Wilhelm's improved X-Clamp Fix

Tuesday 22nd July 2008
Clicks: 245531
Author: Wilhelm

 
Error codes that can be fixed with this method:
PrimarySecondary Error code 
1 red light 1RLODE73; E74;
2 red lights 2RLOD0011; 0012;
3 red lights 3RLOD0002; 0020; 0021; 0022; 0023; 0101; 0102; 0103; 0110; 0203;
4 red lights 4RLOD
 



Wilhelm's Improved X-Clamp Fix/replacement Tutorial (1.2)


Last update: 29th August 2008


Notice: This version is outdated!!!

Here is the link to the new version in which a lot of improvements were made and newly discovered design flaws were fixed...-> http://xbox-experts.com/e/tutorial.php?n=hybrid


Notice(BAN-update 3/1/2009):


As I(Wilhelm) got suspended for 3 years/banned from Xbox-scene I will not be able to answer anymore questions on Xbox-scene, however I have added a forum to Xboxexperts.com.
If you have any questions or need help please just create a topic.
Here is the link: http://xbox-experts.com/board/

Cheers,
Your Wilhelm


Material:
[*]disassembled Xbox 360 Mainboard
[*]screwdriver
[*]old phone/creditcard(~0.7mm thick) more information can be found here( IF you dont have any erasers work as well)
[*]scissor
[*]transparent tape->NO ELECTRICAL TAPE, it is TOO THICK!!!(as thin as possible)
[*]Q-tips
[*]some alcohol/isopropyl or so
[*]AS5 or similar thermal compound
[*]4x(8x for GPU and CPU)
- M5 machine screws(the flatter the head the better), 10mm length
- M5 metal washers(1mm thick[[2 additional for the RAM]])
- M5 nylon/plastic washers(1mm thick)
- M5 spring washers(not always necessary)

Except the thermal compound you will get everything you need in a local DIY market.
The thermal compound can be bought in PC stores or on Ebay(costs with shipping around 5 EUR/3.50GBP/7$)
Also make sure the washers got the right size, sometimes you can only get them with a thickness of 2mm in this case only use the 2mm thick metal washers.

1) At first you have to disassemble your mainboard like described in this tutorial -> How to disassemble a 360....
After that you should have nothing but the plain mainboard which will look similar to the one on the picture(there are many different versions)

a pic


2) Now turn the mainboard to the back side, you should see two big clamps that look like 2 big X, these are the so called X-Clamps.

a pic


These X-Clamps are used to mount the heatsinks on the mainboard, unfortunately they are flexing the mainboard meanwhile.
Because the flexing the solder balls are under extreme stress which causes them to crack while cooling down after turning the 360 off.
Sooner or later this results in a cold solder joint or even a bridged solder joint(short) under one of the chips which can cause the ROD...

3) Now take the screwdriver and place it in the hole of the X-Clamp that takes the bolt under pressure and carefully lift the first leg of the X-Clamp up(be careful or you might scratch the mainboard!).

a pic


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After removing the heatsinks it should look like that.

a pic


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4) Now use a wrench to screw out the old bolts since you will replace them with the machine screws later.

a pic


5) Then you scrape off the great part of the old thermal compound with the phone/creditcard(dont use a knife it will scratch the heatsink).

a pic


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You wont be able to scrape everything off with the phone/credit card so get some alcohol and clean the heatsink from the rest(if something really doesnt get off you can also use some extremely fine sand paper).

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Do the same for the CPU heatsink until both look like that:

a pic


6) Now cut a piece out of your phone/credit card and remove as much thermal compound as you can from the chip dies.

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After that remove the rest with alcohol and Q-tips until you can mirror yourself in the chip dies

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7) Once you have cleaned it to a mirror finish apply thermal compound of the size of a rice grain on each die(half a rice grain for the small die)
If you also want to cool the RAM under the GPU heatsink apply some thermal compound and install a metal washer(1mm thick) on each.

a pic

8.1) Then cut 15 1.5x1.5mm squares out of your phone/credit card and fasten them on the chip corners with some tape like shown in the pictures.
These squares on the corners are the main improvement because the chip is taken under pressure equally not only in the center, the pressure that lasts on each solder ball is the same.
Thanks to that the mainboard flexes less and the fix lasts longer than the usual(the usual X-Clamp replacements last for an average of 4 months).

