What Causes the Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death?
Most users say that the three red light problem is caused generally by an overheating system, usually after the console has been played for an extended period of time or in above moderate heat, but an overheat itself is expressed with only one red-lit quadrant. Microsoft have said that the Red Ring of Death, shown with three red quadrants lit, is an alert indicating a “general hardware failure”.
The More Technical Cause
The type of solder used to hold together wired and various parts on the inside of the console is of the wrong type, which according to many sources on the Internet means that the interior is prone to various weaknesses and faults.
One source explains “the solder connecting chips inside of the console, when being manufactured, is put under enormous heat, which for this lead free solder, caused hairline cracks in many of the joints, making them brittle and causing them to break and wear down more easily.”
Another source explains “interruptions caused by brittle solder balls that develop electrically isolate hair-cracks because of the mechanical stresses put on them by the fact that the CPU expands/contracts faster than the PCB due to fast temperature variations. This can happen when the CPU/GPU suddenly has much more or much less work to do.”
Whoops, This Isn’t Really The Red Ring of Death!!!
Many customers have sent in their Xbox 360 consoles to Microsoft, thinking they had the Xbox Red Ring of Death, where really they just mistakedly didn’t plug in their Audio/Video (AV) Cables correctly! When the AV cables aren’t plugged in completely and properly, the console warns you of this by illuminating all four ring quadrants red, rather than the Red Ring of Death’s three red quadrants. Make sure you have three red quadrants before you send it back to Microsoft or try fix it yourself! You don’t want to void your warranty for no reason!