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Help Softmodding My Xbox


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#1 THUGGY

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 10:07 AM

Ok guys i am quite the noob when it comes to modding an original xbox so here are questions i need help with. Note that i did already read some other forums but since i don't want to brick this box, i figured i should get some step by step tips and help first smile.gif

I have an original xbox and i have over 100 games. I do not have Splinter Cell (as i heard that can make modding easier). I have a memory card but would prefer not to go the route where i need a solder torch etc. and need to make my memory card hold a usb stick. I have a dell optiplex gx260 computer at home that i will be using to mod with if a hot swap is required.

I would prefer that whatever mod i do will be able to play back up burned game discs. I have an extra external hard drive as well but i am not sure if that is more difficult if i wanted to somehow get the xbox to play games off an external? In other words, is some type of hard mod required for that ie. memory card mod?

So in a nutshell, i want my xbox to play backup games and am looking for the easiest way to soft mod it. I also need some advice on what type of blank discs are needed if i make backups of my games etc and what format do i burn them as etc. Whatever route you guys have just let me know and thanks !!

P.S. - if the easiest way to soft mod my xbox truly is just modifying my memory card to hold a usb stick, i suppose i can do that if necessary. But remember i do not own a copy of splinter cell.

#2 Heimdall

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 10:53 AM

Softmods and hard mods both allow you to play game backups.

There are only two basic softmod methods.

The first uses an exploitable game (Splinter Cell (original game, all copies), Mechassault (early copies) or 007 - Agent Under Fire (early copies)) plus an exploited gamesave - Krayzie 1.1.1 is the best for noob modders. You need a method for getting the gamesave onto the Xbox, and there are a few ways to do that - a compatible USB stick plus an adapter (like this one) and Xplorer360 beta 6, or an Xbox memory card plus an Xbox controller modified to have a USB connector, or an Action Replay kit.

The second softmod method uses hotswapping and Kingroach NDURE 3.1, plus xboxhdm (either 1.9 or 2.2 depending on whether your PC has two or one IDE ports on the motherboard). Alternatively you can use Xplorer360 beta 6 instead of xboxhdm.

Which softmod method you should use depends on what hardware you have available.

You need to use DVD-R for your game backups.

The Xbox doesn't support external disks. You can play music from a NAS, but games have to go on the Xbox hard drive. Youcan install a larger hard drive, but you need to mod the Xbox first.

#3 shambles1980

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 02:56 PM

If you have 1 of the explotable games that were mentioned above. and a usb pen drive or SD card to us ba adapter and a sd card.
you may find that opening up a controller and wiering a usb cabe directly to it's memory card slot Is safer and in the long run more convinient, there are only 4 wires and the job is quite a simple and quick one,
With this method you can easily transfer game save explots from pc to the xbox.

In all honesty... if i had a choice between transfering save explots via hot swap or modify a controller (that can tstill be used for gaming) i would mod the controller.

If however you do not have ANY of the games to exploit Then you will need to be doing a hotswap to transfer all the needed modified files over.
If you do that then you will definatly want to run Heimdall's hexen disk 1st thing you have installed the mod.

Just my oppinion here but.. I would fork out the 2 for a copy of splinter cell from the nearest game trading store/
Buy a usb extention cable or just use 1 i already have and modify a controller and sit back and just click like a noob till the box was modded.

id rather spend the 6, than do a hotswap


P.S

You dont need to modify the memory card.. If you have a cheapo controller you can simply wire the usb cable directly to the controllers memory card slot.. And not destory your memory card.

Edited by shambles1980, 16 June 2011 - 02:58 PM.


#4 THUGGY

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 08:03 PM

Really great, straightforward info so far guys, thanks !! I do have a few extra questions now. I am thinking i will indeed go the route of rewiring my xbox controller. I will try to find a copy of splinter cell although i live in a smaller city where we have no gamestops etc. I may have to buy one online i assume unless someone here has a copy i could purchase via paypal or something? I checked a few sites online too and is it quite easy to cut out a top in the memory card etc? I just don't want to ruin the only card i have rendering it unworkable. Or is there a newer method for getting the xbox controller to run a usb stick?

