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Soft Modded Xbox with Orange Flashing Light (help!)

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 1:31 am
by thejoyofdrinking
Aloha all!

I have an original Xbox that a friend soft modded years ago. I used it up until 2017 and then put it in storage. I unpacked it a couple weeks ago, bought an HDMI adaptor, and started enjoying the Xbox life again.

A few days ago I tried to start it up and I got the dreaded orange flashing light and high fan. It happens immediately upon power on and does not power off. The only way to get it to stop is unplugging it.

I am not a hardware guy and did not mod this myself. I went ahead and took it all apart, cleaned it all, and looked for anything that appeared out of the ordinary. Unfortunately I don't know where to even look for a problem. I have read lots about solder issues and thermal paste, but not sure how/if this applies in this case.

Right now I have everything disassembled (HDD and CD-ROM disconnected and sitting beside the box) and it still flashes the orange light a startup. It doesn't seem to matter whether the HDD is attached or not for this to happen. I connected the HDD to my computer via USB adaptor and was able to see it working, but I don't have an EEPROM to unlock the drive.

Is there any hope for getting this Xbox going again?

Re: Soft Modded Xbox with Orange Flashing Light (help!)

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:37 pm
by Coldly-Indifferent
Overheating is one of the two things an orange flashing LED is said to indicate. The other cause can be broken/corroded traces (the finest PCB paths) and they can be anywhere.

I'd think a previously working Xbox suddenly overheating would be the less likely explanation even with the high fan speed. I do not know much about how the Xbox detects temperature and reports it but if that is down to some particular component and its failed maybe.

Replacing the thermal paste is worth trying in this case but I'd be surprised if that resolves the problem. I hope it is as simple as that.

Otherwise: the most common cause of corroded traces and other damaged components is that the clock capacitor and/or others have leaked and spewed their content over the MB. It can spread a long way. You're going to have to check if that has happened and replace any bad caps, clean up the mess and check for corroded traces in those areas.

In regard to the clock cap it is recommended you should still remove/replace it as it has lower specs (typically 1000hrs/75C) than most other caps on the MB (2000hrs/105C). Even the latter are failing now so if the Xbox was left plugged in 24/7 when it was in regular use the lower spec clock cap was powered constantly. This has reduced its life even more and it is likely simply past its expected fail date and if it hasn't leaked yet it will sooner rather than later.

Re: Soft Modded Xbox with Orange Flashing Light (help!)

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:58 pm
by thejoyofdrinking
Thanks for that helpful info. I pulled the clock capacitor out, but didn't see any leakage. It is unfortunately some corrosion in the motherboard, which is beyond my capabilities.

I would love to backup the HDD, but can't get it started enough for a hot swap. Any other tricks on unlocking a drive?

Re: Soft Modded Xbox with Orange Flashing Light (help!)

Posted: Fri Sep 25, 2020 4:57 pm
by Coldly-Indifferent
Without the eeprom or a Xbox that actually boots to the point of unlocking the HDD so you can hot-swap it there is very little you can do.

The eeprom can be obtained using an eeprom reader (Google for tutorials) but all that will do is unlock the HDD; you'll need another Xbox to be able to make any use of it.

Fitting a chip won't fix what ever is wrong with your Xbox either if it is a trace issue or failed component.

As said it could be overheating so worth trying the thermal paste replacement.