"Red Light Of Death" Xbox Owner Wants Same Extended Warranty As "Red Ring Of Death" Sufferers

Though Microsoft bowed to a gamer backlash and gave 3-year warranty protection for the widespread Xbox hardware failure known as “The Red Ring of Death,” it seems another debilitating malfunction, “The Red Light of Death,” hasn’t become enough of a PR fiasco to merit the same treatment. Let’s help it along with reader Steve’s story…

Microsoft’s extended warranty for the Red Ring of Death was the “result of what Microsoft views as an unacceptable number of repairs to Xbox 360 consoles.” Apparently, the number of Red Light of Death repairs is acceptable.

Ben and Company,

I have been reading The Consumerist everyday for the last year, it’s the first site I visit every morning. Thank you all for a great service. This is the first time I have written in with a tip/complaint.

Microsoft recently extended all warranties to 3 years for all Xbox 360’s dealing with the “Red Ring of Death”. What you have to read in the fine print though, is that the extended warranty only covers the very specific “3 red lights”. No more, no less.

Three days ago my Xbox took a turn for the worst while playing a game of Team Fortress 2. During the match my screen started rapidly flashing green and vertical lines appeared. I figured it was just a glitch so I shutdown the Xbox and restarted, I still had the problem. I tried several different games (Oblivion, Orange Box, Rock Band, GoW, Condemned 2) and every single one of them has lines in the screen. I tried 2 separate LCD TVs and 2 separate video cables. All had the same result, lines in the game-play.. Here are some screenshots.

I then went to turn the Xbox on the following morning and received a flashing red light and an error code on the screen. I looked up the error code online and found this: E74: There is high chance it’s a scaler chip problem (the “ANA” or “HANA” chip near the AV cable connection) it can also be caused by a faulty AV cable so check that first. In some cases it is a problem with the GPU

I believe the problem only occurs in areas of the screen that are being rendered 3D by the on-board video. Its pretty obvious that the video and/or motherboard are malfunctioning in some form. If you have a look at the screenshots you will see that all 2D graphics (in-game HUD, dashboard) are all fine, only 3D rendered graphics have the issue.

I called Tech support and they said the new 3 year warranty will not cover this issue. I thought this was pretty outrageous. The Tech said I would have to pay to have the unit shipped and pay to have it fixed. This is obviously a defect in the Xbox. This is my second box (First one RRoD) and has been working with no issues for just over a year.

So now my wallet in $107.00 lighter, and I will be without my console for a month. I have been nothing but an Xbox 360 fan and evangelist. I was the cornerstone for 5 of my friends purchasing the console, and now I have been let down. They took care of my first console with defects but refuse to take responsibility for an obvious manufacturers defect on my latest box.

I think that when its working the Xbox 360 is a great product, anyone trying to decide which console they should buy should take Service and Support in to consideration. My experience has let me down.

Although the extended warranty announcement clearly states that “[a]ll other Xbox 360 warranty policies remain in place,” we question the wisdom of not including a similar hardware failure in the repair program. The Red Light of Death, which Microsoft calls Error 74, “occurs when the Xbox 360 console experiences a hardware failure.” Microsoft admits that the Red Ring of Death does not result from a specific issue and is simply an indicator of a “general hardware failure,” so it makes little sense to cover one large group of hardware failures and not extend similar protection to a similar failure.

Some suggestions for Steve and others who experience the Red Light of Death: call the escalated Xbox support line; if that doesn’t work, call Tier 3 escalations. You can also try these executive email addresses; if that doesn’t work, email the big guy himself. He might not like it, but it should get results. If none of that works and you paid with a credit card, check if you have extended warranty coverage or if you can use your buyer’s protection plan to get a replacement.

Comments

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  1. mgy says:

    Headline should probably read

    “Red Light Of Death” Xbox Owner Wants Same Extended Warranty As “Red Ring Of Death” Sufferers

    rather than

    “Red Light Of Death” Xbox Owner Wants Same Extended Warranty As “Red Light Of Death” Sufferers

    But otherwise – I completely agree with the post. Glad I haven’t had such issues with the Wii – even Brawl worked like a charm.

  2. chrisfromnl says:

    I have heard from various sources online that you could of wrapped your console in blankets/towels so it overheated and than red-ringed. Than use the 3 year warranty, which will happen because now your problem is red rings.
    Not saying I think this is “right”, but if the ends justify the means….

  3. Same thing happened to a launch unit of mine, they fixed it for free when I explained to them what was happening, same as your problem. They sent me a box and got me another unit in a week.

  4. Traveshamockery says:

    I agree that the application of the warranty doesn’t make much sense here, but technically, he’s outside the warranty and Microsoft isn’t bound to fix it.

    It sucks, but Microsoft isn’t doing anything wrong here. I sure wouldn’t want to be him, though, and I’d be mad if something of mine failed just out of warranty.

  5. jdame says:

    @chrisfromnl: i totally agree with you. causing the red ring is probably the easiest way to get his other issue fixed.

  6. Televiper says:

    “Microsoft admits that the Red Ring of Death does not result from a specific issue and is simply an indicator of a “general hardware failure,” so it makes little sense to cover one large group of hardware failures and not extend similar protection to a similar failure.”

    Yah, but the red ring of death is largely attributed to a poor thermal design. The X-Box 360’s were repaired, and then modified with a larger heat sink before being returned to the customer. The extended warranty program is Microsoft taking responsibility for a known deficiency in their design.

    In this case you have a plain vanilla hardware failure. I would disagree that it’s a similar failure.

  7. SomeoneGNU says:

    Microsoft righted a wrong by extending their warranty for a specific issue but does it mean they should extend it to every other issue too? While I’m sure it sucks he has this issue, it’s not covered by the extended warranty.

