need to place a
game in the CD drive)

Below figure is what your Xbox 360’s lights will look like when your console is
overheating causing the solder balls to slightly melt.

Mod 3
Important: As soon as the 2 red lights come on leave the console on for 1 extra minute then
power the console off by either using the pointy object to press on the brass button to turn it off
or simply pull the power cable out of the console.

Once you have turned the console off follow these steps before the console cools down:

Remove the Power and video cable if you haven’t already done so!

Remove the cover and RF module!

Pull the CD drive out and disconnect the wires from it!

Next remove the RF module or the mother board will NOT come out!

Mod 3-
Now simply pull the mother board back out of it case, front first then the back.
“You’re almost finished”

Now flip the motherboard over and tighten all the screws that are holding the heat sinks on.

Note: Use your better judgment for tightening the screws!

Please do not over tighten the screws as you will strip the threads right off.

Mod 3- Almost Finished

Congratulations you are close to completing the Xbox 360 red light fix. The next step is
letting the Xbox 360 cool down for 1 hour before re-assembling and starting your Xbox
360 without the 3 red lights.

“Please refer to the HD videos provided in the member’s area for reassembly help!”


Now Turn on your Xbox 360

Congratulations You’re Done! 44