Now seeing as the original hard drive in the xbox only has limited hard drive space, is this usb/xbox controller a workaround for space as well? For example lets say i have a game emulator with some games on it. Can i keep some of these emulators on a usb stick with the games and run them when needed through a modded usb controller?

Another example: Lets say I have a few games that i rip to my console. Can i then play them on the xbox without a disc, ie. put them onto a usb stick and play through the controller mod etc? Or am i better to just burn all games If i plan to use backups?

#5 Heimdall

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 08:19 PM

If you want to use a USB stick, just buy an adapter like the one I linked to.

You can't run anything from a USB stick - games and emulators have to be on the hard drive or a DVD. If you want to put more on the the Xbox you have to install a larger disk, as I said in my first post.

#6 THUGGY

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 10:15 PM

Ok i got ya now. So i could run an emulator and games from a burned dvd. Also how do i know if the current usb sticks i have are compatible? I read somewhere that there was a list but it was out of date. Do most standard USB sticks work? The link you provided is for the adapter and game but I don't think they sold compatible USB sticks there too. I will post the details of my current sticks and if anyone knows if they will work, thanks. I was hoping to buy everything i need in one shot so if i can get the usb adapter, splinter cell and a compatible stick from the same site (If mine are not compatible) that would be great.

I also should have let you know i am from Canada so if there is a another site closer to home so i can avoid inflated shipping prices from the UK i appreciate it. I know you may say, go look for yourself on sites and find these items, and normally i do, but i have had experiences in the past where i get advice on things to purchase go to a different site and then end up buying the wrong item or buy some shotty junk that doesn't work lol. I figure you guys probably have a wealth of knowledge on the safest and most reliable sites. So if you would have the time to find me a site where i can buy all three items ( Canada or US preferred ) I would be grateful.

Current USB sticks I own:

Sandisk 8GB Cruzer - SDCZ6-8192RB
Sandisk 8GB Cruzer - SDCZ36-008G
Ultra Speed 2GB USB2.0

P.S. - what is the largest hard drive the xbox will support? I have the standard one that the xbox came with.

NOTE I just checked and i do have primary and secondary IDE ports on my pc. INFO BELOW:

Primary IDE hard drive 40-pin connector on PCI local bus

Secondary IDE hard drive 40-pin connector on PCI local bus

So maybe this would be the best way to go? Are there some good advantages to modding the xbox via my pc? I assume i won't have to buy anything to mod so that's one benefit

Edited by THUGGY, 16 June 2011 - 10:21 PM.


#7 Heimdall

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 10:28 PM

The largest USB drive the Xbox will support is 4GB, so your 2GB might work.

The largest hard disk the Xbox will support is 2TB, but to go that big you'll need to use an IDE to SATA adapter. The largest IDE disk you can find easily is 500GB - and for a softmod Xbox it has to be lockable.

#8 THUGGY

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 12:03 AM

ok thanks a lot for the help so far Heimdall. I truly do appreciate it. I just wanted to ask you if the softmod to connect the xbox to the pc is pretty straight forward to follow? I know one guy said i would be better off just buying the devices needed and modding, but if i can do this without having to wait to buy things etc i am happy doing it myself. No risk on a hotswap (if done correctly) of bricking the xbox etc? I plan to start following a tutorial in the next few hours and connect my xbox to my pc and start the process. Once i am connected to my pc I won't need anything else except downloadable software to start and finish the process correct? Also i may be getting ahead of myself but i remember reading a few tutorials last night where i think i read about booting a pc from the usb for some process in the modding?? I cannot boot from a usb on this pc so let me know if during the mod i will need to do something else or if maybe i was reading the wrong tutorial.I am hoping i don't run into any snags so any tips ahead of time on areas where people get mixed up a lot let me know and thanks ! ! !

I appreciate your patience, and i really do want to learn all i can about modification. I am not normally a hit and miss guy where i jump on a forum get help and just leave. I enjoy the expertise here so i plan to stay a long time and learn as much as i can. In the meantime, bear with me if i ask a lot of questions, i am the type of person who always likes to go by the books before i start things. It's the best way for me to not have 100 questions to burden you with later. So if i run into a snag early on and move slow and follow closely i won't have to annoy you guys later with many issues, errors etc. lol.

