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The Xbox 360 is the second game console made by Microsoft, and was released November 22, 2005.

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Trying to fix RROD, brown substance around GPU?

I recently acquired and Xbox 360 that had the RRoD and had been disowned. Upon closer inspection, I found that it's an original launch model, with a manufacture date of 10/28/05, and I believe it is the premium version, as it has the silver disc drive front and included the 20 GB hard drive. The short version of this paragraph is that as far as I can tell it is a model 1 Xenon console.

The secondary error code on the RRoD was 0110. Using the guide here, I did a full tear down and thorough cleaning. I found it a bit funny that when I started to open it up I found a "void if removed" sticker from Play n' Trade, and that the x-clamp fix had been done before, but they used nylon washers about twice the thickness of the ones from the kit here on both sides of the mobo for each screw, and no metal washer. It looked like they may have used too much thermal paste as well, but I'm no expert so I'm not sure.

Once everything was clean I did a reflow with a heat gun, after which I noticed a brown substance bubbling out around the GPU, and a couple of capacitors seemed to be leaking a black goo. I didn't notice either of these before, so it may have been the heat gun that did it. I was careful to avoid the caps, but I guess a couple close to the CPU got too hot anyway. I got some replacement caps of the exact same uF/V, took off the leaking one and cleaned the area, then soldered on the new ones.

After that I preformed the RRoD fix as shown on the guide here and added the two extra heatsinks. I also got some small copper heatsinks and put two of them on top of the RAM chips that aren't covered by the CPU's already, and I applied new thermal pads to the RAM on the bottom of the board.

Doing all this resulted in... still having a RRoD, however now the secondary code is 0022, and takes somewhere between 20-30 seconds from pressing power before it appears. Some additional research leads me to believe this code could be GPU related?

I currently have the console taken apart again. I applied some liquid flux around the GPU and did a more focused reflow on the CPU and GPU, without removing the additional heatsinks I had put on previously (only removed the two stock ones). Whatever the brown substance is it was very stubborn to try and clean with some 91% rubbing alcohol, but I got it at least partially off. Doing the new reflow caused the same thing to happen again. Unfortunately, some more capacitors are looking a little sketchy with very minor bulging on the top, but I don't want to waste more time and materials replacing caps unless I know it could help.

I haven't reassembled the system to try again after the second reflow yet, but to make a long story short my questions is this: Has anyone else experienced this strange leakage(?) around the GPU, or have any idea what it is? Is there any chance of getting this board to work. or is it completely dead and best left as parts for future repairs?

Note: I don't know if this is obvious from all of the above but, I have no idea what I am doing. This is my first time trying to fix and Xbox 360, or any console. Prior to this I had never applied thermal paste or done soldering or anything like this really. I've just been Googling like there's no tomorrow to see if I could learn to do all this basically for the sake of hobby.

Thanks!

GPU:

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The small chips by the GPU, also with the goo:

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The same as above, but through a 60x pocket microscope. Sorry, this was the best I could do with my phone's camera pressed to the microscope lens.

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Sketchy capacitors:

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2 Answers

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@seiryu “the x-clamp fix had been done before” The kit is strictly providing additional pressure on the GPU/CPU to try to close cracks in the solder joints ( as well as reconnecting the bumbs, long story). You most likely have issues with your GPU processor. It does look like residue from leftover flux. you already know that it was worked on so somebody else may already have tried a “reflow”.

Most of the failure is because of the flip chip design CPU/GPU and the issue could be the solder bumps between the IC and the substrate. Here is a very "quick and dirty" explanation of what causes most of the RROD. It is not always a failure of the solder balls which connect the Flip Chip BGA package to the motherboard. It does happen and you can see why [ http://www.bunniestudios.com/blog/?p=223|on here] More commonly however is that the failure is due to the chip design itself.

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As you can see the "bumps' are what actually connects the die to the substrate to make the chip complete. If these bumps fail the die does no longer make contact either he substrate and thus no contact with the circuit board. The chip has failed.

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Here you can see the space where the bump has failed and no longer makes contact. We are talking microns of space here. So a bit of pressure on the top of the die potentially close the gap. Same with a reflow, it may allow some of material from the bump to reshape and starting to make contact again. The heating of cooling of the chip during use is what will eventually cause it to fail again.

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So, I put everything back together just to see if my second attempt did anything, and now the error code is 0003. I guess I have an extra Xbox for parts now, since it is absolutely not worth it to get what would be required to do a full reball, and I know even that may not work.

Thanks for your help!

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1 and 2 are likely leftover flux from previous rework attempts. So this is a board that has already been repaired, or tried anyway.

RROD is not solely caused by bad BGA soldering, so just reflowing may not work, especially when it worked for a little while after the first repair. Now the board or the GPU is completely toast.

Considering the value of it, it is unlikely economically repairable.

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