Microsoft denies Xbox issues
Microsoft has denied a report in the British tech publication The Register, that last month's recall of power cords for 14.1 million Xboxes was connected to broken solder joints inside early Xbox consoles.
Charlotte Stuyvenberg, director of global communications for the Xbox, said the report was incorrect. The problem with the power cord and the solder joints were mutually exclusive, she said.
A Microsoft statement sent earlier said: "In rare cases, solder joints have broken. This issue is not associated with the power cord replacement program..."
The statement came the same day that The Register reported that an Xbox had blown up in a user's face in Sweden even though the power cord had been replaced.
Ms Stuyvenberg said this incident was being dealt with separately. "Our people have got hold of this console to investigate the circumstances which caused it," she said.
According to hardware experts quoted in The Register, the problem is not with the power cable, but rather with the power supply on certain models.
The experts were quoted as saying that the new cable only made the problem worse; the meltdown and fire risk were caused by wear and tear on the power supply used in early models and the new replacement cables only contained a trip that reduced the risk of a fire but left users with a console which was literally fried.
In enthusiast forums, such as the Xbox Scene, there are plenty of complaints about the problem.
Postings are accompanied by screenshots to show the areas where owners claim the solder has worn off in earlier models and caused the problem.
Ms Stuvyenberg said the Swedish case was a "one of a kind situation," and there was nothing wrong with the Foxline power supplies, the ones which users have named as being those from which solder was wearing off and posing a fire risk.
She said the question of broken solder joints would be covered under a warranty. All Xbox consoles had been designed so that a broken solder joint did not present any safety issue.
Several Xbox users have reported that the v1.0 and v1.1 power supplies, not the cable, is to blame for the issue. Users of later Xbox versions are also getting replacement cables even though the machines aren't faulty.
An online petition, which claims that the recall of the power cords is a cover-up of the real problem, has now collected 1779 signatures.
A Swedish newspaper appears to have been the first to publicise the actual problem.
There have been problems with the Xbox in the past. In February 2002, soon after the console went on sale in Japan, there were complaints from customers about it scratching game and film discs.
The discs and DVD movies came out scratched after being removed from the Xbox, though in most cases the discs were still playable.
At the timer Microsoft said that the scratching affected "significantly less than 1 percent of systems sold."
The complaints in Japan came after a few reports of defective units in North America, where the Xbox went on sale in November 2001.