P.S. - I forgot to ask if the xbox is pretty easy to take apart? I can youtube how to take one apart if needed unless there are some good comprehensive tutorials on this site. Also can i bother you for some links to get me started once i log back into these forums later? Like the links to the software i need to download and the best up to date tutorials to follow in getting started??

Edited by THUGGY, 17 June 2011 - 12:10 AM.


#9 Heimdall

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 12:09 AM

You don't connect the Xbox to the PC. You hotswap the Xbox hard drive, then connect the hard drive to the PC. Read the tutorial here, and the link in my signature - softmod with hotswap.

If you have two separate physical IDE ports on the motherboard then you use xboxhdm 1.9 on a CD, if you only have one IDE port on the motherboard then you have to be able to boot from USB, and use xboxhdm 2.2.

#10 THUGGY

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 12:14 AM

My bad thats what i meant, the hard drive not the actual xbox. Also i need to make sure i have the right tools to take apart my xbox lol.

#11 THUGGY

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 01:07 AM

Ok looks like i am ok i have some torx screwdrivers. I just want to make sure that once i start modding i ground my pc and xbox correctly. Anyone know some links where there are images or videos of the correct and best way to ground the xbox and pc? I don't think i have ay alligator clips so i am looking for a good safe method.

#12 shambles1980

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 03:48 AM

both the xbox and pc will already be grounded via there independant power supplys... to ground them in unison to eachother you would only need to have frame toutching frame, or some wire connectiing 1 chassis to the other..

Please be aware of the dangers involved with hotswapping due to the switching of ide cables whilst the system is live.
I have done the process numerous times in the past But was never happy about having to do so..
"all went well for me. but you can kil hard disks messing with ide cables in a live system"

This is why i wired up a usb cable to my Xbox controller.
I opend up my controller to take a picture but unfortunatly after soldering i decided to cover the whole area up in molten plastic for extra longevity. (i forgot i did that)
After a while i did find a picture on google though..

IPB Image

this is inside the controller under where the memory pack plugs in..
it goes Black (skip a peg) green white red.
"the controller is sitting on its back naturally and if the controller was fully assembled the buttons would be on the side we are looking at"

When i 1st did this mod i just twisted the wires so they grabed on and fastend them in place with some tape whilst i tested it worked. (it did so i solderd them in place)

in the picture the person has also wired a second usb port to the 2nd memory card slot (i did not do that)
(the second memory card slot are the solderd blobs on the board.. the 1st slot is the steel finger things.)

This way your controller just uses USB devices like its memory card. You dont mutilate a memory card at all. And unlike the cables you buy you have your controller connected like it was ment to be..

an aditional benefit is the ability to connect a usb keybard to the controller if for any reason you would want too..

It really is a simple mod all it takes is a usb extention cable and a "philips (posi drive) screw driver."
If you are tidy you can mount the usb cable in a way that leaves it inside the memory card holder of the controller.
this image is a poor example of what i mean, but its what google had to offer.
IPB Image
(remember its the Female part you want to attache to the controller so you can plug thing in there)

if you dont have the items needed to make this mod then hotswapping is probably your best option, but id seriously concider the benefits of getting splinter cell and either a usb cable for the xbox or modding a controller. the wait+cost must out weight the slight possiblility of killing a hard disk.
Any way for the future if you plan on ever moding again, I would seriously advize:
the controller mod (easy transfer of save files from pc to xbox)
a copy of splinter cell (easy install of softmod via save game)
Heimdall's hexen disk (excelent utility to upgrade mod after installing/repairing all sorts)
and xboxhdm. (hdd upgrade tool for softmoded boxes. You will want to upgrade hdd after you start)
thats your basic moding kit imo Wouldnt leave home with out them smile.gif.

Edited by shambles1980, 18 June 2011 - 04:46 AM.


#13 spliff721

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 04:28 AM

although i have never used it, XBOXHDM 2.2 has a CD kicker for those who cant boot from USB, it boots originaly from CD then transfers over to the USB, or it also has the ability to be booted and run completely from CD.




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