HYBRID's Ultimate X-Clamp RRoD Fix

Tutorial and Explination for the Hybrid Ultimate X-Clamp Fix

For ease of use and length the Team Hybrid Ultimate X-Clamp Fix will be abbreviated HUX.


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Welcome Edit

Welcome to the best tutorial in how to do one of the best Xbox 360 RRoD X-Clamp Fixes. The Team Hybrid Advanced X-Clamp Fix is one of the most successful and advanced x-clamp fixes available outside of using expensive reflow and reballing processes.

Preparation Edit

Materials needed("Homemade" version)Edit

- Rubbing alcohol (99% is best) or thermal compound remover (arcticlean)
- Credit card, id card or phone card(~0.75mm thick)
- Q-tips
- High quality thermal paste (MX-2/arctic silver 5)
- Craft foam 4mm thick (okay to double up with 2mm thick)
- Alternative to foam is paper handkerchief folded to 4mm
- Electrical tape
- Glue or ultra-thin double sided tape
- Sandpaper (around 400 grit)
- 8 x 16mm long M5 Flathead Phillips machine screws *
- 42 x M5 flat washers 1mm thick (steel is best)
- Set of stock x-clamps

*if panhead screws are used, please add 8 spring washers

Materials needed("Advanced" version) Edit

- Uniclamp Advanced or EXTREME
- Rubbing alcohol (99% is best) or thermal compound remover (arcticlean)
- Credit card, id card or phone card(~0.75mm thick)
- Q-tips
- High quality thermal paste (MX-2/arctic silver 5)
- Electrical tape
- Sandpaper (around 400 grit)
- 8 x 16mm long M5 Flathead Phillips machine screws *
- 42 x M5 flat washers 1mm thick (steel is best)

*If panhead screws are used, please add 8 spring washers(they are needed if you buy your screws from the shop)

Tools Used Edit

- Scissors
- Phillips screwdriver
- Wrench
- *Metal snips, hacksaw, or dremel cutting tool

- *Hammer
- Flat surface sanding tool
- Drill with bit capable of drilling 5mm hole through metal
- Torx T8 driver
- Torx T10 driver

* Only for "homemade" not needed for the Advanced version

Parts Purchasing Edit

All of the parts and many tools needed for this repair can be bought at the following websites.

Introduction Edit

Some time has passed since I released "Wilhelm's Improved X-Clamp Fix" and I mentioned a while ago that some others and I were working on the so called "Hybrid" version of my fix. Basically it started out being a mix of my method and RBJTechs, so imagine "Wilhelm's Improved X-Clamp Fix" but with the screws going all the way through the metal chassis instead of securing them only to the bottom of the motherboard. We had a prototype of this method running after a week, which seemed to be working more or less fine at the time. We still wanted to improve on the fix and had talks about the 360 and why the regular X-clamp fixes often fail again down the road. Eventually we 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 ourdev-libraryto 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.

Proof of Concept Edit

We had successfully repaired several rod units and thought we were basically done, when by chance I noticed some flexing in the middle area of the mainboard that seemed weird to me so I took some measurements and discovered some of the reasons for the flexing. The discovery was that the standoffs and outer lip of the metal chassis in which the motherboard rests were not completely level with each other. The 2 standoffs are exactly 0.75mm too high, this might not seem like much, but since they are supposed to be 3mm high this is about 1/4th more which is definitely noticeable with a straightedge or level. In addition to that we also discovered that middle area of the chassis where the X-Clamp bolts screw down are about 0.5mm lower than the rest of the chassis, causing the mainboard to be pulled down in the center as soon as the screws are tightened. This puts the entire mainboard under extreme stress which explains pretty much why there is such a wide range of errors that are not related to the CPU or GPU.

1)This flexing could also explain why certain errors occur more frequently than others. Because of the flexing in different areas of the mainboard, You can divide it intothree flexing zonesin which the mainboard is flexing the most in zone 1 and the least in zone 3.

