Xbox archaeology

Discussion in 'Xbox (Original console)' started by S_crumb, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. S_crumb

    S_crumb Member

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    Hey guys. In my quest to eliminate discs and cartridges from my collection, I've finally gotten around to my Xbox. I haven't touched it since I lived in Asia back in the early 2000's. I had bought it brand new and taken it to the neighborhood pirate game shop and had a modchip installed. This was probably 2003.

    I fired it up for the first time since then and noticed that the boot screen shows a Matrix modchip and a very old version of Evox. I remember that I was only using backup discs and hadn't upgraded the HDD to load games from it. The disc drive no longer opens.

    I just opened the console to see what's going on and remove the clock capacitor. I noticed this. I think this is the modchip. That green wire, which I think is a ground, isn't connected. Should that be soldered down somewhere?

    Since I have a modchip, I should be able to upgrade my HDD easily? Any thoughts as to max size? As I understand it, the Matrix chip has limited space for BIOS (256k?) so there may be versions that won't work. What should I be looking at to upgrade the dash?

    Now to figure out how to get the drive opening again. 20190212_175834.jpg
     
  2. Conte Zero

    Conte Zero Rapidly Rising Member

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    Change the belt of the drive, remove clock capacitor because could be leaking, clean everything and you can install a bigger hdd.
     
  3. Nully

    Nully Dauntless Member

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    Not too familiar with Xbox, but is that board soldered to that ground plane and then there's the green wire that's soldered to it floating? Looks like it's supposed to connect to the chip, but then it doesn't make any sense if the board itself is soldered to ground the way it is. I have no idea, could just be a secondary method if you didn't want to use the QSB grounding?

    This via looks like it's been tinned, possibly it goes there but I'm not sure..

    [​IMG]
     
  4. S_crumb

    S_crumb Member

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    That wire is specifically soldered to the grounding point and then floating over the board.

    Oh man. Maybe. I hope not because that is TINY.

    ....I just can't seem to find install instructions for the Matrix chip.
     
  5. Nully

    Nully Dauntless Member

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    Can you clean the area with alcohol and an old toothbrush or something and post another picture without all the dust? If that is where it goes it's not too hard to do. Since it's already tinned you aren't getting the wire in it; I would re-tin the wire, push it onto the via , flood both with flux and then heat the wire/via and it should make a solid connection. Give it a gentle tug after it cools to be sure it's in place. But this could all be for nothing as I have no idea what chip you have or if that's just corrosion at this point.
     
  6. KaosEngineer

    KaosEngineer Robust Member

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    What's the boot screen look like?

    Oh, here's the Matrix install manual in PDF format from the Wayback Machine. But wait, that's not the Matrix modchip you have that's shown in this manual. The one in the manual uses a solderless install with pogo pins built into the modchip itself.

    What you have is an xecuter 1.0 or 1.1 modchip - see here.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
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  7. Nully

    Nully Dauntless Member

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    Via needs to be grounded, could have been worse I guess. I'd give it a shot if you have a soldering iron handy.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. S_crumb

    S_crumb Member

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    I happen to have a brand new Hakko soldering station that hasn't been used yet. Perfect occasion.

    Thanks for the help fellas.
     
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  9. ToxicMedz

    ToxicMedz Enthusiastic Member

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    Btw, I dont see this mentioned anywhere, that chip is likely a Xecuter 1 not a Matrix chip, there are a couple clone chips by different names that look exactly like it though so couldn't say 100% its not one of the clones.

    However, this chip is NOT flashable. its one of the early chips that more or less patch the retail bios on bootup. Really limited capabilities and wont be able to support large hard drives. It would be better to remove the chip and perform a tsop flash.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
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  10. S_crumb

    S_crumb Member

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    Oh.....back to the drawing board. Thanks for the tip.

    Looks like I've got a softmod shopping list to put together.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019
  11. Nully

    Nully Dauntless Member

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    You can buy an Aladdin chip for $3-4 on eBay or just make a bridge for the TSOP flash, it's very easy. Afterwards just burn a Hexen disc and flash the custom BIOS.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. S_crumb

    S_crumb Member

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    I'm going to go the TSOP route. As I understand it, I'll need to softmod the system first.
     
  13. Mord.Fustang

    Mord.Fustang Fiery Member

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  14. obcd

    obcd Spirited Member

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    That loose wire likely was grounding the D0 point on your motherboard. The component side D0 point is a via. The solder side D0 point is a needle bed testpoint, so it's a bit bigger to solder a wire to it. You could use the modchip to ftp the proper files to your harddrive for a softmod. If the softmod is running, you can disable the modchip and tsop flash a new bios. Use some kynar "wire wrap" wire for the D0 grounding. That wire is way to thick for it;
     
  15. S_crumb

    S_crumb Member

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    This easy HDD upgrade just keeps getting worse.
    I desoldered the old modchip.
    Ebayed a Xbox->USB cable and a copy of Splinter Cell.
    Patiently waited for them to arrive.
    Downloaded and began to install Rocky5's softmod tool.
    Connected the DVD drive and original HDD.
    Connected the thumbdrive to the xbox for formatting.......
    Error 16!
    No Dashboard files!
    Apparently the fix is to hotswap. Hopefully I can use the new SATA drive I bought to upgrade the old one.

    ...I need a beer.
     
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  16. S_crumb

    S_crumb Member

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    (Today I went to an electronics salvage and found a handful of xbox's....untested...they wouldn't let me test them....no returns...$15....broken)

    Ok guys. I'm confused.
    I'm getting error 16....that means no dashboard files. And because I don't have a backup of the eeprom I need to hotswap the original HDD so that I can install a fresh dashboard, right? There is no way to simply build a new drive with the new dash because of the missing encryption key? (Hotswap isn't going to work my SATA-IDE adapter goes the wrong way)

    I can't TSOP yet because I can't softmod because I can't boot off of a disc?

    So my options are
    1. Build or buy an EEPROM reader and find out what my key is, then I can use that to unlock the drive?
    2. Install an ebay modchip
    3. Throw it out of my window and buy a new one.

    This thing is nickel and diming me to death....I should've just bought a pre modded machine and enjoyed my life.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
  17. S_crumb

    S_crumb Member

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    Interesting. The dead Xbox I bought today has an Aladdin XT Plus 2 installed.
    No video output.
    FRAG.
    I wonder if they screwed up the installation. I could salvage this chip maybe?
     
  18. KaosEngineer

    KaosEngineer Robust Member

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    Do you have a Raspberry Pi? It with PiPROM software can read the configuration EEPROM data.

    See: http://icode4.coffee/?p=22
     
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  19. obcd

    obcd Spirited Member

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    Check the modchip install. Usually, the D0 connection is what is causing fragging issues. On the component site, it's a real tiny via that is easily damaged. I have even seen the bottom D0 test point being ripped off together with it's pcb traces. Basically, if you desolder the D0 connection, you disable a modchip. It should boot it's original tsop bios like that. (Unless it's a 1.6(b))
     
  20. Mord.Fustang

    Mord.Fustang Fiery Member

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    Thanks for this info! This is really cool, seeing as the original EEPROM reader was serial-based and as we know, the ports are usually not available on modern PCs.
     

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