My Xbox 360 Died Part III

Time to read: 8 minutes

If you’ve followed my blog at all, you may remember that my second Xbox 360 died in March of 2008. I talked about it here. This after my original 360 died back in Feb of 2007. Well, my third unit has now died, too. I posted about it on a private forum I belong to when it first happened on July 25th, and I’m posting it here on Aug 5th, and then I have a new update for this blog.

Fri Jul 25th:

My second 360 was the same as the original footprint (the bad one). Turns out they were still manufacturing the original footprint from 2005 in 2008, which was NUTS to me, considering how many of them died. There was some attempts to alleviate the heat problems, but apparently, they were still suspectible. Why on earth MS was still making the original bad hardware footprint in 2008 as a REPLACEMENT for the same footprint is insane to me. I just don’t understand that.

So anyway, I started playing 1 vs 100 last night, and right as it started I heard a rather obnoxious sound – kind of like a loud click coming from the 360, and then it locked hard. My initial thought was “Uh-oh”. While it didn’t sound like a sound I heard from my previous two dead 360’s, it didn’t sound good at all. So I hit the power button for off, then back on again, and there it was. The stupid red rings of death. AGAIN. Xbox 360 #3 has died. MS talked about the failure rate being “acceptable”, but for me, my failure rate is 100% so far. I don’t believe that’s acceptable.

The annoying thing now is that I’m out of warranty. My original 360 had a three year warranty. It was bought on Jan 1, 2006, so I’ve expired that now. My third 360 (this one) was a warranty replacement for the second one, and the warranty for “in warranty replacements” is not another three years, it’s one year (according to the website), and that too has expired. So I’m out of warranty for all three of my 360’s. I suppose I could fight it on the grounds that my current 360 is still the original footprint, and should be warranted for three years, but then I’d get another one.

So I’m stuck now with paying $99 for a warranty repair. To add insult to that, the warranty repair place is about 10 miles from my house (was 8.2 from 3D Realms HQ), and because the facility is in Texas, I’d have to pay sales tax on that. So my replacement cost would be about $110. From what I know of the repair procedure from going through it, they’d likely send me another one of that kind. Since my original purchase was technically a core unit, that’s what they’d send me back. Great. I don’t really want to pay them that much money to get a FOURTH box with the original mostly problematic hardware footprint.

My original 360 was a gift from 3D Realms for Christmas back in 2005 (well, Jan 2006, but you get the point). My second one was technically a core purchase. I got so mad at repair that I went and bought a new core unit – my total out of pocket expense for that was about $80 after I sold my original unit broken on ebay (Got about $125 for that, surprisingly). The second one went back to MS and I got the third one for free under the warranty repair program, so my total expenditure for the three 360’s was about $80, which isn’t too bad all things considered.

NEW STUFF – AUG 5:

The night my third 360 broke a couple of weeks ago, I was getting mad about it, and after I had researched the hardware footprint situation, I was reasonably confident I could walk into a store, and buy the newest hardware footprint (codenamed Jasper) that would solve all the heat problems. There’s a really REALLY good article here about how to tell the difference between all the various hardware footprints there have been. My wife listened to me go on about it, and suggested that since my birthday was coming up in a few weeks (Aug 20th) that I use birthday money to go get the new hardware footprint and solve the problem. She also suggested this because my initial research showed that my third 360 was out of warranty. Which it was, but I initially missed the fact that I could have it repaired for free (more on that later).

So on Sat July 26th, I went to Worst Buy to buy a 360 Arcade. At $199, it’s much cheaper than what it was when originally available, and with information gleaned from the article above, I was confident I was going to get a Jasper machine. Surprisingly Worst Buy was sold out of them. That surprised me a bit. I did notice while I was there, that their 360 Pro units were Jaspers. I wasn’t buying that, but I checked ’em out. So I headed over to Toys R Us, which had one 360 Arcade, and the guy I asked to look at it had some knowledge of the situation, as he said “Oh, you’re looking for the new chipset”. He didn’t think it would be that one, since he said “that has been sitting there for awhile now”. But I confirmed it was a Jasper with the info from the article. Bought it, brought it home.

Good news on the unit. Once I got it out of the box, there was no doubt about it. Jasper unit. It was manufactured on March 30, 2009. The Arcade machines are a bit better now than this thing was when it was called a Core at the start of the console’s lifecycle. The new one I got came with a wireless controller vs a wired controller. It also has 512Mb of memory ON BOARD, and not via an external memory card (it ends up being about 400Mb of usable space, which is nice for a throwin). The overall sound of the unit is way quieter, the power adapter is much smaller, and also has much less output. It’s 12.1w now vs the 16.5 of the old units. So all of those should hopefully. FINALLY. Figure out the RROD problem, which was heat related. I plugged in my old cables, and the 120Gb hard drive I had, and I was up and running pretty quickly once I got home. There’s a lot to like about this new model vs the older ones I had.

So a few days after I bought the new model, I discovered that I could get my dead unit repaired for free. While technically out of warranty, that “three year” extension talked about for awhile applies to RROD, and this unit qualified for that repair. So I sent it over to them, and let them repair my third 360. I wasn’t sure what they’d do. I mean, they couldn’t send me the original 2005 hardware footprint AGAIN in August of 2009, could they?