    Let’s take this from a different perspective(assuming he is out of the original warranty).

    What if his DVD-Tray no longer opened, should he be covered under the “RROD Extended Warranty”? Sure it doesn’t cause a RROD but it still failed. What if it was a dead USB port or a fan failed?

    How about another analogy.. A car manufactor extends the warranty on a car because of a defect on a certain part. Let’s say the transmission. So, my car’s motor blows six-months out of warranty, should I get it replaced for free? I mean, they extended the warranty for another problem and another part, so I should get that extended to my part and my problem.

  8. Alex Chasick says:

    @mgy: Oops, thanks.

  9. world-inferno says:

    After 5 sick 360s, I decided to sue Microsoft in small claims court. Two days before the court date, Microsoft’s legal people called me.

    The conclusion I cannot say thanks to my omission being part of the settlement. I did ask them what I should say if people ask, and they said “For anyone who asks about the lawsuit, please tell them that you reached an amicable resolution to your claim with Microsoft, and that the terms of the settlement are confidential.”

  10. I hate to agree, but I think IniniTrent is correct. This is obviously a malfunctioning 360, but it’s outside their warranty.

    Their point that the RRoD is very specific was the entire reason for the extended warranty. It was a rampant defect affecting thousands of their customers. This is a one-off issue though obviously not unique. To have them cover something not a RRoD under the RRoD extended warranty would not be appropriate.

    @mikeluisortega
    Was your 360 perhaps still within the original warranty?

  11. world-inferno says:

    [consumerist.com]

    After 5 sick 360s, I decided to sue Microsoft in small claims court. Two days before the court date, Microsoft’s legal people called me.

    The conclusion I cannot say thanks to my omission being part of the settlement. I did ask them what I should say if people ask, and they said “For anyone who asks about the lawsuit, please tell them that you reached an amicable resolution to your claim with Microsoft, and that the terms of the settlement are confidential.”

    [consumerist.com]

  12. @world-inferno:

    Wow … 5?!

    Could you BE any more unlucky?! XD

  13. Alex Chasick says:

    @TakingItSeriously: I don’t think that the RRoD is “very specific.” The Xbox support article I quoted said that there is no one root cause of the RRoD, and that the three red lights are just indicative that there has been a severe hardware failure.
    @Televiper: I think that is the main, but not only, cause of the RRoD. The support articles I’ve read indicate that it’s not always the same defect, but a number of hardware failures that can lead to the RRoD. Whether that’s true or just Microsoft avoiding admission that there was a defective component (which, I think, would justify a recall), I don’t know.
    @SomeoneGNU: Sorry to repeat myself, but it’s not a specific issue; it’s a specific indicator of a variety of hardware failures. I’m not arguing that the extended warranty, as it is, should cover any old hardware failure. Nor am I arguing that it should be surprising that a warranty for a hardware failure signified by three red lights does not cover a hardware failure signified by one red light: I am arguing that if Microsoft is going to extend its warranty to cover a set of hardware failures that leave the system inoperable, it should at least cover similar failures that appear to happen with some frequency, which would include the Red Light of Death.

  14. Woofer00 says:

    As unfortunate as the problem is, I have to agree with InfiniTrent, Televiper, and SomeoneGNU. Just because the 360’s primary means of communicating is to flash red lights does not mean that the extended warranty should cover all flashing lights. This is just trying to milk a mega-corp for a problem that occurred outside the warranted period.

  15. humphrmi says:

    I’m a committed console player. I’ve got consoles going back ages. I always own one of each of the current top three consoles on the market. I own an XBox, a PS2, PS3, Game Cube, WII, as well as all the older stuff. I’m a console maker’s dream.

    But I’m not buying an XBox, no sir, not with all the problems I keep reading about. Not until Microsoft addresses them more transparently.

    I keep hearing all these stories about people going through half a dozen 360’s, and sometimes still having problems. Setting the cost of that aside, I’m just not up for buying a box that requires that much maintenance – shipping things back and forth and set-up and take-down, it’s just too much work. Microsoft is going to have to address these issues before I’ll plunk down my money – I don’t have time for all this.

  16. SomeoneGNU says:

    @Alex Chasick:

    Perhaps I’m extremely confused but:

    “I am arguing that if Microsoft is going to extend its warranty to cover a set of hardware failures that leave the system inoperable, it should at least cover similar failures that appear to happen with some frequency, which would include the Red Light of Death.”

    Some frequency? RROD was estimated to be 33% of units shipped, if not higher. How many cases of this problem have come up?

    What if the Red Light of Death comes on when the CD-Tray doesn’t open? It’s a general hardware failure. Not similar enough? What if it’s a USB port as I said before?

    The point is the only similiarity I see with this is the fact that a red light is used.

  17. JustEaton says:

    @world-inferno: I’m guessing a $10 off coupon and a Halo 3 bobble head?

  18. Lixie says:

    He should a make it RRoD by putting the system on a carpet floor right in front of the heating vent. Place barriers around the system to minimize air flow, shut the windows, and crank up the thermostat. Then play Oblivion so that he is continually entering and exiting large areas to force rapid and constant DVD loading. Do that until the damn thing dies.

    If you have a dog or a cat, lay them down on the system as well.

  19. cybereality says:

    @SomeoneGNU: Funny you mention the DVD drive, because mine only opens when its wants to. I’m not kidding. I have to press the button at least 5 times and then jiggle the door in a special way to get it to open. Getting it to close is even harder. When it does close it will open up by itself after a second. Pushing it in manually a couple of times and holding it usually does the trick. After this little dance, once the xbox recognizes the disc, then its all good to go (on most games).

