Fix xbox 360 3 RROD, e74, 0102, freezing video etc...
We started this project looking for ways to improve all the current xbox 360 fixes floating around on the net. It should help fix the e74, 0102, and other common 360 errors. We already knew of the older x-clamp replacement fixes out there, but none ever seemed to last long and most even seemed to cause more damage than good. The ones we found to be considered horrible and don't even try is the "towel trick", "baking trick", or the "penny fix"....all BAD and can make your 360 completely unrepairable. The leading cause of most problems stems from the lead-free solder used during the manufacturing process. With mass production, many units are simply pushed through the manufacture line a lil too fast and might pass initial inspection, but actually have some brittle or cold solder joints that will eventually lead to the 3 rrod after suffering through the heat cycles.
Besides the lead free solder problem, we also came to the conclusion that one of the main problems was that the force is always being applied to the chips in an uneven way. With the stock setup, the force in applied downwards from the top over the chip dies, and the force is only countered by the small area under the center of the chip below the motherboard where the middle of the x-clamps press up. With the normal x-clamp replacement, most of the pressure is being applied right on top of the dies which presses downwards in the middle of the CPU and GPU chips. There is no upwards support under the chips to keep them from flexing.
One of our main goals was to find a way to apply equal pressure to both the top and bottom of the CPU and GPU chips to prevent them from flexing in either direction. The big improvement here from the stock setup would be that MS applies all the underside pressure to one tiny spot under the middle of the chips, while we wanted to spread that pressure over the whole are of the chip to equal out the downward force coming from above (heatsink and credit card pieces). While we were brainstorming and experimenting with new methods, Jimbobjim released his sandwich method which was a bit of an improvement from the stock method and sparked our idea to re-use the x-clamps, but in a modified and improved way. You can check out our dev-library to view pics from our early ideas and methods that we tried out.
Next we spent some time testing new prototypes and looking for materials that we could build squares out of to use as pads against the underside of the motherboard below the chips. These pads would evenly counter the downwards pressure coming from above and also prevent any flexing from occurring on the chips. Our goal was to find an economical material with the right consistency that the average user would have easy access to. Expensive thermal gap pads could be used, but would be extremely expensive even to test out and would not generally be the easiest thing for the average person to find. We experimented with several different materials based on cotton, paper, weird blue foam, felt, and even the stock RAM thermal pads. Finally we found that common craft foam (4mm thick) was one of the best materials to use because it is very cheap and also is able to apply pressure to the motherboard without damaging any components on the board. Another alternative to foam was paper handkerchiefs folded up into squares the right thickness.