Zone 1:
The most frequent error codes are 0102 (0100;0101;0103 as well)and 0020. These are GPU and CPU related errors mainly. 0020 can also be caused by the RAM in rare cases. About 80% of the errors fall into this category, which makes sense as the solder balls under the CPU and GPU experience the most flexing of all. This is caused by the x-clamps flexing the area extremely in addition to the natural flexing caused by the metal case layout. Zone 1 is the area right under the CPU and GPU.

Zone 2:
The next most frequently occuring error codes are E74, 0022 and 0110, which are usually either RAM or ANA/HANA chip related. Sometimes E74 and 0022 can also be GPU related depending on the trace. Since the RAM and ANA/HANA chips are close to the GPU they can be affected by the Zone 1 flexing, in addition flexing caused from the two standoffs.
These may not occur as often as the Zone 1 errors, but still make up approximately 12.5% of the overall error codes.

Zone 3:
The Zone 3 area experiences the least amount of flexing versus the other 2, but can still make up about 7.5% of the error codes. The related error codes are E73, 0021, E79(if hardware related), E71(if hardware related). The components effected by Zone 3 flexing are the Southbridge, ethernet chip, NAND and the entire motherboard to some extent. Since the NAND and ethernet chips are not BGA (ball grid array) chips like the Southbridge, GPU, CPU, HANA, etc, they are a bit more resistent to the flexing.

*Remember that the percentages were not taken from definitive statistics, they are just numbers that we estimated based on our own experience.

Here is a little graphic that shows the three zones...

Zones x

The following is a graphic comparing the flexing schematics of the stock setup versus our newer hybrid fix.

Schematics complete x

These flexing issues are only part of the problem and as you read on will find that in conjunction with the following issues, its no wonder the 360 has had such a high failure rate to date.

2)Many of the error codes are commonly blamed on theheatbuildup inside the system. As far as I know this is also the cause Microsoft was betting on since they have added better heatsinks to combat the ring of death. Thermal design experts from Nikkei Electronics in Japan decided to analyze the 360's heat radiation system and a few critical flaws with the cooling system....

Click here to read their full article.

- That there was a temperature gap of 22°C between the exhaust and room air, "When designing consumer products, it is common to seek a temperature gap of around 10°C between exhaust and room temperatures," the thermal design expert said.

- The maximum wind speed of the exhaust air is only 1.1 meters per second, only 1/2 to 1/3 compared to normal desktop PCs produce. The expert noted, "The amount of switched air is slightly in short considering the chassis' size (309 x 258 x 83 mm3)."

- It takes only 5 minutes of gaming for the GPU heatsink to reach 70°C, a thermal gradient of about 10°C/min and after 15 minutes of play, the GPU heatsink can reach temps near 100°C.

On a hot summer day it is possible for internal temps to get high enough to damage some components (over 100°C), however heat is only a secondary issue as without the flexing it would not be causing nearly as many problems that it currently does. The heating process causes further flexing and puts more stress on the solder balls. During thermal cycles, the mainboard and solder balls expand and shrink a bit, but without the flexing, the heat would have a much smaller impact on the console's reliability. The excess heat just exaggerates the flexing problems and puts extreme stress on the solder joints of the BGA chips.

3)The next issue many people blame problems on is the use ofleadfree solderand "cold" solder joints because of its use. Starting July, 2006, the E.U. set strict environmental guidelines called the RoHS Directive, which banned the use of lead in any products marketed towards children. For nearly 50 years, the standard solder used was a tin and lead combo which had a melting point of around 183°C. The new lead-free solder now needs temperatures of at least 217°C. In fear of damage from over-heating, it is speculated that Microsoft's engineers most likely opted for the low-end of temp profiles needed for re-flow. Reflow experts from Manncorp did an extensive investigation into the quality of the lead-free solder joints in the 360 and found that with an x-ray they could actually see solder balls that did not look like they had been re-flowed properly in the first place.
Click here to read their full report.They also discovered that perhaps because of the chips being thicker right where the dies are, that the solder balls right under them in the middle are the ones most prone to not being re-flowed properly from the factory because they were not getting enough heat. Perhaps Microsoft knew of this and thought applying extra force upwards on the center of the chips would help the bad connections, but obviously their fix didn't work as well as planned.

