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Specialist refuses to repair 360s

Specialist refuses to repair 360s

Micromart has refused to continue repairing Xbox 360s as the failure rate is too high to cope with.

The news isn't good for Xbox fans today. Micromart, a UK-based repairs specialist, has told GamesIndustry.biz that they will no longer be repairing Xbox 360s, due largely to being swamped by faulty consoles the inability to repair the console to a satisfactory level.

"We were seeing about 30 a week before we pulled the plug on the service. We saw it over a period of several months and it was just getting worse. It began towards the end of last year. Once the twelve month warranty finished then we started to see more and more machines being sent in to be looked at." Said Jeff Croft of Micromart.

So, just why are so many Xbox 360s being returned for repairs? Jeff has his theories;

"The work we had done to the console lead us to believe that basically it was a fault with the motherboard and not something that could be resolved easily. And it wasn't going to go away.

"Rather than lead customers up the garden path we'd walk away from it and tell them to go directly to Microsoft because they have the facility to replace the motherboard. If Microsoft has updated the motherboard for the new consoles that it's producing then presumably they've improved the existing model."


Despite writing to Microsoft about the problems, Micromart received no reply and ultimately had to retract the 360 repair service. Some estimate that the failure rate on the Xbox 360 is as high as 30 percent.

"We're not taking that thing on board; we won't repair them. We originally did some work with it but it's labour intensive and it isn't really a feasible repair for us to undertake. We would probably end up charging GBP 100 for a repair and we still wouldn't be happy with the end result," Jeff added, for those that still hadn't quite got the point.

Microsoft has faced massive amounts of criticism over the failure rate of the Xbox 360 and has attempted to secretly address the issue by adding an extra heatsink into faulty systems as the 'red ring of death' problem is commonly thought to be the result of a heating problem. It's still too early to tell if the new hardware is having an effect on the reliability of the console though.

Ever bricked a 360, or do you think it's only as useful as a paperweight/radiator anyway? Let us know what you think.

31 Comments

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tuteja1986 29th June 2007, 13:35 Quote
They really should have get gotten someone specialized in cooling tech to design a good cooling system for 360 and. I think overheating is all cause by ATI GPU as it would be sucking so much power and producing too much heat or it could be IBM processor but i doubt that would be the issue. Anyways if Microsoft just spent $20 extra on a much better cooling system for 360 none of this would be happening. Sony let Asus do their case cooling design and it has saved them craploads since Asus put in some top quality Heatsink and a 160mm Quite fan which saves sony money in return because they get no where as near RMA as Microsoft does with 360. Also i do wonder that black ring could be caused by software related issue. I wish every xbox 360 had an HDD and all the 360 had 120mm fan with a heavy duty heat sink.
Mord 29th June 2007, 13:54 Quote
Oh crap, I just ordered one from play, guess its going to be a gamble wether it'll work or not.

What is an acceptable failure rate for electronics like this anyway? 30% seems very steep
DXR_13KE 29th June 2007, 14:00 Quote
this is simply stupid.... MS should get of their asses and start doing something.
The Stig 29th June 2007, 14:08 Quote
It`s a shame so long after launch that the failure rate is still stupidly high, you would have thought that a seemingly professional company like microsoft would have nipped these problems in the bud a long time ago.

Looks like people should save thier money and buy a quaility system like the PS3 then.
CardJoe 29th June 2007, 14:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Stig

Looks like people should save thier money and buy a quaility system like the PS3 then.


lol

ahem ;)
Bursar 29th June 2007, 14:29 Quote
My second console has just gone back, and whilst holding for a tech, I was told that turnaround is currently about 25 days. They hope to get it back to the normal level of service (15 days) by the end of July!

I think that basically means that even MS is swamped by the number of faulty consoles.
DougEdey 29th June 2007, 15:07 Quote
It's not an overheating issue, it's just some crappy solder that microsoft continue to use.
Bindibadgi 29th June 2007, 15:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mord
Oh crap, I just ordered one from play, guess its going to be a gamble wether it'll work or not.

What is an acceptable failure rate for electronics like this anyway? 30% seems very steep

Incredibly, but the newer ones are meant to be a lot better. Mines an Nov 05 and still going though :D
Amon 29th June 2007, 15:58 Quote
This has me thinking about water cooling an Xbox 360 (if evidence concludes that heat is the absolute cause for failure). If I remember correctly, Microsoft was in a huge rush to ship for the holiday season, so that is why they may have taken shortcuts in the design and manufacturing. If that is true, then why haven't they rectified the issue earlier? There seems to be some ignorance at play here, methinks.
Jodiuh 29th June 2007, 16:00 Quote
PS3 is quiet, right? Does it get hot too? It's just...no Forza...or GoW on PS3. It's kinda like when PS2 came out before Xbox.
Goty 29th June 2007, 19:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
lol

ahem ;)

What's up with that? You don't hear about any issues with the PS3 now, do you?

