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How to hardwire your DVD dongle into your Xbox (v0.1)

Tutorial written by : twistedsymphony (http://www.web-nine.com/)
Last edited: August 10, 2003

How to hardwire your DVD dongle into your Xbox:
-without loosing use of any controller ports
-without having to use the yellow wire or modify any controllers
-nice and clean

Notice: This tutorial may only be posted on Xbox-scene. If this appears on another site it is done so without my consent, and may your balls fall off in your sleep.

Disclaimer:
I hold no responsibility for anything that occurs as a result of this tutorial. This is strictly a representation of what I have done. If you should attempt to repeat these actions you do so at your own risk. Again I hold no responsibility for any damages you or your Xbox may receive as a result of attempting this procedure. Thank you.

Introduction:
The reason I wanted to do this mod is simple. My Xbox is used for 3 things: watching DVDs, streaming MP3s from my desktop, and Playing 4 player Halo, Time Splitters 2, or DOA3. As most people do, I keep my DVD dongle in the 4th player slot, but since I only really play any games 4 player I frequently have to swap between the two.
I’ve had the idea to do this for quite some time but there were a few key elements stopping me. I didn’t want to have to modify my controller or the yellow wire in order to detect that there was a controller in port 4, you never know there could be some future device that NEEDs that yellow wire and I wouldn’t want to be caught having to undo this mod. Because of this I wasn’t sure how to detect if the controller was plugged in or not. Just recently I decided to play around with an extra set of ports I had lying around from an eBay purchase and made an interesting discovery that makes this whole thing possible.

Theory:
I discovered that when the controller port assembly is pulled out of the Xbox the black ground wire and the metal casing of the port are not connected, however when a controller is plugged in the two become connected. Also all of the grounds in the Xbox are tied together so all you have to do is separate the metal flashing on the port from the rest of the flashing inside the Xbox. Tie the metal flashing on the port as a ground on one end of the inductor on a relay (4 pole relay, one for each of the necessary controller port wires) and the other end of the inductor on the necessary voltage (5V or 12V depending on the relay. That’s pretty much it.

Tools necessary:

-Torx drivers (T20, and T10) to take apart the Xbox
-Utility Knife (to open up the DVD dongle)
-Wire cutters/stripers
-Drill (to mount the IR receiver or dongle)
-Soldering Iron/Solder (you’ll probably need this)
-your favorite method of de-soldering (braid, sucker, etc)
-an O-meter or some sort of continuity tester
-some big balls

Parts necessary:

-an Xbox (doesn’t even have to have a modchip)
-a DVD kit (I used the official MS one but any one will probably work)
-lots of 26gauge wire (I used about 5 yards worth)
-some electrical tape (must be electrical tape)
-a 4PDT (4 pole double throw) 12V relay *

*really ANY 4 pole relay should work; you might even be able to get away with a 3 pole if you keep the ground connected at all times. Also a 5V relay will work but you must us a 5V source to power it rather than the 12V source outlined in this tutorial. I got mine at my local radio shack for about $7 (relays are expensive).

And now the good stuff… drum roll please….

Step 1 (Xbox demolition):

-Skim through all these instructions and get a feel for what you’ll be doing.

-Disconnect all power and such from the Xbox.

-Open up your Xbox and remove the HDD assembly. (Click here for how to)

-Once the HDD is out remove the 3rd and 4th player controller ports by using a T10 Torx to remove the screws then pulling up on the back of the ports until it pops out.

Step2 (isolation):

Notice that for each port there are three little metal tabs that brush against the square metal flashing of the respective port.

-Break off the tabs on the sides of port 4 I was able to pry them up and wiggle them back and forth until they broke off.

-Once that is done cover the bottom tab with some electrical tape, as well as all the edges of the flashing around port 4.

Also just to double the efforts cover the bottom and the left and right sides of port 4 with electrical tape as well.

Note: you must break off the taps and tape both the Xbox and the port parts of metal flashing, if you don’t do this the metal is sharp enough to cut through the tape and make contact. Also don’t worry about taping over the screw hole, the screw will go right through it.

Step 3 (power to the relay):

-Cut a length of wire (I used 18” on all of mine so I was sure to have plenty). Strip one end and solder it to the back of port 4.

It should solder pretty easy. Make sure it’s nice and snug.

-Once that is done put the port back in place and screw it down. Use your continuity tester to make sure there is NO connection between the metal flashing on the controller port and the metal flashing inside the Xbox. If there is a connection go back and check step 2.

-Cut another equal length of wire, strip one end and place a large dollop of solder on it. Take this end and place it into the mother board connector up against the yellow wire (12V). Make sure it’s snug and wont fall out. You may want to play around with this to get it to fit tight. Also if you have a different wire splicing method you prefer you could use that just be careful.

-take these two wires strip and solder the loose ends to either side of the relay’s inductor. (the polarity doesn’t matter).

Step 4 (wiring up the port):
-Cut 4 more lengths of wire about the same length as the last two
-For each wire strip one end about 3/8 of an inch and fold the stripped end in half to make a small hook.
| -Unplug the connector for ports 3 and 4 and insert these “hooks” in with the black, white, red, and green wires for port 4. (you don’t need to do the yellow wire) once they’re all inserted plug the connector back in place.


I only had blue wire; if you have wire you can color code that is the best.

