April 23, 2010

Powering an Xbox 360 dvd drive

While I was waiting to be able to power my experimental/half working xbox 360 I decided to see if I could easily get the firmware keys off the drive (Note: this not for piracy, the dvd drive is not working and I would like to replace it at some point.) First off, the dvd drive is a sata drive, however it does not run off of a sata power connector, instead it has a 12 pin connector where 10 of the pins are used. Pins 1-2 are not used on the connector, pins 3-4 & 6 are +3.3v, pins 5,7,9,11 are ground, pin 8 is +5v and finally pins 10 & 12 are +12v. I was able to figure out this pinout using the post here.

Sadly, I was not able to get the key off the drive this time, however I was able to create a simple xbox 360 dvd power adaptor which was powered by a standard computer power supply, or in my case a power adaptor for powering a single computer drive. In the picture you can see my simple power supply on a breadboard, most of this is straight forward, the only tricky part is you need a 3.3v regulator to drop the +5v line down to the 3.3v the drive needs. You can see the regulator at the top of the board with two capacitors keeping the output clean at a stable +3.3v.  I did not use a switch to eject the drive, because from what I can tell, the drive motor controller is damaged and will only make a minor movement before freezing and not responding again.

While an interesting side project, it was somewhat pointless as now I can just use the 360 to power it. However it was convent to move this smaller adaptor vs a whole opened 360. Eventually I will take another stab at getting the key off, but not till I have had my fill of xbl arcade.

April 20, 2010

XBox 360 Cooling Experiments

I have an older xbox 360 that a friend had given me a while ago, it had no power brick, controller or av, and I was told that the DVD drive was not working.  As I have limited expendable money right now, it sat in storage for a few months waiting for a time where I had extra money or a reason to get it up and running again.  However, with the upcoming summer release of Hydro Thunder Hurricane I decided it would be worth finally getting the 360 ready.

I was able to snag a used power brick off bay for around $10 with shipping, so all that was left was to check out the guts while I was waiting for snail mail to arrive. First off I quickly released why the GPU overheats in 360's, the DVD drive sits on top of it, and the front has no air vents what so ever to let in fresh air.  Second the fans in the back have a single shroud instead of separate channels for the CPS and GPU, so most of the air is just pulled from just the larger CPU heat sink. I remedied this by building a wall to separate the shroud into two separate paths, forcing the right side fan to pull as much air as possible from the GPS heat sink.  Next, I add a third fan as an air intake, this was placed over the open area inside the case in front of the CPU heat sink.  I also added a plastic wall the cuts the fan air intake into two parts, half is blown into the CPU heat sink, while the other half is blown under the DVD drive so fresh cool air is available to the GPU intake. It was easy to mount a fan that fits the space, as the thin metal shield cover for the 360 has holes already drilled in an attempt to allow a pitiful amount of air to be drawn in, the holes will fit two normal sized fan screws and holds it nicely against the top of the side wall.  I removed the extra metal around the fan intake and then drilled a same sized hole into the white plastic cover above this.  Screen mesh was added to cover the fan intake and protect it. Finally, I used metal heating duct foil tape to cover the fan sides as well as do some plugging of gaps in the heat sink shroud connections.
I have never owned a 360 before, so I will have to do some heat comparisons, but it does not feel like an excessive amount of heat is being blown out the back, so I am assuming this does work to cool the insides better, or at least that is the standard thinking as I have seen that many other people have added an intake fan in this location.