Technique: Reflowing Xbox 360 Motherboard

Reflow the solder on your Xbox 360's motherboard.

Use this guide to reflow the solder on the chips that usually cause the Xbox 360 to have a Red Ring of Death (RROD) failure. You'll need the high temperature output of a heat gun to accomplish the reflow.

Reflowing the motherboard of your Xbox 360 allows the solder balls located beneath the CPU, GPU, RAM, and other chips to reconnect with their contacts on the motherboard. To safeguard against future failure, we strongly recommend installing our Red Ring of Death Fix Kit after completing the reflow.

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Edit Step 1 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • Grasp the hard drive assembly and press the release button while lifting its front edge.

  • Remove the hard drive assembly from the top vent.

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Edit Step 2 Bottom Vent  ¶ 

  • Stand the console vertically with the bottom edge facing up.

  • Throughout the following opening procedure, the finger of an Xbox 360 opening tool can be used in place of a spudger.

  • Insert the flat end of a spudger or the edge of an Xbox 360 opening tool into the small gap at the front edge of the bottom vent.

  • Pry the front edge of the bottom vent away from the faceplate.

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • In the next few steps, you will use the tip of a spudger or the finger of an Xbox 360 opening tool to release the clips along the left and right sides of the bottom vent. Their locations are highlighted in red.

  • You will insert the tool into the holes molded into the white plastic side case pieces.

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • To release the clips, work from the front edge of the bottom vent.

  • While slightly lifting the front edge of the bottom vent, use the tip of a spudger to push the clips closest to the front of the bottom vent towards the inside of the console.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Repeat the same process to release the two center clips on the bottom vent.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of your spudger to release the clips on the bottom vent nearest the back of the Xbox.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Remove the bottom vent from the 360.

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Edit Step 8 Faceplate  ¶ 

  • Insert the edge of a spudger between the faceplate and the outer casing near the power button.

  • Run your spudger along the edge of the faceplate to release the clips securing it to the front of the console.

  • You may also accomplish this task by using the edge of the Xbox 360 opening tool, but it may scratch the plastic case.

  • Alternatively, you can use your hands to carefully pull the faceplate away from the Xbox.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Repeat the same motions as previously mentioned to release the left side of the faceplate.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Remove the faceplate from the front face of the console.

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Edit Step 11 Top Vent  ¶ 

  • Stand the console vertically with the top edge facing up.

  • The top vent is secured to the console via clips. The first two clips are located underneath the top vent closest to the faceplate, as shown in the pictures.

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Insert the flat end of a spudger into the small gaps previously mentioned to release the clips.

  • You may also use the long finger of an Xbox 360 opening tool to accomplish this task.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • In the next few steps, you will use the tip of a spudger or the finger of an Xbox 360 opening tool to release the clips along the left and right sides of the top vent. Their locations are highlighted in red.

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • To release the clips, work from the middle of the top vent.

  • While slightly lifting the front edge of the top vent, use the tip of a spudger to push the clips closest to the center of the top vent towards the inside of the console.

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of your spudger to release the clip on the top vent nearest the back of the Xbox's upper case.

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • The last clip is hidden underneath the rubber foot nearest the back of the console.

  • Use the tip of your spudger to release the clip on the top vent nearest the back of the Xbox.

  • Remove the top vent from the 360.

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Edit Step 17 Lower Case  ¶ 

  • To continue, you must peel the warranty sticker off the console. Be aware that this will void your console's warranty agreement with Microsoft. Proceed at your own risk.

  • Carefully peel the warranty sticker off the console.

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Edit Step 18  ¶ 

  • The upper and lower cases are attached via several latches, located in the front and back of the console. These latches must be disengaged to separate the upper case from the console.

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to release the following latches:

    • Above the front-facing USB ports.

    • Beneath the front-facing USB ports.

    • Above the Memory Unit slots.

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Edit Step 19  ¶ 

  • Insert the flat end of a spudger and pry upwards to release the last remaining latch located above the eject button.

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Edit Step 20  ¶ 

  • Slightly lift the front portion of the lower case to ensure that the latches in the front have been completely released.

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Edit Step 21  ¶ 

  • The upper and lower cases are held together by seven release latches located on the back of the console. Their locations are highlighted in red.

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Edit Step 22  ¶ 

  • Press the Xbox 360 opening tool down into the clips securing the lower case to the upper case near the I/O ports.

