The most common of the causes of these failures tends to be damaged or “cold” solder points under the graphics processing chip (known as the GPU).
Manufacturing game consoles comes with lots of intricacies. One of these is the ecological effect of your item. Because of this, 360′s are produced using lead free solder. This is good for the planet but bad for the life of the console. There is a heat cycle involved in using gadgets with processor’s (CPU’s and GPU’s). During these heating and cooling periods, there is pressure on solder joints as the motherboard tends to move a little bit when cooling. This is regular and usually does not cause damage. The insufficient amount of lead in the solder makes the joints much less flexible, and they usually break a little. Sure this can occur with leaded solder, and it does all the time. The difference is when it happens; 500 power cycles in comparison to 4000 power cycles is the difference between your 360 console lasting 18 months and your 360 console lasting 6-8 years. Now that is a lot difference! There are several ways to fix these production problems. Some are useless and some are worth the weight of a 360 in silver…
“The Penny Fix”
This is where you put a penny in between the GPU chip and the heat sink. This may have worked for someone, somewhere, who had a loose x-clamp, but it doesn’t fix the overheating or the breaks in the processor solder and it is a bad idea. It may tighten the x-clamp, and resolve the present error, but it causes bigger problems. There is a layer of thermal paste between the chip and the heat sink that is very critical to the cooling of the chip. The penny will not only physically damage the chip, but also disturbs the cooling process and leads to burns on the chip. I have seen the penny under the x-clamps on the bottom of the motherboard as well. This is even worse as it makes tons of shorts and damages many of the tiny components. This fix will render your Xbox 360 useless and irreparable.
“The Towel Fix”
This idea came from the thought that wrapping a towel around the cooling vents of your Xbox 360 would heat the solder hot enough to reflow the chip. This is not possible. There are many factors involved in performing a successful reflow. The motherboard has to be preheated to a workable temp in order for the solder to dispense evenly, there is a specific method to heating the chip itself, there needs to be industry specific flux for the solder to adhere correctly and on… and on… and on. The only thing I have heard the towel method do, is nothing.
“The Oven Reflow”
This fix is accomplished by putting your motherboard on a baking sheet in the oven. This is the biggest nightmare repair I have ever had to date. DO NOT DO THIS!!! It does not work and it destroys many of the components on the motherboard!!! Your capacitors will burst, your resistors will fall off and your motherboard will curl up like bacon. This will render your Xbox 360 useless and irreparable. Enough said I hope!
“The Hotplate Reflow”
“The Hairdryer Reflow”
This fix is ridiculous. I have seen a lot of exploded capacitors from this as well. Do not attempt this method. Not only does it not fix your Xbox 360, it can damage you DVD drive as well. This will render your Xbox 360 useless and irreparable.