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New Project -- Slim Box, Fully Integrated Controllers


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#1 mrogers

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 02:21 PM

Now that I've had some experience modding my Xbox I want to try a slightly more ambitious project, and I wanted to bounce some ideas off of the experts here to see what you think and to ask a few questions.

A friend gave me a 1.6 Xbox with a busted mobo, and I'm thinking about using the case to do a slim box for my 1.1 Xbox. I rarely use the DVD drive, and my living room is too large to reach the controller wires across so I use wireless controllers. So, I'm thinking I can easily do away with the DVD drive and external ports. Here come my questions:

1. Can I use the power supply in the 1.6 case with my 1.1 mobo? I've read varying reports.

2. I would still like to have the capability of using the DVD drive if necessary; I'm considering mounting ports on the back of the case for IDE and power that would allow me to plug it in externally. Do you think this is feasible? Is there a better way?

3. I currently have two Logitech Cordless Precision controllers, but I do not want to use these for this project because their receivers are HUGE (even after removing the memory card readers) and I don't like the feel quite as much as an S controller. I hear the Pelican (Eclipse II?) models are good wireless controllers that are very similar to the S, and have small receivers that are easily wired inside. Is this true? Any other recommendations?

4. I currently have a relay system to engage/disengage my hardwired DVD dongle when a controller is plugged into port 4. Since my new case wouldn't have any ports to trip such a relay, I think the best solution would be a small switch?

5. About the DVD drive again -- if I'm not going to have the drive installed most of the time, there's really no need to have that giant eject switch on the front of the case. I assume I can rewire that switch to a more discreet location. Has anyone ever done this? Thoughts?

6. How is the hard drive typically positioned in a slim case, and what do I do about the fan in the back? Get a smaller one? If anyone knows of some good shots of the inside of a slim case, I'd appreciate it.


Design ideas -- black/silver (everything I own is black/silver, and I guess I'm out of the white phase from when I did my first Xbox) with blue and white LEDs. It will be sleek and clean, not just a whole bunch of lights everywhere. It will have an IR window for my integrated DVD dongle and XERC2.

Thanks for letting me think out loud about some of these ideas. I'm just getting started on thinking about some of this stuff. I know many on here have done much larger projects but this will be a first for me. Any input is appreciated.


#2 logic02004

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 03:37 PM

1. no, definitely not

2. its feasable, as long as you use the same connections as the mounts that you would use in the box

4. i believe war_machine had a project similar, shoot him a pm

5. yea you can relocate the button, ive only seen it relocated to the top of the box, probably because you would probably have to lengthen the wires on the p/e board to put it elsewhere

6. hard drive is typically in the dvd cage from what ive seen and for fans usually they do get a smaller one but i would say get a 3 or 4 40mm fans in there

gl

#3 War_Machine

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 07:21 PM

you would need a 4 pole 2 position switch. you need to make sure the two positions are usable though, meaning, not just one position and then an off position. i used a 3 position, becuase i had usb ports also, so i ended up needing a rotary switch, which, is the same thing, jus the poles are set up in a circle so its cleaner looking (since theres so many).

i can also help you make ur dvd drive fit inside ur box if you really want it. its some work, but nothing major, just alot of lil trimming, move a few capacitors, and moving the power board. you seem to be moving that ayways, so no big loss there.

i pretty much have a very similar box, so ill keep a look out over ur thread to see if i can help you along the way.

#4 BuyItModIt

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 07:36 PM

For the eject switch you don't even need the eject/power circuit board, just figure out the connections for the led's & wire them to the motherboard, you could desolder the switches & wire them to the motherboard also. Pins 1 & 2 are for the one switch, pins 3 & 4 are for the other one. Make sure you solder the wires to the correct connections on the switches though (you could do this by pressing the switches & at the same time using a multimeter).

Edited by BuyItModIt, 31 May 2006 - 07:37 PM.


#5 War_Machine

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 10:51 PM

if ur gunna do all that, u might as well just extend the 9 wires, its less work.. especially if u decide to keep the dvd drive, cuz ull have to move it out of the way anyways

#6 mrogers

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 02:02 AM

Thanks for the input guys. What I plan on doing is running the DVD power cable from the motherboard to a female Molex connector mounted in the back panel of the case. I will also run the eject wires to the back of the case and mount the eject button next to the Molex connector. Then I will make another cable with one end a male Molex and the other end plugging into the DVD drive itself. That will make my DVD drive completely external and still easily allow me to eject it.

War Machine, thanks for the offer about the DVD drive but I think I'm just going to leave it external. I almost never use it.

As for the switch to toggle between the 4th controller and DVD dongle, I think I'm going to use a POPO (Push On Push Off) switch -- similar to the power button. I'm going to place it somewhere on the front bezel. I have a nice translucent plastic button from an old DVD player that I'll mount over the switch, and when the DVD dongle is activated it will glow blue. Pressing the button will switch from the dongle to the internal controller, and turn off the light. If I can't make the switch work in the position I want, I'll probably use the area where the stock power button is.

I've done some preliminary measurements and I think I can knock off just under an inch without doing any major reworkings of the guts. I'm not looking to make this the smallest Xbox in the world, just a little slimmer and everything self-contained. Is a dremel good enough for cutting through the metal shielding? I hope so, that's about the only thing I have access to.

