Warning and Disclaimer
There have been reports from people who say that their LEDs no longer work after desoldering the originals. Please be very careful when desoldering the LEDs, as it seems the tracks and/or pads are quite easy to damage. Some people have suggested that you cut the legs of the original LEDs, instead of desoldering. You may want to try this as a safer alternative.
I take no responsibility for any damage that may be incurred by following this guide. Perform these mods at your own risk.
OK, a lot of people want to put different colored LEDs instead of the standard green, red, and orange around the eject button. There are a couple of guides in the Tutorials section showing you how to swap the green and red, but a lot of people want to use other colors. There have also been a couple of guides in the forums explaining how to replace the LEDs with a single color, but with that method you miss out on the error lights. I decided to put together this fairly simple guide to replacing the LEDs while still getting the error indicator lights. Hope you enjoy it!
Firstly, I'll explain a little about the LEDs that are in the standard Xbox. Many people think there must be 3 LEDs, or maybe a single tri-color LED. The truth is, there are 2 LEDs, and each one is a 3mm green/red bi-color LED. There is one of these LEDs on each side of the eject button. The orange light you see is actually produced by lighting green and red at the same time. Red and green mixed together gives you the orange color.
The easiest way to replace them, would be to simply find some bi-color LEDs of your choice. Unfortunately, bi-color LEDs are not that easy to find, even harder to find in 3mm, and even harder to find in the the color combination of your choice. So, I decided to replace each bi-color LED with 2 single-color LEDs. This way, you can easily choose any colors you want. So, here's how to do it...
2x 3mm LEDs for primary color (replaces the standard green color)
--- I used Blue 1000 mcd 30mA 3.5v
2x 3mm LEDs for secondary color (replaces the standard red color)
--- I used Red 500 mcd 30mA 1.8v
Small flat screwdriver
Solder-sucker or de-solder braid
1) I won't describe how to open your Xbox, since there are a lot of other tutes for that. Once you have it open, remove the front panel by doing the following:
a ) Unplug the front panel cable assembly from the motherboard. It's the bunch of yellow wires in the picture.
b ) Using a small flat screwdriver (or something similar) gently pry one side of the front panel off. See the pic for positioning the screwdriver. While you're applying pressure with the screwdriver, the tabs indicated in the pic need to be lifted to unhook from the main Xbox case. Lift them 1 by 1, starting from the one closest to the side you are removing. It shouldn't take you long to get the whole front panel unclipped.
c ) Once the panel is loose, pull the cable assembly through the hole in the silver shielding, and voila! Your front panel is off.
2) You now need to remove the PCB from the back of the Front Panel. To do this, simply push down on the clip shown in the pic below. Then simply lift the PCB away from the Front Panel. (EDIT: frenzal_dude recommended that pushing the eject button helps to get the PCB out.)
3) You can now see the 2 LEDs on the PCB. You will need to remove these. You can use either a solder sucker, or some de-soldering braid. Use whichever method you prefer to remove them. * see warning at the top of this guide
4) Now you need to work out how you will attach your new LEDs. You will be replacing each bi-color LED with 2 LEDs right next to each other. You can see them in the pic below, and I have also indicated the layout in which the LEDs should be wired. For each side, there are 3 holes. The middle hole is the common (-) for both LEDs. On the left side, the top hole is the (+) for the primary color, and the bottom hole is the (+) for the secondary color. It's the opposite on the right side, as you can see by the colors of the (+) signs in the pic. In case you don't already know, when you buy an LED, the short leg is the negative. Now, the holes in the PCB are only big enough for 1 leg, so you won't be able to fit the (-) legs of 2 LEDs in the one hole. Instead, snip one of the (-) legs really short, and solder it to the (-) leg of the other LED. I recommend doing this after you have soldered the (+) legs in place. [EDIT] Actually, solder the (+) and (-) lef of 1 LED in place first, then put the (+) leg of the 2nd LED in its hole and solder it in place. Then solder the (-) leg of the 2nd LED to the (-) leg of the first.[/EDIT]
[UPDATE] Some people have asked how to wire 2x 5mm LEDs instead of 4x 3mm LEDs. To do this, simply connect your 5mm LEDs in place of the Primary color LEDs (blue). In the pic above, use the Blue (+) holes and (-) holes, leaving the Red (+) holes empty.
5) With your LEDs in place, you now need to make a little bit of room for them in the Front Panel. You just need to snip away a few bits of plastic, as indicated in the pic below.
[UPDATE] If you are installing 5mm LEDs, you will need to do more work to make room for your LEDs. You will need to dremel, cut or sand some plastic to get them to fit.
6) You can now re-assemble everything, and you'll have your funky new eject button colors! With the blue and red combination I used in this tute, the orange light is now purple. Looks quite nice Here's a few pics, but the colors don't look quite as good as they do in person.
You can also try having different colors on each side. Here's another one of my Xboxes, which has a half blue, half white eject button light. The colors swap sides depending on the error. I think it looks pretty cool This pic really doesn't do justice to it, but anyway...
EDIT I've decided to add the following image for reference. Thanks to TykSak and ModZone.dk for the following pic:
Hope you all enjoyed the tute! Have fun!
Edited by dzv, 22 September 2003 - 12:47 PM.