Saturday, December 31, 2011

Geezer Gamers Community Cast #69

Cotton Candy, Jobs, and Modern Warfare

Well it’s that time again, I’ve procrastinated long enough, so let’s get on with the show… In this episode Jeeps gives us a look into his wacky ice cream flavors, we talk about the Steve Jobs biography, and discuss midnight releases including the release of MW3.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cleaning the Xbox 360

My nephew BAW101KillerR is staying with us while he goes to film school nearby (which is really only fair, since my wife stayed with his family when she was going to grad school before we met). He made a comment that he thought my Xbox sounded exceptionally loud when it was on, and not just when the DVD drive was running.

Not long ago, the case fan on my top-of-the-line (in 2001) desktop computer died, and in the course of trying to fix it, I opened it up, took it apart, and vacuumed out ten years' worth of dust. The fan still needs to be replaced, but at least it's now more effective in its weakened state without all that dust gumming up the works. I decided it might be prudent to give the 360 the same treatment. My 360 is just over 3 years old, which puts it out of warranty for even the red ring of death, so I had nothing to use by opening it up.

Click the picture to see the full Flickr set of the Xbox in various stages of disassembly

Taking it apart wasn't too difficult, as there are detailed instructions all over the internet that describe the process, and I had long since acquired the correct screwdriver bits in my many years of opening the original Xbox and laptop PCs. The picture to the right shows where most of the dust was found. This is the side of the Xbox opposite the hard drive — the right side if you set your Xbox horizontally, or the bottom if it's standing vertically. There was a bit coating everything inside, and some on the fans, but on the whole, not too much (especially compared to the 10-year-old computer). I vacuumed out the vent holes and used up the last of my can of compressed air blowing out the cooling fins. It didn't do much to help my issue with the DVD drive refusing to open unless there's a disc already in the tray (in fact, I've found I have to give the eject button a little extra pressure before it even acknowledges it), but in the process, I did discover the manual eject hole for the DVD drive, so I can now open it easily if it does get stuck again. Regardless, the console does now run much, much more quietly.

I suspect this could be more of a concern to those who have their consoles up on end. The area under and around my 360 (as well as the top) gets a fair amount of dust settling on it, and since most of the air intake seems to happen on that end that would be facing down, that would have the 360 sucking up dust off the ground. Although perhaps it would be worth a study to see if more dust gets sucked in facing the ground vs. facing sideways sucking it straight out of the air.