#7 War_Machine

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 02:43 AM

before i forget, i jus read ur post in entirety:

3: i was looking for the same thing, the madcatz controllers most poeple use (the ones from the hardwired reciever tut) dont look like it, but they match up to the normal s controller very well, especially with comfortability and feel. i used two of these, and two dream gears. the dream gears look almost identical to the s controllers, but use smaller batteries, so they have a lighter feel, and no rubber grips, so its not as comfortable (even though the s didnt have rubber). overall i was very satisfied with both units, the only thing i can say is different, is the dream gears, u tend to get a fualty one in every 3 or 4, ive herd of people buying 4, and having to go back for another one.. my job had 3, i bought them all, and had to go back and return one for another madcatz. other than that, the only other thing i can say, is the madcatz recievers are a lil larger, and have a board that sticks out a lil bit, the dreamgears are similar to the dvd dongle in size and shape.

6: typically, like logik said, they jus use the dvd tray and cut it down. if you have trouble fitting all the receivers and other crap into the case though, id suggest just cutting up an old dvd case, and have the thin peice of plastic laid down under the hd. then secure it sumhow. (im actually thinking of hot gluing some ties that come down and hold the hd to the top of the case). i have one of the supposivly hotter hd drives, and this hasnt effected my case's temp in anyway... but the main reason for this, is so u dont end up having to squeeze in ur recievers or other componants over the psu..and end up like me, with a dead psu biggrin.gif



the dremmel for the metal:

if ur a fan of sparks, and running a dremmel with a diamond bit at top speed, then by all means, doing it that way will be a blast lol i however, was scared to shit the whole time that i was gunna catch on something, and the dremmel was gunna jerk up an cut thru me with that nice diamond tipped blade... not to mention, i wasnt a big fan of the fumes coming off of the metal, or the amount of sparks flying at my left hand and floor. they sell sheers at amazing saving that were perfect for this though. i was very doubtfull it would work, but they eat through that crap like it was nothing, it was way faster (and safer) than a dremmel, and it even worked on thicker metal like the dvd case (for the window mod). id invest in one of these, theyre like 3 bucks, and they have multiple purposes in modding.

the switck:

i dont know how you would make that work, becuase in my experience with splicing wires for the controller ports, nothings worked. if u find my switches thread a few pages back, youll see wat i mean. i had about 6 different types of switches, and i tried about 5 different set ups. people said, oh, jus splice these wires, and then send this and this wire to the switch, and ull be fine. id do it, and niether the port nor the reiever would work. id try it again with the same switch and watever other wires people suggested, to no avail, til i would finally jus try other switches and setups. in the end, the only thing that worked, was using a 4 pole switch, where the wires coming from the mobo did NOT make contact both devices at the same time. i dont know if this is just becuase of the version of the xbox that i have, or if maybe the other poeple were using relays, and something with the relays or diodes they used came into play, or wat, but splicing the lines didnt work for me. i would try it, just to see if it works for you, so u can use ur cool push button switch, but im jus giving u a heads up of my frustrations, so if it happens, you're not thinking you soldered something wrong, or anything like that.

#8 rockrerun

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 09:26 AM

3: The logitech controllers may be the perfect controllers for your project if you set it up like I did mine. The logitech controllers are good because they are completely flat. If you clip off the memory card connector, and replace the one capacitor that is standing up with another one and lay it down, you can slim the whole reciever down to 1.2cm. Then, you can clip off a few pieces of your case so that they will fit in the lid of your xbox. I have all 4 of my logitechs in each leg of the X on the lid of my xbox. A plus to putting them in the lid is that you get great signal strength! I have plenty of pics on how I did this, so let me know if you're interested.

#9 mrogers

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 01:34 PM

War Machine: Thanks for the tip about the shears, I'll grab some of those.

As for the switch...I will use a relay. I already have a relay mechanism in my current Xbox for the DVD dongle, and if I use that with my POPO switch it should work fine. You are correct though, that just a plain switch wouldn't work in this situation.

rockrerun...I actually own two of the Logitech wireless controllers, and have one integrated into my Xbox with a relay on port 1 (see my web site). However, while the controllers are nice I still don't like them as much as the standard S controllers, and neither do most of my guests that come over. They do take some getting used to, and my guests will usually just prefer to sit closer to the TV and use an S controller rather than use the Logitech.

On that note, the Pelican Blade controllers seem to be the best thing to get if you want a wireless S controller. Although I don't like the camoflauge; they're available in plain colors too. They also appear to have receivers that are quite small once the card readers are removed. I'm going to order one and see what it's like, but I'll probably put four of those in this Xbox.

#10 nightmare84j28

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 05:24 PM

Haha completely offtopic but mrogers i saw your network setup and i see you've named most things after stargate stuff eh? laugh.gif

#11 mrogers

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 08:28 PM

QUOTE(nightmare84j28 @ Jun 1 2006, 12:31 PM) View Post

Haha completely offtopic but mrogers i saw your network setup and i see you've named most things after stargate stuff eh? laugh.gif


Yeah, it's a healthy mix of Battlestar and Stargate names, with a little bit of Star Trek thrown in for good measure biggrin.gif

I needed to see my ideas for this Xbox in a visual form, so I used a couple photographs and Fireworks to sketch it out. I also made a new section on my site for it (calling it Project X2): http://rogersmj.com/tech/x2.

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#12 henmill

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 08:53 PM

omg that is so sexy!
if you can make it look like that, you will be my hero! biggrin.gif
please make it look that awesome




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