Being the incredibly bored soul I am I made a guide on how to survive when the only thing stopping you from having to interact with the outside world gives out on you. This is just a pretty general guide, so there's nothing too specific apart from heat issues simply because all three seem to suffer from them.
1. Calm Down
Before you go ranting and raving on the fanboy forums, take a moment to relax. Some people get pretty stressed when they find out a console, especially one they've just bought, has decided it can't be arsed to get up in the mornings anymore (maybe you should stop playing till 4 in the morning you sleep deprived freak of spotty nature), but it's no excuse to go ranting and raving about it.
Take a moment to calm down, otherwise on the forums you'll seem incoherent and on the phone you'll sound like you've been frolicking with the cows a bit too much, and the whole of customer services will be gathered around laughing and joking. Just take a moment to gather your thoughts about what you should do next, what numbers should you need to call etc.
Whatever you do, do NOT go outside, your pale complexion from years spent doing indoor joystick waggling will fail you and your spots are likely to self destruct.
2. Try the Basics.
No matter how stupid it might seem, the most basic things might be the best to try, and there's a lot of them. First port of call might be controllers if your game has stopped responding to what you're doing, although common sense tells you that this should be as along as there is no or very few noticeable signs of the game having stopped completely. First, try pushing the start button. Has it worked? If you do find it's controller troubles, try these:
#Most obvious, check your batteries - hell, if you've run out of batteries, one thing I've found is with most devices, turning it off for a while then turning it back on might give you a little extra playtime. although not much, so make sure you have fingers of lightning speed.
#Seeing as all the controllers are wireless, they might need to be "synchronised". See how deliciously patronising this is getting now.
# Press the Power button on the Wii console to turn it on.
# Remove the battery cover on the back of the Wii Remote you wish to sync up, and press the SYNC button just below the batteries. The Player LED will blink.
# Open the SD Card Slot cover on the front of the Wii console and press the SYNC button on the inside of the compartment.
# When the Player LED blinking stops, the syncing is complete. The LED that is illuminated indicates the player number (1 to 4).
If yer at a mates house using one of your own controllers that you brought with you:
# Press the HOME Button on a Wii Remote that is synchronised with the Wii console.
# Select the Wii Remote Settings option from the Home Menu.
# Select the Reconnect Option.
# Press the 1 and 2 Buttons at the same time on the Wii Remote that you want to synchronise with the console. If you are syncing multiple Wii Remotes, press the 1 and 2 Buttons on each Wii Remote immediately (without a significant pause) in the order you want them synced. The order in which you synchronise Wii Remotes determines the player order (1 to 4) for multiplayer games. The Player LED will blink during the syncing process. When the blinking stops, the connection is complete.
NB: Occasionally the motion sensor has been known to get stuck - a good smack on the side should free it up to work again (and that's official advice from Nintendo).
Their site (UK one at least) was a bit crap and tried to get Adobe to shat on me by throwing PDF manuals in my face. If you can't sync your controller then IN YOUR FACE.
Or you could try plugging it in via USB, then once a controller number is assigned unplug it (once again, once the player number lights have stopped flashing).
# Turn the console on
# Hold down the Xbox Guide button until the controller turns on.
# Press the connect button on the console.
# Press the connect button on the controller.
# After the Ring of Light on the controller and console spin and flash once, the controller is connected. The quadrant that remains lit indicates the controller's player number.
Once again, incredibly basic - check your cables, especially if you've been fiddling with them. Make sure all are plugged in properly and nothing, especially pets and siblings haven't bitten through them, especially bears. In the event of a bear, take proper safety precautions and make sure you have a fisherman to fight him off.
Make sure the console is actually on and/or plugged in.
3. Take Note of Error Codes.
Any error codes that appear, note them down. You should be able to check these error codes, or at least the most common ones via each consoles respective sites, and of course the saviour that is Google. If not, then customer services SHOULD (subject to individual call centres stupidity) be able to tell you what the problem is.
By far probably the biggest problem of the current machines. Either via error codes, hunches or the smell of burning plastic you find out it is a heat problem, there probably isn't a lot you can do apart from let the console cool for a bit and try again, preferably an hour or 2 later minimum to let the poor thing get its head straight. To help prevent it from happening in the first place or again, common sense - make sure the thing has decent breathing space for the heat to escape and cool air to come charging in.
