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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tutorial - Add a USB port to an s-type controller

Since this post, the image host I was using,, has gone kaput! As in, it no longer exists! (douche bags) Please use click
to read the updated tutorial with higher resolution pictures!

This page will remain up for archival purposes!

In this tutorial I will show you how to add a USB port to an s-type controller's memory port.

- 1 wired xbox controller (s-type)
- 1 female USB port
- 4 lengths of wire

- Soldering iron (15-25 watt)
- Solder
- Phillips screw driver
- Hot glue gun (optional)
- Hot glue (optional)
- X-acto knife (optional)

Start with this:

NOTE: I pre-soldered the USB port prior to opening the controller.

First things first, open the controller.
There are 7 screws holding this bad boy together. If you can not find the 7th screw, look under the M$ sticker towards the bottom.

After you have the controller board clear of the thumb-sticks, buttons, rumble motors you should be left with this:

We're going to want to leave the memory port plastic on because we need to thread the wires from the USB port through one of the holes. Remember that a USB port has no "up" or "down", but the industry standard is the plastic barrier is up. If youre a perfectionist like me, be aware of how you position your port.

I cut my wires a little longer than they were needed to give myself a little room to play. Starting from left to right:
Pin 1 > Red
Pin 2 > White
Pin 3 > Green
Pin 4 > Yellow (unused in the case of USB)
Pin 5 > Black

You will notice that I have something plugged in already. 1 that was for testing and 2 it served as a barrier because the port has holes in it. I don't know how many times I have secured a USB port down with hot glue only to find that glue has seeped into the holes making it impossible to get anything plugged in and seated properly. You might want to do the same thing, otherwise you'll be digging out solidified hot glue with a knife or pliers. Not fun..

Now what we're going to do is hit the top and bottom sides of the solder points with some hot glue. While you have it lifted to hit the under side, go ahead and give it a good gob because now were ready to stick it to the man.. I mean inside of the memory card port.

Here we go... almost done. If you notice, the wires are pretty long. Don't worry, you can lay a small layer of hot glue and lay them down in there nice and neat and no one will be the wiser.

Close that bad boy back up, you're done. Now plug in your favorite FATX formatted thumb drive and have your way with it in Action Replay -or- your (no bigger than 4gb) thumb drive in XBMC.

NOTE: Pictured is a 4gb Lexar JD Firefly. They WILL format to FATX, but WILL NOT be recognized in Action Replay. I ended up using one of these:
A PNY 1gb SD card with the most generic card reader on the face of the planet.
Formatted like a charm, recognized like a charm!

This project took about 10 minutes. Most of that was waiting for the soldering iron and hot glue gun to heat up. If this is going to be your first mod, please please take your time and be aware that your doing everything right. you do not want to burn out your prized M$ controller. (again... not fun)

Trying to figure out which card was globally compatible was the hardest part XD

I hope you found this tutorial useful.
Thanks for reading,

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tutorial - Add an 80mm fan to a slim box

In this tutorial I will show you the best method to add a 12v 80mm fan to a slimmed xbox. (standard size slim)

First I placed the fan grill onto the lid and positioned it to where I thought was dead center. I used clear tape to hold it in place so I could see the contours of the xboxs' lid. I used a Dremel to drill the holes for the screws. I went right through the tape.

Next I made the fan hole. I did so by using a small drill bit to make a series of holes about 1mm in from the inside edge. Once ALL of the holes were drilled. I drug the Dremel, drill bit spinning from hole to hole until the piece broke free. I sanded it smooth with 100 grit sand paper, then 150. On the under site of the hole, I used an x-acto knife to shave down the small ridge.(not pictured) If left alone it would "raise" the fan about 2-3mm away from the surface and render the fan screws too short.

Add 1 80mm case fan of your choice. I would suggest going with a higher end fan that move more air. Most of the cheap-o clear LED fans do not push (pull in this case) enough air. Sure, they look great but they tend to fail after 3 or so months. I chose a custom lit black fan. (see tutorial on how to add LED's to any fan) I opted to position the fan so it pulls hot air out, rather than push warm air in.

This picture illustrates just how much clearance you have between the fan and the stock heat sink after this mod is done. Also, if you're using a 3.5in hard drive, you're going to want to position it as far left as you can.

This is a soft-modded version 1.0 xbox. The GPU fan had started getting noisy and melodic. Frankly, it would drive me crazy. Doing this I was finally able to remove that bastard and send it to the junk yard. Since this is a soft-modded slim with no DVD drive, all I use it for is streaming media and running retro emulators.

Idle temps (XBMC dash, Confluence skin):
* GPU-101°
* CPU-95°

After playing Super Mario 64 straight through(surreal 64):
* GPU-110°
* CPU-99(ish)°

After 9 hours of streaming videos, because I forgot to turn it off when I went to work:
* GPU-111°
* CPU-101°