    The worst part: I sent my xbox360 back to MS about 6 months after I got it (due to RRoD) but also because of the drive door issue. It was clearly under warranty at the time. I even left a note taped to the xbox explaining that I wanted the drive fixed or replaced. Guess what, they didn’t fix it. The fixed the RRoD but the drive door is still messed up (maybe worse). That was over a year ago. Now I cannot send it back because MS doesn’t consider that enough of a failure to warrent a replacement. So I’m just stuck with it. The Xbox QA is the worst in video-game history. I’d wager a bet it may be the most badly produced gaming device of all time (past-present-and-future).

  20. Mr_D says:

    Sorry. A single incident does not indicate a systemic design flaw. If it’s under warranty, sure they should pay for it. If it’s not, well – that’s why warranties have a certain duration, especially for electronics.

    Not all parts have the same expected lifetime, even if they come off the same assembly line, and the same wafer even. This is why you pay $399 and not $999. As for me? Well, my Xbox has been fine since February 2006. It’s a roll of the dice, that’s all.

  21. Quilt says:

    I’m curious what kinds of problems people have had with the PS3. I’m strongly leaning towards it just because of the craziness of the 360’s issues.

  22. SomeoneGNU says:

    @Lixie:

    *sigh* Should people not happy with their oil change pull their plug and blame it on the oil-lube place? Or plant a bug on their food after they’re 3/4th done eating if the waiter accidently said Merry Christmas when they were actually atheists.

    The more people “cheat” the system, the more companies will become more defensive with their warranties and more untrusting of the honest consumer.

  23. SomeoneGNU says:

    @Quilt:

    I have not heard of any massive problems with the PS3 similiar to the RROD but I am sure they will have problems. Maybe not to the same scale, but nothing is perfect.

  24. mferrari says:

    I had a very similar problem with my 2nd xBox. My first one got the red ring and was repaired no-problemo. But, the 2nd one turned on, but displayed no picture, so, since the 3 !@#$ red LEDs wouldn’t come on, I had to find a summer job (i was 13) to pay for it. I ended up taking all the wallpaper down in a huge 3000+ sq. ft. house. And it was in every room, too. I thought i deserved more than $100, but I was more concerned about Bioshock.
    I wasn’t a particularly fun experiance.

  25. Buran says:

    @world-inferno: Wow, for not having anything to say, you’re sure insistent about telling us you have something to share that you don’t want to tell us about.

  26. zå?zißårlé???? says:

    @world-inferno: jesus you are a glutton for punishment! i feel your pain bro. my boy went through 3 so far. which is why i say fuck 360.( i own every other console out there, so fanboys fall back :D im not gonna spend hard earned cash to be playing around with cust service. i got better things to do like play games.

  27. mferrari says:

    @SomeoneGNU: PS3 and Wii have a failure rate (last I’ve heard) that is under 3%. The xBox is far above 30%. I love my xBox but it is really just made poorly. I have a friend whose on his FIFTH one!

  28. Replica23 says:

    When the extended warranty covering RROD affected consoles was announced I said it was only a small comfort to those affected by that specific problem. The 360 is a poorly made machine, design and construction, and a greater visible effort should have been made to clean the market of these models. Perhaps a recall even. RROD is the biggest problem but it’s not the only one, and MS failed to address the others.

    It’s true that the dude here simply ran into bad luck, as I have with cell phones, and it’s unfortunate. I can say one thing, all-around shoddy hardware is the number 1 reason I do not own (or plan to own) a 360. And I’m sure I’m not alone.

  29. Books says:

    Or you can do what a friend of mine did.

    He thought it was a dumb rule that they only accept 3 RRoD and are racist towards the 1 RRoD (poor One red ring).

    So he told the reps that his Xbox had 3 RRoD and also said that the 3 RRoD happened once, but the next time it was 1 RRoD. In the end, 360 replaced.

  30. Alex Chasick says:

    @SomeoneGNU: I meant to say “I am arguing that if Microsoft is going to extend its warranty to cover a set of hardware failures that leave the system inoperable, it should at least cover other similar failures that appear to happen with some frequency, which would include the Red Light of Death.” I doubt that this is happening as often as the RRoD.

    I’m not arguing that any problem that results in red lights being displayed deserves extended warranty coverage. From what I’ve read of Xbox error codes, four red lights just means there is a problem with the AV cables and two red lights means the Xbox is overheating: either of these things is usually fixable by the owner. Three red lights signals a general hardware failure, and one red light indicates a hardware failure. I think an argument can be made that some of the single red light failures deserve to be covered under the extended warranty, if the red light indicates a major hardware failure. I would classify a “major” hardware failure as something that leaves the console effectively inoperable, in this case, a video display card or GPU (although I’ll admit I might be biased because of my own similar experiences).

  31. Eschguy says:

    I’m curious as to how common this issue really is. I mean we are all aware of the RRoD, has anybody else heard of this problem on other machines?

  32. Spaz569 says:

    Dude, should have just picked up the box(remove hard drive and game first) and dropped it from 2 or 3 feet till it red ringed. It would have been so fucked up inside that Microsoft would send you a new one, thats what I did at least. Got the new chip in it and heat sink and everything.

    One of the things microsoft did wrong was to keep sending out the launch units. Whenever a RROD console came in they should have straigt up replaced it with a new one.

  33. stevemaximus says:

    I didnt relize this would be such a polarizing topic when I sent it in. I would like to state that I didnt, and have not asked for anything from Microsoft. I paid my $107.00, and now I expect to have a 100% functioning Xbox when it returns (fingers crossed).

