Random freezing

Discussion in 'Microsoft Xbox' started by SifJar, Dec 11, 2012.

Dec 11, 2012

Random freezing by SifJar at 5:02 PM (728 Views / 0 Likes) 7 replies

  1. SifJar
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    Member SifJar Not a pirate

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    So I got a second hand Xbox a while ago, and I've been playing a few great games on it, but there's one (well, two) problems. The main one is that every now and again (a lot more frequently than I'd like), it freezes, fairly randomly. It happens in all games, and indeed in homebrew (was running the PCSXBOX emulator today and it was freezing a few times), so it's not the fault of the discs, or even the disc drive (emulator was not loaded via disc drive). A bit of searching suggests to me that it could be that the Xbox is overheating. Now the vents are all unobstructed externally, but I am beginning to suspect there may be something (most likely dust) obstructing them internally.

    My question is this: Is this likely? If so, how difficult would be for me to dismantle the xbox and remove the dust? What tools would I need (I think I need a "torx" screwdriver, is that right)? Would a can of compressed air or something like that be the best thing to get rid of the dust?

    I've never taken apart a console before, so I'd like to be sure about it before trying.

    (The other, more minor, problem is that the disc drive doesn't eject properly unless there is a disc already inserted; I have seen a video online showing how to remove an elastic band from within the drive, clean it and replace it, and may try that as well while I'm at it)

    Also, a site I was looking at said if there was repeated overheating and cooling (which at this point I'd say there probably has been), it could cause damage to the logic board; if this is the case, is there anywhere that still sell replacements, and if so what sort of price are they?
     
  2. DinohScene

    Member DinohScene The Gift of Dino

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    You'll need a TX 10 or 15 yes.
    I can't recall exactly but you'll either need one of those two.
    I think it was 15 for the outer case and 10 for the HDD+ODD

    As for the freezing..
    Idk what version your xbox is but my 1.5 (on stock fans) easily reaches 55 CPU and 50 GPU
    So I set the fans in UnleashX to 75% and the temps dropped greatly
    Also eliminating potential freezing due to the CPU being to hot ;]

    As for the DVD drive.
    If it's a Thompson then you'd be better off getting a Philips one cause Thompsons are dodgy as fuck.
    They also have notoriously bad lasers.
    The DVD drives don't contain DVD keys like the 360 so their interchangeable with each others.
    Or you just could go all internal and TSOP flash your BIOS (allowing you to upgrade your HDD ;])


    As for the replacements..
    I think that those aren't available much anymore.
    Mainly due to the old Xbox being relatively cheap.
    I still want to have an extra 64 MB of RAM in my xbox (to execute debug shizz) but I'm having a hard time to find the chips.
    And if I find a upgrade service it's well over 100 quid.



    Almost forgot.
    You can screw on tiny Wii fans in the case that suck air in (and maybe on the CPU/GPU) and let the original fan (set it faster in UnleashX) blow all the air out.
     
  3. mechagouki

    Member mechagouki Kill 'em all...

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    You do need a torx driver to open the Xbox, I forget the size, just google it. You have to remove the rubber feet from the underside of the console to get at some of the screws, try and do it gently so the sticky stuff stays on the feet, making it easier to replace them.

    I would consider reinstalling whatever softmod you have before cracking the console, random freezes and such can be a result of an old or poorly installed mod. Do you have the original HDD in the machine or a larger replacement? If it's the original it may be dying and causing your crashes.

    As far as spares go, there are lots of Xboxes out there and they are worth very little, just buy another unit and swap parts around until you have a reliable machine.

    The original machines were far less prone to overheating than the 360s, you basically have a Pentium III PC with a custom GPU, it was tried and tested technology before the Xbox launch. There's a big old fan in there, and plenty of room for air to move around. My Xbox has got 100s of hours of play on it without and crashing issues, your softmod should give you CPU temp, it should be below 70c most of the time I think.
     
  4. SifJar
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    Member SifJar Not a pirate

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    The freezes occurred before installing the softmod.

    I didn't know you could set the fans faster with UnleashX though, I must try that and see if it makes any improvements. Thanks to both of you for the advice.

    I also came across this: http://www.llamma.com/xbox/Repairs/xbox_locks_up.htm

    It mentions fitting a heat sink to some chip, which looks very easy, so if it does come to me taking it apart, I may try that.
     
  5. DinohScene

    Member DinohScene The Gift of Dino

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    My old xbox also has 1000's of hours of gameplay on it (lots of times the exhaust was blocked from the backside but yeh I was young and hardly cared much like I do now ;p)
    But yeh they do deteriorate with time (heat up and cool down cycles)


    Hmm placing a heatsink on that chip should indeed help relieve some heat on the console.

    Welcomes ;]
     
  6. SifJar
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    Member SifJar Not a pirate

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    OK, so I changed the fan speed in UnleashX to x3.0. I could hear the fan speed up, making much more noise than before. The problem was, whenever I loaded up an app (in this case, PCSXBOX), the speed seemingly went back down, as it stopped making the increased noise. Having left the fan running at x3.0 on UnleashX for a minute or two before loading up PCSXBOX, it did seem to play a game better than previously for a few minutes, but then I guess it must have heated up again and started to freeze again.

    Is there some way to change the fan speed for apps/games, as well as within the dashboard itself? (Maybe it already does work for games, I didn't try any of them).

    EDIT: I've been reading something about putting a file called "fan.bin" in E:\NKP11 on the xbox; however where I read that it seemed to be referring to Ndure Installer. Am I correct in thinking that SID 5.11 (which is what I used to install) also uses nkpatcher, and so the same thing should still work for me? (I'll probably try it tomorrow anyway, I'm sure it couldn't do any harm)

    EDIT: Well, I tried this out, using a file with the bytes 0x1E (30, which should I believe put it up to 60% i.e. x3.0), and it did seem to help a bit; when playing Crash Team Racing in PCSXBOX, I was able to get two full races done, and onto a third before it started to freeze a bit, whereas before I had always got freezing after about one lap of the first race. Having said all this, the room was too noisy for me to tell if the fan was still going at the higher speed; it could just have been random chance.

    I may bump it up to 100% or something, and I will also need to try some actual Xbox games at some stage. I still intend to probably try and open it up and give it a bit of a clean inside, in the hope that that, combined with higher fan speed, will improve things to a much more playable state.
     
  7. DinohScene

    Member DinohScene The Gift of Dino

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    Ohyeah it went with points instead of percentages heh.
    Erm I think you could set the fan speed in your BIOS also but I'm not entirely sure about it.

    Afaik my xbox keeps the fan settings both in UnleashX and homebrew and in game...
    I haven't used the black box in a while so I might also be wrong about it tho.

    If you do mod the fan.bin then set it to 5.0x (which is the max the fans could handle)
    It will sound like a muffled jetfighter but yeh it keeps it cooler ;p

    But yeah opening it up and cleaning it might be a better solution.
    You might also try and fashion a fanduct out of cardboard and tape much like the 360 has.
    This will pick up more air from the heatsinks ;]

    That + you can replace the thermal paste with AS5
    I also did it with mine and temps did drop with 5 degrees to 10 degrees
     
  8. SifJar
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    Member SifJar Not a pirate

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    I don't have a custom BIOS (softmod only, no TSOP [yet, at least]), so I can't change fan speed there. That may also be why UnleashX can only change the fan speed within itself?

    Anyway, thanks for the advice, I still intend to open it up at some stage. I'll bump up the fan.bin and make sure that that's working, and see if it improves any, but I'll still open it up sometime.
     

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