-Strip the other ends and solder them to the “Com” posts on the relay (the order doesn’t matter but I choose red, white, green, black because that’s how they’re ordered in the controller port connector)

*Relay Explained: from this angle the top row is the power for the inductor, the 2nd row are the COM (common) posts, the 3rd row are the NC (normally closed) posts and the 4th (last, bottom) row are the NO (normally open) posts. A relay is basically a magnetic switch. When there is no power going to the relay the COM posts are connected to the NC posts. Because the inductor is a magnetic coil when it gets power (in this case 12V) it magnetically pulls the internal switches and now the COM is connected to the NO posts. Relays come in different sizes you may see SPST or DPDT relays. You read them like this #P@T the # is how many Poles (COM poles) there are and the @ will denote if it is a Single or Double Throw (single usually only has a NO poles and no NC poles, a double has both) we’re using a 4PDT relay so there are basically 4 separate switches that are being thrown when we power the relay.

Step 5 (DVD Dongle Demolition): (the hardest step)
Note: before continuing you may want to skim through the alternative suggestions for wiring the dongle at the end of this tutorial.

Crack open that DVD dongle… basically there are small clips all the way around and it’s glued together on top of that. This sucker is NOT EASY to get apart.

-Start by taking a utility knife. If possible only extend the blade out about a quarter of an inch. Stick it right in the seam that goes around the dongle and cut away at the bottom. Once you have the bottom completely cut you can either cut the sides and top away or try to pry it off. It’s very tricky.

FYI: The PCB inside will be attached to the back of the dongle and the controller port insert part.


This is what the dongle should look like once you have the face off.

Remove the PCB from the controller port insert. This is also a very tricky task.

-gently bend the IR receiver (the big black part in the center) so it’s sticking about straight up.

-use you’re most comfortable de-soldering method to remove the 7 pins soldered against where the IR receiver was. The center 5 are the controller port pins and the 2 on the end are to attach to the metal shielding of the controller port insert. I used de-soldering braid which is probably the most difficult, but it was the only method I had available to me. I recommend compressed air (heat up with iron and blow it away) or a solder sucker.

Step 6 (Wiring up the Dongle):

-Cut 5 more lengths of wire (length depends on where you’re mounting the dongle) they need to be able to reach the back of the HDD with some slack.

-Look at the back side of the PCB, the rounded edge is the bottom. Bridge the two farthest left solder points and solder a wire into one of them, this is the black wire (ground)

-Skip the 3rd solder point (yellow wire) and solder a wire to the 4th solder point, this is the green wire. Solder to the 5th solder point, the white wire… and the 6th solder point, the red wire)


This is what the back of the dongle should look like once all the wires are soldered in place.

-once this is done determine where you want to place the dongle and drill an appropriate hole. I decided to place mine on the left hand side of the Xbox front and to mount


The dongle on the front of the Xbox

-Once you have the hole drilled and the wires fed through. Solder the loose ends to the appropriate NC poles on the relay. Put the HDD back in the Xbox and Place the relay behind the HDD.


The relay behind the HDD with all wires connected


Your Xbox should now look like this

-Use your continuity tester to test from port 4 to the dongle. I was able to probe the pins inside the port from the outside. They should match up. Red all the way left, white, green, skip yellow. And black all the way on the right. If something doesn’t seem right make sure you don’t have them wired opposite (mirrored). I did this the first time by accident. Also I turned on the Xbox like this and the dongle or the Xbox didn’t seem to get damaged by this at all.

-Once you’re positive everything is wired properly test out the Xbox like this. If it doesn’t work check out your wiring.

Possible problems:
Dongle won’t work when port 4 is empty
-the housing around the controller port is grounding out and tripping the relay
-the dongle wiring isn’t correct or there is a short
Controller won’t work when plugged into port 4
-there is a short somewhere
-the relay isn’t getting power check the connections to the inductor
Neither Controller nor Dongle will work
-there is a short somewhere
-the relay isn’t getting power check the connections to the inductor
Other
-PM me in the message boards and maybe I can help

If everything is working… put your Xbox back together and give you’re self a pat on the back you CRAZY MODDING PIMP!

 

Alternative Suggestions for Wiring the Dongle:

While performing this modification it became clear that there are several ways one could go about hard wring the DVD dongle into their Xbox. Here are some of my thoughts:

Method 1: my original idea was to solder to the PCB inside the dongle and mount it somewhere inside the Xbox, then remove the IR receiver and remove the plastic eye from the original dongle and mount it nicely up front separate from the PCB.

Method 2: I will eventually be doing method 1 but for the sake of getting this mod done I decided to mount the whole dongle outside of the Xbox rather than searching for space, running more wires, and mounting the eye cleanly and carefully. I drilled a hole in the front and clipped the PCB into the front half of the Dongle case and temporarily

Taped it to the outside of the Xbox


Method 2

Method 3: Since I have extra controller ports lying around I debated wiring a 5th port instead of the dongle, then just plugging the dongle into that port. An extension of this you could wire in USB ports that would switch when you plugged in a controller

Alternative uses for controller insertion detection:
-Wire in USB ports that are deactivated when a controller is plugged in
-Wire in an indicator LED that will be on when a controller is in the port (I know it’s already been done but the other methods require cutting the yellow wire and modifying the controller)
-Wire in an LED to light up the inside of the port and have it shut off when a controller is inserted (saves power… refrigerator question…. Because you can DAMNIT)
-set up some logic and have a 7 segment display how many controllers are currently plugged in
- [insert your idea here]

Special Thanks to:
Xbox-scene for being THE source
All the big Modding Pimps at and in the scene
Aaron for providing a wall to bounce ideas
And especially everyone else who’s taken the time to wire a tut for the betterment of all.

Tutorial written by : twistedsymphony (http://www.web-nine.com)

 

 

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