Well by now some of you will know i am very fond of the big ol' OG
Some key points.
Is the modification of the XBOX system legal? Yes completely.
Are we allowed to talk about piracy and other illegal matters? NO, read the damn forum rules, THIS IS NOT HERE TO ENABLE PIRACY.
Pro's & Cons of modifying the Original XBOX.
You will have much more functionality.
You can lengthen it's lifespan (will talk about this further)
Use it like a computer or as a server (i will not be talking about this)
For PAL systems this can enable the hidden HD modes by switching the video system to NTSC over component, 720P/1080i (fully rendered no upscaling!)
You gain access to emulators, XBMC and much more.
Inexperienced people will have far more room to break an XBOX.
Ehh i suppose it's a bit time consuming.. not for the lazy people.
Modifications i will cover.
Clock capacitor removal.
The XBOX had a number of hardware revisions, these are 1.0-1.6
Now for modification purposes the best XBOX versions are the 1.0-1.5 versions, the 1.6's have a serious hardware revision and do not have a TSOP, they also cannot have the clock cap removed which is not needed.
How to identify which version you have?
There are a few ways to tell which model of xbox you have.
These simple steps will help you identify which board version you have.
1) Check what power supply
2) Check what video encoder you have
3) Check what memory you have
Look at the motherboard.
Below is an image of a version 1.0 board note the power supply connector.
If it has a fan on the heat-sink it is a version 1.0.
The version 1.0 and 1.1 both have a look identical apart from two key things.
1) The 1.0 has a heat-sink fan and the 1.1 has no fan.
2) The 1.0 is the only version that has USB controller daughter board.
The version 1.0 and 1.1 have a single row of pins on the power connection socket on the board.
All other versions 1.2 and above have twin lines of pins.
Below is the ATX type power supply board connectors for a 1.2 to 1.6.
You will see it is a twin row connector completely different to the 1.0 and 1.1.
Notice how the 1.6 has the orange wires missing different to the 1.2 to 1.5.
1.2-1.5 can be further distinguished by the video encoder that was used
(located at back of board near video connector).
1.2-1.3 Connexant Video Encoder
1.4-1.5 Focus Video Encoder
1.6a/b Xcalibur Video Encoder*
The video encoder can be found towards the back of the motherboard behind the heat-sink near the fan and the audio video output socket.
( please see pic below showing Xcalibur video encoder)
You can then check to see if it is a 1.6a or a 1.6b by looking at the ram.
1.6A has Samsung RAM.
1.6B has Hynix RAM.
For ram location please see pic below ram is highlighted in red.
Let's get on with cleaning before we go into the modification of the XBOX system.
These consoles are dust magnets especially internally, so keeping your system free of dust much like a PC should be up there on the priority list if you want to maintain a healthy system.
So a cheap and VERY effective method i use is furniture polish.
Furniture polish acts as a dust boundary to mostly wooden surfaces, and is also a polish... hence the name.
I suggest cleaning out all the grooves and opening the system completely to dust it out completely, i mean it does not have to be mega thorough inside, but enough to remove 99% of the dust.
At this point i also recommend removing the clock cap if you have not already, but that's something else entirely.
Make sure the system is disconnected when cleaning and do not spray directly onto the machine, the system has openings and the last thing you want is furniture polish inside the console when you turn it on... it would be a bad smelling BBQ at least.
Make sure to use elbow grease and really work the polish into the XBOX, since it has a textured finish, the polish will settle on this surface really well and will keep it's finish for a much longer period.
You will end up with something like this... excuse the nasty camera quality, but the shine alone should be enough to illustrate it.
You also want the inside to looks like this below ideally, but it don't have to be 100% spotless, just make sure nothing is blocked up.
Clock Capacitor removal.
FOR VERSION 1.0-1.5 ONLY!!!
Unfortunately due to the way the XBOX is designed, and somewhat an afterthought by Microsoft, the clock cap will almost always end up leaking, which it leaks electrolytic liquid which will cause slow corrosion to the motherboard and components that it comes in contact with, so this is another one that should be a high priority on your list.
However this is a very easy thing to clean up and do, and the XBOX will function just fine without the clock cap, it just won't keep the time for 3 hours after being pulled from the mains like originally intended.
This video will guide you through this.
Removing any caps from a V1.6 console will result in full failure of the XBOX, the 1.6 is a better design longevity wise.
