Xbox, resurrected!

Xbox, ready for surgery

A while back, my original Xbox died while I was trying to load a game, and when I opened it up several of the caps around the CPU showed telltale signs of swelling at the top. I figured what the hell, caps aren’t expensive, and hoofed it off to Jaycar to buy five new ones… they don’t have any in that size, in fact nothing that even comes close. Shopped around a few sites online, and most places were in agreement that I wasn’t getting it for less than $20AUD after shipping, which seemed obscene.

However last week, with vacation coming up, I decided to go through element14, and because I bought enough stuff at once in addition to the five caps (which amounted to about $5 each, still a bit on the steep side, but I’m under the impression Nichicon caps are pretty good, though that is what came out). I also get some other stuff for different projects to keep me busy over this vacation where I’ll have absolutely nothing to do. Long story short, the package arrived today so I set about taking a look.

This exercise was fraught with problems… the primary one being my dogshit soldering iron and absolutely worse skills. But the absolute kicker was that I don’t have a proper desoldering gun any more! I’d completely forgotten about this, but I came upon a genius idea (so I thought). I gently walked the caps out of the board by heating one side, moving it slightly, then doing the other side, repeating until it was removed. I then added a bit more fresh solder, heated up the solder in the via, and used my datavac on the other side if it, which handily blew the solder out and left me with a nice clean through-hole.

It all worked perfectly, except the last goddamn cap, I just couldn’t clear one of the vias to save myself. In the end I heated it up, and gently pushed the negative wire of the cap through it, slowly walking it down so as not to hold too much heat on the board and toast the pad or the via… I thought for sure I’d given it too much heat and killed the board anyway, but I finally got all five of the 6.3v 3300μF caps in place correctly.

Next issue - I don’t have any fucking flush-cuts! What am I going to clip the legs with? I thought about heading out to Bunnings to buy some, but in the middle of a pandemic just to fix an old video game console did not seem like the smartest thing to do. The only thing I’ve got that remotely resemble them is a pair of heavy wire clippers used for cutting guitar strings, which in the end did the job… just not as close as I’d like. Some electrical tape covering what’s left of the legs and that’s that problem solved.

Alive?So I plug the motherboard back in, get everything hooked up, power it up and I get a flashing green/yellow light. Hmm, never seen that one before, and a cursory Google search tells me that’s probably a memory error (Edit: no, it isn’t, that’s Red/Yellow). God damn it. I then thought that maybe one of my connections was not great, so I spent a bit of time researching which cap could potentially feed the memory controller (I have no idea about the internal architecture of the Xbox at all, other than I think it’s vaguely resembling a Pentium 3?), and I found a message that didn’t sink in immediately - the most common cause of a green/yellow flashing LED is because the AV cable isn’t seated correctly. I scrolled past this message and about 30 seconds later it dawned on me that I did not have it hooked up to an AV cable at all, only power.

After plugging that in, everything works fine, so I buttoned it up and so far everything works perfectly. Here’s hoping it’s fixed!

Horsham, VIC, Australia fwaggle



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Horsham, VIC, Australia

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