Anyone who owns a an XBox360 knows first hand or knows of someone who has had the dreaded flashing red trio. This along with a never ending list of “potential” and “actual” fixes for the lights can make fixing the problem pretty frustrating. I know, I am among the ones that have first hand knowledge of this problem, having just fixed it on my XBox360.
My XBox360 was working fine for years and then it just booted to the evil three. Nothing I tried worked…pushing any number of button combos listed on the web to reset the XBox360 proved fruitless. At this point I figured that I was going to have to open up the unit and try out any number of overheating fixes…the first one being to tighten the X connectors with washers and the second to replace the X connectors with screws and washers.
In both methods you end up having to clean off the thickest damn thermal compound that I have ever seen. Seems that one of the specs in a factory XBox360 assembly is to find some compound akin to thick clay to slap willy nilly all over the gpu, cpu, and chipset. They must have had some ape applying it…as the stuff was not only on the chips, but all around them as well. After seeing this, I could see doing the heat sink fix to clean up the job the manufacturer did. I also noticed once the unit was open that the CPU heat sink's fins were not lined up with the airflow through the fan cover, but perpendicular to it. Knowing what I know at this point I can see why these things overheat…not to say that all units have mal-aligned heat sinks, but i am sure most have thick goop on them for thermal compound.
In the end the first fix didn’t do jack, adding tension to the X connector with washers. The second worked like a charm replacing the X connector all together with screws and washers. There are many many sites on the web that show the second method. I will link the site that I used at the end of this post.
Lastly, there is another option that some of you might want to try before opening your XBox360 when you have the 3 sisters pop up. Make sure you have your unit plugged up and no disk in the drive tray. Hold down the Sync button and keep holding it down while you power it on. Do not let go of the sync button until you get to the console or until it fully boots up. I know I will get flamed for this, but go ahead…it has worked in two different scenarios on two different XBox360’s.
I had been told by a friend of mine about this fix, so when my nephew had his unit go down I tried the sync fix and it came right up. He is still playing with no issues since his brush with the flashing beacons of failure. The second unit was a family friends who did in fact have the overheating issue and after doing the fix of replacing the compound and removing the X connector the red demons where still flashing. I did the Sync process and it came back to life. This unit too is still running like a champ. Hope this helps somebody and thanks to Dtro for the Sync fix.