Some people have also speculated that when the temperature of the solder balls change rapidly, for example after turning the 360 off, they can over time can develop tiny cracks and loose stability which can lead to eventual failure of the unit. If the tiny cracks don't lead to failure, then possibly tiny fragments solder break off when the cracks are formed leading to points being bridged and shorted. There is a specific error code for shorted out solder balls in the GPU - RAM area which is 0020. Some also claim that this error can occur when you remove the entire GPU, but we are speaking about sealed stock systems so we dont have to regard this. In reality this is a pretty unlikely scenario because cracks might form, but most likely not actually break into fragments. I have never heard of someone actually proving this, or ever finding any chunks of solder in his console, so we can pretty much rule this out.

My guess is that this certain errorcode at least might be caused by a phenomenon calledTin Whiskers. Tin whiskers are little crystals which can grow up to 1mm annually. 1mm per year might not sound like much, but if you regard that there is less than 1mm space in between each solder ball then it makes sense because a single whisker could grow under normal circumstances enough to cause a short circuit within less than a year. There are many different metals they grow on like tin, zinc, gold, silver etc. Thelead-free soldercontains zinc and tin which are already something that should open our eyes, however there is something else that fits even better for the 360.

There are certain factors that support the growth of these crystals and they fit the 360 perfectly as said before. The first factor is "Externally Applied Compressive Stresses such as those introduced by torquing of a nut or a screw "NASA) which we have here thanks to the pressure the solder balls are taken under, especially the ones in the center. Another factor is "Bending or Stretching"(NASA) and as I explained before we get much more flexing and bending than we need, so another match. The last factor is "thermally induced stress"(Wikipedia) and thanks to the hot running GPU, this matches the conditions inside the 360 as well.

Stress-factors x

Tin whiskers are famous for causing a lot of electronic failures. A famous example is the Galaxy IV satellite which failed in 1998. This was the reason why NASA started researching on this topic as well. There are many more examples, just take a look atsome of the failures caused by tin whiskers...Tin whiskers are not new and have been know of since the 1940's and the only known fix was adding lead to the solder which seemed to stop tin whiskers for nearly 50 years. Scientists are experimenting with new solder mixes that can resist the growth of tin whiskers, but so far nothing has been found to work as good as lead did. I must point out though that so far there have been no proven examples of tin whiskers occurring in the 360. It would probably require a high powered microscope or x-ray device to spot the actual whiskers.

hope you enjoyed reading this "little" proposal :)

Now we will go on with the actual fix for the numerous issues we pointed out here...

Preparing the Case Edit

At first you have to disassemble your mainboard like described in this tutorial -How to disassemble a 360....
After that you should have nothing but the plain mainboard and the metal case.

The "Hybrid" fix addresses many design flaws that still plague the Xbox 360 and keep giving people the "red rings of death". For one thing we wanted the motherboard to rest on a perfectly flat surface, which is impossible without a little case modification. Another issue was to advance the methods of applying even pressure to the CPU and GPU from both above and below the motherboard. Yet another goal was to find some way to stabilize or reinforce the motherboard to finally stop any flexing from occurring. As a bit of an unexpected bonus, this fix also helps your system run much cooler as the whole metal chassis acts like a giant heatsink.

First you must do a little prep work before putting the motherboard back in. The two rounded screw standoffs are a bit higher than the outer lip that the motherboard rests on. The outer lip is 3mm tall, so each of these standoffs need to be 3mm as well, or else the motherboard will be flexing no matter what x-clamp replacement method you choose. Please Note... this mostly pertains to units built before 2007. We have found some 2007 metal chassis that Microsoft updated, as well as most Elite units seem to have the fixed chassis as well(Actually we have found evidence that this failure can be persistent for some Elites built in 2007 so please, check it out here and confirm that yours got the perfect height). There are different versions of the metal chassis, so please check yours yourself before you go sanding things down.

