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"STEMS Method" for installing X2 Lite & Soldering for Dummies (v0.1)

Tutorial written by : Tarobap

OK . . . so I received my X2 Lite mod chip and have been waiting patiently (yes it was hard) to install it. I read a lot of tutorials, threads, and websites, and finally decided to give it a go . . . but with my own newly created method deemed the "Stems Method." Read on and you'll see why I called it that.

My goals were few and simple:

1. Get X2 Lite working using wires adaptor and underside D0 Point
2. Have EXTERNAL switches to control Flash and on/off settings
3. Do my switch wiring such that I can open the Xbox back up when I need to (ie not having the wires go through the side grill)

Not to cut a story short, but I managed to do all these things successfully (I'm a soldering Noob), and so I thought I'd share my experiences with those that still have to install or are $hit scared to do so (as I was for a while). I warn that this is long but to those who are new to this, a nice explanation is warranted (as I would have liked when I was starting). Here goes . . .


Anyone even REMOTELY considering installing a mod should get the following things (IMHO):
1. 15 Watt Soldering Iron (Radio Shack $7.99)
2. Rosin Core Silver-Bearing Solder (0.022 Diameter) (Radio Shack ~$4.00)
3. Torx 10 and Torx 20 Screwdriver (Don't use any other screwdriver type thinking it will work!!!) (Walmart ~$7.00 for a set of four screwdrivers including the T10 and T20)
4. Lead Free, Water Soluble Flux. I REPEAT YOU MUST GET FLUX!!!!!! I got mine from Lowe's - "Sterling" brand (Lowe's ~$3.00). I found it in the plumbing section (Aisle 31 haha)
5. 24 Guage wire - I got the spool from Radio Shack that had two wires (black & white) running together (Radio Shack ~$4.00)
6. A really small set of long nose pliers - like the kind from a computer tool kit or jewelers kit.
7. Standard Wire Stripper
8. A full size color printout of the color coded wire diagram and alternate D0 point picture from this site:
9. Old rag that you don't mind tossing after you are done
10. Some form of a circuit board you don't need anymore . . . old mobo, modem, ISA card, etc.
11. Electrical Tape
12. Two 3 amp toggle switches (Radio Shack ~$2.99)

Recommended Equipment:
1. Volt meter (I had one, but you can get a cheapo for around $15)
2. Old coffee table
3. Magnifying glass (to inspect your work)

I sat on the ground and did all my work on an old coffee table so it would be a lot closer to my face/eyes . . . you have to get pretty close to see what you are doing in the xbox.


With any job, you need to see what you are working with so follow the guide here (it's five pages of stuff but takes about 3 minutes flat to do, except the last part--see below):

So the last part . . . taking out the motherboard. Yeah. If you choose to use the front side D0 point, god speed and skip to step 3. If you want to use the much BIGGER back side D0, read on. The guide I referenced above simply states to take out the eleven screws and *poof* it comes right out. No. You have to unplug everything that is plugged into the motherboard, with the exception of the power supply connection (the biggest connection on the mobo). The reason to not take out this is because I couldn't no matter how much I tried (I didn't want to break my xbox!). Besides, you can do what you need to do without taking it out. OK so take out the yellow rectangle connector on the front and the two different color wire connectors as well (all three of these have the same shape). Don't worry about remember which whay they go back in because they only fit one way. Just remember where they go. NOW let me WARN you that the mobo has a VERY DELICATE piece of board that is attached to the side of it (it's on the front side of the xbox) that forms the vertical part of an "L" to the mobo. This piece moves and bends and I felt like I was gonna break it off! Be very cafeful with it, as there isn't much holding it on.

So you have to flip the mobo over onto it's back if you left the power supply cable on like I did. Find the D0 point using your printed sheets (see step one). Memorize how big this point is!!!!

Flip the Mobo back over and find the solder points where your color coded wires are suppose to go. You won't be attaching these points directly if you use the "STEMS" like I did. Memorize the size of these points as well!!! Also note where the front side D0 point is (see same sheet as color coded wires). After we connect the backside D0, we can test the connection using the volt meter and FRONT side D0. Get it? See the beauty. That way we will KNOW for SURE that the D0 point is connected.


