Xbox 360: Returning Your Xbox 360 For Repair

Lots of people have been coming here searching for information about sending their Xbox 360 in to Microsoft for repair. My Xbox 360 is on it’s way back to me from being repaired, so I figured I’d post my experience with the repair process.

On March 24th, 2007 I contacted Microsoft Xbox customer support and was able to get the repair process started. My Xbox 360 was still suffering from the dreaded 3 red lights on the Ring Of Light at that time.

Upon initiatiating the repair process, I received an email from Microsoft confirming the repair process had begun. The email stated that I would receive another email once the next step in the repair process begins:

Dear Xbox Customer:

Thank you for contacting Xbox Customer Care. We have received your request for service. Please prepare your console and follow the instructions provided by our customer service department. You will receive an e-mail as soon as the next step in the process has begun.

Thank you,
Xbox Customer Care

The support agent I spoke with gave detailed instructions on what information to include in the box I returned my Xbox 360 in. I typed all the information out, printed it, and put it right on top of my Xbox 360 inside the box I shipped it in. Include this information when returning your Xbox 360 for repair:

  1. Support Reference # (provided by Xbox support agent).
  2. Xbox 360 serial number (from the back of your console).
  3. Your name.
  4. Your return shipping address.

It’s important that you DO NOT SEND YOUR HARD DRIVE, CONTROLLERS, OR MEMORY CARDS! If you send them in with your console you will probably never see them again. Make sure there’s not a game in the DVD drive. Take your hard drive off and make sure all memory cards are out before packing your Xbox 360 up. All you want to send in is your bare Xbox 360 console.

Once you have your Xbox 360 all packaged up along with the necessary information, you’re ready to ship. There seems to be quite a bit of confusion exactly where to send your Xbox 360 for repair. There’s lots of confusion because many of the Xbox support agents don’t speak english as their native language. It’s hard to understand a mailing address from someone with a thick Spanish accent. Now, I’m sure Microsoft has more than one repair center, so make sure to pay close attention when the agent gives you the address to send your Xbox 360 to. I was told to send my Xbox 360 to the following address, your support agent may provide you with a different address:

Repair Center
5700 South International Parkway
Door #18
McAllen, TX 78503

I just took my box to my local post office to ship. I shipped it using the Priority Mail service and purchased $200 worth of insurance coverage for $3.35. Total came to be about $18. Only took 4 days to get there, and that’s counting the weekend. Once they received the package at the repair center I got the following email:

Dear Customer,

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!

Xbox Customer Care

Exactly two hours later, I got another email stating that my Xbox 360 had been fixed and was on it’s way home. The email said my Xbox 360 should be here in 2 to 5 days, it’d be great to have it before this weekend. They even gave me a UPS tracking number, but there’s nothing there other than a confirmation that the return shipping has been paid for. Hopefully some real tracking data will show up on it tomorrow.


Xbox 360 Elite Has Arrived

Xbox 360 EliteAfter months of speculation, Microsoft has finally announced the Xbox 360 Elite. Everything included with the Xbox 360 Elite is black instead of white, like the initial Xbox 360. One of the major additions to the Xbox 360 Elite is full HDMI support. There’s also a 120GB hard drive, much larger than the 20GB that came with my Xbox 360 Premium package.

I won’t be purchasing an Xbox 360 Elite. I would like to have a 120GB hard drive, but I can buy one for my premium system later on. I can’t justify paying $479.99 for a 120GB drive, I couldn’t even use the HDMI support. I do like the black though, very sleek looking.

The Xbox Domain has some more specs on the Xbox 360 Elite. They also have some prices for the new accessories.

  • 120GB hard drive (black)
  • HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) port
  • Wireless controller (black)
  • Xbox LIVE headset (black)
  • HDMI cable
  • Component/SD cable
  • One month subscription to Xbox Live Gold

Xbox Live’s Major Nelson has an interview with Albert on the new Xbox 360 Elite. He’s also got a Flickr photoset containing a bunch of pictures of the new Xbox 360 Elite and the new accessories. Pretty neat.

Xbox 360 Fanboy has a large post highlighting all the new features and accessories for the Xbox 360 Elite. Joystiq has pretty much the same info, but with more pictures.


Xbox 360: Some Fixes For Freezing and 3 Red Lights

I’ve made quite a few posts about the problems I’ve had with my Xbox 360. You can take a look at the Xbox 360 tag archive for the entire list of posts. I’d like to highlight a few comments in those posts from readers. There’s been some great comments by readers, some go into pretty good detail.