This taken from SNG-IGN's blog:
Preventative Measures - Placement
I've heard of a fellow who placed his Playstation 3 atop his Xbox 360 for stacking. I forget how long it took, but one of the systems pretty much stopped running after a while. I haven't examined that case first hand, but I would theorize heat from one system may have contributed to the damage of the other. Some people have really neat looking entertainment centres or shelves to stack their expensive toys that have no intention of properly venting their heat. You know what those items look like -- it's the shit you'd buy from IKEA:
While this particular specimen is airy, many others are not. They sport glass doors, knock-off back panels, etc. to make the thing look nice, but effectively trap heat in a closed volume. The next thing you know, your expensive toy is well-cooked like a baked baby and/or dog in a parked car with shut windows. Aside from open air placement, be aware of the material used for the shelf. Different materials have different thermal conductive and insulative properties.
Wood, particle boards, and wood waste boards are good insulators. Heat from a system will not move far from these shelf types. If a system is placed on one and allowed to run for about 4 to 6 hours (typical guides team play times) you have a fairly decent warmer on a chilly night. This is one reason why light frame houses are so popular (and wood shingles) before the U.S. got too big and fat. In addition to being a poor conductor of heat, wood is also highly absorbent. A typical two story light frame house has been suggested to absorb in about 10,000 gallons of water (Wilcox, Botsai, et al., Wood as a Building Material, 1991) although I personally believe Professor Wilcox is one to mildly exaggerate. In humid environments, the amount of moisture absorbed into wood, particulate and waste boards may start to rust any metal parts in contact with the board surface.
Metal is a great thermal conductor, although that depends on the type of metal used. Most are stainless steel, aluminium, or an alloy amalgamation with a galvanized coating. The paint and coatings aside, metal for the most part can transmit a moderate amount of heat, but the amount of heat conducted depends on the surrounding air. Cooler Mediterranean climates will have an easier time shunting waste heat than any place in El Lay (Los Angeles).
Plastic is a poor conductor of heat and electricity, although that depends on the composition of the compound. I'm not a plastics engineer, but there are few plastic shelves for entertainment centres (aside from the cheapest ones). Plastic is not structurally sound (even polymer is too brittle to be used as a building material, except in small amounts).
Paint, lacquer, and wood veneer are poor conductors. Probably the most common insulative barrier (no matter how thin) on most shelves.
Unless you're willing to build your own entertainment centre, you probably won't have a choice in the shelf material you have at your house, flat, or whatever. While there are intercoolers and cooling devices like this:
it may be simpler to use 1/4" inch bass or balsa wood square modelling dowels and lift up your system like so:
Although not aesthetically pleasing, it will work. If you have the time or inclination, a proper wood rack may be built using finish nails or Well-Bond (a condensed white glue). I made a quick one for the PS One but the current systems do not have such a simple well laid out bottom for support. On a side note, raising the Nintendo Wii is especially helpful, as it removes pressure from the hinges for the GameCube port covers.
Preventative Measures - Active Cooling Systems (Intercoolers)
One constant bone of contention on the boards would be the addition of third party intercoolers like the ones marketed by Pelican, Nyko, and Gamestop. These devices claim to bring down the interior temperature of the system by adding more fans (which makes sense). However, there is an ugly side to it.
You may have heard of Microsoft's stance on such devices -- they will not repair their Xbox 360s if they detect "burn marks" near the power-source of the Xbox 360s because you're using an unsupported device (violating the EULA). Andrew Cohen's 2006 October 26 opinion piece on Gameworld Network dabbles into this, but doesn't go into the "how come".
Bernoulli's Principal is really at the heart of the intercooler idea. Without getting too complicated (with mathematical proof and all), Bernoulli's principal states "as the velocity of a fluid increases, its pressure decreases" (Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). This change of pressure relates closely with density; the density of air is what allows it to conduct and store heat. You can read more about Bernoulli's Principal on this University of Winnipeg page.
The principal goes on to state that if the force applied is equal in both instances, fluid moves faster through a smaller volume of space than a larger one (say a thin pipe as opposed to a thick pipe). How quickly a fluid moves affects its density.
Fast-moving air is "less dense"; through the act of moving away from one another, air molecules lose heat to other air molecules whereas slow-moving air (relative to other air) is "more dense". I'm not absolutely sure if this can be explained with Newton's Second Law of Thermodynamics (less speed is more heat, more speed is less heat, etc.); there are physics professors who will be able to explain it in better detail.