    I completely agree with Alex and think Microsoft is splitting hairs in my case. They shouldnt have released a product they can’t stand by.

    The main point of my complaint was that I think that Microsoft completly mismanaged my customer experience. I understand that the unit was not under warranty, again I paid my money to have it repaired.

    This topic isnt about what Microsoft can or can’t do. Its about what they should do, which is provide thier customers with a great experince. Had my experience been personal and great, my initial tip would have been praise, and not a buyer beware warning.

  34. fenderfuel08 says:

    Charge gamers a high price for the console and then charge even more money to get it fixed when it breaks due to defects.

    All 360 repairs due to defects, and repairs of defective products in general, should be free as far as I’m concerned. Its not like it is the consumer’s fault for buying a defective product!

  35. el_rezzo says:

    I’ve had the E74 error after those bastards supposedly fixed my second RROD console back in Feb. When I got it back and plugged it in it started up with the E74 error but it only happens the first time or two when you start it up. Once it’s warm it doesn’t happen. The problem is that Microsoft won’t repair the console unless it happens everytime so I’m pretty much screwed unless it dies in the next 12 months from RROD again.

  36. sikantis says:

    Wow, great post! And great comments. I’m happy to see how the readers give each other esteem.

  37. stevemaximus says:

    I didn’t know that when I sent this tip in, it would be such a polarizing topic. I first want everybody to know that I did not, and have not asked for anything from Microsoft. I paid my $107.00, and now expect to have a 100% working Xbox when I get it back (fingers crossed).

    I agree completely with Alex and think that Microsoft is splitting hairs in my case. They shouldn’t release a product they can’t stand by.

    I understand that MS doesn’t HAVE to do anything, again I paid my money. This topic isn’t about what Microsoft can or can’t do. It’s about what they SHOULD do. They should provide a great customer experience for everybody who buys their products. Had they done this in my case, this would have been a post of PRAISE, and not yet another, buyer beware.

  38. SonicMan says:

    Excalate the issue. You should be able to get MS to Fix an out of warranty system for $75.

    I own 4 xbox 360s. One of them has been sent to MS 3 times now. The other 3 have not gone back to Microsoft.

  39. FatmanC says:

    I have had a similar issue with Microsoft Tech Support. I believed that my disc drive was failing because my xbox would go to the dashboard during game play saying it could not read my disc. This was peculiar when the disc brand new game with zero scratches. This particular Xbox was my second one since my first was RROD and have had since launch. Apparently they told me the original warranty applies from the first xbox and is covered over to my replacement. Therefore i would have to pay $107 for the fix. So does this mean they can send me an Xbox and not extend atleast a one year warranty.

  40. Televiper says:

    @Alex Chasick:

    Unfortunately many of the error codes listed under 1-light can be attributed to user error. Microsoft would be opening up a can of worms on that one. It’s too bad Microsoft has never published a real list of error codes instead of the trouble shooting tips we have now.

  41. Televiper says:

    @stevemaximus: I’ll say one thing. For $107 you should get your X-Box back within 2 weeks.

  42. Alex Chasick says:

    @Televiper: Agreed. I think it was pretty arbitrary of them to do it that way. Maybe differentiating between one red light “hardware failure” and three red lights “general hardware failure” was foresight of what would eventually be covered and what wouldn’t, but I think this situation shows they didn’t do a very good job distinguishing the failures. I also think it’s sad that they even needed to.

  43. kingmanic says:

    @InfiniTrent: Actually making a piece of shit console that breaks so damn often is what MS did. Thus far it’s 18 failed 360’s among 16 people (2 guys had multiple failures). I think thats a rather poor product. I’m still waiting for a refurb after mine red ringed.

  44. NutManIV says:

    I know this isnt a REAL solution, but come on. If that happened to me I would just make it get the rrod. You dont even have to use towels. Just leave it on for like 24hrs straight.

  45. kingmanic says:

    @fenderfuel08: They could argue that the 360’s reputation for reliability is very very low so you should have known better :D….

  46. wonder6oy says:

    Wow – I just assumed the 3-year extension was just that – an extension of the warranty to a three year term; not just one specific category problem area.

    You know, I’ve been on the fence for a long time about getting one of these, and had pretty much decided I would make the jump when a new more robust design might be announced (whenever that might be). But no, this pushes me right over the fence. No way I’m buying something this expensive (count the games too!) from a company that, despite almost limitless resources, simply refuses to apply even the most modest amount of quality control in their manufacturing process.

    They’ve had more than enough chances to get this right. It’s going to be a real sorry sight once those 3 year extended “warranties” start to dry up. Someone might ought to start now digging that massive “dead-360″ grave as it’s gonna fill up really quick – and get really ugly really fast! :-P

  47. FLConsumer says:

    Are you *sure* you only saw 1 light? Are you sure you didnt’ really see 3 lights?

  48. no offense but if u dont want to suffer dont buy american/chinese products check the news china has bad quality control for its products and america is a corporations dream u pay the gov millions and u can do what u want kind of sad to see usa begin to fall to corruption but capitolism isnt deisgned to last long but yeah if u dont want to suffer stick to japanese products/german and so on but if corporations want to play cheap as did microsuck releaseing this faulty pice of $H!T then we have the right to get pay back any way we can//// if some dude cheats with ur gf cheat with his ///microsoft aint suffering financially so do it ////just so u all know i had a xbox 360 i was loyal till i had to rip the thing open and get my gamefly rented disk out due to i canceled my suscription all future 360 buyers look up 360 failure rates and info its surprising what microsoft can cover up with butt loads of money

  49. kingmanic says:

    @GregoriRasputin: Most “japanese” products are made in China. China is huge, some places do awesome jobs so don’t. What China has is a lot of western low ballers. Mattel goes to them and say “alright we know you sell X for Y but We’ll buy Z amounts of X for 1/2 Y. interested?” Chinese factory guy can’t say no because Mattel is their only customer so they have to cut corners to make any money. It’s a common story and Mattel should also put Q/A proccess in place.

