XBox360 “0020″ Error Code Fixed – Attempt #2

After my earlier attempt to fix my “0020″ XBox 360 three red rings of death (RRoD) problem using the dodgy “towel trick” failed, I did more in-depth research on the internet last weekend and decided to blog about my findings, and my (so-far) successful repair job.

First, some background on what exactly causes the dreaded RRoD. If you don’t mind a technical read, this pdf from Manncorp.com’s covers the cause of the problem succintly, and also details the solution to the RRoD problem.

To summarise:

  • The RRoD problem is attributed to the XBox 360′s motherboard. What does that mean? Basically, it’ll work for a while but as time goes by, the heat caused by the XBox gradually expands and contracts the solder points on the motherboard. Because the solder points on the board were poorly put in place by crappy manufacturing processes, they eventually go “cold” meaning they lose connectivity, hence giving the RRoD error.
  • Most XBox 360s with the RRoD problem do not require replacement parts, as the parts are of high quality. Hence, 94% of XBox 360s can be repaired (hurrah!).
  • The key to fixing the XBox 360 is to reheat the board at a temperature high enough to melt the solder points, but take care not to damage the components around it.

For a YouTube video overview of the problem and some fixes, check out this video.

Based on my research on the fixes available, I’ve found three techniques, and have tried two. The first is the infamous towel trick. I was desperate enough to try it, and it was only temporary, but most people advise against it. It works for some, worked temporarily for me, but it may fry other parts on your XBox 360 and may be a fire hazard so try it only at your own risk. Great thing about this fix is that you won’t have to open your XBox.

The second technique, called the “X-Clamp Fix”, is to remove the motherboard, but replace the clamps that hold the heat sink in place with bolts & washers. In fact, you can buy a kit at x-clamp-fix.com, although you could probably pick up similar parts from a hardware store.

I have not tried the X-Clamp fix myself. But using this may work if it squeezes the solder point tighter so they are better connected to each other around the CPU & GPU, where the problem resides.

The last fix I actually did use was the “heat gun” fix. You take your XBox360 apart, remove the motheboard from the case, remove the heat sinks from the CPU & GPU, then use a heat gun to melt the solder points. When it cools, the solder points should be reset in place.

Surprisingly, I actually did own a heat gun. It looks like a hair dryer, but mine was an el-cheapo no-name model that I got 2 years ago for less than A$20. It has only 2 settings, 300 or 600 degrees celsius. I used the lower setting. This was the first time I used it.

I also had to go to Dick Smith to buy a Torx screw driver set for A$17.99. You need the T8 & T10 screw drivers to take the XBox360 apart.

Embarrassingly, I purchased the 3 Red Light Fix Guide before undertaking more research and didn’t like the idea of using the heat gun. That’s why I did more research. I soon discovered that all the information available in the guide was already on the internet. Furthermore, the videos they featured on their password-protected site were freely available on YouTube!

I wanted to ask for a refund since the content wasn’t that exclusive after all, but decided to give it a go anyway since I already had the heat gun, my XBox was stuffed and I liked the idea of owning a Torx driver set. The biggest hassle was actually taking the XBox360 apart (got a nasty cut on my fingers from doing it). I also removed the old thermal paste and applied new Artic Silver thermal paste to the CPU & GPU.

After I had heat-gunned the board and put everything back together, my “0020″ RRoD problem went away! It’s been one week already and things have been ok. Hence, the instructions in the guide really did help, so I’ve decided not to ask for a refund nor to post the direct links to the videos on YouTube (although they are not hard to find yourself).

There’s another guide availabe that claims to have other fixes using household items. I suspect they recommend putting erasers on the memory chips to squeeze them tighter together or would recommend the X-Clamp fix, although I’m not sure. Very curious to find out, but won’t pay for the guide.

As always, if you want to try this, do it at your own risk.

45 Responses to “XBox360 “0020″ Error Code Fixed – Attempt #2”

  1. do you anything i can use besides a heat gun?