However, there is one simple test you can do so you can observe first hand how speed of air relates to thermal convection:
(1) For hot soup or coffee, you blow the top. Your mouth forms a more narrow opening as opposed to ...
(2) On a chilly day, you cup your hands together and exhale/breathe on them to keep warm.
In the first instance, the opening of your mouth forces exhaled air to travel faster than the second instance.
How Bernoulli's principal relates to the intercoolers now makes a physics-based sort of sense. Adding more fans to move the air results in faster moving air (as opposed to the single fan) to carry away excess heat to a greater degree. Immediately, an opposing argument may be made: if the air is less dense -- the air is moving faster than without the intercooler -- the same volume of air within a system convects less heat.
However, Bernoulli's principal does not take into account the power demand of an intercooler. The additional electrical load of an intercooler (this specifically addresses the Nyko Xbox 360 intercooler) puts more strain on the male/female connection.
Whether or not an intercooler actively helps or hinders your system is moot, until a solution is found for the power supply issue.
NB: The Wii makes use of a feature I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with, WC24. Hopefully measures taken in line with those above will prevent overheating issues that have cropped up with this feature, but if you're still worried, you can turn it off in the Wii settings or just unplug the thing. Even for the people that do use it, it would be recommendable - it's a good idea for any machine that creates heat to be given a rest once in a while, whether it's boasted as a feature or not.
E: NB2: A recent Wii firmware update is reported to make the Wii run cooler while in WC24 thanks to kicking in the fans when it gets too hot. Whether this is true or effective I don't know, but it's worth noting anyway. Although it still holds true that you should probably give it a rest once in a while.
I don't think anyone has ever tested anything to survive more than a year, even come close to a year turned on 24/7 because of the unlikelyhood and the sheer impracticality, especially when you have to test units in almost every batch you make. Whether it's a feature or not, it's always best just to give something a rest in a while, it's not just humans that need sleep.
5. Know what you can do, and who is responsible
Very important. Always make sure you know or read through (c'mon, at least skim, can't be that difficult) the terms and conditions and other related apparel that either comes with the console or even online. Just about any consumer electronics that involves some form of storage capacity will probably mention or include something along the lines of you not being able to hold them responsible for loss of any information stored on it.
Whenever a console (or many other devices for that matter) craps out and you lose information personal or otherwise, especially relating to bought materials (for example, the Virtual Console service) it's frustrating, but for the most part they can't be held responsible, unless it was a complete fuck up on their part, simply because most of the time it's what could be considered an unforeseen error - something that couldn't have been predicted to happen, and something they couldn't have known that was going to happen or possibly even was not even dreamt of happening.
They may have lots of money, but they can't tell the future and can't be blamed for something that was out of their control to begin with, unless the problem becomes so out of hand it almost becomes likely it will happen (see RLOD). It isn't a perfect world, nor are they perfect machines.
Also you have to take into account your own personal usage of the machine (throwing off of cliffs?), which again can't always be taken into account. Also consider it's very possible that they couldn't transfer or keep your information because it was the storage device or something on it that crapped everything in the first place.
6. Customer Services
Chances are dealing with these clueless nobodies will be your last or most often part of the process before your console is sent off. They can be HUGELY frustrating, whether it be undecipherable accents or just plain idiocy, but try to keep calm and clear, clear as possible that you checked everything and that it isn't anything on your end that's the problem (especially when they have thick skulls). If that still doesn't work, it might be worth it to rant and rave, but it's very possible they could refuse to talk to you like that and even cut you off, they're well within they're rights (I think) - make sure you know when to deploy your inner Hulk.
Nintendo Service Centre
Telephone: 0870 6060 247 (Calls are charged at the National Rate to the caller)
Fax: 02392 383 444
When sending any products to the Nintendo Service Centre please always contact a representative on the above number before dispatching. Also please use, if possible, the original packaging, add a description of the defect and attach thereto a copy of your proof of purchase showing the date thereof.
Telephone: 0800 587 1102
or +44 20 7365 9792 from a mobile phone
Hearing Impaired (TTY device):
0800 587 1103
Hours of operation:
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Limited
10 Great Marlborough Street
Not quite complete - if anyone wants to add or change something say or pm (mainly looking for what to do when console is sent and after it comes back).
( Edited 21.07.2010 19:52 by Modplan Man )