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Parts of a motherboard diagram

Cool Your Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 is certainly one of the more popular game systems to hit the market over the last few years. This crowd pleaser of a product has one very dark downside: "the red ring of death".

Whenever a component on the Xbox's motherboard malfunctions, the "red ring of death" error flashes a three quarter ring of light. This problem is due to a number of design and manufacturing mistakes made by Microsoft when it rushed the product to market. Among these mistakes is a feeble cooling system that allows the Xbox to overheat and fry its internal components.

This frequent overheating inter-reacts with the design faults and bugs to produce the red ring of death failure mode. Therefore it is in your best interest to keep your Xbox 360 as cool as possible. How this is done is the subject of this article.

Keeping the cooling vents free and unobstructed is very important. This will come across as obvious to many people but there are several ways in which these vents can be unintentionally blocked. This commonly occurs when the Xbox is placed on very compliant soft surfaces such as beds, pillows, shaggy rugs, and sofas.

Putting the Xbox in sealed off areas that have no ventilation is another way that the Xbox is commonly overheated. Places that restrict the free flow of air include racks, bookcases, cabinets, or simply a tight cluttered area. Since we all tend to arrange things in a way that saves space, this oversight is common.

The simple precaution of setting the Xbox over on its side will allow more of its surface to be cooled. Also, a small fan can be used to blow cooling air on its surface.

Keep the Xbox away from all sources of heat. These are usually items such as radiators, heaters, stoves, and furnaces. Use the air conditioner when the weather is hot and humid. Try to avoid exposing your Xbox to direct sunlight.

Don't forget to keep the power brick as cool as possible. Excess heat is flushed out of the power brick by an internal fan. All too often, people will place the power brick in closed off chambers with no air circulation. This is definitely something to guard against. Place it off the floor away from soft carpeting which blocks natural air circulation.

The above suggestions are mostly preventative measures to be taken when your Xbox is new. However, if you've already experienced a "screen freeze", this is characteristic of excessive heat which has caused a chip to automatically shut down. Take this as a warning that greater effort is required to keep your Xbox 360 cool. Ignore this at your own peril since the "red ring of death" is sure to follow.

Marc Sandford is a gaming addict and writer. Get more Xbox troubleshooting advice about fixing the Red Ring of Death.






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