  • While pressing down on the tool, push the lower and upper cases apart to separate the retaining clips.

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Edit Step 23  ¶ 

  • While pushing the upper and lower cases apart, use the tip of a spudger or the finger of an Xbox 360 opening tool to push the long clip highlighted in red toward the center of the 360.

  • The clip should release, leaving the clips near the power connector as the only thing holding the upper and lower cases together.

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Edit Step 24  ¶ 

  • Press the Xbox 360 opening tool down into the two remaining clips near the power connector.

  • Push the upper and lower cases apart to fully release the retaining clips.

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Edit Step 25  ¶ 

  • Orient the console so that the front portion is facing downwards.

  • Grasp the back portion of the lower case and lift it upwards to separate it from the console.

  • Be careful not to excessively bend the lower case near the power plug, as it can crack easily.

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Edit Step 26 Eject Button  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of a spudger to release the clip securing the eject button to the metal casing.

  • Insert the flat end of a spudger between the eject button and the optical drive.

  • Pry the eject button off its retaining posts and remove it from the 360.

  • This can also be accomplished using an Xbox 360 opening tool.

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Edit Step 27 Upper Case  ¶ 

  • Remove the six silver 64 mm T10 Torx screws securing the upper case to the metal casing.

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Edit Step 28  ¶ 

  • Orient the console so that the upper case is facing upwards.

  • Lift the upper case straight up and remove it from the console.

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Edit Step 29 Optical Drive  ¶ 

  • Peel the silver tape securing the optical drive to the metal casing.

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Edit Step 30  ¶ 

  • Slightly lift the optical drive upwards to gain clearance to disconnect the SATA and power connectors located on the backside of the optical drive.

  • Don't try to completely remove the optical drive just yet. Two cables still connect it to the motherboard.

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Edit Step 31  ¶ 

  • Grab the power connector by its cables and pull it straight out of its socket on the optical drive.

  • Disconnect the SATA data connector from its socket on the optical drive by pulling it straight away.

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Edit Step 32  ¶ 

  • Lift the optical drive assembly out of the metal casing.

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Edit Step 33 Cooling Fan Duct  ¶ 

  • Insert the flat end of a spudger into the small rectangular opening on the top of the cooling fan duct.

  • Carefully release the fan duct retaining clip and remove the fan duct from the Xbox.

  • The clip can alternatively be released using the metal finger of an Xbox 360 opening tool.

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Edit Step 34 Dual Fans  ¶ 

  • While lifting the metal chassis strip above the dual fans, pull the fans toward the center of the motherboard.

  • Do not completely remove the dual fan assembly yet. Its cable is still attached to the motherboard.

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Edit Step 35  ¶ 

  • Lift the dual fan connector straight up from its socket on the motherboard.

  • Some fan connectors have a locking tab. If yours has a locking tab, be sure to depress it while disconnecting the fan from the motherboard.

  • Remove the dual fan assembly from the console.

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Edit Step 36 Motherboard  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to release the clips securing the RF module shield along the top and the left edge of the RF module.

  • It may be easier to use your fingernail to release the clips from the RF module.

  • Remove the RF module shield from the console.

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Edit Step 37  ¶ 

  • Remove three 5.6 mm T8 Torx screws securing the RF module to the metal chassis.

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Edit Step 38  ¶ 

  • Grasp the RF module and lift it straight up to disconnect it from its socket on the motherboard.

  • Remove the RF module from the console.

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Edit Step 39  ¶ 

  • Remove the following screws securing the motherboard to the metal casing:

    • Nine gold 11 mm T10 Torx screws.

    • Eight black 5.6 mm T8 Torx screws.

  • If you are reassembling your Xbox 360 after installing the Red Ring of Death Fix Kit, the eight T8 Torx screws circled in orange are not reused.

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Edit Step 40  ¶ 

  • Turn the Xbox over, being careful not to let the motherboard fall out of the chassis.

  • Lift the motherboard assembly from its front edge.

  • Be careful not to damage the sockets as you rotate the motherboard away from the metal casing.

  • Remove the motherboard assembly from the metal casing.

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Edit Step 41 GPU Heat Sink  ¶ 

  • Insert the tip of a small flathead screwdriver between the X clamp and its retaining post on the heat sink.

  • Pry the X clamp away from its retaining post until it is lifted above the small groove cut into the retaining post.

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Edit Step 42  ¶ 

  • Insert your screwdriver parallel to the motherboard between the X clamp and its retaining post.

