27 Jun 2009 @ 8:28 PM 

So a few weeks ago my XBOX 360 started locking up.  It would make a horrible noise through the speakers (Sort of a mix between fingernails on a chalkboard and two semi trucks colliding on the freeway), and the screen would freeze and become kinda garbled.  A few days ago, the XBOX stopped turning on altogether, and I started getting the three red lights on the front.  I did get the Red Ring of Death (RRoD), or Ring of Light (RoL) on my system a few years ago and Micro$oft replaced it for free.  It took them like 4 months, but at least it was free.

I found a tutorial online that claims it will fix the E74 error, or the 3 Red Lights error.  Reading through it, the basic principal was that the heat sink was fixed to the CPU and the GPU to tightly, causing flex in the main board, resulting in an intermittent connection.  The tutorial tells you to remove the heat sink, and replace the screws with 10mm machine screws to reduce the pressure on the board.  I was skeptical.

After a trip to Home Depot, where i left empty handed because they didn’t have heat sink compound or the right screws, I went to a local hardware store that did have the screws, but they didn’t have the right washers (weird).  Then to radio shack for the heat sink compound (silver paste of course), then *back* to home depot because they actually did have the washers that I need.  Roughly 20 bucks in parts, I figured it was worth a shot.

Long story short, it didn’t work.  I was rather satisfied to know that when I put the XBox back together,  I did it correctly.  At least it was still doing the same thing, and it didn’t burst into flames or something…  great success.  And like I said, going into it I was skeptical, but for 20 bucks, and 2 hours of my time, i figured why not.  After all, I did get a good story out of it.  And that’s all that really matters.

Has anyone else tried this?  Have you gotten any success with it?  To me, I can see that the fix *might* reduce the likelihood that you will get the red light errors, but *only* if you make the repairs before you get the error.  The online manual seems to imply that it will fix it even afterwards…  I dunno about that one.

I also found another site that claims you can fix a broken XBOX 360 by wrapping it in towels and turning it on for 15 minutes.  I suppose the idea is that by overheating the system and melting the components, your machine will no longer give you the three red rings, because it will be completely blown.  The guy in the video even says that he has no technical ability, and doesn’t understand why wrapping it in towels for 15 minutes would fix it.  It sounds like a bad idea, but you know what?  My XBOX is trashed, so I’ll try it and get back to ya.


I referred to the rational descision making flow chart and decided that the risk involved in burning my house down, vs the stupidity of the story if I had to explain that my house burned down because I wrapped my XBOX in towels and tried to make smores…  well… the numbers didn’t add up, so I didn’t do it.

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