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 The Red Ring of Death

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PostSubject: The Red Ring of Death   Sat Mar 01, 2008 9:07 am


This is the Red Ring of Death

The Xbox 360 video game console can be subject to a number of technical problems which render it unusable. Those problems are identified as "general hardware failures", and are indicated through a red ring of light around the power button. Since its release in 2005, the console's build quality has acquired a bad reputation both in the press, with articles portraying its poor reliability and high failure rates, and with the general public.[1][2][3][4]

A Wired blog, reports about rumours of an "Xbox 360 production insider" who supposedly has come out suggesting that units that fail early in their life are related to poor construction and inadequate testing prior to the console's release.[5][6][7] Other web-sites claim the insider's authenticity has been confirmed.[8]

In the early months after the console's launch, Microsoft stated that the Xbox 360's failure rate was within the consumer electronics industry average of 3% to 5%.[9][10][11][12] Nevertheless, Microsoft has not released any official statistics on the failure rate of the console; the company's policy is to focus on the prompt resolution of any technical problems.[13] Even so, rumors abounded that the initial failure rate may have been as high as 33% and is still substantially more than industry average. [14] In February 2008 an examination of 1040 Xbox 360s by SquareTrade found a 16.4% failure rate. 164 were returned under warranty as "disabled", 60% with the red ring of death.[15][16]

On July 5, 2007, the Vice-President of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business division published an open letter recognizing the console's problems, as well as announcing a 3 year warranty expansion for every Xbox 360 console that experiences the "general hardware failure" indicated by three flashing red LED lights on the console.[17] There is also another sign of the hardware failure, one flashing red light.


General hardware failure

When a Microsoft Xbox 360 console experiences a "general hardware failure", three flashing red lights appear on the front of the console. Exactly how many users have experienced this problem is unknown to the public.

Some have confused General Hardware Failure with a similar looking error warning where all four lights flash, but the flashing of all four lights simply means that the AV cable is not properly inserted into the console.[18]

In the USA (check your documentation for local support), if the 360 owner does indeed have three flashing red lights, they are recommended to call the Xbox support line (1-800-4MYXBOX) as quickly as possible. Upon doing so, a technician will gather the information required to send the consumer a shipping box with included instructions, packaging supplies, and sealing tape. The owner then packs their console and ships it via a courier with the prepaid waybill. Within a period of 2-3 weeks, the repaired or refurbished 360 will be shipped back to the owner.[19]

The Nyko Intercooler has also been reported to have caused a general hardware failure in a number of consoles, as well as scorching of the power AC input.[20] Microsoft stated that the peripheral drains too much power from the console and can cause faults to occur, [21] and stated that consoles fitted with the peripheral will have their warranty null and void.[20]

Microsoft claims that the manufacturing problems have been fixed, although they did not elaborate as to what the problems were.[22] Microsoft executives discussed some of the manufacturing problems with their shareholders in their July 5, 2007 conference call.[23]

New consoles also feature smaller chips which reduce heat, helping reliability.

Overheating

The game console heats up during use, and given enough time, the temperature inside can reach very high levels due to insufficient cooling. Because of the way the Xbox 360 is constructed, this may result in stresses building up between the delicate ball grid array solder joints of the CPU and GPU and the motherboard, causing them to break. The problem is exacerbated by the specific type of lead-free solder used, a type which is more brittle than the older tin/lead solder that was used in the past.[24]

German computer magazine c't, in an article titled "Jede dritte stirbt den Hitzetod" (every third one dies of heat), published in July 2006, blames the problems primarily on the use of the wrong type of lead free solder, a type that when exposed to elevated temperatures for a long time becomes brittle and can develop hair-line cracks that are almost irreparable.[14] Also, according to the same article, Microsoft has created an internal account, funded with more than one billion dollars, dedicated to addressing this problem. The fund would only be fully depleted by $100 in repairs to every existing Xbox 360, or complete replacement of every third Xbox 360 ever made. [25] The article also revealed that representatives of the three largest Xbox 360 resellers in the world (EB Games, Gamestop and Best Buy) claimed that the failure rate of the Xbox 360 was between 30% and 33%, and that Micromart, the largest repair shop in Britain, stopped repairing Xbox 360s because they were unable to fully repair the defective systems. Because of the nature of the problem, Micromart could only make temporary repairs, which led to many of the "repaired" systems failing again after a few weeks. At that time Micromart was receiving 2500 defective consoles per day from Britain alone. [14]

