XBox360 power WTF


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    So my girlfriend calls me. Her xbox360 controllers aren't connecting to the xbox.

    Step 1 was to change the batteries. That didn't help.

    Step 2 was to try a wired controller. That worked fine.

    Step 3 was to unplug the thing, wait a few minutes, and plug it in. That didn't help.

    Step 4 was to explain to her that the controller wireless dying typically meant a Red Ring of Death is imminent and to call Microsoft.

    Step 5 involved listening to her bitch and moan about how shitty Microsoft is if their console can't last 6 months when her Super Nintendo is god knows how old.

    Step 6 involved her plugging the xbox360 into another power strip, despite my protests that this is dumb and will help nothing because electricity doesn't work that way.

    Step 7 involved me screaming "WTF?" because plugging into a different power strip fixed it

    Step 8 was to insist that physics would not allow such things and to plug it back into the original power strip... Which caused the wireless controllers to not function again.




    I am currently on Step 9, which involves my doubting everything that I know. The next time I'm over there, I'm going to assault that power strip with a multimeter and screwdriver until I find the cause of this insanity. The controller wireless simply does not work if it is plugged into that particular power strip (she recently moved the system to another location, and this was the first time she'd turned it on plugged into that strip)



  • There could be a problem with that particular power strip causing some kind of interference with the 360 controllers. Just the other day my grandma was having trouble with her phone line (loud hissing could be heard on either end of the phone and the dialup internet could not connect.) After an hour or so I discovered that her printer only had to be plugged in to cause the problem (not even connected to her computer.) I took it out and lent her an old spare and the problem is solved until we get her a new printer.

     Sometimes there are just the stupidest causes to problems I guess!



  • Maybe the difference between the two is that the second one is grounded* and the other one is not? That would be the only logical explanation. Because it's the only thing which could be different from the second plug without the xbox not functioning altogether.

    *I don't know the English word for it, but its a literal translation from my language and mean "connected to the earth/ground" ergo it's 0V and can be used to prevent a metal case from frying you. 



  • Grounded is the right word. 



  • Electric circuits in households aren't as perfect as you might think. High frequency interference can be caused by em radiaton or badly designed appliances, who are less shielded from the power supply than they should be (usually cheap electronics). Since there are typically several isolated circuits in a house, the second type of interference usually stays within its circuit, and you get the type of behaviour that you describe.



  • That's a valid point. Frequency alterations can even be made deliberate by i.e. powerline networking. But still, a simple capacitor would filter that out, don't you think an Xbox has a few of those? :)

    Kidding aside, wouldn't a rectifier negate/weaken this effect too? I still think it's very strange, especcialy when you think that 2,4 Ghz devices like the Xbox-controllers must be extremely interference-resistant, because it's a such heavily used band. (WLAN 802.11bgn, Bluetooth, DECT just tot name a few) 



  • Is there a microwave or cordless phone on the same circuit as her 360?



  • I remember debugging a neighbor's internet issues (internet explorer did not work, everything else did), when I setup my laptop the gateway (switch, router, NAT, wireless AP, firewall combo box) would stay online for all of ten seconds, moving the gateway to it's own outlet fixed it. It's usually the last thing you can think of. As for why IE didn't work their anti-virus was paranoid enough to block that troublesome explorer.exe (and a few others IE needs, can't recall at the moment) process from calling out of the box.



  • @Weng said:

    she recently moved the system to another location, and this was the first time she'd turned it on plugged into that strip

    Is it the new location rather than the power strip that is the problem?



  •  

    It's usually the last thing you can think of.
    Yes, I've noticed that.  The last thing I try is always the one that works.

     



  • @El_Heffe said:

    It's usually the last thing you can think of.
    Yes, I've noticed that.  The last thing I try is always the one that works.

    I've noticed that too.  I think it's because once I find something that works, I stop trying things.



  • OP says it's a plug next to the other one, so I don't think that is the problem 



  • @dtech said:

    OP says it's a plug next to the other one, so I don't think that is the problem 
    Yes, however it isn't the same one as the other one.



  • @dtech said:

    That's a valid point. Frequency alterations can even be made deliberate by i.e. powerline networking. But still, a simple capacitor would filter that out, don't you think an Xbox has a few of those? :)

    Kidding aside, wouldn't a rectifier negate/weaken this effect too? I still think it's very strange, especcialy when you think that 2,4 Ghz devices like the Xbox-controllers must be extremely interference-resistant, because it's a such heavily used band. (WLAN 802.11bgn, Bluetooth, DECT just tot name a few) 

     

    No all capacitors can deal with such high frequencies, especially if you want a cheap capacitor with fairly high capacitance (to compensate for bigger spikes). I'm not experienced in this field, but I beleive that a self resonance frequency of up to a couple of hundred Mhz is quite common amongst standard capacitors. There are of course capacitors who can handle this, but it's not certain that the Xbox has one of those at the power supply. It is more likely that the board containing the sender chip has one, but if the disturbance gets into the shielding box, it could easily propagate to the chip in question through EMI. The decoding logic is probably very resilient to interference, through frequency switching, checksums etc, but the chip itself can still be vulnerable. You are correct when you say that a rectifier usually contains low-pass filters, but the operating frequency of a switched-mode power supply is usually in the kiloherz range, and it is therefore probably not very good at surpressing GHz frequencies.