  2. @Tajirinere: Some people have tried using a hair dryer apparently but I don’t think it would be hot enough. If you haven’t tried the X-Clamp fix, I’d recommend trying that instead. Check out my other post.

  3. 0020 is NOT the same as Red Ring of Death!
    0020 gives 3 lights when you power up.
    RRoD gives 4 upon power up.

  4. @cameron: 0020 IS a RROD. 4 lights is to do with AV out.

  5. I stand corrected! I incorrectly thought the RRoD was 4 lights. I see now that it is in fact 3.

  6. Another way to do this without the heat gun is a controlled reflow
    Take the fans out of the casing but leave them connected to the motherboard position the fan over the cpu heatsink (make sure they are the correct way around you want to have the fans drawing the air out not blowing in) then turn xbox on the fans will draw the heat from the cpu whilst the heat will build up on the gpu allowing it to reflow after approx 10-15mins the fans will increase in speed then will get 2 red lights when fans stop spinning turn xbox off leave 10 mins replace fans back into casing and turn xbox360 on wait and wayhay green lights

  7. @ZigZag: I think I tried doing that before. I think I’ll it again though. I’m gonna get Arctic Silver too. I got some cheap Silicone Thermal paste that’s Radioshack brand. That might be the problem.

  8. tryed it all. still know luck. iv got code 0020. what else can i do????????????? HELP… SOS…

  9. Also tried it all… Xclamps + HeatGun. If I lossen screws around GPU get 1022 (one light)… Tighten I get 0020 (3 Lights). Heat gunned 3 times now and tried focusing on GPU and ANA chips. Still have the same RRoD issues

  10. The board is concave / warped and the solder ball can’t span the
    gap under the G.P.U. there are two 0020 error a hot chip error
    and a cool chip error . a cool G.P.U. means the the you have
    lost power to G.P.U. the P.C. board must be made straght then
    re-flow the G.P.U. A hot chip 0020 error can be repaired by an
    x clamp mod.

  11. Hey Jason Error 1022 its a problem with AV cable…

  12. I tried the controlled airflow just now. I had tried the ‘Rubber Method’, with no success. I’m waiting for my Xbox to cool down, right now. Wish me luck.

  13. i have fixed about 4 or 5 360s before with the error code 0102 and that is simply fixed by using a heatgun at the right setting and time on the gpu only that i can assure you, but i recently bought a rrod 360 with 0020 and im thinking it is the same thing because i have read that error code 0020 is the same as e08 and e08 means cold solder points in the gpu, thing is that i cannot assure if thats true but today im gonna attempt fixing this new 360 and hoping that its only gpu or cpu, if anyone knows a permanet fix for the 0020 that works flawless please reply to me, ty

  14. well i just fixed the 360 with error code 0020, what i did was heatgun the gpu only and it seems to work just fine, now i need to test out for how long its gonna work

  15. Ive got error code 0020, i tried the towel trick, it didnt work the first time, and like a dumbass i tried it over and over…. i dont own a heat gun or anything like that, does anyone know what i can do to fix it….. i dont have alotta money so i need a really cheap way lol.

  16. Ive doen the heat gun fix to a couple 360′s both of which worked, one is still running (1.5 yrs) and the other one died again with the same error, its hard to say if it will work and how well since you cant see the solder under the chips and dont know if it all has melted again.

  17. I also have error code 0020. I went to turn the xbox on and got 4 flashing red lights. I switched the AV cable and reinserted the power supply, but no change. Since my xbox is not under warranty, I opened it up to see if something was loose. One of the DVD-drive cables was, so I reinserted it, closed everything back up, and tried turning it on. Now I get three lights, upper left/right, and lower left quadrant, which I think is different than the standard RROD (upper left, lower left/right). Note that the 0020 error code is associated with the three light RROD; I didn’t check the 4-light error code. What I do know is I get no audio/video output on my TV for either case (like no onscreen E74 error codes or anything), which makes the GPU or AV output seem like the culprit.

