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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tutorial: Replace your xbox controller cable with a USB cable

Replace Original XBOX Controller Cable With A USB Cable

Description:
What if you want to use a controller on your PC or laptop to play games or emulators, BUT you dont want to shell out a bazillion dollars for a PC gaming controller?

What if you modded your xbox and no longer have those big ugly, original, controller ports. Youre a minimalist and only have USB ports?

What if you just want to do a simple, cheap, fast mod just for the sake of doing it?

If any of the above scenarios apply, then this is the mod for you! Please read...

The Build:
Basically all you need to do this is a controller and a USB cable with an a-type male plug on one end. And of course a soldering iron, solder, wire cutters or "side cutters", heat shrink (optional), hot glue (optional)...
Replace Original XBOX Controller Cable With A USB Cable


First thing you're going to want to do is remove the screws that hold your controller together.
Replace Original XBOX Controller Cable With A USB Cable

Set your screws aside. I use shot classes. I don't know if you have seen them in the background of my other tutorials' photos, but they're extremely useful for not loosing small screws or small pieces.
Replace Original XBOX Controller Cable With A USB Cable

Now, locate where the cord connects to the controllers' PCB (printed circuit board). If you're doing this to an S-Type controller, the connector block is actually soldered to the PCB, so you'll have to clip the wires about and inch and a half away from the block. In this case my wires were soldered to the motherboard and were extremely easy to remove. Once your cable is free, set both the PCB and cable aside.
Replace Original XBOX Controller Cable With A USB Cable
Replace Original XBOX Controller Cable With A USB Cable

You'll notice that I'm actually using a different cable that is pictured above. I realized that I have been looking for my mini USB cable for a couple of days now... ANYWAYS... Time to clip the female end off of the cable. Most people leave a small portion of the wires so they can use it later, but I have other plans for the female end.
Replace Original XBOX Controller Cable With A USB Cable

Replace Original XBOX Controller Cable With A USB Cable

Replace Original XBOX Controller Cable With A USB Cable

I trimmed about an inch, maybe an inc and a half from the end of the insulation. Now, this particular cable does not use the standard red, white, green and black. Instead it uses GREY, white, green and black. After testing the grey wire in fact was the VCC (red) wire and the rest were spot on.
Replace Original XBOX Controller Cable With A USB Cable

I added a little heat shrink, then stripped and tinned the ends of the individual wires.
Replace Original XBOX Controller Cable With A USB Cable

Remembering the order in which I de-soldered the wires, I re-soldered the new ones in place. It was a little tight, but not too difficult. Remember that the GRAY wire replaces the RED (VCC) wire. Also, please note, that I skipped a solder pad in between the green (D+) and the black (GND) wires. This blank pad is reserved for the original controller cables' "Yellow" wire. 
Replace Original XBOX Controller Cable With A USB Cable

You're going to want to somehow secure the cable to the controller case. Once that's done, you may now put your controller back together.

NOTE:
A friend came over while I was doing this project and distracted me a little. I forgot to photograph the fact that I used hot glue in place of my cable stop.  I'm sure you can see it in the following photos.
Replace Original XBOX Controller Cable With A USB Cable


Replace Original XBOX Controller Cable With A USB Cable


This picture shows the newly "USB-ified" original xbox controller plugged into my netbook. In the bottom right corner of the screen, you'll see that it was recognized, but unknown. I guess it's time to install the XBCD software and get this thing kicking properly!
Replace Original XBOX Controller Cable With A USB Cable

Here is the final product.
Replace Original XBOX Controller Cable With A USB Cable


Disclaimer:
Be careful using a soldering iron. They're HOT. Your wattage should be between 15 and 25. It is good practice to use "Lead Free" solder (for health reasons). Never leave your soldering unattended, especially around small children or pets. 
Please be careful to NOT short out ANY pins on the controller port or USB cable. Shorting pins WILL cause your hardware to FAIL (sometimes permanently). Check and recheck your work before attempting to use it.

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