Sanding the stand-offs

Casearea schematics ENG x

You can stack 3 flat metal washers next to the standoffs to see they are taller than 3mm.

Pic03248 x

Now stack 4 washers on the inner area of the metal chassis near the x-forms in the middle rectangle area, and 3 washers on the outer part too see how they are nearly level. Actual difference is estimated to be .75mm.

So for everything to sit perfectly flat, you need 3mm tall standoffs and 3.75mm between metal chasis and the motherboard where the screws are.

Pic03253 x

Next you will need to sand down those 2 taller standoffs until they are level with 3 flat washers.

Pic03255 x

You can sand it by hand, but might want to use something like a small piece of plexiglass or something else flat to help sand it to a nice flat surface.

Pic03257 x

if you have some sort of sanding tool that can sand flat surfaces this can save some time.

Pic03258 x

Pic03265 x

This is what the two stand-offs should look like when you are done..

Pic03267 x

Pic03266 x

Then recheck the height and it should be exactly 3mm which is the height of a stack of 3 washers. It is a good idea to check the thickness of your own washers as some cheap ones are not deburred properly and can give the incorrect thickness. Also nylon washers are not really recommended as they can become brittle over time and also do not stand up to the pressure as well as steel washers.

Drilling the screw holes:

Pic03259 x

Now get a metal drill bit with a diameter of 5mm. You can also use a "unibit" step drill bit that can drill through metal and deburr the holes at the same time.

Pic03261 x

And drill the holes and be careful to not apply too much pressure so you don't deform the chassis when drilling.

Pic03262 x

After drilling it should look like that...

Pic03263 x

If you take a look on the inside of the metal case you will find stuff that looks like that if a common bit was used.

Pic03264 x

Take the sandpaper again and sand all the chippings away until it is perfectly flat like on this picture.

Pic03269 x

Now you are done with the preparation of the case. Congrats, now lets get on with the repair part.

The Actual Fix, "Homemade" and "Advanced Versions"

Pic03270 x

Pic03270 x

Turn around the case and insert the 8 screws. If the panhead screws were used, please add one spring washer to each between the chassis and the screw. This is so the x-form part of the chassis does not get in the way. The spring washers are not needed with the tapered flat headed screws.


Here is what it looks like if you dont use spring washers, it doesnt sit right because the regular washers are too big.


Spring washers are smaller and fit perfectly, outside the case they also dont do any damage because the mainboard is nowhere near it and they serve the purpose of a normal washer because once they were tightened down they loose their function as a "lock washer" as can be read in NASA research papers.

Pic03273 x

Should look like that.

Pic03274 x

Then take the tape,

Pic03275 x

and fasten the screws with it like that.

Preparing the Mainboard

Pic02896 x

Now turn the mainboard to the back side, you should see two big clamps that look like 2 big X, these are the so called X-Clamps.

Pic02897 x

These X-Clamps are used to mount the heatsinks on the mainboard, unfortunately they are flexing the mainboard meanwhile.
Because the flexing the solder balls are under extreme stress which causes them to crack while cooling down after turning the 360 off.
Sooner or later this results in a cold solder joint or even a bridged solder joint(short) under one of the chips which can cause the ROD...

Now take the screwdriver and place it in the hole of the X-Clamp that takes the bolt under pressure and carefully lift the first leg of the X-Clamp up(be careful or you might scratch the mainboard!).

Pic02898 x

Pic02899 x

After removing the heatsinks it should look like that.

Pic02900 x

Pic02901 x

Now use a wrench to unscrew the old bolts since you will replace them with the machine screws later.

Pic02904 x

Then you gently scrape off most of the old thermal compound with the phone/creditcard(dont use a knife it will scratch the heatsink).

