Mere weeks after the launch of the hotly anticipated Xbox 360 in 2005, rumor spread like wildfire of a dreaded video-game Grim Reaper. We didn’t know why, how or when he would strike — all we knew was that he manifested himself with three red lights, cursing 360 consoles with a permanent GAME OVER. Microsoft ensured us that it was a minor problem that happened only to a select few, but time eventually revealed the ugly truth: everyone was at risk. After class-action lawsuits and bitter word of mouth, Microsoft finally put a three-year warranty in place, guaranteeing that all systems affected by the red lights would be fixed at no charge.
Chances are you have your own story about the Three Red Lights of Death. Perhaps your console was under warranty and returned after a few weeks. Maybe you bought a new one to skip the wait. You may have even cracked it open and somehow fixed the problem yourself. For me, my first system was killed by Overlord, one month before the launch of Halo 3. Four years later, my second system croaked after the first level of Gears of War 3, at which point in time the warranty had expired.
The Wizard of X
A replacement Xbox 360 Slim would have set me back at least $300, so I was somewhat relieved when my local GameStop referred me to David Peyregne, owner of Computers for Less. Peyregne is an experienced technician who has run his own business fixing computers and video game systems for over a decade. A former journalism student who turned to computer science, Peyregne sometimes lets his southern drawl come through his hollow voice that was scarred from polyps at a young age. With a husky explanation, he handed my system back to me, good as new, for $100, a sum much less daunting than the cost of a new console. Recently, I sat down with Peyregne to get the whole story on the Red Ring of Death: what causes it and how does Peyregne fix it? As it turns out, it took him a long time to figure it all out.