    My DS, my PSP, my PS3, PS2, Wii and most of my computer was made in china, no huge failures yet.

  50. Concerned_Citizen says:

    @InfiniTrent: But warranties are for normal component failure. All of the issues on the xbox is due to the lack of heat dissipation. So everything fails much faster due to the design flaws. Which means Microsoft should be fixing this.

  51. eponym says:

    I got the red light of death (E74) just a couple weeks ago. (scaler chip problem with the same scan lines described).

    Paid the money and got it fixed (well-they sent a different refurb back).

    At least the process only took like 4 business days. But it’s still frustrating because the inherent problems resulting in RRoD are also related to the RLoD.

    And simply because the error system differentiates the two, I’m not technically covered (I was also only like 4 months past expiry for the 1 year warranty).

    (FTR supposedly the x-clamp mod can fix it just like RRoD.)

  52. eponym says:

    Also, it was suggested to me (after the unit was sent for repairs) that I should’ve just made the console overheat until it Red Ringed and had it fixed for free.

  53. Woofer00 says:

    @kingmanic: Your sample is flawed for the basic reason that people who don’t have problems don’t speak nearly as vocally about the issue.

    With regard to whether the warranty should encompass the single light failures, I still don’t believe that it should. The single light failure is generally a failure that can be identified by a specific error code to indicate a specific failure that MS can attribute to a specific part. The three ring failure is a generalized failure that cannot be given a code. If single ring failures were more prevalent, or single error codes, perhaps they would be covered.

    Everyone who has benefited from the extension of the three-ring failure warranty really should stop complaining. MS owned up to the problem, admitted that there were problems with the design, and replaced all those units, going so far as to replace 5 or more in some cases. It’s a widespread issue that probably should have led to recalled consoles, but that’s besides the point. For the parts where a single light shows up and a specific error message appears, if the warranty period for the unit has run there is no guarantee on the part anymore.

    To analogize, imagine a car manufacturer replacing a entire car because one happened to be a lemon, i.e. the dealership could not locate/repair the problem. That’s pretty standard. However, if you argue that some identifiable, replaceable component fails after the 60k mile warranty, the corporation will just laugh you out of town. There’s no reason for the company to extend warranties for parts it only feels like guaranteeing for a limited period of time. When they can’t locate the source of RROD in units both in and out of warranty, they choose to replace. Seems fair enough.

  54. Woofer00 says:

    @eponym: “But it’s still frustrating because the inherent problems resulting in RRoD are also related to the RLoD.”

    Your anecdotal evidence is weak at best. RROD covers a wide span of problems. If you choose to further damage your system such that RROD occurs as well, so be it.

  55. eponym says:

    @Woofer00:

    I get what you’re saying but in this case the specific light/error combo is related to the flaws that also cause RRoD.

  56. lostnomad84 says:

    I am suffering from the same exact error. I was playing Halo 3 and out of no where, I got green lines all on my screen. I decided to restart the 360. After that, all I get is a E 47 error screen. The rep at Microsoft said it would be $100 since it is out of the 1 year warranty and it is not covered by the 3 year warranty. This also sucks since this unit is a replacement unit sent by Microsoft for a different unit that died on me only after 4 months. This one dies a year later and it is still covered under the original warranty, which absolutely sucks.

    After having 2 360s die on me, I’ve had it with the system. Unless if something really good comes out, I’m leaving it dead and in my closet. I don’t want to invest my money again in a system that has failed me twice and to pay for a problem that Microsoft seemed to have dropped on me with a replacement console.

  57. eponym says:

    Woofer00, it’s not simply my anecdotal evidence. There’s numerous testimonies online of people experiencing the problem and fixing it themselves with various heat related techniques.

    Unless I’m shown otherwise, I have no reason to believe the root cause is anything other than the system’s heat dissipation flaws. The same problem that causes, afaik, most of the RRoDs.

    (And just to be clear as I wrote above, I paid to have it repaired immediately. I didn’t try to cheat the system, though I feel it cheated me a bit).

  58. Kyoya says:

    Hoping Microsoft updates their warranty to cover things like this soon, just in the last year there have been a ton of posts online with people having similar problems. Either their video completely dies, or they have problems with green lines, color distortion, and other random graphical glitches. Not nearly as many people as the RRoD, but still enough people that had it start happening all at the same time to show that something else is wrong with the system.

  59. y2julio says:

    I have a premium system laying around my room because of this reason and I refuse to pay Microsoft to fix it. The GPU crapped out and they should fix it.

  60. TeknoVagrant says:

    What’s so hard about lying? I recently had my 360 give me the one red light so I called Microsoft and told them I had the three red lights. I didn’t try to get the console to show the three red lights. I just sent it in with the error47 and a week later I had a new 360.

  61. Quick Draw says:

    When my 360 stopped working, it wasn’t an immediate RRoD. I had plenty of freezing and screen abnormalities. Of course, I kept trying to play Gears; at the time, I thought I’d go insane without it. The 360 died soon enough, I paid the $144 to get it fixed, and got refunded when the wide recall was announced.

    The detractors of Steve’s (the submitter) story aren’t realizing the point: this is Consumerist, and the more people read about these problems, the less they want to buy the product. Or in the case of current 360 owners, the less they want to buy the next MS console.

    No one buys a console looking to get a year out of it, so people should stop acting like it’s acceptable for companies to put out consoles that don’t last much longer than the “warranty” period.