Pic02902 x

Pic02906 x

Pic02907 x

You wont be able to scrape everything off with the phone/credit card so get some alcohol and clean the heatsink from the rest(if something really doesnt get off you can also use some extremely fine sand paper).

Pic02908 x

Do the same for the CPU heatsink until both look like that:

Pic02909 x

Now cut a piece out of your phone/credit card and remove as much thermal compound as you can from the chip dies.

Pic02910 x

Pic02903 x

Pic02911 x

After that remove the rest with alcohol and Q-tips until you can mirror yourself in the chip dies.

Pic02912 x

Pic02913 x

Preparing the shims (Homemade Version)Edit

Once you have cleaned it to a mirror finish apply thermal compound of the size of a rice grain on each die(half a rice grain for the small die)
If you also want to cool the RAM under the GPU heatsink apply some thermal compound and install a metal washer(1mm thick) on each.




Now get the credit card and cut out 7 strips.


Then fasten them with glue or thermal compound on the sides of the chips like this, you will still have to cut the strips to the perfect length.



When you are done take the perfectly clean GPU heatsink and press it onto the GPU and the CPU.


Take the heatsink off again and check if there is residue of thermal compound and make sure that it is a square for each chip die, at least the center ones. If it isn't take the credit card pieces for this one of and fasten them on a strip of electric tape like that.


Then sand it down quite a bit and when you think it is thin enough stop and retry if you get a good imprint of thermal compound.
This step is very important because this is how you can check if the heatsink is taking the center chip die properly under pressure if there is not a complete square it doesn't make contact which is fatal for the fix.
In 90% of the cases you have to sand the credit card stripes down, at least for the GPU...

When you are done it should take the outer part of the chip under the same equal pressure like the center die, be very accurate this step is very important for the long term success of the fix.


This is a good imprint of thermal compound!


After that apply thermal compound on the RAM and stick a washer on each.

Now you have to go on with the case again...

Preparing the shims (Advanced Version) Edit

Here you are right if you bought the Hybrid Advanced kit or bought foam shims.

You do not have to prepare anything really, you should have two foam shims one that looks like a U this one is supposed to be put on the GPU

and one square like foam shim you put that on the CPU.

First you take of the protection layer of the square like shim for the CPU off it got an adhesive glue side so you can easily install it on the chip.

Thats what it should look like when done

Now proceed with the GPU, take the U-like shim and also remove the protection layer

Then install it on the chip this is what it looks when done

Then apply thermal compoundof the size of a rice grain




and spread it out evenly, you want a thin even layer and the whole die to be covered, I used a plastic stripe from a credit card.


Afterwards it should look like this:


Also put some of the remaining compound on the ram and use it to glue two washers on it this step is not necessary for the fix to work it is just a little addon as it will help to cool the RAM with the heatsink.

Skip over the next part again that is for homemade...

X-clamp Reconstruction Edit

Skip this step if you purchased a Kit including a plate to replace the x-clamps.


Turn the case around.


Then go get one of the X-clamps that you have removed from the mainboard.


First of all remove the little plastic clip we don't need it anymore...



Then bend the X-Clamp so that it is perfectly flat.


After that it is supposed to look like this


We want the X-Clamps flat acting like a steel plate, so you have to remove the little hook-ends that lock the bolts usually. You can do that with a good wrench/snips, but make sure it doesn't move because while "cutting" it off you might hurt yourself otherwise. Bending the end slightly into the outer direction before cutting them can make it easier. If you don't have some quality snips, a hacksaw or dremel tool should also do the trick. If you don't do that you might also end up cutting off too much...


After cutting one of the arms off the clamp should look like that.


When you cut all the clamp will look like that.


Then take a wrench to flatten the x-clamp, do this very thoroughly as it needs to be perfectly flat, especially around the holes. If you can't get it perfect with the wrench, u can tap it gently against a flat surface with a hammer and sand off and rough parts afterward.



Like this.


Then take sandpaper or the sanding tool again and sand the ends to make them definitely perfectly flat...