    @Juan/Mike
    I have access to a heat gun, but how long should I blast the GPU for? I don’t want to overheat it and permanently damage it. I don’t think the heat gun has a temp setting. Any help would be awesome. Thanks.

  18. The fix kits for the 360 work. What i would ask is are they anymore reliable than the original x clamp? I’ve fixed a few 360′s and have decided to fix future ones with the original clamps etc because at least i know the gap between heatsinks and CPU/GPU will be spot on and no margain for error. I renewed paste, put x clamps back on, tightened screws underneath but not fully tight then cooked x box (fans disconnected) until 2 red lights, let to cool for 1/2 an hour and then fully tightened the little black screws and reconnected fans. This was for an E79. It seems that mosts errors can be fixed by just renewing the paste and cooking the x box. In my opinion the cheapest, easiest option is the x clamp.

  19. I have done every method out there. I still have the 0020 error with no video or audio. I did however scratch the copper circle where the heatsinks attach. Am I completely screwed if those are damaged?

  20. erik i don’t think scratching those will damage the xbox. you’ll nearly always mark those if you use spring washers. i have the 0020 now also. what pisses me off is when you get the videos on youtube claiming ‘permanent fix’ when you never know how their xbox’s lasted after the fix. there is no ‘permanent fix’ people your xbox will always have a problem overheating because of its bad design.

  21. i have read your comments and i want to add my 2.67 cents. i’ve had my xbox 360 since they first came out, after having a few friends have theirs overheat, my preventive measure was simple and have never had any of the issue all of you have had. i simply cut out the top the case, over the heat sink and soldered a computer fan to the motherboard. i attached the fan to the cutout, have the fan blowing down over the heat sink and the fans that come with the xbox 360 draw the heat out… simple, never had an over heating problem and its been i dont know how many yrs now. yes we all know MS rushed it to make their millions and we all know its a bad design. cant change the design, but you can improve it.

  22. oh by the way, since its an enclosed case, it doesnt matter where you add the extra fan, i just chose to put it on top, as long as you improve the air flow, your fine. as i said, one fan pushes cold air in, and the other pulls the hot air out, basically as a radiator on your car works without the antifreeze to cycle the heat out.

  23. i agree to what strikevyyper said…it also worked for me

  24. the enclosed case of an xbox360 makes it harder for cold air to rushed in. that is why an extra intake fan is needed to push hot air into the exhaust fan.

  25. This is the legit rrod fix…dont be stupid and use a towel

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1271373/360_three_rings_of_death_fix_real/

  26. When i fixed my xbox instead of putting the xclamps back on i put nuts and bolts in but aswell got small rubbery band things to stick inbetween any metal because sometime you can transfer heat through the metal onto the motherboard , then i disconnected the fans then overheated it and let it cool down for a day and reconnected it and so far so good, thing is to isolate any heat getting to the motherboard so the less metal touching the motherboard the better but also making sure the Heatsinks are close enough to the GPU to not create the message error , oh and most peoples problem too is atually putting too much thermal paste , the thermal paste overspills the GPU which Creates some problems too.

  27. If you are worried that a heat gun might damage sensitive parts like capacitors and you have bad video/audio then only heatgun the cpu/gpu and then use a soldering pencil to individually melt each connection on the board. Maybe add some better 60/40 to the important connection like video and power and push the sockets down onto the board while you do it. Add some solder to the mosvets too because their isn’t much on them as is.

    I did this and it fixed 0020. Also spend some time changing the heatsink screws. I’ve found that the rear GPU screws need more pressure. Just put compound in the center, tighten the screws, take them off and see where the compound failed to spread. Those areas will need more pressure.

    Hope this helps.