  62. TeknoVagrant says:

    I forgot to mention that the console that I had “repaired” was a launch console so it wasn’t under the 1 year warranty.

  63. Insomnia Bob says:

    I wish I’d thought to do this when my CD Drive crapped out.

  64. MySoul7 says:

    no problems with my PS3 ^_^

    10+ years and Sony’s never let me down :)

  65. gibbersome says:

    Ummm…how about an eye for an eye!
    If this happens to you, this is what you do:

    Put Xbox360 in freezer for half an hour.
    Take it out, cover up the vents with a wet tower.
    Leave it running for a few hours, and you should get the red ring of death. Send it in for a complete replacement!

  66. @MySoul7: No porblems with my NES, or Super NES or even my N64 or my xbox (black box with Duke)

  67. shades_of_blue says:

    You bought a system which originally came with a 90day warranty, that was only extended to 1year after the release of Wii and PS3. Then they bend over backwards by further extending their warranty after discovering than they did a poor job designing the cooling system, which lead to failing GPU units. I’d say they did their part and you shouldn’t complain. Especially since you acknowledge that it’s most likely the scalar chip which has failed.

    The question is, is it really worth spending $107 to have it repaired? Considering all of the issues early systems suffer from I would have sold the core system ‘as-is’ on eBay and bought a new core system. Hell, you could have parted out the core system for more than it’s worth, most likely. ODD and power brick can fetch $40 each, shell around $20. Right there is just about the cost of your repair. So for around an extra 80 bones you could have owned a new one. That’s what I’ll do if mine fails.

  68. This is such a non-issue. The Xbox 360 can be made to RROD at any time with very little effort in most cases. There is absolutely no need to pay anything for repairs, ever.

    Just overheat it until it starts RRODing.

    And no, I don’t find that at all unethical given the god awful quality of the hardware. I’m on my third 360. Most of my friends are at least on their 2nd, and I have several friends who’ve had theirs break down more than once.

  69. SonicMan says:

    Remember how the warranty extension went. Who knows, they may wind up covering some other errors in the future.

    Everyone who had the RRoD before MS extended the warranty got a refund of what they paid.

    The 360 had a problem (RRoD) and MS did what any company should do. They offered to fix it free.

    This is how I see it:

    The 360 had a 90 Day Warranty. There were a lot of consoles breaking down after 90 days. MS Saw a problem and extended the warranty to 1 year. Then gave refunds to people that had paid to have there system fixed. Then MS saw that there was a design flaw causing the most common errors. Decided to extend the warranty to 3 years for that flaw, (and to fix the systems with it) and gave refunds to those that paid for the repair.

  70. Televiper says:

    @Alex Chasick: You can only do so much to identify hardware faults. You can’t differentiate between blown drivers on a graphics chip, and a bad cable. Nor can you differentiate between a faulty read lens in a HD-DVD drive, and a scratched up disc. Sometimes the only diagnostic routine you can perform is: is it working, yes or no? Sure they can put the hardware on the board to perform the diagnostics, but that’s expensive, eats up board space, and more prone to error than the hardware being diagnosed. I design embedded systems so I’ve taken an interest in the whole 360 affair to just see where it goes. The 360 suffers from a poor design. It was rushed to market with a chipset that was also rushed to market. They cut a lot of corners and then crossed their fingers hoping for the best. Initially they were bragging about how fast they got their product to market.

  71. Ghede says:

    If you want it to stop, you have to make a video of the ring, then mail it to as many people as possible. That will pass the curse onto them, allowing you to play your haunted 360 with ease.

  72. Ghede says:

    @ThatsMrOffDutyNinja: No problems with your NES? What kind of magical NES do you have?

  73. warf0x0r says:

    Worst console ever.

  74. topgun says:

    Here’s my opportunity to get snarky and piss a bunch of people off. Instead of rotting your brains and getting fat sitting around playing video games, why not do something constructive with your time? Think of the money you would save, and in the process avoid all the aggravation.

  75. TBT says:

    @GregoriRasputin: l2use punctuation! That post made my brain cry.

  76. dualityshift says:

    @topgun: Because killing 3D representations of humanoids is relaxing.

  77. Woofer00 says:

    @eponym: I guess I should have been clearer – I didn’t mean it’s untrue, but a link to supporting evidence does wonders for strengthening your case.

    @Quick Draw BogaGraw: noone buys a $2k tv expecting it to last only 1 year either. A warranty is just the period for which the manufacturer can guarantee performance. It has zero to do with customer need or desire.

  78. Gannoc says:

    In theory:

    So what if Microsoft, when fixing a RROD console, simply shuts off the ability to do a RROD? So, instead of RRODing, you see other errors?

  79. Lizard_King says:

    @Gannoc: YUP. Exactly what I have done in the past. Here’s some tricks:

    Everytime a mandatory update rolls out, there are failures. If you have an old box sitting on a shelf, wait for an update to hit and blame it on that. It will take a two-step escalation, but an out of warranty Xbox will still be covered (did this twice, last time was a failure from an actual mandatory update)

    Also, as mentioned, if you have problems that are not RROD (my coworker had player 1 and player 4, i think – bad vid cable/GPU/overheat), Just claim that you have RROD sometimes while playing, but you do not want to be charged for the other issue, which really doesn’t bother you that much. This has worked 3 times so far, none of the boxes have ever had a RROD, all were out of warranty.

    Why spend the extra $60 on the factory warranty when you have the ability to lie?

  80. SonicMan says:

    @Gannoc: True. In theory they could just do an update over the network to do this as well.

  81. Nighthawke says:

    Read into the troubleshooting guides some more on E74 failures. One theory mentions cold solder joints and a possible solution to remedy it.