What the hell are stems you must be thinking by now . . . well let me explain. I held the X2 wires adaptor in my hand and was like, I'm suppose to solder these one by one . . . ? "By the time I get down to the last few, it'll be so crowded in there that I'd be bound to make a mistake" I thought. So I came up with a solution. I took the 24 guage wire (after splitting it from the other wire . . . remember my 24 guage spool was a PAIR of wires spooled) and cut it into 3/4 to 1 inch little pieces . . . about 12 of them in all (only 9 solder points, but cut some extra . . . it's not hard ). Now I stripped the wire on one side, thus exposing the copper core. You can strip the other side too, or just push the copper end down on the table and the insulation will slide down since the wire is so short and give you exposed copper on both sides. I only kept ~2-3 mm of exposed copper on both sides.

The plan was to solder each of these "stems" on all of my points FIRST, and by doing so I would "spread" myself out by angling each stem away from the center. Then I was to solder each colored wire to the stem. Now let me say, soldering two wires together is SO EASY. You can put a huge blob of solder on them, and no big deal. So to those who say it doubles the solder work, I disagree. You solder more, but each solder is a LOT easier. The other benefit is that you can hold and maneuver each stem as you solder it onto the board, and not worry about accidentally ripping off another point because you twisted the wires adaptor the wrong way.

It worked for me perfectly, so read on if you so desire . . . hell you read this much might as well keep going . . .


Especially if you are a soldering noob, YOU MUST PRACTICE. Now I'm getting ready to graduate med school, and I've stitched many a lacerations in the emergency room, but I admit I still needed practice. Take the old circuit board and find points similar to the ones you memorized from the xbox. Practice soldering stems onto these points. Here was my chosen method of soldering:

1. Take soldering iron in right hand (I'm right handed, reverse for leftys) and about a 4 inch cut of solder (see step one for type of solder). I usually would wrap the proximal end of the solder around my finger so that my finger movements mirrored the solder movements.

2. Hold the tip of the iron JUST above the desired target spot on the board. Take the solder and bring it INTO the iron (so don't move the iron). When you feel like you have enough to cover the spot, move the solder back and TAP the iron onto the board, and move iron away. This should leave a DOME SHAPED glob of solder that ONLY covers the little round metallic point on the board.

3. Keep the solder in right hand, and take stem in left hand. Bring the stem down so that the copper end is touching the tip of the "dome" you just created. Bring iron down just beside where the stem is and after doing so the solder will melt and tip of stem will "sink" inside. Move iron away quickly, and hold left hand in place for a few seconds. It is important to angle the stem in the desired direction before attaching it to the board.

4. Take iron and very quickly and briskly rub off any excess solder from the iron onto the rag. Then dip the tip of the iron into the flux and back out. It should sizzle (signifying cleaning). I'd keep the flux container away since the fumes are not so pleasant.

5. If you have a volt meter, check each connection by using the base of the solder and tip of the stem. I know this is time consuming, but worth it IMHO. Some of the stems will no doubt "fall off" the base when handled, and a few I was able to nearly lift the whole practice motherboard with.

Repeat these steps until you are quite proficient at this process. The backside D0 point is only slightly smaller than the front side colored wire solder points, so don't be to scared about D0.


OK, so think you are ready to put your new X2 in? Let's do it! I think it is best to start out with the D0 point. Flip the mobo back over so you can see the bottom D0 point. You are gonna use a stem, but remember to angle it really small . . . almost parallel to the mother board. Go ahead and solder the stem on (I sometimes held the stem with the small pliers to get better control of it). Take a small piece of electrical tape and place it under the free end of the stem . . . right under where it would theoretically hit the mobo if you were to push down on it. Now I took a long piece of wire (still 24 guage). and soldered it onto the free end of the stem. The tape underneith ensures no solder "splashage" and no short circuiting once you put the mobo back into the xbox.