  28. And yes melting each connection is tedious but effective. I didn’t actually do EVERY one but I got in the zone and melted away for 20 min at every one I came across, top and bottom of the board. JUST MAKE SURE YOU DON’T BRIDGE CONNECTIONS. Some of the smaller points are very close to eachother. Solder wick is useful if you do. You’ll know if you bridge any because you will get a short and no power. So remember where you work in case you need to go back and unbridge! But better yet just be careful and avoid the hassle all together! And so ends my rant…

  29. Not sure what to think about this video. You guys look like you know what you’re doing but…

    Ok here’s the point. When you’re heating your motherboard, you should NOT lift the board or anything. It should be laying 100% flat. The whole point of heating up the processors is to “remake” the solders. Holding the board the wrong way can cause the processors to “slide” and fuck up solders.

    The board should be standing flat, processors up. Heat the WHOLE board, sweeping all around, focusing on the processors and RAMs. Like previously mentionned, you don’t wanna heat the capacitors(and others) too much.

    And for those of you wondering; the cause of RROD is actually very simple; consoles(PS3 and Xbox360) heat a lot, which is normal. Due to bad engineering, heat isn’t evacuated like it should, board heats up and curves, which eventually leads to a CPU/GPU failure(aka RROD).

    Finally, is the heatgun method safe? Yes it is, if you know what you’re doing. If you’re not sure about this part, you’re probably not qualified… Buy a new Xbox(slim version).

    My experience; heat gun method works(sometimes temporarily, sometimes permanently). Other fixes rely on luck.

  30. Thanks to ZigZag, i repaired my xbox with nothing but a bit of patience and small technical experience, regarding his theory: it does work, only thing he forgot to metion was the time it would take for the Cpu to go in to “overheat” could vary, and not necessarily will the fans go off when only 2 lights are flashing. Anyways, to be more clear i would like to add that the fans build up rpm’s(speed) gradually and don’t be afraid (i was a bit at first), it will go by steps until it reaches the max rpm, and depending on the ambient temperature in which you are performing this, the time it will take will vary (the colder the ambient temp, more time it will take), i put the fans on the dvd drive face down and monitored the GPU temp with my hands from the heat sink just to fasten the process and placed it back on the GPU heat sink when i felt it was a bit too hot, did this several times and it did fasten the process a bit. When the 2 lights were flashing I had to disconnect the power cord manually to switch off because the power button just didnt seem to work. waited 5 mins for it to cool down (my rooms pretty cold in the winter :) ) plugged the power cord back in and trigger the power on…. BOOM!!!! works perfectly! Reassembled and back to playing i went. Took me about 30mins just to perform the “overheating part”, so i guess a bit of patience can be useful. Hope this is helpful to you too. Good luck.

  31. I have a halo edition i got from a friend, it had a baby RROD bcuz it was covered in complete dust, i completely cleaned it out nd it has worked for 2/3 months…. recently it froze on me, nd gave me the 0020 error… i tried heatin it wit a blow dryer, went nd bought new thermal paste… and has the xclamp fix… which chip should i try to heat so it will resolder itself?

  32. The bad soldering is on the cpu, the Gpu is apparently ok, the overheating job did it for me temporarily, but i just got the 3 RROD again yesterday, I’m planning on doing the parmanent Xclamp fix soon, I will make a tutorial video, a bit of patience, in case you can’t wait here’s 2 guide lines:
    when you dissasemble the motherboard and have the new screws on the CPU heat sink fitted, leave the fans disconnected and power up the mother board with power cord and video cable attatched, this will fasten the procedure of overheating. Good luck.

  33. im trying the overheat option again with fans out but the cpu wont heat up after several attemps. Why is this?