The console's design utilizes heatsinks, vented openings, and fans to aid in dissipation of heat, but the potential still exists for excessive heat buildup inside the console if these measures become insufficient. Users are advised not to obstruct air flow to the enclosure vents or power supply. Problems associated with overheating include reduced system performance and instability that may result in crashing or hardware failure. Xbox 360s with "Falcon" motherboards, which use smaller 65nm CPUs, are reportedly less susceptible. Microsoft is rumored to be releasing a version of the Xbox 360 that uses a 65nm GPU as well, codenamed "Jasper". The new "Jasper" motherboards are planned to be released in late 2008.

According to the October 2007 issue of The Official Xbox Magazine, there are reports that new Xbox 360 Elites and newer 360 Premiums, as well as officially refurbished units, have larger heatsinks. It has yet to be determined how far this fix has gone in alleviating the issues.

Some third party manufacturers have also introduced external cooling devices that attach to the console and claim to help prevent the console from overheating.[26] However, reports indicate that some such devices can do exactly the opposite, including the attachment melting on the console itself, possibly damaging the internal microprocessors, and voiding the product warranty. Also when powered by the Xbox 360's power brick they might overheat the power brick causing even more problems.[27]

Scratched discs

Almost at the same time the Xbox 360 was released in November-December 2005, consumers began complaining about rounded scratches in discs played in their Xbox 360. Almost two years later, in February 2007, the website The Llamma's Adventures[28] investigated the matter and concluded that some Xbox 360 drives lack a mechanism to secure the disc solidly in place. Tilting or moving consoles with these drives, when operating with a disc spinning inside, can potentially cause damage to the disc, in some cases rendering the disc unusable.[29] Although this problem is not covered by the warranty,[30] Microsoft's Xbox Disc Replacement Program[31] will replace any scratched discs that are published in countries where the Xbox was originally sold, and released a list of games that qualify for replacement.[32] Halo 3 Limited Edition was replaced at no cost until February 1, 2008 according to the Xbox Disc Replacement Program's main site. The order form for disc replacements is available here.[33] Other publishers can be contacted directly for a disc exchange, but it is unclear whether they will replace discs at no cost.


Disc that has been scratched by the Xbox 360 console and if you get a disk like this, return the disk as fast as you can because it could have the Red Ring of Death in it

Warranty limits

It should be noted that the warranty that Microsoft currently extended to three years only covers the "Red Ring of Death" problem. No other problems are covered under the three-year warranty extension. For $99, the company will fix any problem outside of this, with work warrantied for three months. After that, customers will continue to have to pay $99 each time they have a problem, or purchase an entirely new system. [59] [60] [61]

Coverage is offered for those who bought and live in countries where the Xbox 360 was officially released; depending on the country, the customers will either have their consoles repaired or replaced. This policy will be transferred to a new console if one is exchanged through the Microsoft Service Center. All repairs come with a 90-day warranty starting at the date the repair is finished, or the original warranty, whichever is longer. Once past this date, the customers can pay around $140 (80) to receive a repair or replacement. This charge covers shipping and handling, as well as a one year warranty on the repaired or refurbished console. There is also a service contract available through Microsoft (in select countries) to extend this warranty by up to 2 years at a time. The cost is $29.95 US per year and can be extended up to two additional years.

The estimated time to fix the Xbox 360 is 21 days. According to a Gamestop memo, Gamestop will no longer be selling product replacement plans for new, used, and refurbished 360s.

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PostSubject: Re: The Red Ring of Death   Sat Mar 01, 2008 9:20 am


This is the Red Ring of Death and it's only 28 secs long
the link for the video on youtube is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZxZOKpDzYw

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