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Chameleon review 29 April 2003

Where to buy:
* EasyBuy2000 (official Chameleon reseller) : $25 (worldwide shipping)

Official Xodus website:
* http://www.xodus-chip.com

What's in the package:
* Chameleon modchip
* 2x6 headerpin

What you need to install it:
* a v1.0, v1.1 or v1.2 xbox
* a TORX 10 and 20
* 4 wires (i used 30awg wires , like for PS2 mods)
* Solder equipment

Install the Modchip:
The modchip is preflashed with a special version of the legal cromwell 1.8 bios. What's special about this cromwell bios is that you don't have to use a 'ozxflash' disk (using raincoat). All you have to do is burn a disk with a 256k or 512k bios on it (give it the name LINUXBIO.BIN). Boot your xbox and wait for cromwell to fully boot. Then insert the disk you made , close the tray and it will flash your chameleon with the bios on the disk. (just wait for it to shut down the xbox)

As you flash only 256k or 512k , even if you have a bad flash , you still have atleast 2 more tries.
You can also use the Matrix programmer to flash the chameleon with a PC.

There are 3 ways to install the chameleon: headerpin , Xecuter1-style (pcb with holes) and as add-on to the matrix/xodus modchip.
It's similar to any LPC modchip , the only difference is that chameleon has 3 extra points :
+ a15 to allows to flash TSOP

+ E and P to control the eject and power button (used in chameleon mode4)

As far as I know these features are optional , so you don't have to install those wires if you don't need those features.

I installed the Chameleon with a headerpin (nice to have d0/a15/E/P point also on the backside of the pcb :))

There are 4 switches on the chameleon. The first 2 switches are for mode selection , the last 2 are for bank selection.
mode1 = 4x256k
mode2 = stealth 2x512k (stealth means it will boot from the first blank and directly after booting it will put the modchip to the 2nd bank)
mode3 = 1024k
mode4 = 2x256k and 1x512k. Mode4 also allow to use power/reset button to select bios: power = first 256k bank , reset = TSOP bios , power+reset = 2nd 256k bank. The 2nd bank is protected in mode4.
With the last 2 switches you can select which bank you want to standard boot under the current mode.

I didn't have a single problem during the installation. Booted my xbox and the chameleon version of cromwell 1.8 booted!

Inserted my CD with a 256k LINUXBIO.BIN file , and it flashed the first bank!
EvolutionX will detect you have a chameleon modchip and you will have an extra section in the 'Settings' menu.

It shows what bank you are using and in which mode your chameleon is.
You have to add a few lines to the evox.ini file so you can start swapping and flashing banks. Evolution-X 'knows' in what mode your xbox is , so only the possible options will be viewable. For example if you are in MODE1 (4x256) you will be able to reboot using bank1, 2, 3, 4 or with TSOP bios , same for flashing banks.
If you select to boot with a new bank the xbox will reboot immediately with the selected bios.

If you power off your xbox it will boot again with the bios selected by the 2 last switches on the modchip.
EvolutionX now also offers to flash each bank separatly (for example in MODE1):

It's also possible to easily flash the onboard TSOP with the chameleon. It does need the special EvoX_MatriX_TSOP bios that currently only works for xbox v1.0 but word has it that a v1.1 and v1.2 compatible version should be out soon. All you have to do is boot your xbox with this special bios then 'flash bios' in evolution-X and the chameleon CPLD will manage everything so the onboard TSOP is flashed instead of the LPC modchip.

+ a price/quality and price/features level never seen before!
+ alot of modes for multi-bios setup: 4x256 , 2x512stealth , 1x1024 and 1x256 2x512 (1x256 protected)
+ possible to flash TSOP easily (only on v1.0 xbox so far)
+ use evolutionX to reboot xbox with different blank
+ you can flash the banks separately with evolutionX
+ 3 installation methods: you can choose the one you prefer :)
+ nice new legal and easy to use cromwell bios
+ bank can be flashed separatly with xbox software , so even if you have a bad flash , your other banks should still be working
+ cool bright blue led ;)

+ flash protection only in mode 4 (2nd 256k bank) (it's possible to add a switch for enable/disbale write access though)
+ hardware boot from TSOP 'switch' only in mode4 (you can reboot your xbox from TSOP via software in other modes though)
+ if you use chameleon as Matrix addon you will have to cut 3 tracks on the matrix and you will have to solder 3 extra wires (a15 , P and E) if you want all features. (note that this is not bad considering the matrix modchip wasn't developed to work with this addon)
+ not so easy to move the switches when xbox is assembled , but it's possible!

Pre-Order your Chameleon! (25USD - Shipping WorldWide)

XanTium 29 April 2003


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