A softmod works by exploiting code in a game which acts as a backdoor to get Linux up and running so that you can run and execute code. Installer packages are written with the XBOX language XDK using .XBE for executables etc.
Games that work for softmoding.
007 Agent Under Fire
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
I will not bother typing up this entirely because there many great guides out there, i will link a good one.
First of all what the hell is a TSOP? well it is a re-writable chip which holds the bios image for the system, if you flash this with 3rd party code, it is essentially like installing a modchip albeit with not as much functionality as some of the later model chips like the XECUTER 3.
Due to where these disc images are available i will not be linking directly, use Google to find these, they are legal, but the sites they are hosted on are less than due to piracy.
You will need to have your XBOX already modified via softmod to TSOP flash.
You will need either Slayers 2.7 (burn this to a CDR)
Or Hexen shamble's edit (burn this to DVD-R)
Benefits of a TSOP flash.
You will have a much more secure modification that does not rely on software that can easily be messed up by user error.
You can change boot animation or remove it completely.
Upgrading a HDD is extremely simple with a TSOP flash unlike with a softmod which requires a HDD to be able to lock.
This is a guide to do it solderless.
Ok so i have flashed several XBOX's now, 1x v1.0, 2 v1.4's and a 1.2.
Out of 4 flashes none failed.
I have flashed, Xecuter 2, EVOx M8+ and iND-Bios without fail.
The V1.0 used a ST electronics TSOP.
The v1.2 used a ST electronics TSOP.
1 of the v1.4's uses a Winbond TSOP (use Raincoat Linux which is on the HEXEN disc)
The other v1.4 is another ST electronics TSOP.
I have found a perfect way of doing this which brings me results every time.
This flash process is simple yet highly dangerous.
All you need to do is short out certain points on the motherboard when the flash process is in process, before and after does not matter.
Solder points illustration.
No solder needed.
Main-board remains completely stock.
You cannot re-flash the bios accidentally.
Costs less to do.
Not as safe as a good solder job.
Requires some balls and steady hands.
Dangerous if you do not watch where you are putting your hands.
The first major advice i can give is to identify where the power supply is, and with that in mind, NEVER venture near it, you don't even need to have the PSU fully exposed when working with a v1.2-1.5 XBOX because the short points are on the front side of the board. You can leave the HDD caddy in it's place.
When working with the v1.0/1.1 board, make sure when tilting the board you do not have the board on the PSU, make sure you have 1 controller header plugged in.. you can easily remove 1 just to do this and leave it floating off the board, i suggest you get a friend to use the controller for you whilst you hold the solder points in place, otherwise feel free to venture with what your body can do.. i did it with my tongue originally.
However for v1.0-1.1, you need to have the board out of the XBOX powered on, and also tilted vertically to get at both the top and bottom of the motherboard.
Now i use very thin wire, stripped the coating back and cut off a twisted bunch, then i used clear tape and dabbed the tape onto the cut wire, now the best way to prepare the solder points is to get a very small flat head screw driver and gently scratch the surface of the solder until it looks very shiny, this ensures you have good solder to work with.
Then with your eyes and steady hands, place the tape down on the solder points.
Now it may not work with the tape alone and you may need to apply pressure on top of the tape with your fingers, and this is 100% safe on this side of the motherboard, but don't be a total idiot getting your hands everywhere, you want this machine to work after all.
Just use the tips of two fingers and apply good solid pressure to both points until the flashing process has finished and the XBOX has restarted.
After this successful flashes will boot the new flashed bios, turn it off and remove the tape and any wire residue.
Simple, but dangerous, only do this if you are confident in yourself and know what you are actually doing.. may require some crazy tendencies.
This is how to do it with solder.
Does a TSOP flash beat a modchip install?
Yes and no, for basic mods, yes, it's less money spent and you gain what a modchip can do.
If you want superior functions like say an XECUTER 3 can do, then a TSOP flash just does not measure up at all.
What you gain from these mods.
A highly capable media system, and a great emulator box.
You gain the ability to RIP your bought games to the internal HDD of which you can upgrade to much larger capacities which will save your DVD's laser for much longer.
I own 2 v1.4 XBOX consoles.
XBOX v1.4 iND-Bios 5003.67 TSOP 300GB HDD
XBOX v1.4 XECUTER 2 4981.67 TSOP 8GB HDD (Stock XBOX)
Any questions feel free to ask, i have modified several XBOX machines, given away modchipped systems for free, just a general little hobby i like to do from time to time.