If it looks like that you are done, do the same for the second x-clamp as you need two...


Then install the two clamps in the metal case...


Now get your metal washers and install 24 in total, 3 washers for each screw.
The washers are supposed to be 1mm thick each so 3x1mm washer = 3mm...


Next we need to make some pads to support middle of the motherboard from the underside. 4mm craft foam is preferred, but if you cant find any then you will need to attach two layers of 2mm foam together.


Now you need two pads 4mm thick. So if you used 2mm foam, cut out 4 squares, 2 of the size of the GPU(35mmx35mm) and 2 of the size of the CPU(30mmx30mm).


Next you need to attach the two 2mm pads together to make it 4mm. Either use a thin layer of glue, or some ultra-thin double sided tape, like that used to attach heatsinks. If using glue, you should get something that you can put on it because they will deform badly while the glue is getting dry...


Install them on the X-Clamps.


When you are done fasten them with tape like in this pic...


Instead of the foam you can also use handkerchiefs they got the perfect thickness as well but the foam is better...


Also build little packets just use tape to keep the handkerchief folded like that...


When you are done with the 2 fasten them on the X-Clamps using tape.

Purchased X-Clamp Plate Installation Edit

If you have bought a Uniclamp from our store, this is the right place to look at.

You dont have to sand, bend or cut your X-Clamps, just drill the holes, then sand off any chunks that might have been caused by the drilling so that it is perfectly flat.


Set up the screws and the case


and insert the plate


Then install the washers, 3 for each screw as always.
The Advanced version part is kind of short compared to the other one because you dont have to prepare anything, you are done already :)

Now proceed with the next part and install the mainboard as always...

Installing the Mainboard Edit


Now take the mainboard and carefully insert it into the case. Do it very slowly and once it is in the case keep it in horizontal position, watching out for the screws...


This is what it is supposed to look like when you are done, once the screws fit you might still have to move the mainboard around slightly so that the 2 plastic pins fit properly(one is under the memory ports the other under the USB ports).


When it sits properly add two additional metal washers(1mm) for each screw, in total 16(8x2 washers)...


Then set the CPU-heatsink up and turn the 360 vertically, watch out that you don't overdo it or the washers will fall off...


Then screw the screws in a bit one by one, only like two turns for each until all 4 are in...


Screw them in with your fingers only at first, as you don't want to tighten it up completely yet. You only want the heatsink to be fast enough so that it doesn't fall off while screwing the other heatsink in, DONT USE THE SCREWDRIVER YET!!!


Then put it back in vertical stand, double check that all washers are still in place and put the heatsink on.


Now tighten the screws again with your fingers only, just like before...


Then tighten all screws up to the maximum with a screwdriver. When it is snug, loosen each screw by half a turn again as this is necessary because you might still get the error. So if you've tightened the screws and still have the ROD, loosen the screws slightly until it goes away. If it is too tight it often still shows the certain hardware error...


Here you go, that's it if you did everything right. Your xbox should now be fixed. If you should still have issues try different adjusting the tightness for the screws, as always you must find the perfect screw setup since every xbox differs slightly.
If this still doesn't fix it you might have to heatgun the unit. Also make sure that you have checked that your secondary error code can be fixed with the x-clamp fix as this can save you a lot of time...

At this point I would like to thank the whole Hybrid team for making this possible and for the money and time you guys have sacrificed, it has been a long time but it has finally come to an end and it was a lot of fun working with you guys.

And last but not least I would also like to thank all people who supported us in the process with the various emails and PMs on Xbox-Scene.

We hope you liked it.

Wilhelm,Humboldt111502and M2X

Credits Edit

Wilhelm, Humboldt111502 and M2X

Special Thanks:
RDC (for mainboard scans :))
shehan360 (Zephyr cases...)

RBJTech's X-Clamp Fix
Jimbobjim's GPU sandwich method
NASA - Whiskers
Manncorp - Improperly reflowed solder