Friday, November 21, 2014

Xbox Mod Adventure: Part 2

Just because everything has to be a debacle whenever I want to do anything, let's jump right in. Get that transistor replaced, a new DVD drive put in and a new faceplate.

Since the transistor is so damn small, I went ahead and bought a 4.5 watt battery powered soldering iron. I have to say I'm in love with this thing. You'd have to leave it on until the batteries drained to lift a pad or fuck anything up severely. As much as I solder things, it's just not my strong point. It's usually an exercise in frustration, and this iron is pretty idiot proof. I'm down.

It was surprisingly easy. This soldering iron wasn't heating up enough to get the transistor removed easily, so I actually ended up cutting the legs with an exacto knife and then just removing the legs from the pads afterwards. The transistor is tiny enough that I had to hold it in place with tweezers. I couldn't steady my hand enough to set it down on the board and do the soldering. It actually went in incredibly easily.

Aaand here's our current faceplate. Nice scuffs. The power button was shot off with an airsoft gun by my friend who originally sold me the Xbox that was in this case for $5. There's a couple of spots around the buttons on the glossy spot where he missed the button and there are airsoft BB size indents. The faceplate I got to replace it was "Microsoft recertified."

Surprisingly it actually does seem to be either new or refurbished. Even has some plastic covering the glossy bit to prevent scratches. Nice.

Now for the DVD drive. This has a Thompson in it currently. They are fucking horrible. I bought a Samsung drive to replace it. Thankfully the Xbox drives can work with any console, they aren't locked to the motherboard like Xbox 360 DVD drives.

You can see that the Samsung drive doesn't have the Xbox bezel. That's not a problem, as the bezel actually just slides up vertically and it can be switched to another drive.

So, moment of truth... was the transistor the problem?

Yes it was! This is the only thing that will go right from here on out.

Also, in case you were curious..

That's the transistor that was removed from the Xbox. It's that fucking small.

Anyways, let's get this shit rolling. Back to loading up Agent Under Fire with the Ndure exploit copied over to the HDD. Start up Agent Under Fire, load the game and...

We have softmod! Create an MS backup, install the softmod, install UnleashX, patch the stock dash and we're (allegedly) good to go. Now, if this worked from this point, you would need to have some way to power the secondary HDD that you're going to be installing into the Xbox.

Here's our subject, a 500gb Hitachi Deskstar. While it's not made by Apple, we're going to say that we're putting some Apple into this Xbox. So, I got the HDD running on external power, swapped out the IDE cable for the DVD drive, FTP'd Chimp over to the Xbox, started Chimp... except Chimp wouldn't start. I checked the file layout I had a million times. Everything was right. Well, it turns out this is a 1.6b Xbox. Chimp was re-done to have compatibility with 1.6 Xboxes, so this should work right?

I talked it over with some online pals who are also into Xbox modding. One of them had no idea. The other had no idea too... until he remembered that he had a 1.6b Xbox at one point that Chimp just refused to run on. So, something about the 1.6b Xbox prevents Chimp from running correctly. Now we're going full old school in order to get this fucker working.

I forgot to mention with that whole softmod thing, back your motherfucking EEPROM up. The Xbox's HDD is keyed to the motherboard using the EEPROM. If your HDD dies? Your Xbox is dead, unless you've got your EEPROM. Fuck something up on your softmod and the Xbox won't work? Your Xbox is dead. Unless you get an EEPROM reader. Anywho, we're going to take that EEPROM and format the HDD manually.

Here's my old shitty HP piece of shit with IDE connections. We'll be using a Linux boot disc that runs something called XboxHDM. XboxHDM can install original MS Dash files, format the drive correctly, install a softmod and finally lock the HDD with a copy of the EEPROM that was backed up in the softmod process.

Nice and simple. It's actually very easy to use and faster than you'd expect, too. There's a few different tutorials out there, and a lot of them don't seem to be fully correct. I couldn't get the drive to launch in the Xbox until I came across this post

You're not totally done after this though. You'll need to FTP XbPartitioner to the HDD and run it to get the full HDD size available. After all that...

UnleashX and a nice 500gb HDD.

Next: adding games, a different dashboard and emulators.

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