Some Say Kinect Is Breaking Old Xboxes

Some Xbox 360 owners are complaining that the Kinect is driving their consoles into the grave, inflicting them with the Red Ring of Death.

The BBC cites anecdotes from users with older model Xbox 360s who say Kinect causes RRODs soon after they hook them up. Xbox forums are lively with echoes of such problems.

Kinect — which has sold 8 million units so far — requires an additional electrical outlet on older-model Xboxes, but draws its power directly from the redesigned models. It’s unknown whether the difference causes more stress on older units.

The BBC story includes a response from Microsoft:

Microsoft said the Kinect had been “designed to work with every Xbox 360 sold to date.”

“There is no correlation between the three flashing red lights error and Kinect. Any new instances of the three flashing red lights error are merely coincidental,” it added.

If your Kinect isn’t playing nice with your Xbox 360, let us know.

Kinect blamed for ‘red ring of death’ Xbox 360 failures [BBC via Joystiq]

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  1. FireJayPa says:

    Everything causes those things to RRoD.

    Put in a certain game (RRoD)
    Firmware update (RRoD)
    Hook up a Kinect (RRoD)

    Thankfully I’m only on my 3rd XBox, where the 2nd one was replaced under warranty and an EB Games gave me $50 for the broken 2nd one towards the purchase of one of those nice new black ones.

    I’m sure Microsoft will spin this and say that this is nothing short of user error. Because they surely can’t admit that the older consoles were designed horribly.

    • Larraque eats babies says:

      +1 to everything you said

      Being an old “white” xbox makes you RRoD

    • dangermike says:

      The RROD is just a generalized hardware error. It can be caused by a lot of different things. In addition to sorting out the heat sink and solder issues that were the most common causes in the earlier revisions of the 360’s hardware, newer revisions also have additional error codes that would have been represented by the RROD in earlier models.

    • kityglitr says:

      It’s poor construction on the older models. RROD has nothing to do with firmware or specific games. My husband voided our warranty on our 1st Xbox and repaired it himself, basically putting in washers to keep the heat sink away from the board (I don’t really know every last thing he did to it, but there was soldering involved). I’m pretty sure what you experienced was just coincidence in timing. However, I do wonder if the Kinect power source issues are forcing RRODs.

  2. Marlin says:

    Could it be people are just using their older Xbox more and longer than before.

    • bbf says:

      +1 Marlin, that’s the reason.

      The same thing happened when Forza 2 came out, also when Halo 3.

      All of the earlier generation XBox360’s had thermal dissipation issues, and running more processor/graphics intensive games/programs is what stresses the system and causes it to RROD. There’s a reason why Microsoft took a 1 BILLION dollar charge to pay for the repairs… it was widespread, and not the “couple of percent” of the first gen units like MS’ marketing droids claimed.

      I’d be surprised if any of the HDMI equipped white Xbox360’s had any issues.

    • Meatball says:

      Exactly…8 million XBox’s that haven’t been used in a year are suddenly being used all the time and they’re surprised a few of them are going bad.

  3. SagarikaLumos says:

    Maybe it’s that those older Xboxes hadn’t been used much lately and the fresh use did push them over the edge. Probably not a design fault of the Kinect, but exhibiting the weaknesses of early 360s.

    • Rayonic says:

      Probably a little of that, along with some confirmation bias. “I was playing [game] when my Xbox died. [game] must have killed it!”

      As for my own personal anecdote: My 360 showed a RROD because of a faulty video cable. I knew something was fishy because it wouldn’t even try to boot; it insta-ringed. One new cable and I was back in business.

  4. Murph1908 says:

    “There is no correlation between the three flashing red lights error and Kinect.”

    As a victim of 2 RRODs, one before they owned up to the problem, I call zombie bullshit on this statement.

  5. Superunlikely says:

    This happened to me and there was a simple fix (for me, anyway).

    1. Completely unplug every cable, including power.
    2. Attach power and video cables.
    3. Boot Xbox (mine booted fine).
    4. Power down.
    5. Make sure you connect the power cable to the Kinect USB cable (and that the power cable is in the wall) before you attach it to Xbox.
    6. Attach Kinect cable to Xbox. You have to use the rear USB port. The front ones aren’t supported.
    7. Power on.

