Identifying Your Xbox 360 Problem – Red Rings of Death, E74, Black Screen

If you’re an Xbox 360 owner, you’ve probably heard of the term “Red Rings of Death”. Unfortunately for most of you, that means your console has succumbed and is displaying them, or you might have one of several other issues such as E74, hardware failures or sound but no picture.

If you’re wondering exactly what your problem is, how it eventuated and how it can be fixed, then read on.

Identifying the Problem

There are many issues plaguing the Xbox 360 console, so much so that it will actually try to tell you what’s wrong. The first step is to check how many (if any) red lights are flashing on the front of the console. This is where green lights would appear if all was well.

1 Red Light: Hardware failure – If you see this error, chances are you’ll also see an error code displayed on-screen. See below

2 Red Lights: Overheating – Something is causing your Xbox 360 to overheat

3 Red Lights: General hardware failure – Congratulations, you have the infamous Red Rings of Death (RROD)

4 Red Lights: AV cable problem – Chances are the AV cable simply isn’t plugged in properly. Occasionally, it can be damaged and needs to be replaced

When 1 light is flashing, the Xbox 360 may display a code on-screen. The most common codes are explained below:

E74 – This usually means there is a problem with either the GPU or scaler chip. See below

E67-70 – There is a problem with the hard drive, try booting the console without it. If it works, try formatting the hard drive, otherwise replace it

E64-66 – There is a problem with the DVD drive. This can be caused by a bad flash or a loose connection. The drive may need to be replaced

Another common problem involves the Xbox 360 booting with sound, but no picture. There are no red lights in this case. It is a similar error to E74 above and is handled the same way.

Causes of the Problems

An overheating error can be caused by a number of things, but usually the culprit is poor contact between the CPU and/or GPU and their respective heatsinks. The best way to fix this follows the same process as the errors that are about to be discussed, with a few key omissions that simplify the process.

E74 and RROD errors are caused by cold or bridged solder connections between components and the Xbox 360 motherboard. This results from a combination of poor quality solder, excessive heat and motherboard flex caused by the X-clamps that hold the heatsinks in place.

What to Do About It

There simply isn’t enough space in this article to explain the repair process in detail or post pictures and video. Be sure to check out the links below to see my free guide as well as my personal recommendation for the best paid repair guide out there. It truly is worth every penny.

Please resist the temptation to wrap your Xbox 360 in a towel or put it in the fridge. If it sounds ridiculous, it probably is. I promise you’ll be doing more harm than good.

By Master