Three red lights flash on the Ring of Light and I’m returning an Xbox 360… on Friday the 13th


As I wrote in an earlier post this week, on the coverage (here in PC Magazine) of what to do if three red lights flash on your Xbox 360’s Ring of Light. 


Well, here it is Friday the 13th and I’m returning an Xbox 360 for repair. I thought that it may be helpful to share my experience on how to handle the situations should it happen to you.


What should you do first?


First, online see the brief knowledge base article KB 907534. (Excerpts from the KB follow.) Examine the lights on the power supply. When you turn on the console, the power supply light should illuminate green even if the three lights on the Ring of Light flash red. If the power supply unit light is not green, follow the steps that are listed in the following Microsoft Knowledge Base articles:



  • 906101 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/906101/) Xbox 360: The power supply light is red

  • 906102 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/906102/) Xbox 360: The power supply light is orange


  • 906103 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/906103/) Xbox 360: The power supply light is not illuminated

Next, turn off the console. Wait 10 seconds, and then again turn on the console to see whether the symptom occurs again.

 

If you continue to experience this behavior, contact Xbox Customer Support…



  • Assistance by phone seven days a week, toll free (US): 1-800-4MY-XBOX


  • International (direct dial to U.S.): 425-635-7180 (a toll call)


  • Hearing Impaired (TDD device): 1-866-740-9269 or 425-635-7102


  • Hours of operation (every day): 9:00 AM to 1:00 AM Eastern, 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM Pacific

When you call, you’ll be routed to “Max” the Xbox online virtual support attendant, who will advise you that there are “long wait times” to get support and offer a chance for you to go through the steps above.

You should be able to say the word “agent” at the prompt that transfers you to an agent.


I listened to hold music for nearly 30 minutes before I was conneted to a live person.


There are a few things to have at the ready when you call: your Xbox 360 serial number, your shipping address and patience. In the end the agent that took my call was courteous, very helpful and walked me through the process in approximately ten minutes. If possible, call on an off hour, such as first thing in the morning or later in the evening to get through a little faster. 


And then have more patience at the ready, as the quoted current repair time is now 4-6 weeks.


Once you get your repair number from the customer service agent, make sure that they have your email address: once you have returned your Xbox 360 (via UPS in the States) you will be able to follow the cycle via the tracking number. And if you provide your email address (remind if you are not prompted for it) you should receive updates via mail.


You’ll then receive a box to return your Xbox 360 for processing and repair. Remember to send only the Xbox 360 base unit, keeping all cables, controllers, power supply (unless the power supply unit light is not green when powered) and external hard drive, unless told to include one of these devices.


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Comments (23)

  1. As I wrote in an earlier post this week , on the coverage (here in PC Magazine ) of what to do if three

  2. whatsup says:

    my xbox wont play games or dvds but i dont have the 3 red lights so i have to pay to get it fixed

  3. M3 Sweatt says:

    For whatsup, every situation is dfferent. this could be due to dirt or fibres in the Xbox drive bay (as we found a few weeks ago, as the Xbox is in our family room, near the carpet) or a hardware component could be malfunctioning.

    If you run into an issue where you have difficulty playing games or DVDs on the Xbox 360, check out KB 909819 at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/909819 – have you called tech support for help?

  4. Ghost says:

    I was wondering. Are the calls free? or do they charge? Thanks.

  5. M3 Sweatt says:

    I believe that calls to the service line are free when dialing the 866 number, and you only pay toll charges if you call the 425 area code via long distance.

  6. Satisfy Me says:

    Our Xbox 360 is on the way to the repair facility. As noted previously, we have an Xbox that displayed

  7. Bob says:

    What info do they ask for?  I bought mine used and it crapped out on me.  I’m wondering what I need to know when I call the help center.

  8. Bob says:

    I bought my XBox used, and it’s broken now. 3RLOD, 1st quadrant out.

    The guy who sold it to me is cool and is going to help me, but I’d rather do it all myself. What info do they ask for when calling the help center? I’m not sure if his XBox is registered, but do they have CC# info with respect to which one was used to purchase the XBox? Does the address have to match the serial number? Neither the guy nor myself have active XBox live accounts either.

    Any info on how I can pull this off since I’m not the original owner would be a huge help. Thanks.

  9. M3 Sweatt says:

    Usually, the folks on the customer service line will ask you for the name and address of the original owner. (So, if you have that info, you’ll probably be fine.) If the Xbox is assigned or re-registered to you on the Xbox Live service, this may already be updated.

    I’ve found that Xbox customer service is pretty good at handling all sorts of situations, just have all your information available and at the ready when you call.