I've had my PS3 for a good long time now and never had an issue with it even though the ambient temp in the room it's in regularly reaches almost 80 degrees Fahrenheit (I also run F@H on constantly while not playing, mind you, so this is pretty much full load 24/7). It's completely silent while playing DVDs or Blu-Ray discs and only becomes audible when folding.
Tokukachi 29th June 2007, 20:52 Quote
Is everyone forgetting what happened with the PS2?? On launch we had buckets of PSU failures and disc scratching issues.
Then As soon as it was out of waranty we started seeing massive numbers of failures, mainly due to the DVD drives packing in. I remember regually having more faulty units out back than new ones.

As long as Microsoft fix the problem than it will be ok, if they don't then there will be problems.

Wait till the PS3 has been out for a year to 18 month and we shall see what happens, Sony dont excatly have a stella record when it comes to reliabilty.

I think a lot of console failure is down to the end user anyway, I'm still on my PS2 that I've had from launch and its had enormas amounts of use. Same with my xbox and xbox 360.
DXR_13KE 29th June 2007, 20:56 Quote
the cooling solution on the PS3 is far superior..... i remember when they first opened one i was amazed by the size of the cooler.
devdevil85 29th June 2007, 21:54 Quote
OMG, I wish I had taken a picture of this. It was something you'd see posted as a picture for this post. So me and my cousin went to BestBuy and we were walking towards the back of the store for the car audio section and on the way there we passed by the Games Dept that had all 3 demos for the PS3, Xbox and the Wii up and running with people at both the PS3 and Wii stations, but yet nobody was at the 360's. So I thought, wth, let's take a look at what they have on the 360. We walk up and on the big 50 inch screen I see "Technical Error, Please Contact Microsoft Technical Support" and when I look down I see a partial red ring that showing up on the front of the 360. How could a company sell a product where the DEMO console is already showing the red ring? This is something Microsoft better take seriously. My friend's brother's 360 died 14 days after the warranty and now he has to shell out ANOTHER $299 for another one. That is NOT acceptable to me and it should not be to anyone else. Of all that we've heard today, it's only going to get worse unless M$ tackles this ASAP....
completemadness 30th June 2007, 04:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
It's not an overheating issue, it's just some crappy solder that microsoft continue to use.
i thought it was the fact microsoft's designers were too shortsighted to realise that not all consoles would be vented perfectly

and instead of bolting the heat sink to the motherboard (like more companies with 2 brain cells do), they decided to glue it on with the heat paste that will melt if the temperature is too high, which it gets to if its not vented perfectly
DXR_13KE 30th June 2007, 17:22 Quote
those are insane numbers.......
serial_ 30th June 2007, 19:23 Quote
It's **** like this that made me drop console gaming altogether.
DougEdey 30th June 2007, 19:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by serial_
It's **** like this that made me drop console gaming altogether.


Eh? This is the first time anything like this has happened on such a large scale.
serial_ 1st July 2007, 04:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
Eh? This is the first time anything like this has happened on such a large scale.

O RLY?
Havok154 1st July 2007, 09:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
Eh? This is the first time anything like this has happened on such a large scale.

Errr...PS1 and PS2 disc drives?
completemadness 1st July 2007, 16:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Havok154
Errr...PS1 and PS2 disc drives?
That's not quite the same thing

with the PS1/PS2 the lasers wore out rather quickly, everything else was still fine, but the lasers wore out
And tbh, the lasers wont last forever anyway, but i agree that on the PS1/PS2 the lasers didn't last as long as you would want
Amon 1st July 2007, 23:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by completemadness
That's not quite the same thing

with the PS1/PS2 the lasers wore out rather quickly, everything else was still fine, but the lasers wore out
And tbh, the lasers wont last forever anyway, but i agree that on the PS1/PS2 the lasers didn't last as long as you would want
Also, the first Playstation console was still using a somewhat new optical technology (compact disc).