    • Superunlikely says:

      Just to be clear, when I first connected my Kinect, I plugged it into the Xbox before I plugged the Kinect power cable into the wall. I was greeted with a Christmas Red Ring of Death. Even after several power cycles. But the process above seemed to cure it. Give it a try.

      • Rayonic says:

        When moving the Xbox around you might have jiggled the video cable. If it’s loose or fraying, that might be the real culprit.

  6. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    I basically gave up on X-Box ever solving the Red Ring of Death issue…

    So I resigned to Fix It Myself, since the warranty is expired anyway.

    Besides, Repair trumps Replacement in the eco-friendly arena.

  7. sparc says:

    if the older models are getting separate power, then i’m not seeing how this is very likely.

    My guess is this is the same as the claims that the PS3 firmware updates are killing older PS3s. More coincidental bricking of consoles.

  8. phead says:

    People firing up their old dust clogged xbox’s are getting failures, well I never.

  9. KlueBat says:

    There is no Kinect magic breaking Xboxs here. People get a new game/accessory so they use their Xbox more. More frequent use by more people means a higher than normal rate of failure.

    Correlation != causality.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      It’s an interesting theory. I’d love to see some data on it (seriously).

      Are these really cotton-balled Xbox’s being brought back into use, or really a problem with Kinect?

      • Cosmo_Kramer says:

        The data is right in the Joystiq article:

        http://www.joystiq.com/2011/01/05/bbc-kinect-caused-red-ring-of-death-on-out-of-warranty-xbox-3/
        “As our tips box can attest to over the years, every major Xbox 360 release causes the unholy specter of the Xbox 360’s infamous ‘Red Ring of Death’ to return”

        These stories pop up with every major game release. With a significant portion of the population playing one game, odds are that a significant portion of RRoDs will happen while people are playing that game. Then people start talking and developing theories, and we get inaccurate articles like the one you’re reading.

        Even Joystiq concluded in their article that it’s unlikely the Kinect is causing RRoDs.

    • GMFish says:

      Your response is very logical, however, you’re ignoring some important empirical data. The Kinect draws power from the console. That additional power draw could be putting a strain on the console which is causing the red ring of death.

      it’s a simple fact: the more power the console uses, the more likely it’ll over-heat, which makes the red ring of death more likely to occur.

    • SonarTech52 says:

      Hey, they showed us how to make the real sign. There is no longer a need for !=

      Correlation ≠ causality. – there ya go, fixed it..

      • Cosmo_Kramer says:

        I’m a software developer, so != IS the real sign as far as I’m concerned.

        • SonarTech52 says:

          I’d think the more widely used not equal sign would be better understood.. but that’s just me..

          • Red Cat Linux says:

            != works the same among the hardware folks too.

            I understand the other symbol, but that’s a lot more effort to produce than !=; hence:

            The ability to create the special character != willingness to do so.

            • AlphaLackey says:

              Pressure to stop using Pascal’s inequality operator > requirement to stop using Pascal’s operator.

  10. TheRealDeal says:

    Perhaps Microsoft should amend their statement to instead read that the Kinect has been designed to work with every WORKING Xbox 360 sold to date. I mean, there have to be a FEW working Xboxes out there!

    Seriously, kudos to Microsoft though. They have managed to create a product that has a loyal following even in light of the absolutely terrible reliability.

  11. Skellbasher says:

    Correlation does not imply causation.

  12. Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:

    Interesting….

    I got the Kinnect on Black Friday…

    On Xmas Eve, my xbox RROD’d …

    Coincidence????

  13. CT_Minh78 says:

    I have a related issue, but I have the slim 360. I noticed that having the Kinect attached and powered on seems to make non-Kinect games more likely to freeze. Its pretty noticeable in games where freezes happen anyway like Fallout New Vegas, but would also make games that NEVER froze start to have problems.

    Unplugging it cleared up the problem. I don’t know if I’m an isolated case, but my suspicion is that the extra resources needed to keep the Kinect active simply push certain games over the edge.

    • nutbastard says:

      Ugh, FNV was the worst. What a horribly put together POS that thing was. Froze on my PS3 about every 90 minutes. I timed the reboot cycle and calculated that in the course of playing through FNV, I spent an hour and 12 minutes waiting for reboots.