  • I'm guessing on a non earthed extension lead.  I've seen that cause a computer case to register ~120V before on a multimeter.  DIY Faraday cage anyone :D



  •  My guess is that she is just an idiot. That is usually the explanation for these problems that go against laws of nature...

     



  • My wife has an uncanny knack for ignoring any rules I put into place in our home.  I see no reason this wouldn't extend to the laws of physics as well.



  • @bstorer said:

    My wife has an uncanny knack for ignoring any rules I put into place in our home.  I see no reason this wouldn't extend to the laws of physics as well.

    I lol'd. 



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @El_Heffe said:

    It's usually the last thing you can think of.
    Yes, I've noticed that.  The last thing I try is always the one that works.

    I've noticed that too.  I think it's because once I find something that works, I stop trying things.
     

    Can you explain that joke a little further?  I still don't get it... 



  • @Obfuscator said:

    You are correct when you say that a rectifier usually contains low-pass filters, but the operating frequency of a switched-mode power supply is usually in the kiloherz range, and it is therefore probably not very good at surpressing GHz frequencies.

     

     

    Actually, a simple RC low pass filter should provide better attenuation at higher frequencies, even into the GHz range. Even a simple first-order filter will continue to provide more attenuation as frequency increases (attenuation doubles as frequency doubles). Higher order filters will provide a sharper drop-off past the cutoff frequency, approaching an ideal filter as the order goes to infinity. However, filters are often designed with resonance around the cutoff point that causes the signal to be amplified around that frequency.



  • @shadowman said:

    Can you explain that joke a little further?  I still don't get it... 

    That's because you need to keep thinking of different possible meanings of the joke.  The one that makes sense will probably be the last one you think of.

     



  • A co-worker of mine once owned a computer repair shop. He had a customer bring in a totally unshielded monitor for repair. The funny thing with this particular monitor was that whenever it was turned on it generated a lot of EM interference. So much that it would disrupt the normal operation of electronics within a rather significant radius. Causing any TV or monitor to go haywire, and rendering cell-phones and radios useless. The effect was not as localized as you might think.



  • @WhiskeyJack said:

    @shadowman said:

    Can you explain that joke a little further?  I still don't get it... 

    That's because you need to keep thinking of different possible meanings of the joke.  The one that makes sense will probably be the last one you think of.

     

    I can't think of any.


  • @shadowman said:

    Can you explain that joke a little further?  I still don't get it... 

    Why would you keep trying things once you've found what works?  (Unless you're SpectateSwamp).

    If you try things until they work, the one that works will be the last thing you try. 



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @shadowman said:

    Can you explain that joke a little further?  I still don't get it... 

    Why would you keep trying things once you've found what works?  (Unless you're SpectateSwamp).

    If you try things until they work, the one that works will be the last thing you try. 

     

    Your sarcasm detector is just all sorts of broken today isn't it?



  • @belgariontheking said:

    Why would you keep trying things once you've found what works?  (Unless you're SpectateSwamp).

    If you try things until they work, the one that works will be the last thing you try.

    Hmmm..  in my experience the thing that works is the first one my co-worker tries after I give up and ask for help. 



  •  Could be a ground loop.When it works, is the Xbox connected to the same power strip as the TV it's driving?



  • could be a ground issue but i would guess that the output of the supply is a floating ground, although it may be tied to earth....test the resistance between the earth ground on the 120V plug and the grounds on the connector to the xbox (while not plugged in)....if its open then it pretty much rules out a ground issue unless the supply circuitry itself has an issue with not having an earth ground which is unlikely...

    noise on the power line is possible but i doubt it unless the 360's supply design is really poor....most designs to supply logic will have EMI choke coils or a ferrite bead circuit to filter out the high frequencies on the power supply lines not to mention that the supply for the 360 looks like a switcher to me though i've never taken it apart. if it is a switcher the power supply lines would have to have decent sized choke coils on them which should cut out very high frequencies efficiently enough to prevent noise effecting the circuit...