Now take the long piece of wire and test the end of it with the base of the first solder point (the one on the board itself) using the volt meter. Again, not necessary but helps ease the mind. Make an "S" shape with some of the wire and tape it to the backside of the mobo using electrical tape. We do this with IVs in the hospital . . . this ensures that the IV site, or point D0 won't get pulled out if someone/something pulls on the long wire. Just a safety mechanism. Be sure to have enough wire to make it around to the other side of the mobo.

Now carefully put the motherboard back into the xbox while keeping the long D0 wire on the side and back around to the front. Here is the big test. Put one end of the volt meter on the end of the wire, and the other on the FRONT D0 point (the tiny ass one) . . . if you get signal, you are in business!!! You know you are attached on the backside if the frontside is getting signal.


OK, so now you can place stems on the points on the front . . . remember to use the color coded diagram you printed out. You place a total of 8 stems. Remember to angle them so that they are all spread out but yet the colored wires can still get to them from the final mod chip position on the side of the xbox (for those that don't know, the X2 is place with included adhesive tape on the left inside portion of the xbox). Tip: Look at the tallest capacitor on the board (capacitors are the big cylinder thingies) . . . your tallest stem should be LOWER (after it is angled) than the tallest capacitor. That ensures the DVD drive won't it the wires after it is placed back in.

Once you have all your stems placed, it is time to place the mod chip. Do this FIRST!!! Attach the wires adaptor to the chip and attach it to a position on the left inside part of the xbox (on the metallic part). Before doing so it might be wise to see how the DVD drive fits in and to make sure you place the mod in a position that won't be blocked or obstructed.

Now take each colored wire and attach it to the appropriate stem. I usually put a little solder on the stem first (solder in left hand) followed by attachment of the wire (wire in left hand held via pliers). Remember not to hold the iron on the stem to long, as the heat may get to the other end and melt that end! The 0.022 diameter solder melts like butter even with the 15 watt soldering iron, so I doubt this will be a problem. Even if it takes several tries to attach each wire to the appropriate stem, it is OK, cuz we aren't working with the board!!! You have some room for error. I had one stem detach while I was installing my wires adaptor, which I just soldered back onto the board. I highly recommend holding the colored wire with the small pair of pliers.

Remember to attach your ground to the screw and to attach the grey wire to the D0 wire coming around from the backside.

Now take several pieced of electrical tape and make a huge "blanket" if you will . . . and take it and put it over the whole thing. This will ensure no shorts if the metal from any of the stems hits the metal of the DVD drive casing, or anything else for that matter.

YOU ARE DONE with the hard part!!!


Place the bios jumper according to your xbox model (on for v1.0, off for v1.1). Now here is the reason for getting the 24 g wire as the pair . . . take a long piece of the spool (both wires) and split just the ends and strip them. Attach one pair to the on/off jumper and take a second pair and attach it to the bios flash jumper. These two sets of wires will be going to the outside of the xbox where the switches will be placed to control these settings.

I used twisty-ties to attach the wire to the inside grill (again for safety reasons) and then took the long ends and ran them through the very bottom rung of the grill and out the left side of the xbox. I then took the soldering iron and made two groves on the bottom plastic area (be sure to clean the iron well after this, as you will have melted plastic on it). This way when the cover is placed back on, it won't "choke" the wires as they come out. Don't take the wires through the OUTSIDE cover because then if you want to take the cover off later (ex to change the HD) then you'll have to unhook your switches to do so. I ran the two sets of wires to the back of the xbox (after reassembly) and attached my switches to each end with solder and covered the exposed wiring with electrical tape. I then neatly taped the switches to the back near where you put the ethernet cable in. During reassembly, make sure you are careful when you put the DVD drive back in not to F*** up your mod chip!!!


OK, so now flip the on/off switch in the on position and boot her up . . . it should say "XECUTOR" instead of "MICRO$OFT" on the boot screen. When switch is off, it should say the opposite. YOU ARE NOW DONE AND HAVE A KICK ASS MOD CHIP AND SWITCHES TO CONTROL YOUR NEW CHIP!!!



Tutorial written by : Tarobap



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