  10. Satisfy Me says:

    Xbox 360 #2 is going in for repairs… nearly a month after the last one. As noted in my post late last

  11. matt says:

    is there a price to have it repaired? or is the unit still under a warranty? i heard before that there is a three yr protection thing on microsofts stuff.

    hope so.

    my lights are both uppers and lower left light.

  12. Amy says:

    Just called today.  I bought mine used 2 weeks ago but know the lady’s name and was able to provide her info so I could switch to register to me (with her permission, I had her sign a statement attesting that she gave me ownership just in case).  I’m waiting on the box to ship, have given my email addy to track… and we’ll cross fingers that it all works out.

  13. Satisfy Me says:

    It’s returned home. Our Xbox 360 that suffered from a severe case of the dreaded three red flashing lights

  14. XboxSucksandMicrosofttoo says:

    Please submit to management:

    You guys pretty much suck.  My Xbox started have issues on  the 13th of Aug.  I let it sit for a day and upon turning it on the 15th of Aug.  I got the three red lights.  At this point I went to Xbox.com,l  did a quick search for 3 red lights, and found article about this.  Well we all know how well know this 1.7 billion dollar issue is.  So I followed the links that were included and I got a nice little webpage to submit my problem to Xbox hardware.  I DID THIS 4 DAY IN A ROW WITHOUT A SINGLE RESPONSE.  I didn’t get a confirmation, reply or phone call.  What is with that?  Where did all four of those issue go to?  Please check into this!

    After that I broke down and called the non-responsive and the excruciatingly long delayed phone number,  1.800.4my.xbox or whatever.  After waiting  15 minutes on hold, I decided to hang up and try the website that was repeated in my ear while I was on hold.  I went to service.xbox.com.  THIS IS WHERE YOUR LINK SHOULD HAVE TAKEN ME!

    Well, now it’s the 19th and I still have a broken Xbox with no response on how to fix it.  This costs me about 5 bucks a week since I pay a rental service.  I rent games and haven’t been able to play any of them since I signed up.  Awesome thanks!

    I finally find service.xbox.com and submit my “repair order” and put in my work address as my shipping address since I’m not home to get an shipment.  Well now, where do you think my return box is shipped?  That’s right to my house.  Thanks again.  This process is just about worthless.  Not only did it get sent to the wrong address but my order was followed up with a notice that if I don’t get an email in the next 4 hours please call 1.800.4my.xbox.  Well of course I didn’t get an email and so I have now idea what process I have to go through to get my order.  So I have to call and wait on hold again….. What the hell.

    It’s now the 24th of Aug. and I still don’t have return box or a working xbox.  Almost two weeks since my Xbox died from a well known, and by this time, easily identified issue.  Why isn’t there a recall to save us from this BS.

    So what I want to know is….

    How long will this repair take?

    How many more days will I have to lose money on my game subscription?

    What are you going to do to make up for this and keep me as a paying customer?  

    I would like another a 12 month subscription card for Xbox live and 2000 Microsoft points added to my account.  

    Thanks for your time and please respond ASAP.  So far ,this seem like a long shot, because I haven’t gotten a single email from you guys on anything.  

  15. M3 Sweatt says:

    To XboxSucksandMicrosofttoo, pls use the link on the left nav to send me an email.

  16. Luckydude says:

    I had the three lights, and at the time, i had a forza2 faceplate on it. i returned it to stock… an waddayaknow? works like a charm!

  17. John Rohde says:

    Hi, I called the 1-800-4MY-XBOX number, and things went smoohtly. I even told them that I needed it time for Halo3, which is b4 september 25th. The agent said that it would take between 3-5 weeks, Just in time for Halo3.

    After writing down the tracking number, and waiting for 2 days the return box arrived in the mail. I packed the core console inside, and droped it off to a near by purolator here in Canada. The next day I checked the status, and it was well on its way.

    So im crossing my fingers so I’ll get a new Xbox back b4 halo 3 hits the shelfs. The Halo 3 beta was the most amazing Xbox game I ever played, and I’m sure the full game will be better. I’ll keep you posted on the outcome of my Xbox.

  18. doug sitler says:

    does the shipping of the xbox or anything else related to shipping cost anything

  19. M3 Sweatt says:

    For Doug: As I understand, no cost to the customer either way… you recv a pre-paid UPS slip.

  20. jerry says:

    do the phone call to the number 1-800-4MY-XBOX

    (1-800-469-9269) cost anything?

  21. M3 Sweatt says:

    Calls to the 800 number are toll free in the USA

  22. I have a couple of quotes that I hang on my office cork board, one of which is this one from the customer

  23. Satisfy Me says:

    Sitting down with a glass and a controller in my hands, I logged into Xbox Live for a post getting-the-kids-to-bed