    pretty interesting tho....i doubt you'll figure it out with a multimeter, you'd need to look at an FFT with a decent O-scope to look for noise, one capable of measurements to 2.4Ghz(frequency of the controllers) will run you around $30k-$50k :p

     

    -x



  • Now I know yall aint running 400Hz aircraft ac, so what's the deal :)



  • @PerdidoPunk said:

    Actually, a simple RC low pass filter should provide better attenuation at higher frequencies, even into the GHz range

     

     I stand corrected. Intuitively I thought that the small inductance of the capacitor would worsen the capacitors capability to swallow voltage variations on the input pin at high frequencies, but when I started to calculate the frequency response I saw that the characteristics where closer to those of a bandpass filter. I'm not sure when other things like skin effects start to kick in to severely alter the result though, do you? :)



  • kind of a group reply 

    On a PCB the stray inductance of the traces is more of a concern than the inductance of the cap although you generally would use a low ESR cap to suppress higher frequencies, normally a tant cap.  I work in mixed signal audio / digital boards, not in RF tho and some wierd rules can apply.

    EMI is generally caused by very poor routing of traces and/or grounded schemes on the board and is possible here, i.e. not providing a returnground path under a high speed trace forces the return current to go in a big loop creating a large inductance (antenna)

    Not really sure what you mean about the RC filter....i assumeyour talking about the supply lines, generally don't want to put series resistors on the power supply lines, causes voltage drops proportional to current draw :p

    filtering is usually done with an LC filter to cut high frequencies or companies like murata make EMI parts that contain prebuilt LC filters for cleaning up supply lines

    The capacitance between the ground plane and power plane in an average PCB is large enough to soak up high frequency noise to a ceratain extent tho you would normally place a 10uF cap and a 0.1uF cap as each IC to provide additional filtering.  Sections that need super clean power are normally isolated and only connected to the main supply via a choke coil providing filtering of high frequency noise. (example an audio ADC that needs 3.3V and a microcontroller would not share a single 3.3V supply plane)

     -x



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Your sarcasm detector is just all sorts of broken today isn't it?

    Fair enough.  I did check the tags before posting, though.  That's the only way I detect sarcasm.  Please help me people.



  • There is no sarcasm here. Only oatmeal cookies. 



  • My X360 refused to power on a while ago until I unplugged it for a while. The other day, it powered itself on.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Hmmm..  in my experience the thing that works is the first one my co-worker tries after I give up and ask for help. 

    The obvious conclusion is that you should stop trying to solve these problems yourself, and just ask your co-workers immediately.



  • @CDarklock said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Hmmm..  in my experience the thing that works is the first one my co-worker tries after I give up and ask for help. 

    The obvious conclusion is that you should stop trying to solve these problems yourself, and just ask your co-workers immediately.

    Nah, that's not going to work.  The only way for my co-workers to get it on the first try is if I've spent 3 hours trying the EXACT SAME THING until I am ready to pull out my hair.   If I asked them for help immediately the Universe's lust for my suffering will not have been filled and I will just end up dragging down the co-worker too.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    If I asked them for help immediately the Universe's lust for my suffering will not have been filled and I will just end up dragging down the co-worker too.

    What's wrong with that? If you can't get any work done, why should he? Misery. Company. You know the equation.



  • @op said:

    ...

    I have this issue with 1 controller of mine. I have a special battery pack (2 of em) for 2 controllers. One controller would REFUSE to connect if I used the battery pack, I MUST use regular AA batteries or else it won't connect. I used the same battery pack as for my first controller (works) but it does not.

    As to WHY, no idea. I called MS they offered to send me a replacement controller (don't hold your breath on this one they didnt send it).

    MS's stand on the outlet thing is that "XBOX 360 was designed to be plugged in directly into the wall jack not a surge protector and thus shit can happen including freezing, RROD, etc..." And thats the end of that.

     

    The thing is Step 8 is not true. We don't know what hacky stuff was done for the xbox nor do we want to know. We just know that XBOX 360 has major issues with the power supply.



  • @dlikhten said:

    We don't know what hacky stuff was done for the xbox nor do we want to know. We just know that XBOX 360 has major issues with the power supply.
     

    Um. WTF are you talking about? IIRC the main issue that causes the RROD is overheating via the GPU and some sort of heatsink issue... (Heat sink coming loose or something?)



  •  @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @dlikhten said:

    We don't know what hacky stuff was done for the xbox nor do we want to know. We just know that XBOX 360 has major issues with the power supply.
     

    Um. WTF are you talking about? IIRC the main issue that causes the RROD is overheating via the GPU and some sort of heatsink issue... (Heat sink coming loose or something?)

    I am quoting what the MS rep stated to me over the phone as MS official stand on the issue.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @dlikhten said:

    We don't know what hacky stuff was done for the xbox nor do we want to know. We just know that XBOX 360 has major issues with the power supply.
     

