One and a half years after I got my XBOX 360 the DVD drive finally gave out causing an error E64 (DVD drive problem) and one quarter red on the XBOX circle of life. Prior to the E64 the DVD drive had been making a braking/slipping noise on occasion causing a disc unreadable error but no damage to discs. After checking out XBOX support online, I find out that my standard warranty has expired and that only three quarter and full circles of XBOX circle of Death are covered under the 3 year extended warranty. My only option is to shell out $99 for the standard repair.
I found this unacceptable, especially since refurbished consoles newer than mine (with HDMI port) are being offered on the Amazon marketplace for $114. So rather than repairing my XBOX I dugg a little deeper and ordered a refub off Amazon. I’m unsure about how much success I’ll have fixing my broken old XBOX. Backing up the firmware of the existing DVD drive on the XBOX and flashing it onto a replacement DVD drive from eBay will probably not work (both due to the nature of the error, and the fact that the drive won’t open anymore). But I’ll try it after verifying that my refurb works reliably.
I’ll keep you posted with my experience of the XBOX repair process.
First take apart the XBOX 360. While this seems easy enough, the process is actually pretty difficult compared to previous version of the console. I followed this tutorial at llamma.com using a small screw driver, a paper clip and fingernails (there was some collateral damage).
So far so good…Next I’ll need a torx screw driver to open the metal box underneath the plastic shell to determine exactly what DVD drive I’ve got. I know from the tray design and the llamma.com drive comparison site that it is a Samsung, but I’d like to see the part number so I can be 100% sure to order the right replacement from eBay.
After opening my console, I found that the DVD drive inside is actually a Samsung-Toshiba TS-H943 drive with ms28 firmware. I ordered exactly the same drive on ebay for $34 and it arrived a couple of days later. Now I was ready to do a simple DVD drive logic board swap (as described here).
After replacing the logic board and placing it into my console, I still had the same problem! XBOX boots to dashboard, but shows the status light on the front blinking continuously and the DVD drive will not open. After some extended testing with a VIA SATA chipset equipped computer I found that my old DVD drive logic board is damaged to the point where it isn’t even recognized in the BIOS. I further confirmed this by placing the DVD drive with the new logic board into the xbox and now it boots without the continuous blinking center light but it just doesn’t allow me to play games since the hardware key is missing in the dvd drive.
So, long story short…if you see an E64 error on your XBOX there is a good chance that your DVD drive has not just a mechanical problem, but also a problem with the logic board. This makes it impossible to backup your current DVD firmware image to extract the key you’ll need to get a new DVD drive working. As far as I can tell, my only options at this point are to sell the old XBOX 360 for parts or to order a motherboard + matching key combo off of eBay.