      Plating Red Dead Redemption now – now THAT is a well made game. Jesus Christ. After FNV I feel like I just traveled 10 years into the future.

  14. not-gonna-tell-ya says:

    I had a co-worker experience a fail after getting one for Christmas. They plugged it all in and it threw an error saying it couldn’t read from the disc. Then after that ANY disc they tried gave the same error. They called microsoft and M$oft promptly said they would send them another unit.

    Seems there may be some sort of firmware changes that are updated when the Kinnect is ran the first time and borking the box???

  15. Straspey says:

    Interesting -

    Today’s New York Times features the following article:

    “Microsoft Plans Living Room Takeover With Kinect”

    http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/05/microsoft-plans-living-room-takeover-with-kinect/?scp=2&sq=Kinect&st=cse

  16. horns says:

    Xbox’s break, seems some like to blame whatever they played/did last with why it broke.

  17. SomeoneGNU says:

    How would pulling electricity from a socket cause more stress on the xbox?

    • HazyCloud says:

      This. If anything, the new Slim models should be falling over and dying from Kinect pulling power from them. Not the other way around.

  18. Scurvythepirate says:

    I dropped off a package at the UPS Store yesterday and some kid was sending in his 360 and had it packaged poorly. The clerk said “We will package this up properly for you, we do these a few times a day”.

    No I am not a fanboy, I have all 3 systems, but I will admit that Micro$oft did not design the internals of the 360 very well.

  19. Cosmo_Kramer says:

    You could have avoided writing this inaccurate article if you had read the Joystiq article:

    “As our tips box can attest to over the years, every major Xbox 360 release causes the unholy specter of the Xbox 360’s infamous ‘Red Ring of Death’ to return.”

    This happens every time a major release comes out, people start using their Xboxes more, some get RRoDs and assume it’s because of the game they’ve been playing.

  20. AI says:

    There is no way that a USB device drawing external power can cause the graphics processor to physically lose connection with the motherboard, which is what the RROD usually is.

  21. ready2mosh says:

    I still have my launch 360 and no problems with my Kinect. I have my 360 in the basement of my house where it is always cool. I played my Kinect on new years eve for over 7 hours straight with different people jumping in and out of the games and no problems. I also have my Kinect hooked up to my front USB port and it works just fine, I have my wireless dongle in my rear USB port for Live. I don’t doubt some people are having issues since I know almost all of my Live friends have had to their 360s replaced.

  22. shell_beach says:

    heres an idea, sell all your games, and controllers and buy a ps3 and maybe re-buy the one or two games you still actually play for it. voila, now you have a working next gen system and bluray player that wont break every 12 months.

    if you really need kinect, which is hard to believe, try the move, its cheaper too. sure you dont jump around, but who wants to do that anyways?

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Wow, really? You’re gonna be That Guy? Okay, I’ll bite: At least Microsoft’s firmware updates don’t brick your optical drives. ;)

      • Red Cat Linux says:

        Yeah.. still on my original Xbox 360 – I’m pretty sure I know why some people RRod their Xboxes, but I don’t know quite how people are getting the PS3 YLoD. I’ll probably buy a PS3 when my PS2 breaks and I am unable to find another fat PS2 to replace it with.

        I load and play games from the PS2 hard drive and it’s been a great machine. I’m unlikely to buy a PS3 since my understanding is that the current models won’t be backwardly compatible with my PS2 titles I still play. Apparently they stopped making the PS3 that is.

      • nutbastard says:

        it would be bad except for the fact that That Guy is completely justified in being That Guy.

        Sony knows how to do hardware properly, and the fact that Sony has lost money on pretty much every PS3 they’ve sold tells you that it’s a superior device. Hell, look at the specs – where else can you get an octacore hyperthreading bluray-equipped computer for $300? I realize it’s not full fledged in that it doesn’t run a traditional desktop OS, but that’s a software issue – the hardware is beefy as hell and rock solid to boot.

  23. dush says:

    Obviously kinect works the system and causes it to malfunction. But it’s only systems that would have malfunctioned eventually anyway. So kinect is not causing a new problem.