  • Twist the screwdriver to fully release the X clamp from its retaining post.

  • Repeat this process for all four corners of the X clamp.

  • When removing the last corner of the X clamp and holding the motherboard upside down, be sure to catch the GPU heat sink to avoid damage from it falling.

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Edit Step 43  ¶ 

  • To reinstall the X clamp, first start by attaching two corners to the posts on the heat sink.

  • While holding the third arm of the X clamp down against the post attached to the heat sink, use a small flathead screwdriver to pry the X clamp away from the heat sink post.

  • As you pry, press down on the arm of the X clamp until you "walk" it down into the retaining groove cut into the post attached to the heat sink.

  • Repeat this process for the fourth arm of the X clamp.

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Edit Step 44  ¶ 

  • Remove the GPU heat sink.

  • Before reinstalling the GPU heat sink, be sure to apply a new layer of thermal paste.

  • If you need to mount the heat sink back onto the motherboard, we have a thermal paste guide that makes replacing the thermal compound easy.

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Edit Step 45 Motherboard  ¶ 

  • Insert the tip of a small flathead screwdriver between the X clamp and its retaining post on the heat sink.

  • Pry the X clamp away from its retaining post until it is lifted above the small groove cut into the retaining post.

  • If necessary, insert your screwdriver parallel to the motherboard between the X clamp and its retaining post. Twist the screwdriver to fully release the X clamp from its retaining post.

  • Repeat this process for all four corners of the X clamp.

  • When removing the last corner of the X clamp and holding the motherboard upside down, be sure to catch the CPU heat sink to avoid damage from it falling.

  • Remove the CPU heat sink from the motherboard. When reinstalling the CPU heat sink, be sure to apply a new layer of thermal paste.

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Edit Step 46  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the optical drive power and SATA cables from the motherboard.

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Edit Step 47  ¶ 

  • If replacing the motherboard transfer the four thermal pads on the underside of the motherboard to your new motherboard.

  • Motherboard remains.

  • The DVD drive and the motherboard are "married" when they leave the factory. If you replace one you must replace the other or make sure that the keys match. If you put any old DVD drive onto a motherboard that it is not "married" to it will only play DVDs, no games.

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Edit Step 48 Reflowing Xbox 360 Motherboard  ¶ 

  • Before heating up the motherboard, be sure to clean the old thermal paste off both the CPU and GPU until they are as clean as the processors seen in the first picture. The process for cleaning the processors can be found here.

  • Lay the motherboard with the processor side facing down on the flat metal bottom of the the bare chassis (with its open side facing down) as seen in the second picture. Allow the tall USB socket to hang over the edge of the chassis so the board sits flat.

  • Use a heat gun on the LOW setting to heat the entire back of the motherboard for one minute. Be sure to continually sweep the heat gun back and forth across the face of the motherboard to evenly heat it.

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Edit Step 49  ¶ 

  • After heating the back of the motherboard for one minute, flip the motherboard over and lay it on the chassis as shown.

  • If you have installed the RROD fix kit already, keep the two small black heat sinks included in the kit stuck to their respective chips. The tape that is used to attach them to the chips on the board is extremely strong and attempting to remove them may damage the chips underneath. The heating process will not damage the heat sinks in any way.

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Edit Step 50  ¶ 

  • With your heat gun set to HIGH, evenly heat the area boxed in red for four minutes.

  • When using the heat gun on high, it is extremely important to continually move the heat gun so the stream of hot air evenly heats up the desired area.

  • Avoid directly heating the many cylindrical electrolytic capacitors located near the area boxed in red.

  • After heating the area boxed in red for four minutes, turn off your heat gun and allow the motherboard to cool down to room temperature without moving or disturbing it in any way.

  • At this point, we strongly recommend installing our Red Ring of Death Fix Kit to safeguard against future failure.

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions from Step 48 in reverse order.

For more information, check out the Xbox 360 device page.

Required Tools

TR8 Torx Security Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Flathead 3/32" or 2.5 mm Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Heat Gun

$24.95 · 50+ In stock

Xbox 360 Opening Tool

$4.95 · 50+ In stock

Popular Device Products

Arctic Silver Thermal Paste

$8.95 · 50+ In stock

Arctic Silver ArctiClean

$7.95 · 50+ In stock

Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death Fix Kit

$29.95 · 24 In stock

Comments Comments are onturn off

Is there a similar guide for XBOX 360s?

