March 13, 2011

XBox 360 Dual Firmware Mod

After months of having a 360 that works except the Samsung dvd drive, I finally bought a spare dvd drive off of ebay and decided to try and transplant the firmware from my broken driver to the new one. While I am at it, I might as well make it dual boot between the good firmware and another hacked firmware for other obvious reasons.  Now you might be asking why go through all the trouble when you can just flash the new drive.  Well my old 360 dvd drive was quite dead, to the point that I literally ripped the plcc chip off of the board with full intention of doing a complete brain transplant!  Otherwise there was no easy or cheap way to get the drive firmware key.

The above picture was all the remained of the old board, the traces where ripped up by the epoxy that was placed quite evilly on, around and under the plcc chip.  I had removed this a few months ago and has it in a safe place, waiting to have the time to use it.  Now, if you are reading this planing to do the same, I give you a big warning, if you see blank epoxy on your board, give up now.  My replacement drive had clear epoxy that was nice and soft after heating with a heat run.  However the black on the original board only got brittle making it impossible to not break parts.

Next I went online looking up everything I could find on the firmware.  On the Samung drives, It is stored on a plcc chip next to the large hole in the board. Each chip has a unique key, so you need to have this before you can use any other drives. With my drive not talking to anything, transplanting the entire chip was my last resort.  Next I found it contained the steps to dual boot my old chip with the new drives one.  This way I did not need to try and remove the current plcc chip, which may destroy the board in the process.  However, it is quite a bit more work and on a whole different difficulty level.  Another warning, do not try to attempt a dual firmware setup unless you have a good soldering iron with temperature control and a very steady hand.  It is easy to get solder everywhere!

I started out with thin ethernet wire to connect the two chips. I connected all of the top lead first but quickly found it was too thick and needed to use the tiny individual strands from twisted christmas tree light wire.  Then it was easy to use long strands and connect the bottom lead first and then stretch and line it up with the top lead.  After each pair of pins where all attached correctly on a side I would trim the extra wire.

This was very delicate work, and preparing the leads was not easy, more then once I needed to carefully clean up a bridged solder connection between leads or wires.  Also it was important to completely tin each strand before trying to connect it, otherwise it would not stick.  The above picture shows how small each wire needed to be, with a penny for reference. These pictures where shown with a magnifying glass.

After that following the rest of the guide was easy, I found some spare 10K resistors and attached them to pin 4 and 15 as the guide shows.  This may differ from what others need to do, as I later needed to switch it to pin 5, as 4 caused the driver to make the 360 show a E65 error. Luckily I was persistent and kept poking otherwise I would have just assumed the drive was dead due to some error on my part.  So you may need to play with pins to get it to work on different drives.

After that I closed up the drive and connected it to the 360.  The drive boots up and reads disks, the old firmware reading games, and the new firmware without the correct key only shows everything as a dvd.  Next I need to get the drive key, but that is for another day.

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