  34. Your best bet since everyone is having problems with rrod and it’s usaully a hassle to fix, you should try to liquid cool it, it can get kinda expensive depending on which setup you choose but overall it’s a great investment

  35. well i have 3 xboxes they all have 0020 error 1 used to be bad drive flash went wrong need help with that CROSS WIRE TRICK TO PUT IT IN B-MODE other ones was e47 heat gun blew capciter got 0020 error replace but still have same problem third has aways had this problem EBAY JOB x-clamp done heat gun done termal paste done even resorted to towel trick witch is bad dont do it if you do dont take your EYE off of it lol TOWEL + XBOX RROD = BIG FIRE
    anyway i still have this problem help

  36. I would like to rectify my previous post, both CPU & GPU are affected, I just had to complete the X-clamp on the CPU as well on an Xbox that i had previously fixed only GPU X-clamp, one advice if you’re opening to fix the x-clamps, since you’re already gonna open it up, fix both CPU & GPU, might save you the time. @ Nick, what is your error code? Incase you don’t know how to get it (power on Xbox and when 3 lights are flashing Press and hold sync botton then eject button 4 times, taking note of how many lights are on every time you press it thats your code error which is then interpreted: 4 lights = 0 ; 3 lights= 3; 2 lights= 2; 1 light= 1 and 0 lights= 4.) Could be that your xbox is shutting off power to whole circuitry thus your CPU & GPU without power cannot heat, also try fixing the fans to see if they spin, if they do then try putting them over only the GPU (it does get hotter faster than the CPU). Hope this helps. good luck. @ ohah ya: try mail me, I don’t really understand your problems. please be more specific : arp_midnight@libero.it

  37. After 2 eassy xbox fixes I dot landed a cracker I have been at this 0020 3 Rrod for 3 days now tried all the tips and trics even seen the vid withe a heat gun so I had a go with a hair dryer waiting for a heat gun but still no joy. The hair dryer will not get hot enough to melt the solder

  38. I found something interesting about the 0020 3 rrod error. I initially started with the 0020 error and after inserting spacers and locking the two heat sinks firmly onto the mb using nuts on the 8 bolts and replacing the thermal paste I still had the same error.

    I then found that pulling on the heatsink gave me a different error code 0102. After playing around with it I found between these two error codes (loosening and tightening the heatsink) , the unit would function normally or at least not rrod as I got the unit for free and don’t have AV connector yet to fully test it out. Might mean something to someone struggling with this problem.

  39. OK, i need lots of help. i have done the X clamp fix, applied arctic silver 5, and heat gunned the board. i still have 0020 and i don’t think its any of what you guys are talking about. recently, I’ve noticed one little component missing on the CPU. can this be whats wrong? I’ve searched everywhere and no one said anything about 0020 being related to the CPU. i would love to get some help with someone who has dealt with the same problem. Plz reply, thanks.

  40. Hi iDeMonz, I used the x-clamp fix for RRoD with error code 0020. Bought M5 screews and nylon washers from hardware store (B&Q in UK). Cleaned old paste off CPU/GPU and heat sinks. Applied new paste, x-clamp fix applied and problem gone. I did made sure that the heat sinks had a uniform gap to the motherboard. The nylon washers I used were size M6 (slightly bigger) so I had to snip an edge on two washers to stop the adjacent washers on the GPU and CPU heat sinks overlapping.

    Not sure about the missing component on the CPU.

    I don’t like the idea of the heat gun, could be a bit risky if you apply to much heat or apply heat to the wrong place. The x-clamp fix instructions on the site will handle the solder cold spots by allowing the xbox to overheat for 2 minutes – much more control than the heat gun – In my opinion ;-)

    Good luck

    Andy

  41. I received the dreaded error 0020.

    i’ve had the xbox360 for just over 3 years so warranty has expired.

    I’ve done the xclamp replaced with 2 washers, i’ve done taking the motherboard out and placing it in a oven for 8 minutes on high temp with tinfoil around the board apart from the 2 chips.

    put back together and still getting error 0020

    i now know how to fix this.

    you either have to heat up the xbox360 by inserting cottonbuds into the fans for 5 minutes to allow the xbox360 to heatup and reflow basically cold solder under the gpu.

    the other option is to buy a bga unit worth over 100 euro to remove the gpu and reball it or send it to a person who can do a reball for you.

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