    [forums.xbox-scene.com]

  82. nikkomorocco says:

    it’s impossible to read these threads nowadays. i always get the feeling that a decent portion of the haters own a different console and are just fanboy-ing it up.

    unless you bought a launch console, you knew what you were getting into when you got the machine. i accepted the fact that mine might go down at some point but was fine because it blows the wii and ps3 out of the water for gaming. if you dont like the system and already own it, wait til you get the ring, then just get it fixed and sell it on ebay.

  83. Spinfusor says:

    Actually, what Microsoft did makes perfect sense.

    “I called Tech support and they said the new 3 year warranty will not cover this issue. I thought this was pretty outrageous.”

    What’s really outrageous is that you expected the Vole to fix it for free.

  84. parad0x360 says:

    As someone who has had 2 xbox 360’s red ring on him i feel your pain. However…

    This problem is not common, in fact I have never seen or heard about it before. Its so uncommon that there is no way to prove its a system issue which is what the warranty extension was designed to cover.

    This could be from abuse for all they know. It could be from someone yanking on the AV cable which in turn would wiggle the motherboard which is screwed down which in turn could damage one of the many chips.

    yea it sucks that you had to pay for this but until you see almost every 360 suffering the same fate its not really an issue and its not something that ms should need to cover after the normal warranty expires. Its a bad twist of fate but by no means is t a design flaw. Hell it could have been caused by UPS tossing your 360 all over the place. Thats actually what caused my 2nd 360 to die.

    I sent in my launch system over Xmas weekend and got it back that same week (amazing, but this one was new not my repaired unit). i saw UPS throw my new 360 from about 15 feet onto my steps. Everything worked but every once and a while the dvd drive would make an odd noise. It ended up getting the 3 red lights because of drive failure. I asked ms if they could document the repair and they did.

    They found that a couple of the teeth on the gears that handle the drive try and lense were badly damaged and it looked like a combination of impact and wear. The original impact broke a couple teeth which cause the rest of them to wear down incredibly fast.

    Not really Microsofts fault but they still fixed it for me after I sent Peter Moore a nice email about how much money I spent on launch and how this was my 2nd 360 in under a year.

  85. parad0x360 says:

    @mgy: Funny you should mention. Brawl killed my Wii. It was about 2 months old and had zero issues. I put in brawl and it died. Luckily i had the 3rd tire CSR’s direct line because they helped me recover VC games from a console that was stolen back in October. They got me a new Wii in a week.

  86. Shutaro says:

    @FLConsumer: THERE… ARE… FOUR… LIGHTS!!!

  87. parad0x360 says:

    @Alex Chasick: The 3 red lights are an indication of multiple possible failures BUT those failures either only a couple things otherwise you get a different error.

    The 3 red lights mean either the cpu is no longer properly attached to the motherboard or gpu OR the gpu is no longer properly attached to the cpu or motherboard.

  88. parad0x360 says:

    @mferrari:

    Here we go…this is from working retail, sorry for all the posts but i cant help it im a hardcore gamer.

    Xbox failure rate: 2-4%
    Xbox 360 failure rate: (current) 12% (past 33-44%)
    PS2 failure rate: (current) 2-4% (first 2 years) 44%
    PS3 failure rate: 8%
    Gamecube failure rate: 2%
    Wii failure rate: 3%
    DS failure rate: 2% (if including dead pixels) 8%
    PSP failure rate: 4% (if including dead pixels) 12%

    The PS2 and 360 have been the worst in history. Sony did end up fixing their issues after a couple years and MS is in the same boat right now. The current 65nm CPU/GPU and new heatsinks have gone along way to fixing the problem and in the future a smaller cpu/gpu will come out which should do away with the problem altogether.

    The main thing is dust and ventilation. Lots of people dont clean they consoles or give them enough air space. Having the 360 sit verticle is best from my personal experience.

    As for the PS3 and any defects, it doesnt have any major ones but at the same time games arent currently pushing either so heat isnt a huge issue. It also has a HUGE fan on the cpu/gpu which doesnt hurt either. My friend went through 3 PS3’s in a couple weeks because they either wouldnt boot or would stop booting. An isolated incident to be sure but they arent perfect either.

    As for me I went through 6 PS2’s, and im on my 3rd 360. My original Wii was stolen but my replacement died after not to long from Brawl. My original Xbox is still kicking and so is my Gamecube.

  89. Alex Chasick says:

    @parad0x360: But:

    This problem is not common, in fact I have never seen or heard about it before.

    If you scroll up and read some of the comments, you’ll see that several people in this thread have had the problem.

    This could be from abuse for all they know. It could be from someone yanking on the AV cable which in turn would wiggle the motherboard which is screwed down which in turn could damage one of the many chips.

    And the RRoD could be from wrapping the Xbox up in towels and forcing it to overheat, which is what some of the comments here have suggested. Or it could have been caused by the UPS man chucking it down the driveway. Or it could be from a genuine hardware failure. Microsoft has drawn a line that has proven to be arbitrary in what it covers, and it has opened itself up to owners who, out of frustration, sabotage their faulty units so they can get coverage. I don’t know if expanding the warranty to cover all major hardware failure would reduce warranty fraud, but it would hopefully at least include more people who have a legitimate problem.

  90. yukonrye says:

    The 360 is a poorly designed console. Aside from the variety of hardware problems the thing is loud as hell. I think I’m just gonna sit this round of consoles out. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have done a piss poor job and hopefully they’ll do better in the next generation.

  91. Techguy1138 says:

    Ms doesn’t have a legal obligation to fix the console but they really should have extended the whole warranty to three years.