Juan F Botero, · Reply

Yes, there is - and It worked for me!

http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Yellow+Light...

Dave,

What temperature ranges should I be aiming for? I have a variable temp head gun and no idea of what temperatures are best for both stages.

Josh, · Reply

The heat gun they are using has a 570 F low-setting. While that doesn't give you an EXACT temperature, it should give you some idea of what they're using.

Sam Archer,

You can avoid this step by pulling the front cover off. Just make sure you don't break the springs for the USB bay area.

Repair Doctor, · Reply

Hello, thank you ifix for this guide, I followed this guide, I got stuck at some point but I resolved it. Also I want to share this resource: Step by Step guide to fix Xbox 360 errors it helped me go through all the things associated with Xbox 360 and the troubleshooting of errors. Hope this can also help you all.

Christopher Sage, · Reply

I found it easier to open these clips using the pointy end of the spudger rather than the flat end. Just slide it in against the side of the case and the clip will pop off.

dave, · Reply

There is an alternate to breaking the seal. If you open the back first starting with the opposite side of the sticker you can get the rear to "Clam Open" retaining the seal.

Eric, · Reply

Cleaning out the fan now, will help problems in the future.

Joe Begley, · Reply

Super easy as long as you have that tool and follow the directions. Having never opened the xbox before I was able to do this in 15 min. And im sure now that I know how to do it, next time will be even quicker.

Thanks for the great instructions!

Lasher M, · Reply

for whatever reason the T8 screws holding the RF receiver on my unit were torqued on pretty hard. almost impossible to get off. IS taking the RF off really necessary?

matt337, · Reply

Place a piece of cardboard on the motherboard to protect it from scratches in case the screwdriver slips.

Aaron, · Reply

The instructions on how to remove the x clamps are insufficient. I had a great deal of trouble with them. The small flathead screwdriver included with the kit is too small and weak to do the job. I ended up Googling other how-to's. I used a larger screwdriver and FINALLY popped them off, however as careful as I tried to be in the process I accidentally damaged a few traces around the screw hole. Repair was a failure, still have 3 red lights. Waste of time and money.

sbrasfield1, · Reply

Is the x-clamp supposed to be reinstalled? It's not pictured in any part of the instructions after this point, so I did not reinstall it, and putting the xbox back together now is different than taking it apart.

amplifiedgir, · Reply

The X-clamps are not reused. Since you install machine screws in place of the X-clamp mounting posts, you do not reinstall the eight screws highlighted in orange on step 41.

Andrew Bookholt,

Rather than using a heat gun, I have had good results using a domestic oven. Pre-heat the oven to 230C then place the motherboard in the oven component side up. I use a piece of cardboard to support the board in the oven. Heat for a couple of minutes only, you should be able to smell the flux at this time. Turn the oven off and leave for a couple of minutes, then gently crack the oven door open slightly and leave like this until cool. This sort of simulates the ramp up/hold/ramp down of the normal soldering process. I have reflowed a couple of Xbox 360 motherboards like this with good results.

Brett Lymn, · Reply

Anyone performing these heating steps should really shroud the areas that don't need then heat. If you are not an expert with the heat gun it is easy to damage other parts. I recommend using silicone oven pads to lay over everything but CPU and GPU areas. There is also a danger of over heating RAM chips. The key here is an even increase in temp for a UNIFORM temp of chips. I have done about 500 of these and when I first started they would pop errors again after a few heat-ups and cool downs. I even broke a few heating too fast and too quick. Heres the deal, cover other areas, start with heat gun on low 16 inches away moving in circles move closer. Increase heat over course of 4-5 min.

Eric, · Reply

What are the exact temperatures at which we have to heat both sides of the motherboard?

Spudgeboy, · Reply

What's the recommended distance one should maintain between the heat gun and the motherboard?

Spudgeboy, · Reply

I have a heat gun with lo (300 C) and hi (600 C) settings. I've fixed 2 PS3 YLOD (excellent IFIXIT guide for that, by the way) and have just tried to fix an XBOX using this guide. Within 2 minutes of starting , using the hi setting and keeping the gun moving , one of the dark areas around the small chips started to bubble. I haven't tested the result, yet, but suspect the worst....

I think the guide should be more informative and precise about the heat requirement.

Next time I'm going to follow the settings (lo) and timings the PS3 guide suggests.

Dave, · Reply

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