    Um. WTF are you talking about? IIRC the main issue that causes the RROD is overheating via the GPU and some sort of heatsink issue... (Heat sink coming loose or something?)

     

    Yeah, I believe it was something to do with MS expecting better air flow across the GPU, which meant they could use a smaller heat sink for it.  Of course, it wasn't good enough, and as a result, the solder joints were popping due the increased temperature and the board warping.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @dlikhten said:

    We don't know what hacky stuff was done for the xbox nor do we want to know. We just know that XBOX 360 has major issues with the power supply.
     

    Um. WTF are you talking about? IIRC the main issue that causes the RROD is overheating via the GPU and some sort of heatsink issue... (Heat sink coming loose or something?)

    Yeah, WTF?  The Xbox was just a regular PC.  All the hardware problems were fuck ups by Intel and nVidia which is why Microsoft moved to Power chips for the 360.



  • @bstorer said:

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @dlikhten said:

    We don't know what hacky stuff was done for the xbox nor do we want to know. We just know that XBOX 360 has major issues with the power supply.
     

    Um. WTF are you talking about? IIRC the main issue that causes the RROD is overheating via the GPU and some sort of heatsink issue... (Heat sink coming loose or something?)

     

    Yeah, I believe it was something to do with MS expecting better air flow across the GPU, which meant they could use a smaller heat sink for it.  Of course, it wasn't good enough, and as a result, the solder joints were popping due the increased temperature and the board warping.

     

    Yea I thought that too... But thats not the official MS stand. Officially and I quote the rep here "There is no heat problems in the Xbox 360" (Dec 2007)



  • @dlikhten said:

    "There is no heat problems in the Xbox 360"
     

    Funny how they talk like you type... hmmm... I see a lot of credibility there.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @dlikhten said:

    "There is no heat problems in the Xbox 360"
     

    Funny how they talk like you type... hmmm... I see a lot of credibility there.

     

    OMG go spelling nazi go!



  • @dlikhten said:

    OMG go spelling nazi go!
     

    YOU said it was a direct quote. 



  • @dlikhten said:

    Yea I thought that too... But thats not the official MS stand. Officially and I quote the rep here "There is no heat problems in the Xbox 360" (Dec 2007)
     

    Just because they won't admit it doesn't mean it's not the case.  Microsoft doesn't want to start a panic (or a lawsuit) by going on record that the design wasn't good enough and so the 360s overheat. 



  • @bstorer said:

    @dlikhten said:

    Yea I thought that too... But thats not the official MS stand. Officially and I quote the rep here "There is no heat problems in the Xbox 360" (Dec 2007)
     

    Just because they won't admit it doesn't mean it's not the case.  Microsoft doesn't want to start a panic (or a lawsuit) by going on record that the design wasn't good enough and so the 360s overheat. 

     

    I know. I know. I also saw the videos of what happens when u apply heat to the 360 mobo. Its obvious there are multiple problems. And there are other lesser known failures, I am on my 4th one and 2 had video card failures. Also solved a crashing issue by plugging my power directly into outlet vs surge protector. Had a RROD once from pluging into surge protector... I never had a more unstable piece of hardware.

     

    Edit: Sorry I'm on XBOX 360 number 5!



  • @dlikhten said:

    I know. I know. I also saw the videos of what happens when u apply heat to the 360 mobo. Its obvious there are multiple problems. And there are other lesser known failures, I am on my 4th one and 2 had video card failures. Also solved a crashing issue by plugging my power directly into outlet vs surge protector. Had a RROD once from pluging into surge protector... I never had a more unstable piece of hardware.

     

    Edit: Sorry I'm on XBOX 360 number 5!

    I've heard a lot about the Xbox 360 having hardware problems, so I'm going to assume this isn't your regular anti-MS trolling.  Still, did you have to pay for the replacements or did MS provide them for free?  And if you paid for them, why would you do such a thing?

     

    I think the heart of the problem is the Power chip.  It's an awesome architecture, but IBM has long had problems with overheating when scaling up clock speeds.  IIRC, the PS3 produces a ton of heat as well and suck lots of juice, but it has better cooling.  So definitely a big mistake on Microsoft's part, but it also seems the company is doing the best they can to replace faulty units.  Mistakes happen and even a company that is normally as on-the-ball as Microsoft is going to let some crap slip by.  I think the test of a good, consumer-oriented company is how well they handle those failures.  I could be mistaken, but it seems to me that Microsoft is responding much more positively than most companies do in this kind of situation.  I also figure they've learned some very valuable (and expensive) lessons and will be more thorough with their 3rd gen console. 


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