Also make sure the tape is not too thick otherwise it will overheat because the creditcard pieces have got the perfect height and if you make it just slightly too thick the heatsink doesnt have good contact with the die.
ELECTRICAL TAPE CAN CAUSE IT TO OVERHEAT, if it does that, use thinner tape, like the one I used in my tutorial, or the thermal compound method...


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8.2) For those of you who dont want to use tape an alternative method to keep the pieces in place until installing the heatsink.
The tape method is more practical though because the pieces more easily fall off if you only use thermal compound...

Cut 15 1.5x1.5mm squares out of your phone/credit card and fasten them on the chip corners with a thin layer of thermal compound like shown in the pictures.
Make sure that the layer is not too thick because this can result in problems later... These squares on the corners are the main improvement because the chip is taken under pressure equally not only in the center, the pressure that lasts on each solder ball is the same.
Thanks to that the mainboard flexes less and the fix lasts longer than the usual(the usual X-Clamp replacements last for an average of 4 months).

a pic


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8.3) For those of you who dont have a credit/phone card with the correct thickness(heatsink doesnt make good contact), M2X has found another way to take the heatsink under pressure.
What you do is cut out very thin stripes out of an eraser and put them on the GPU, you can fasten them either with tape (like in 8.1)) or with thermal compound (like in 8.2)).

The credit card method is recommended though because the creditcard consists of solid material like the chip die itself, the eraser will always either take it under less/more pressure than the main chip dies because it is a different material.


a pic



9) Now evenly spread out the thermal compound and make sure the whole die is covered.
Remember: The finer the layer of thermal compound the better it dissipates the heat to the heatsink and the cooler it keeps the chip below.

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10) Now fasten the heatsinks with the screws and washers like shown in the schematics below.
Only tighten the screws as much as necessary(only snug so that the heatsinks dont move), otherwise you risk that the mainboard flexes too much and another problem returns later even if you fixed the actual problem.

You can also use spring washers or metal washers(method 2) additionally in between the screw and the mainboard but then you have to drill holes through the case otherwise the mainboard wont fit in the case properly(how to do this is explained below...)

Another general notice is, the gap in between heatsink and mainboard must be 2mm so each washer must have a height of 1mm, otherwise the 360 will overheat.

Method 1(without metal/spring washers)
a pic


Method 2(with metal/spring washers)
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Now plug in the RF board(the one with the power button and the ROL), it is located right of the USB ports and left of the memory card ports.
Also connect the AV cable and the power plug and then power it on to test its function.
As the xbox isnt cooled at the moment dont leave it on for longer than a minute because it will overheat.
If the problem isnt gone try to tighten/ loosen the screws after each try until it works.
Just in the case this doesnt fix it either you will have to use a little trick which is called "baking".
To bake your 360 leave it running for around 3 minutes, then it should should show the 2 red lights which indicate that the 360 overheated.
After the 2 red lights show up you wont be able to turn it off anymore so unplug the power cord and let it cool down for 20 minutes.
When you power it on the next time it should work, if not you will have to try the next method that is given for your secondary error code.


NOTICE: The main goal to ACHIEVE is a leveled motherboard.. so all holes line up without any pressure applied!

For the installation of the mainboard in the metal case( if you used metal/ spring washers in between screws and mainboard

Make sure that the mainboard fits in the metal case without having to screw it down(all the plugs should be on the correct level).
In general the screw head + metal/ spring washer should not be higher than 2-3mm to avoid any slight flexing that might break the 360/solderballs afterwards.
If it doesnt fit get a drill that is as thick as the screw heads and drill holes into the case like shown in the picture below.

a pic

When you are done it should/ should not look like in the following examples...

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Copyrights/Sources/Special Thanks:
Lawdawg's X Clamp replacement
Bosnia for the support and the testing and some improvement ideas like the notice for the flexing of the mobo(after 10))
DAEWEEZY for figuring out the thick tape issue
M2X for some general ideas and the eraser method(hybrid will come with the next update)
jasonelmore1983 for giving me the idea about the thermal compound
And everybody else on xbox-scene.com who was involved in this.





Notice: The Tutorials have been done many times and were often successfull, however we cannot guarantee the success and so dont take any responsibility for any damages that might be caused by it, you do it on your own risk!!!


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