360 Red Ring of Death

The Red ring of death

It’s dead! After what seems like an eternity, my xBox360 has finally kicked the bucket – no biggie, I’ve had it since launch so I was kind of expecting it to die, it has been playing funny buggers recently anyway so I figured it was on it’s way out! Thought I might chronicle the experience of an xBox360 repair in the UK.

Symptoms Precluding the imminent demise

My tech problems always start off slow, a lock up here, and a lock up there. Always while playing games – I thought it might just be a glitch with the discs or maybe the xbox was getting a bit hot (they chuck out a lot of heat), this went on for several weeks before the lock up became more severe, (the pad wouldn’t work, couldn’t turn the console off). Until finally 4 weeks later I was hammering through the ace combat demo and suddenly a loud distorted blip in the sound and a screen full of artifaced images. If you’ve got DTV, you’ll know what that looks like – it’s like when your receiving a bad signal and the screen has tiny little blocks out of place. COMPLETE lockup, no way to do anything. I tried this several times and always the same problem after roughly 4 – 6 minutes – DAMN!

Microsoft Tech Support

First up a visit to xbox.com/support/ to check all of the necessary remedies – none of them worked so it was on the phone (oh how I love speaking to Indians). Admittedly the phone was answered quickly but the chap on the end of the phone was less than helpful. Telling me (after I had given him the serial number) that the console wasn’t registered to me so he couldn’t help!!! I brought the console on eBay 2 days after launch and luckily had the receipt for the original purchase. I was told to scan it and send it off which I did and had to wait 24 hours for them to acknowledge the change of ownership. Bear in mind I had explained the problem in detail to the tech guy at this point.

Day 2

Back on the phone, differrent rep who confirmed the change of ownership, didn’t have any notes pertaining to my case (even though I explained it in detail the previous day), told me that because it was just a fault with no RROD I would have to pay £67 to get it fixed, didn’t like the sound of this so I told him I would think about it, but insisted he document the problem so I would not have to explain it again!!

He also told me that ‘they’ (the repair centre) would probably just replace the motherboard / cpu and heatsink – just!! Might as well ship me a new console while they are at it. I asked him if they are getting a lot of RROD calls and the line went silent, apparently he didn’t have the authority to comment on Corporate Microsoft Matters – fancy that. I asked him if he was busy, he replied ‘Very Busy’ with a little chuckle – so I guess they are inundated with faults.

Day 3

Booted the xbox in the hope that the problem had gone away, no such luck. Was prompted to download a dash update, did this, restarted – RESULT, three red lights – no £67 payment for me. Back on the phone, (they had remembered my problem), told to send it in for a free repair and said they were going to send me a prepaid return sticker via email which I could print and send off. Gave the rep my email address and spelt it out 5 times to make sure he had it correct, was told to wait another 24 hours for email to arrive.

Day 4

24 hours later, still no packaging slip and no further contact from Microsoft. Rang tech support again, they had the wrong email address even though I had spelt it out 5 times and insisted that the tech person read it back to me!! Gave them the correct spelling for another time, and was told to wait an additional 24hours!

Day 5

Finally, got my label, boxed up my beloved and UPS picked it up barely an hour ago. I wonder how long it will take to get it back?

So for now, I off to play with the Wii until my baby comes back. Let’s hope it gets here in time for BioShock!

Day 6

So my tracking number on UPS says that the box was delivered today at 12:57 to HAVANT, GB. So I guess it’s at the repair centre now. How will Microsoft contact me to tell me that it’s on it’s way back?

Day 7

No Word from Microsoft, not even a polite email to let me know they received it safely and have begun its resurrection. Oh, well.

Day 8

Still no official confirmation or word.

Day 9

Still no official confirmation or word.

Day 10


Day 11


Day 12


Day 13


Day 14


Day 15

Rang again to ask for a progress report (Now been over two weeks since this fiasco started), still nothing to tell me – the telephone ‘hired help’ couldn’t even tell me where my xbox was.

Day 16


Day 17


Day 18

Still no word – went out and brought an Elite, it looks very nice on my shelf – I am so desperate to play Bioshock – so my copy of Bioshock cost me £335 to play all because my core has not come back from Microsoft yet – thanks. And to add insult to my injury I have to order a bloody transfer cable.
Day 19

You guessed it – still absolutely no word on where it is or how it might be. Rang Microsoft again (I’m sure the support number in ingrained in my mind forever) to ask for a transfer cable (should be here in the next 12-15 days!), another ref number to write down but at least this was relatively painful. Couldn’t they have just put one in the box or sold it for a few quid at stores selling the elite? So I’ll be using my 20gb hdd until the cable turns up – I can’t play my XBLA games without my WiFi turned on either – fucking DRM!

Day 20

Still no word.

Day 21 / 22 & 23

Still no word – I wonder where it is?

Day 24

Hahaha, this gets better and better – I don’t fucking believe it!!! Finally recieved an email from Microsoft’s repair centre, expecting a ‘Your console tracking number is’ email and I get this instead:

‘We have received your Xbox at our service center. It is our priority to process your Xbox in a timely manner and to get it back to you as good as new. We will contact you as soon as we are finished so you can get ready to get back into the game!

WTF? Well, thanks, guess it only took you 24 fucking days to get it in – glad I brought an Elite, but what about or the poor buggers that can’t afford to purchase a new console? Sort it out Microsoft – please!

Day 25

Still no word

Day 26

Still nada, nothing, jack sh#t

Day 27


Day 28


Day 29

Hurrah, an email from Microsoft with a tracking number, the box is on it’s way! I wonder if it will be here by tomorrow – I do hope so, because I’ve already sold it.

Day 30

Low and behold, the Core 360 has been returned to its home, with only a few MINOR problems – just little things, like the HDD flap that I attached to the original console I sent is missing, the power button now sticks and doesn’t click when you press it, there are some small black marks on the back of the console and the fact that this is not my console, just somebody else’s refurb – great.

What can we learn from this process

It takes an age to get a console repaired if the repair centre is inundated with faulty consoles – one estimate I heard recently was that over 2,500 360’s a day are being returned. That’s a lot of red rings! Communication is the key to everything and a few simple emails from Microsoft throughout this entire process would have helped ease the pain of losing a loved one :)

I’ve gone and brought an Elite (maybe this was their plan all along) and sold my core onto a friend so I’m only £140 worse off, so not to bad from my point of view especially considering a 120gb HDD would cost me £129 anyway.

I’m pretty pissed off with Microsoft’s customer care policy and their complete lack of communication between repair centre and myself, but hey, that corporate’s for you. But they did send me a complimentary 1 month Gold live subscription, so not all is lost. I heard someone mention on Kokatu this was a refund for the time we had lost on live :)

Still, 1 month on, the box is back, arbeit with some minor differences and this whole ordeal is over – now where’s that HDD transfer cable I ordered?

Update: Continued in Part 2 

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