Modding the Xbox
The 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.
R4i SD card adapter for playing NES, SNES, GAMEBOY, SEGA, Atari, GB Color, Game Gear and Emulators and NDS Roms on Nintendo DS / DSi!
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.
CHAMELEON & ADAPTER WITH RIVETS
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
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'
It shows what bank you are using and in which mode your
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
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
TSOP is flashed instead of the LPC modchip.
+ a price/quality and price/features level never seen
+ 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
+ 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
+ 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 Mods.com (official Xodus reseller) : $14 (adaptor
with rivets) - $54 (chameleon + adaptor with rivets)
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.
First 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
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'
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)
more about Mods at