All of the comments on all those posts in the Xbox 360 tag archive add up to a very valuable resource for gamers experiencing problems with their Xbox 360. You may have to do a little reading, but there’s some great comments there. Now, here’s some of my favorites.
Continue reading “Xbox 360: Some Fixes For Freezing and 3 Red Lights”


Xbox 360: Towel Trick Fixes 3 Red Lights

The “Towel Trick” is an interesting solution to the 3 red lights on the ring of light (ROL). Supposedly, a user experiencing the 3 red lights on the ROL completely wrapped his Xbox 360 in a towel, with the red lights on, and let the Xbox 360 sit for about 10 minutes. He then turned his system off, then on again, and his Xbox 360 booted without issue. He was able to play for about 3 hours before the 3 red lights came back.

Sounds like an unlikely fix, but who knows? Well, I know, because I tested lastnight. The “Towel Trick” is bunk, total crap. You’re more likely to set your Xbox 360 on fire by doing this rather than fixing it. The best advice still is to contact Microsoft support. You can call them toll-free at 1-800-4MY-XBOX. They have an excellent support department lined up there for the Xbox/Xbox 360.

UPDATE: Here’s a video of the Towel Trick on YouTube.

UPDATE 7/14/2011: Rob left some good points in his comment below. A number of people in the comments on this post have suggested putting your Xbox 360 in a microwave to fix the 3 red lights issue. I would advise against this for a number of reasons.

Rob presented a number of things users should consider prior to microwaving any electronic device:

  1. 95% of all hardware failures are caused by very slight board
    warpage right under the G.P.U. where heat build up
    occurs . this will literally cause the Chips connections to pull
    away form the board.
  2. A standered refolw @ 255c will almost always get your console
  3. Specific Microwaves frequency acts on water molecules causing
    them to resonate ( absorb the energy) and then release it as heat
  4. you have a better chance of repairing using a heat gun or
    removing the xclamp and replacing it with screws and then
    force the G.P.U. only to over heat ( standered x clamp mod )
  5. Microwaves will cause metal objects to build up charges
    normally at or on sharp edges until it discharges causing sparks
    kina cool looking , try a Christmas ornaments.
  6. If you decide to stick you game console in your mw oven the ods are not in your
    favor and after the attempt fails your chances of a correct repair
    procedure are lost.
  7. Just use some common sense and realize if this had a high successes rate
    every one would be doing it . in fact people would be modified
    micro wave oven for that purpose only and they would be fixing consoles
    In volumes.

Xbox 360: More On 3 Red Lights

This is sort of a follow-up to my last post regarding the 3 red lights on the ring of light. I called Microsoft’s Xbox support line and was on the phone with a guy named Colin for about an hour. I kept telling him that I would just like to send my console in for repair, but as expected, we had to go through the whole troubleshooting exercise.

First off, a week previous to calling support, I had gotten the 3 red lights every time I turned my Xbox 360 on. Then, once I was speaking with Colin, I turned it on and the red lights were gone. However, the Xbox 360 froze almost immediately. Colin then directed me to remove the hard drive. I removed the drive, powered on and the 360 came up, but only for a few minutes. It soon froze again. That got Colin thinking the root of all my problems was the hard drive. Not quite…

Anyway, Colin had me put the hard drive back on and to my amazement, my Xbox 360 powered up without issue. I proceeded to play Gears of War for a little bit until it froze again. Colin told me to pull the power cord and to let the Xbox 360 sit for about 1 minute. I did so, turned the Xbox 360 back on, and my problems appeared to be gone. At that point, I was playing Gears of War while speaking with Colin, and had been playing with no issues for about 10 minutes. So, instead of sitting on the phone forever Colin and I determined the problem was fixed.

I continued playing Gears of War for around 3 hours after I got off the phone with Colin, until it froze. After 3 hours of play or so, the thing just froze. Since then, I have been getting the 3 red lights on the ring of light non-stop. So, I’m basically back in the same boat I was before I called support.

Luckily, Colin gave me a reference number in case anything went wrong. So, I will be calling support back tomorrow to see if they have any other suggestions. If they don’t, hopefully they’ll suggest that I send my console in for repair.

I just don’t understand why the thing was working while I was on the phone with support but refused to boot pretty much any other time. I know it’s not a power supply issue because my power supply light is green whenever the Xbox 360 is turned on, even if the 3 red lights are flashing. And when the Xbox 360 is turned off, the power supply light is amber, as it should be.

So, I’m kinda at a loss as to what’s going on exactly. It seems that the smallest updates have the ability to bring an Xbox 360 to its knees. Like I said before, my Xbox 360 was working great until an update for Halo 2 was downloaded and applied. It was a small update, took about 2 seconds to download the entire update.

I will post more information as I get it.