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  To Run LINUX or DVD-R/RW copies of XBOX game ROMS you need XBOX Mod Chips

Modding the Xbox

xbox chameleon mod-chipThe recent popularity of the Xbox Roms has inspired efforts to circumvent the built-in hardware and software security mechanisms (sometimes in order to use the Xbox as a low cost web server), as well as to add customized design touches to the console's case (similar to PC case modding). Hardware modding can involve anything from simply replacing the console's green decorative "jewel" with a custom-designed one to opening up the case and installing a modchip.

Xbox360 HDD Software modding is much less intrusive, and only involves running software exploits to trick the Xbox into running unsigned program code. This allows running an alternate dashboard such as Avalaunch, Evolution-X or UnleashX and in turn makes playing original (free) homebrew games or various older games through arcade and console game emulators possible. This is especially attractive as the Xbox is designed to output to TVs, and high-quality controllers and arcade sticks are available for it.

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The original Xbox 360 hard drive can be replaced with a larger one. Then Xbox game backups can be copied from the DVD to the hard disk with programs such as DVD2Xbox and PxHDDLoader, and then played directly from the hard drive. This allows the user to spare game disks from scratching and allows for faster load times. This process does require a modded Xbox using one of the alternative dashboards, and is used by scrupulous users to eliminate load times or leave their games in storage, and by unscrupulous users to play illegally copied games.

Beyond gaming, a modded Xbox can be used as a media center with the Xbox Media Center software (XBMC) allowing the playing of DVDs without the DVD dongle/remote and streaming of music and video files from the hard drive or from another computer over a network. A modded Xbox can even be configured into a computer running Linux, FreeBSD, or Microsoft Windows CE operating systems.

Modding an Xbox may require opening the Xbox case, and would certainly void the Xbox's warranty. Also, most internal hardware modifications will render an Xbox unable to participate in Xbox Live, which has forced many modders to use a switch that turns on and off their modifications. As of November 2004, Microsoft has been taking new actions for banning Xboxs with hard drive modifications from the Xbox Live service. One such successful use of Live to discourage modding was when the hit game Halo 2 was released, and many owners of modded consoles found out that they were permanently banned from the Xbox Live service.


The most advanced Modchip for XBOX on the market comes pre-flashed with linux Cromwell bios and can be upgraded via CD-rom. This modchip and solderless adapter is compatible with all XBOX versions (including the latest 1.3, however, slight modifications need to be done to the Adapter - instructions for this will be released soon).

Install the Modchip:
The modchip is preflashed with a special version of the legal cromwell 1.8 bios. What's special about this cromwell bios is that you don't have to use a 'ozxflash' disk (using raincoat). All you have to do is burn a disk with a 256k or 512k bios on it (give it the name LINUXBIO.BIN). Boot your xbox and wait for cromwell to fully boot. Then insert the disk you made , close the tray and it will flash your chameleon with the bios on the disk. (just wait for it to shut down the xbox) As you flash only 256k or 512k , even if you have a bad flash , you still have atleast 2 more tries. You can also use the Matrix programmer to flash the chameleon with a PC.

There are 4 switches on the chameleon. The first 2 switches are for mode selection , the last 2 are for bank selection.
mode1 = 4x256k
mode2 = stealth 2x512k (stealth means it will boot from the first blank and directly after booting it will put the modchip to the 2nd bank)
mode3 = 1024k
mode4 = 2x256k and 1x512k. Mode4 also allow to use power/reset button to select bios: power = first 256k bank , reset = TSOP bios , power+reset = 2nd 256k bank. The 2nd bank is protected in mode4.
With the last 2 switches you can select which bank you want to standard boot under the current mode.

I didn't have a single problem during the installation. Booted my xbox and the chameleon version of cromwell 1.8 booted!
Inserted my CD with a 256k LINUXBIO.BIN file , and it flashed the first bank!
EvolutionX will detect you have a chameleon modchip and you will have an extra section in the 'Settings' menu.

It shows what bank you are using and in which mode your chameleon is.
You have to add a few lines to the evox.ini file so you can start swapping and flashing banks. Evolution-X 'knows' in what mode your xbox is , so only the possible options will be viewable. For example if you are in MODE1 (4x256) you will be able to reboot using bank1, 2, 3, 4 or with TSOP bios , same for flashing banks.
If you select to boot with a new bank the xbox will reboot immediately with the selected bios.

If you power off your xbox it will boot again with the bios selected by the 2 last switches on the modchip.
EvolutionX now also offers to flash each bank separatly (for example in MODE1):

It's also possible to easily flash the onboard TSOP with the chameleon. It does need the special EvoX_MatriX_TSOP bios that currently only works for xbox v1.0 but word has it that a v1.1 and v1.2 compatible version should be out soon. All you have to do is boot your xbox with this special bios then 'flash bios' in evolution-X and the chameleon CPLD will manage everything so the onboard TSOP is flashed instead of the LPC modchip.

+ a price/quality and price/features level never seen before!
+ alot of modes for multi-bios setup: 4x256 , 2x512stealth , 1x1024 and 1x256 2x512 (1x256 protected)
+ possible to flash TSOP easily (only on v1.0 xbox so far)
+ use evolutionX to reboot xbox with different blank
+ you can flash the banks separately with evolutionX
+ 3 installation methods: you can choose the one you prefer
+ nice new legal and easy to use cromwell bios
+ bank can be flashed separatly with xbox software , so even if you have a bad flash , your other banks should still be working
+ cool bright blue led

Where to buy:
* Xbox (official Xodus reseller) : $14 (adaptor with rivets) - $54 (chameleon + adaptor with rivets) (worldwide shipping)

The Ppackage contains: * solderless adapor * screw * 9 + 2 extra rivets (you need only 9)

You need to install it: * a v1.0, v1.1, v1.2 or v1.3 xbox * a TORX 10 and 20 * clear diagrams of "d0" point for your xbox version * a modchip (chameleon) * brains and a bit of patience ;)

Install the Chameleon Xbox Modchip:

What's special about the chameleon solderless adaptor is that it uses a so called 'spring-wire' for the "d0" point instead of a pogopin on other solderless modchips/adaptors. This is a hard wire you can bend into the right position so it goes exactly on the point you want.

xbox chameleon solderless adapterFirst you have to make sure you know the exact location of "d0" on your xbox. (you can use our pictures: for v1.0/v1.0, for v1.2/v1.3)
Then you have to bend the adaptor "d0" "hard-wire" so it will comes on the right position when you place the pogopins on the LPC points.
Then, if you have an Xbox with LPC holes, place a rivet in each LPC hole used by the adaptor - nothing complicated here.
After that you just remove the screw near the LPC-points and place the pogo-pin on the LPC points. That part is also very easy - the LPC points are big and close to eachother, so you really can't do this wrong (no 'aligning' necessary).
Pick up the "d0" spring-wire and place it exactly on (or "in") the "d0" point. (don't push it into the point tho, it's a via ... and I'm sure you don't want to break it).

I'm NOT reviewing the Chameleon modchip here, just the solderless adaptor ...
About the adaptor itself there's not much to test ...
I tried shaking my xbox and the d0 'spingwire' seems very stable. (more then when using a pogopin for "d0")
The pogopins on the LPC-points seems quite stable too ... I don't think they will disallign easily.

+ The price of the adaptor alone is OK ($14)
+ Installing a modchip for people who can't solder has never been so easy
+ No 'aligning' difficulties to get 'd0' right.
+ Adaptor looks very stable on the points.
+ Adaptor can also be used in combination with some cheapmods (if they use exact same points as chameleon)

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