The glut of errors the Xbox 360 has endured seems to be almost unimaginable. The console has endured issues almost from the first day of release, back in 2005. However, even the current generation of 360s suffers from numerous errors and problems. While the incidence of new models suffering from the 3 red light error, or Red Ring of Death may have declined somewhat, the console system is still not free of trouble.
Perhaps the newest error to hit the console affects older and newer models alike. The “no video output error,” as it’s being dubbed, seems to affect almost any machine. The culprit in this instance may be the AV cables, though that is highly unlikely.
Most consumers suffering from the loss of video output report graphical anomalies and other problems preceding the onset of full video loss, though only by the slimmest of margins in many cases. Symptoms presaging the total loss of video can be picture degradation, pixilation of graphics, lines and “streaks” across the screen and changing color tints. Red and blue seem to be the predominant colors that tinge the graphics, possibly indicating a failed video card or loose GPU.
Reportedly, this error does not receive a red light warning from the Ring of Light. Repairs under warranty are free of charge, though only the one-year warranty applies to these errors. Additionally, the X-clamp fix is reported to have success with this error, as well, helping consumers enjoy their Xbox without the fear that it will fail unexpectedly due to Microsoft’s poor construction techniques and materials.
The continuing incidence of 2 red light errors is still considerable. This error indicates overheating of interior components, such as the GPU, CPU and RAM. During the error, the two left-hand LEDs are illuminated red and flash together.
This error can be caused by normal overheating; for instance, if the ventilation ports are blocked or the Xbox is stacked on top of another heat-generating device. However, more often the culprit is the X-clamp design, the inferior thermal protective paste and heat sinks of insufficient size needed to disperse heat.
In addition, the 3 red light error has not been stamped out, according to recent reports. Even the new Falcon chip may have problems, according to recent online reports and videos. However, Microsoft has extended the warranty to 3 years for the Red Ring of Death error (though not for any other codes). Once more, the 3 red light error is a direct result of Microsoft’s poor construction, poor materials and substandard assembly.
The cause of the Red Ring of Death is well known to most avid gamers. As mentioned above, the interior of the Xbox 360 can become superheated due to the inefficiencies of Microsoft’s X-clamp design, the poor thermal protective paste and exceedingly small heat sinks. These conditions allow the solder (the incorrect type of lead-free solder) to become brittle and weak. When the motherboard flexes due to heat-induced expansion, the solder breaks. This allows the GPU and CPU chips to come unseated from the motherboard. This results in the 3 red light error.
However, a new method of repair has been devised. As mentioned above, the X-clamp repair has been shown to be effective against the Red Ring of Death and even offers permanent protection. Not only does this method fix the problem, but it also keeps it from recurring.
As an interesting note, while Microsoft continues to withhold exact statistics for Xbox 360 failure rates, a well-respected third party has estimated that a minimum of 16% of Xbox consoles are affected by the 3 red light error, alone. When considering the total number of units sold, that percentage is quite staggering. Unofficial results of the inquest have placed the incidence of failure much higher, nearing 25% of all units.
Microsoft also fired an employee in 2008 for taking part in a news story that detailed the failure rate and errors associated with the error-fraught console. The company had no response to media questions about the firing, though it seems certain that the employee released information about Xbox 360 errors the company did not want to the public to know.
While the corporation is still stingy with information, it seems certain that the 360 will continue to be plagued by errors. In response to the enormous incidence of 3 red light errors that have occurred, a class-action lawsuit was filed in 2008 against Microsoft, seeking a very large sum of money in damages, as well as other terms that would benefit both current and past owners of the console system.