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.
- 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.