  24. Tarceinus says:

    I guess I’m just lucky. I’ve never had a problem with my XBox. It’s the Falcon model with the HDMI port. It’s just been chugging away for 2 years now. I see a lot of my friends going through RROD situations and the only thing I can see similar between their situations is that they tend to keep the console in an enclosed space like the middle shelf of an entertainment center. I keep mine on top of my TV stand, in the vertical position. Kinect works fine so far.

    I am also kind of obsessive about keeping my electronics (and everything else in my rooms) as free of dust as possible; Brutal allergies do that to a guy.

    • delicatedisarray says:

      I have an older 360 too. I bought it used from a friend in college. I’ve had the thing myself for just under 4 years, I don’t know how long the guy before me had it but it was at least a year. The only issue I’ve had is my power block gave out, that cost me $45 to replace (I think). Otherwise the thing has been working fine.

      I also keep mine in the vertical position. It is on a shelf below my tv, but it is the only thing on that shelf. All of my systems have their own shelf and each gets dusted fairly regularly.

      I think the space and dusting are what really keeps the thing running. It just seems like a common sense, taking care of your electronics habit- but I guess not many people do so.

  25. nbaptist says:

    A side note on x-box.
    I had the occasion to work with a gentleman that worked on the x-box development team at MS!

    There was an issue with the cooling fans placement in regards to the vents! Seems the cooling fan was sucking up everything possible in particular dust that was near the vents and would clog up everything! How was this issue fixed – in short it wasn’t!

    The best way to handle the sucking problem is to keep the unit up off a shelf and never put it on the floor!

  26. DesmondNavroz says:

    My nephew has an xBox that he plays regularly without fail. (a couple hours a day several days a week.) He got a Kinect for Christmas and tried it out. The xBox stopped working within a week. He didn’t use it any more than usual after getting the Kinect, the games for that are not his type of games so far. He did hook up the kinect right away and tried a couple of games for Kinect He certainly didn’t use the XBox any more than he had before. He found the kinect interesting but the games for it lame.

  27. Rask says:

    Both my old 360 and the new shiny S model are working great. Kinect attached and all.

    • DoubleA000 says:

      It’s simple… More movement with the Kinect, jumping vibrates the floor and probably the Xbox. Possible solder issues plus vibration = GPU coming loose from the board, so yes…indirectly the Kinect would cause a RROD.

  28. dolemite says:

    I intend on getting a Kinect…just waiting for the “Must Have” games. I don’t want Avatar games with my “Mii” bouncing on rafts or popping balloons or whatever. Make a game where I’m a ninja swinging a sword and throwing shuriken or a mech game or something….

    honestly, I’d LOVE a fps where I don’t have to use those terrible stalk controllers and their varying control.

  29. odan says:

    Happen to have a friend that does professional repairs on xbox 360’s , he has had a surge of calls recently due to RRoD’s happening , he believes that the kinect is drawing some power from the older xbox 360 even with the addition power outlet needed
    He is pretty sure that no fix will be made and another warranty program will go into effect much like the old one for RRoD’s.

  30. HappyFunTimes says:

    MSFT has SHIPPED 8 million unit NOT sold 8 million. #correction

  31. dwtomek says:

    I still have my launch 360. It’s probably hogwash, but I remember back in the early days reading somewhere that people were having better luck plugging their box into it’s own outlet instead of a shared power strip. My Xbox is still happily plugging away…Kinect and all. I suppose the likely causation is that I am incredibly lucky, but I like to think that good ventilation and an unshared power source are the culprits.

  32. shufflemoomin says:

    Why would kinect cause more stress on older models? That’s just a bullshit statement with no evidence whatsoever, It’s only sending data over a standard USB connection and getting power from a wall outlet. This kind of bullshit story comes up every time there’s a new accessory or update for any console. I wish people would stop making crap up or trying to blame SOMETHING for the inevitable failure of electronics.

  33. kujospam says:

    This happened to my work buddy. He had the xbox for over 3 years no problem. less then a week later after getting the kinnect it got red ring.

  34. common_sense84 says:

    It is not unknown. It is well known that the kinnect has to use the video card to process. And that means more load on it.

    This does mean the kinnect will most likely cause RROD.

  35. hollowman512 says:

    Yeah, it’s BS that it was mere coincidence, mine broke after unplugging it and plugging it back in. I wouldn’t be surprised if that additional power cord doesn’t have much preventing it from sending electricity to the xbox instead of the kinect.