Heat, isn't a new issue; Megasoft screwed up big time.
completemadness 1st July 2007, 23:29 Quote
Oh yeah and fixing a PS1/PS2 laser is like £10 parts + labour (and its easy enough for you to do yourself), the 360's seem irreplaceable (or at least the whole motherboard needs replacing) so your talking about at least £100 if not a new console altogether
LockmanX 2nd July 2007, 04:48 Quote
I used to work in a shop that repaired PC's as well as consoles. I think I've actually mentioned this issue before. While on the phone with MS tech support, a manager once said the failure rate was 4%. It's more. Sadly, even if it wasn't, thats pretty high. The last few months I worked there (that's a story in itself....lawsuits are fun....) I spent most of my time doing 360 repairs. The store itself used two 360's for business. In there end, there was a 100% failure rate across five consoles.

Best way to take care of a 360s is to keep it horizontal and in a completely open area. Preferably with air-con. If the warranty is void (and most probably are.... 90 days my @$%), a simple and cost-effective preventative measure is to pull the fans off the fan controller and splice them into the 12v for the DVD-ROM. They are loud at full speed but move enough air to keep the console alive. If the fan controller can somehow be software controlled, a simple live update would probably save thousands of consoles. I did a simple test once. I took Gears of War and put it in a console that I rigged with a multimeter and a temperature probe. I set the game up in a loop by putting a spring between the joysticks so the dude would run around in circles. Not the most intense thing but it did the job. The temperature of the heatsink rose pretty fast, as expected. On the other hand, the fans didn't change much at all. The max I remember seeing was around 6 volts. The console was getting to an extremely high temp and yet the fans where throttled back. I wish I still had my data but it was in a spreadsheet on a USB drive that was stolen. Still, its a repeatable test for someone with a console.

I've told lots of people about the issues. The response I most commonly get is "My console is fine and nobody I know has a broken console." And thats all well and good. The problem is not in the majority. However, to quote my own response to a statement similar to the one I exampled, "Most don't go bad but there is enough of the ones that do for a little bit of fuss." The failure rate is just too high to be not be cause for concern. When pictures surfaced recently of new and repaired 360's being shipped with a new heatsink and heat pipe assembly, I saw that as unofficial acknowledgment. I don't have a major in thermal properties. I don't pretend to know about the cost/design aspects of a product like this. But I do know the heatsink sucks. Compounding the problem is that the fans don't. There is plenty of room inside the 360 for better cooling and even additional fans. Even the new heatsink seems like more of a band-aid with weakened adhesive than a real solution.

Good luck, 360 owners.
flabber 2nd July 2007, 11:47 Quote
Sony had a lot of issues before they released the PS3... but except for a possible few minor quirks, the thing runs fine.

Microsoft however, felt they had to move quick, and move cheap. They were making a loss on each XBOX360, and want to see a profit as soon as possible.... which is fine of course. But not at the cost of the consumers.

Somehow these last 2 years, Microsoft have given people the impression that they'll do anything for money:
- Vista: problems with drivers, taking out the important features like WinFS, 1.000.000 times pressing "Allow" before opening a textdocument.
- 360: Heatingproblems, scratched DVD's, Heatsinkproblems, loudness, various softwareproblems.

They said they learned from the mistakes with the first XBOX, but I really doubt it at this point in time.
DougEdey 2nd July 2007, 16:33 Quote
flabber: driver problems are not Microsofts fault. Microsoft do not make drivers, manufacturers make drivers.
completemadness 2nd July 2007, 16:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by flabber
Microsoft however, felt they had to move quick, and move cheap. They were making a loss on each XBOX360, and want to see a profit as soon as possible.... which is fine of course. But not at the cost of the consumers.
most consoles (especially when released) are usually partially subsidised by the maker, the same thing happened with the PS2/PS3 and the Xbox and 360, i think the Wii and the GC are too as well

because they all know, if they shave £100 off or something, they are going to sell more, and by charging £10 extra on each game, they will make their money back soon enough
wafflesomd 2nd July 2007, 19:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goty
What's up with that? You don't hear about any issues with the PS3 now, do you?
]

The ps3 has had one major flaw before it's launch. It's $600!!!!
completemadness 2nd July 2007, 23:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
The ps3 has had one major flaw before it's launch. It's $600!!!!
its also a significantly more powerful console, infact, considering the F@H scores it may well beat a high end PC aswell
SNIPERMikeUK 4th July 2007, 22:54 Quote
Just had my first 360 red ring, oddly it kinda still works, not reading from memory card anymore not even seeing one in either slot seems to be the problem so far, that and the fact that the controllers do not connect upon boot up every time which means reset has to be done....

The red ring was lit in all but the top right corner of the ring, and was continually flashing, the console seemed as if it was off, no fans were spinning, and the green power symbol was still lit in constant green....
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