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:

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.

Tags: Microsoft, Xbox 360, customer support