On Sunday the 2nd, I noticed that my info had changed in the repair area of the Xbox website. I had a new Xbox 360 in my list of “owned consoles”, the new one they were sending me back. I could see what the serial number was, so I looked online, and found this link telling me how to decipher the serial number of an Xbox 360 to find out information about it. So from what I found, this unit was made between June 7th and 13th, 2009. (Not that it matters, but it was the 2,791st 360 they made that week in lot 9). So for a unit made in June of 2009, SURELY it would be the Jasper footprint, right? They would send out the corrected hardware – they wouldn’t mess with any of the old stuff, right?

WRONG!

The UPS guy showed up at my door today, and gave me back the coffin. He commented “Oh, an Xbox, eh?” I said yeah, and we got into talking about it. Anyway, he told me that the repair facility in Mesquite TX is actually ON the giant UPS distribution grounds. He said that Microsoft has leased space on the actual UPS grounds so that they can ship these things out and save on shipping costs. Wow. I knew both the UPS plant and the Xbox repair place were close to each other, but I didn’t realize they were in the same actual place! Anyway, as I was walking in, I looked at the stickers on the outside of the box, and my heart sank, as I saw the word “Zephyr”, which is one of the code names for the original 2005 hardware footprint. Great. Just great.

It’s just mind bogglingly amazing that in August of 2009, they’re shipping the same hardware footprint from 2005 that had all the heat problems, and is the one most likely to RROD. I plugged the thing in, and it works OK, but then they all work for awhile.

Something else I found really bizarre about this unit was on the back where the manufacture date normally appears on a 360 was the phrase “Service Date”. The date on the back of this unit is Aug 2, 2009, which was when they packaged it up to ship out to me. So this tells me that they just make a bunch of the original hardware footprint, have them sit there waiting for someone to send in a RROD’ed Arcade or Core unit, and send back one of these. That’s just bloody amazing. I don’t intend on regularly using this unit. I’ve had enough of the 2005 footprint. I’m quite happy with the Jasper I bought, and will be using that. This will go in the closet as a backup. Had I had to actually send them $99 to repair this, I’d be hopping mad about it.

SUMMARY:

So to summarize, here’s the life of me and Xbox 360 units dying and needing replacement.

  • Unit 1 (Core): Bought new on Jan 1, 2006. Died Feb 3, 2007. Sold dead on Ebay for about $120 or so, helped fund purchase of unit 2.
  • Unit 2 (Core): Bought new on Feb 5, 2007. Died Mar 8, 2008. Sent in for warranty repair.
  • Unit 3 (Core): Received from repair Mar 28, 2008. Died Jul 24, 2009. Sent in for warranty repair.
  • Unit 4 (Arcade): Bought new on Jul 25, 2009. Current active machine. Finally have HDMI jack. Best of the bunch.
  • Unit 5 (Arcade): Received from repair Aug 5, 2009. Is bad original hardware again, put in closet as backup.

What a fiasco. If the Xbox 720 or whatever it’s called has this same kind of nightmare, wow, will they have shot themselves in both feet, but probably through several other appendages, too.

If this wasn’t the best console out there this generation, I would have walked awhile ago.

UPDATE APR 2011: I moved this content to new blog software on April 2011, and as of then, the Unit 4 machine is still going fine.   That’s the longest shelf life of any of my pieces of hardware.  Unit 5 I ended up putting in the bedroom, and I use it very VERY lightly, usually when I’m sick and confined to the bedroom.  Here’s the current shelf life of my units as of Apr 19, 2011:

  • Unit 1: 13 months, two days.
  • Unit 2: 13 months, three days.
  • Unit 3: 15 months, three weeks, three days
  • Unit 4: Current primary machine: Going for one year, eight months, three weeks, one day
  • Unit 5: Current backup machine: Going for one year, seven months, three weeks.  Spends 95% of it’s time turned off. Rarely used.  Was a warranty replacement for unit 3.

UPDATE APR 2012: Another year later, and I’m still running fine with Unit 4.  No more hardware problems.  I’d say they solved that issue, as I use it regularly.  The only problem I’ve had is my controllers – as the batteries ceased to hold a charge anymore, I had to get new batteries.   But the unit itself – great.

Since the last update, they came out with a totally new hardware footprint, a smaller, black unit that’s much quieter (and I believe two more revisions after that).  You can’t buy any of the old hardware footprints anymore, but it does make me wonder what they do with warranty repairs now – do they STILL send out the original 2005 hardware footprint?  I would hope not, but something tells me they do.

UPDATE MAR 2016: Well, that “Unit 4” kept working, so they obviously fixed the problem.  In February of 2016, I removed the Xbox 360 from my entertainment center.  That’s because I have an Xbox One, which has had no problems, and with backwards compatibility, almost all of the handful of 360 games I still played I could play on my Xbox One.  So I retired the 360.  I still have both Unit 4 & 5, but I don’t know what I’m going to do with them at this point.  But Unit 4 (The Jasper unit) kept working, so that really did fix the problem.

Comments

  1. I know exactly how you feel,i bought my original 360 at launch,and it lasted 5 months when they replaced it with a new unit with march 2006 manufacture date on the rear, that lasted 12 months untill rrod again,they then sent it back repaired and now 17 months later its done it again nooooooooooooo, anyway they added 6 months onto the extended 3years waranty due to multiple breakdowns but i´m 5 weeks late but they will still fix it for free. malc

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