How To Know When To Replace Thermal Paste Xbox 360 Repair – Three Thermal Paste Application Tips

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Xbox 360 Repair – Three Thermal Paste Application Tips

Bad thermal paste is one of the most common causes for Xbox overheating and red rings of death. This can happen if the paste is applied improperly during the manufacture of the console. Bad paste can also be caused by prolonged exposure to heat. As the paste gradually breaks down, you start experiencing overheating problems that gradually worsen over time. If the paste fails quickly, it will cause an almost instantaneous two red light error within seconds of turning on your Xbox.

Whether you should attempt to replace the thermal paste yourself depends on whether you want to use your warranty or not. If you’ve never opened your console before, your best option is to use your warranty to have the problem resolved by Microsoft. Just remember that once you open the console, your warranty will be voided.

It always helps when you understand why you’re doing something, so a bit of theory will be discussed. Thermal paste acts as a bridge to allow heat to pass between the heat sink and the contact area between the CPU or GPU. When the paste breaks, it acts as a barrier to heat rather than a bridge. This means the heat sink will not be able to remove the heat from the GPU.

When applying thermal paste, try the following tips:

1.) After removing the heat sink from the motherboard, always clean off the old paste. Applying new paste on top of the old does nothing because the old paste will still block proper heat transfer. Old paste can be removed by rubbing alcohol using a clean cloth. The surface should be shiny when you are done. Remember to clean both the heat sink and the CPU or GPU. Cleaning only one of the two mating surfaces is pointless. After cleaning, never touch the surfaces with your fingers as this will leave oil in the form of finger prints.

2.) Always apply the paste in a thin layer. The thinner it is, the better it will work. Just make sure the entire surface is covered. You’ll know this when you don’t see any shiny metal. A good rule of thumb is to apply a BB size paste.

3.) By covering your fingertips with a small plastic bag, you can use your finger to apply the paste without leaving your skin oily. It also gives you more control than trying to do it with a stick.

4.) Arctic Silver 5, a high quality thermal paste, is recommended.

5.) Before you open the console, disconnect it from its power source. Keep all liquids away from the work area and never work on carpet. Carpeting can cause static electricity that can damage motherboard components.

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