Error Messages

4 Red Light Error

Your Xbox 360 Error Explained

Xbox 4 Red Light Error Defined

It can be very frustrating to diagnose the Xbox 360.  The LEDs on the Ring of Light can flash in several different patterns to indicate specific problems.  While 3 red lights, 2 red lights and even a single red light are relatively well known problems, though severe, the 4 red light error has very little written about it.  Part of this is due to the relatively low incidence of occurrence, though another part is due to the ease of repair.

What's Going On?

If you turn on your console and all four LEDs on the Ring of Light turn red, it can be frightening.  What do the four lights mean?  The 3 red light error, or Red Ring of Death, does not encompass the entire Ring of Light.  However, if all four LEDs light up red, the console needs repairs.

The most likely culprit is the AV cable.  The code displayed simply states that the Xbox console cannot detect the AV cable.  This can be due to a number of different reasons, from overheating to cable failure and even simple loose connections.  However, as mentioned, this error is relatively rare and even less frequently problematic.

How Do I Troubleshoot It?

Troubleshooting the 4 red light error on the Xbox 360 is relatively simple.  The first step is to turn off the console and unplug all peripherals.

Now, check the AV cable connection at the back of the console.  Disconnect the cable and reconnect it (listen for the snapping sound).  Now, follow the cable to the the termination (usually the TV and/or an entertainment system).  While you are following the cable, ensure that it is intact, with no scuffs, cuts, crimps or kinks.

Damaged AV cables can malfunction, causing the console to not recognize that the cable is present.  If the cable is cut cleanly, no signal will be sent to the TV.  However, if the cable is bent sharply, kinked or crimped, it can create damage over time.  Eventually the wire within the cable will weaken and break.  However, during that time, the 4 red light error can occur due to a loss of connectivity.  Unplug the AV cable from the TV or entertainment system and reconnect it.

Now, turn the console back on.  If the 4 red lights have gone out, the situation has been resolved.  If the lights remain lit, unplug the AV cable from the back of the console once more. Get a clean, dry cloth and clean the metal portion of the connector. Once you have wiped it thoroughly, reconnect the AV cable/pack to the back of the console.

Finally, if this did not work, substitute a cable that is known to be good for your own.  Connect it to the back of the console and the TV/entertainment center as usual.  Power on the console and wait to see if the LEDs light up once more.  If they do not, you simply need to purchase a new AV cable.

However, if the 4 red lights remain lit, you can still try other options.

Drastic Measures

If you find that the Xbox 360 is still displaying the 4 red light errors, there are other steps that you can take to rectify the problem.

First, attempt to flush the system cache.  Corrupted updates for software and firmware, as well as other data blockages can hang in the system cache.  By flushing the cache, you may be able to remove the 4 red light error.  To flush your cash, simply:

  • Turn the console off
  • Depress and remain holding the SYNC button
  • Depress the power button as you continue depressing the SYNC button
  • Keep the SYNC button depressed while the system boots
  • Once the system has booted, all corrupted or incomplete updates and information should have been flushed

If your console continues to show the 4 red light error, it may be time to send it to Microsoft.  If you have warranty remaining on the Xbox 360, it is highly recommended that you send the console to Microsoft prior to attempting any further remedies on your own.  Opening the case to attempt do-it-yourself repairs will void your warranty.

However, if you do not have a warranty or do not want to wait while Microsoft repairs the system, you can attempt the X-clamp fix, which includes replacing the X-clamps, the thermal protective covering on the CPU and the GPU as well as providing uniform pressure on the GPU/CPU chips.  This can sometimes correct the 4 red light error.