Xbox 360 Repaired

November 21, 2009 | By Chad | Category: Blogs

I finally got the Xbox 360 out and dusted it off. I hooked it up to the TV and started it first without a game to see if it would even boot up. At first, all I got was some green lines across the top of the TV and I thought it was finally doomed. It turns out that the HDMI cord was not fully inserted in the back of the TV. Once corrected, I saw that beautiful Xbox logo on my television. Whew.

Once everything appeared to be working, I noticed that I had a couple of demo games that I had downloaded on my hard drive and thought I would give Burnout Revenge a go. I rocked it for a silver medal. After a quick game, I logged into my Xbox live account (which was fortunately still active) and downloaded all of the required software updates that I have missed over more than a year of inactivity. After about 7 minutes of sitting through a screen that said my new Xbox Experience would be complete in 2 minutes, my Xbox restarted and I was treated to a intro that featured things spinning around, stuff melting, cars zipping around, balls bounding around, mountains and rocks shooting up from the ground, other things popping up all over the place and finally that beautiful Xbox logo again. Ah, how I missed it.

First thing my new Xbox Experience asked me to do was create my avatar. In my mind, this is exactly how I look and dress:

Being completely satisfied with my new avatar, I decided to finally get started on repairing my Xbox - the whole reason I dusted it off to begin with. So I inserted a game, just to make sure that my console still had the issue, and immediately I heard the grinding of death. As much as I wanted to keep playing with my old downloaded games and not deal with this problem, I decided I would have to take this thing apart if I ever wanted to play a real game again. I turned off the power, unplugged the cords, and began taking apart my machine. I removed the faceplate and then began to look for screws, any screws, but could find none. I turned the console over again and again but could not figure out how this thing came apart without breaking it. They just don't make 'em like they used to - I took my Nintendo apart when I was 12. I had to turn to YouTube yet again. This video was excellent and I took it apart without breaking anything:

Fortunately, I stopped at about the 6:46 mark because I had a suspicion that the problem was with the DVD Rom and my suspicions were confirmed as soon as I saw that the DVD Rom insert was shifted on top of the DVD Rom housing. Here is my attempt of an exploded view of the pieces that were not aligning properly, as well as a picture of the problem.

As you can see in the picture to the right, the "trapper" (the piece that locks the game in place when you insert a disc and close the tray) had gotten stuck in the glue that is used to hold the DVD insert in place. Additionally, the magnet in the center of the DVD spool had come out and was stuck to the "trapper". I simply super glued the magnet back where it belonged on the spool, unstuck the "trapper", lined everything up, and put a little super glue on the insert to hold it in place on the DVD Rom housing. I carefully put everything back together and was feeling pretty confident that I would be playing NCAA 09 in a few more minutes. As soon as I popped the faceplate on, I noticed that I had a nice little hole where the eject button once was and then saw the button was sitting on the floor. Even though you can open and close the disc tray with the controller, it just looks unsightly:

NCAA 09 would have to wait. Being an expert in taking Xbox consoles apart, I quickly disassembled it again and this time added the button where it was supposed to go before I reassembled it (which unfortunately was one of the last steps in the disassembly).

It was finally the moment of truth. I connected everything, rubbed my lucky rabbit foot, and put the game in the console. I heard it start spinning and it read the disc successfully. Now my Xbox has the usual quiet roar that it used to have and I am back in business. Here is a screenshot I took of my newly repaired Xbox 360:

I started a new dynasty with Army (because they were an independent 1 star program) and I even went to bed once in the first 72 hours after it was repaired. 2 days later I finished my first season with a win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl and ended up third in the final BCS poll, taking Army all the way from 115th in the preseason poll. But the sweetest part of the season (besides winning the Heisman) was getting this monster sack on virtual Tim Tebow...


Xbox 360 Elite Grinding

November 17, 2009 | By Chad | Category: Blogs

About 8 hours after purchasing and playing NCAA Football 2009 non-stop, my Xbox 360 Elite starting making a grinding racket and I got the Unplayable Disc error. It started in mid-game, mid-season, mid-beer, and it sounded like this guy's machine:

I really do feel this guy's pain. So I turned off the game and fortunately I had a spare Xbox 360 lying around (Thanks Roach). So I popped the game in that machine and played for a bit, but it just was not the same in non-HDMI graphics. So my Xbox has sat there, with the game still inside it, collecting dust for over a year, and I have paid a year's subscription to Xbox Live that I didn't use. NCAA Football 2010 has been released for over 4 months and I still have not completed a single season of 2009! If I don't fix my console soon then it will probably end my gaming.

So the search began to find some simple fixes. YouTube is full of potential fixes for this issue. Some are as simple and temporary, such as putting a postcard into the disc slot and sliding it from left to right while it is reading the disc and others are as complicated as replacing the DVD drive. I'll be taking apart my machine later this week to further diagnose my problem before picking my troubleshooting path.