Heat is generated not only by the simple flow of electricity through the system, but is also generated by the unit’s surroundings and the demands placed on it through normal use. The XBox 360 is no different, and is actually subject to more heat stresses than normal.
First of all, people tend to place their XBox 360 consoles directly near, or even under other heat generating devices such as the video output (TV), other gaming consoles, and PCs. Usually, these locations are in the corner of a room with poor air circulation, near a furnace vent (in the winter) or by a window in direct sunlight.
Demands on the XBox 360 that create additional heat begin during actual play and amplify during fast action where extreme video output is in demand. Such games as Halo 3 are notorious for taxing the XBox 360 to it’s limits, causing the components inside to get hotter, and turning the device into a virtual oven.
Manufacturers combat heat by installing circulation fans, heat sinks, and more robust circuitry. Fans are the whooshing sounds you hear when you first turn on your XBox 360, and run continuously until it’s turned off. Fans are one of the front lines in the defense against heat but are also subject to degradation when they just simply wear out, slow down, or get clogged with dust. When this happens the hot air inside the XBox 360 cannot be removed fast enough and signs of overheating can begin.
Heat sinks are solid devices inside the XBox 360 console with fins on them surrounding the electronic components that do the most work. They simply dissipate the heat away from the components so the fans can blow it out. Heat sinks don’t fail by themselves but are totally ineffective if the air around them is stagnant or just too hot altogether.
When this occurs, the components that the heat sinks are trying to cool get so hot they cannot function and need to shut themselves down to prevent permanent damage. This is when the XBox 360 detects trouble, shuts itself down, turns on the 3 red light error, and waits until things are cool enough to resume.
At this point, damage has not occurred and the XBox 360 is safe to use after it has cooled down enough. The built-in safeguards that were designed into the system operated as planned and stopped further heat build-up from taking it’s toll.
This is all good and well provided the shut down and 3 red light error took place in a short enough amount of time. If not, actual physical damage will occur inside the XBox 360 console causing the 3 red light error to stay on even after the unit has completely cooled down. This progression of overheating has begun to affect the electronic component connections (the solder joints) which is covered in further detail at http://fixmyxbox360.com.
Don Hoppe Jr. has done extensive research on the causes of the XBox 360 “red ring of death.” If your XBox 360 3 red lights are staying on after your XBox has cooled down, visit [http://fixmyxbox360.com]