It finally happened. I’ve had my second hand Xbox for almost two years now and it finally Red Ringed. It had been warning me for about a fortnight that it was coming but I decided to press on gaming anyhow until I had no option but except the full extents of the situation. Now as a lot of you may know, I’m no stranger to dismantling electronics and there was to be no change here. So aside from the fact that the warranty expired years ago, I know the console has Red Ringed in the past, been opened and repaired once already which meant I could do it too.
I cracked open the device and had a bit of a poke around and investigation. I found that the previous fix had involved the famed “X-Clamp” removal so that saved me a job. Next I decided to “reflow” the main board, an easy little process if you know how. I basically removed the heat sinks and cleaned the C/GPUs then covered all the capacitors on the board and applied the heat for three minutes then let it cool for half hour. Whilst waiting for it too cool I did some reading and found that the 360 only powers the fans at 5v max, even though they are capable of 12v. I wanted to see how noisy this was and connected the fans to a 12v battery to see how much louder they’d be only to find that one of the fans had gone too! By this point I knew I needed some new fans and figured that as the machine was already apart with bits being replaced, I may as well make a few modifications to help the system cool.
Firstly I dremmeled out the fan vents in the chassis, this will help airflow and also make it quieter as there will be less air friction (Plus you get some retro fly eye shades if you’re careful!).
[wppa type=”mphoto” photo=”16″ size=”300″ align=”center”][/wppa][wppa type=”mphoto” photo=”21″ size=”300″ align=”center”][/wppa]I ordered the only set of fans I could find for a cheapish price which happened to be slightly uprated and apparently quieter than the originals. With this in mind and the knowledge of the 5V/12V power loss to the fans I found there was a 12v fan mod well known on the net that basically replaced the stock fan feed with a 12v line, making them run at 12v constantly. This would make the console run a lot cooler, but also significantly louder so I decided to find a middle ground. I pulled the standard 5v feed and a 12v feed into a 2-throw switch to power the fans. This means that the fans can be used at either 5v or 12v. 12v for heavy gaming times with the ability to drop it back to 5v for quieter usage like DVDs etc.
[wppa type=”mphoto” photo=”26″ size=”300″ align=”center”][/wppa][wppa type=”mphoto” photo=”31″ size=”300″ align=”center”][/wppa]And here’s the final finished article, I was going to label the switch points but at 12v the LEDs in the fans are significantly brighter so there is no real need. Not the neatest job ever but it works and should stop the RROD in future.
[wppa type=”mphoto” photo=”36″ size=”300″ align=”center”][/wppa]ADDITIONAL: Over an hour and half of disc run game time with fans at 12v, the console is still expelling cool air and isn’t even warm to the touch. This is a vast improvement on temperature. Noise-wise they are a somewhat quieter than the stock fans however when running at the full 12v they are slightly louder though not greatly so.