    They have done as much as they can to cut corners with customer service on XBOX360 quality issues. It gives them a reputation for not caring about their customers. It also gives them a reputation for making shoddy crap.

    I was going to buy an xbox 360 used at some point but I really doubt so now. It seems as the 3 year warranty extensions ends owners will trade in their potential crap boxes for new versions of the console.

    I doubt that they will sell another ten million with the attitude that they have shown.

    When they finally fix their problems what are they going to do, advertise that the new consoles won’t break?

  92. coraspartan says:

    This, people, is why I bought my son’s 360 at Costco. Any time he has a hardware failure we simply take it to Costco and walk out with a new system. Easy peasy. No f-ing with Microsoft.

  93. nikkomorocco says:

    @Techguy1138: double check the used unit you buy to make sure its a newer one?

    i’ve had a system from every gen so far starting with the prehistoric atari. i consider myself a ‘gamer.’ that being said, i waited until xmas last year to get into the next/current gen. better hardware came out for the xbox, and while its still loud, the discs still arent clamped in to teh drive, and theres a chance for failure, its still my gaming console of choice. dont miss out on a great gaming system because of some now fixed hardware issues.

    people are also quick to forget the ps2’s hardships. everyone regards that as a messiah console, yet ive gone through at least 3 of those during their life cycle. did it suck? yes. did i still enjoy the games and the experience? you bet your ass.

    things happen.

  94. daklog says:

    RLOD or RROD, microsoft has a buggy console and should fix the consumer’s product if they wish to have them as a future consumer.

  95. k-factor says:

    Had this exact same problem with my launch day console. Same single red light, same error code, same explanation that it was outside warranty and I would have to shell out $100+ for a replacement (refurb) unit. It sucks because in the general context of all the RRODing, it just seems like excluding the single red-lighter for a GPU gone bad is splitting hairs a bit. Like someone said though, it gets weird when we start throwing other logs on the fire like DVD drive trays, controllers, etc. In the end I didn’t fight it, chalked it up to consumer electronics failing sometimes, and put the $100 towards a new 360 with the Falcon chipset and HDMI.

  96. daklog says:

    @coraspartan:

    costco?? how long is the warranty there, and do you get a new warranty when you get a new xbox?? did you have to pay extra for the warranty? etc etc etc, details please…. i need an xbox 360 soon and in desperate need of info :)

  97. trujunglist says:

    @chrisfromnl:

    I agree, the only way to get out of this now is to Red Ring that mother fucker by overheating it with towels. Then you can get the warranty repair.

  98. CVV1 says:

    so yeah…I got that error and had mine repaired for free…

    This guy got ripped off

  99. hellglyph says:

    Ya i have the same problem my warranty expired at the end of january this year and it broke on about the 12 of february while playing cod4. Now i cant pay the one hundred seven because i really want to get Gta IV special edition when it comes out and i’ve tried the towel tricks around 7 times, it makes it work for about 4 hours to 30 mins any tips on how to get RRoD thanks

  100. shades_of_blue says:

    @MySoul7: You’re one luck bastard, I had 5, yes 5 PlayStations die on me. Bought my first one on release day, you know the North American ones with defective lasers. The same problem Sony repeated with the North American PS2 release day systems. [I emphasized North American because Japanese release day systems used a different, higher quality laser assembly in both cases. Sony, that’s some shady s**t.] At least one of the other systems had the laser fail and another had the internal power supply fail. Learned my lesson and waited a long time before buying a PS2, v7 in case you’re wondering.

  101. AlphaWolf says:

    I found it very hard to choose between an Xbox 360 and PS3, and I finally broke down and bought the PS3 based on my experience with the PS2 which was very positive.

    Sometimes I wonder if I made the right decision, but after hearing about all of the Xbox tech issues perhaps I the PS3 was the right way to go.

  102. UNSTOPPABLE says:

    I’ve yet to pay to have my 360 fixed. It RROD’d once. Free Fix naturally. The replacement unit started with the Disc read error 8 months later and MS told me that I’d have to pay to ship and fix it. I had the problem escalated to a supervisor, in fact I INSISTED on it. Then I calmly pointed out the fact that I am in fact a MAN in his mid 30’s, and not some kid that could just be blown off, and then proceeded to point out the questionable ethics of charging to fix a KNOWN problem which has a PROVEN and heavily documented record of repeating in an unusually high number of their units. Was put on hold for 5 minutes and then was told that the shipping and repair would be free.

    My guess is that they’d rather not have a lawyer repeat that in front of a jury someday and possibly cost them Millions in a class action. You simply have to know how to play shitty customer service against itself, you will win every time if you can make them look stupid in a calm and mature manner. Of course being a TV news director doesn’t hurt either. It’s amazing what you can get done when you start beating the shit out of people with your media credentials. It’s almost better than being a cop I think.

  103. I had the error E 74 when my Xbox died too. Luckily though I was under warranty…

    Did I just say I was lucky thst my Xbox earlier then later?

  104. Anonymous says:

    I got the Red Light of death also and I’m mad at MicroSoft. I Heard is a class action law suit against Microsoft and all the disc and RLoD problems but I’m not sure I wish someone would make an official petition for extended warranty on disc scratches and RLoD. Like vista the Xbox has been a Fun screw up.

  105. Sal Ramirez says:

    This only justifies my decision to stick with Sony and Nintendo. I’ve owned every console from both of these manufacturers and never had any problems. No problems with the systems, games, hardware, etc. I’ve also switched from PC to Mac. I want nothing to do with a company who doesn’t care about their customers. Microsoft has always given me that impression, and this confirms it. Good luck with your 360s all, I hope you get some results and didn’t waste your money.