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This is one of my projects, wherein I hack on the original Xbox. Be advised that a lot of the information on this page could be wrong and you shouldn't rely on it.


Some projects I'm thinking of...



See an open letter from bunnie to find a free version of Hacking the Xbox.







There are some notes at AnandTech about Disassembling the Unit.


Based on this search I found and watched:

Also check out:




Trace corrosion repair

See Xbox trace corrosion repair.

Capacitor repair

See: PSA: Your Original Xbox may be ROTTING AWAY right now....

Basically for Xbox < v1.6 you need to replace or remove the Powerstor Aerogel capacitor (C7G2):


The PowerStor Aerogel is a 1F 2.5v SuperCap and it powers the clock for an hour or two, but it's smarter to leave it out because it's expensive and not very useful or reliable.

You can also replace these Nichicon HM (3300uF 6.3V) caps:



See how to tell what version original xbox you have or Identifying Your Xbox Revision. A quick and dirty method is to look at the manufacturing date on the back.

It was hard to find good info about Xbox revisions, so take these "facts" with a grain of salt.

Version check

Video Chip GPU fan? Power RAM Version
Conexant Fan 1 row v1.0
Conexant No fan 1 row v1.1
Conexant No fan 2 rows v1.{2,3}
Focus No fan 2 rows v1.{4,5}
Xcalibur No fan 2 rows Samsung v1.6
Xcalibur No fan 2 rows Hynix v1.6b

Hardware Serial Number

Serial number format:

Code Meaning
L is the number of the production line within the factory
NNNNNN is the number of the Xbox produced during the work week
Y is the last digit of the production year
WW is the number of the week of the production year
FF is the code of the factory where the Xbox was manufactured

Per Everything I've Ever Learned About the Original Xbox Part 2- Motherboard Revisions the serial numbers indicate these revisions:

Serial Number Revision
LNNNNNN 23WFF 1.0, 1.1
LNNNNNN 33WFF 1.4, 1.5

Factory Codes

Factory Location Revision
02 Mexico 1.0 or 1.1
03 Hungary 1.0
05 China 1.2 (or later)
06 Taiwan 1.2 (or later)

Revision by Manufacturing Date

Per Everything I've Ever Learned About the Original Xbox Part 2- Motherboard Revisions the manufacturing date indicates these revisions:

Date Range Revision
2001-01 - 2002-07 1.0
2002-08-18 - 2003-01-25 1.1
2002-12-01 - 2004-03-15 1.2
2003-03-02 - 2003-07-26 1.3
2003-07-20 - 2004-04-10 1.4, 1.5
2004-03-14 - 2004-09-06 1.6
2004-09-13 - 2005-08 1.6b

Revision Notes

Revision Factory Date GPU Fan? DVD-ROM Hard Drive Video Chip Notes
1.0 Hungary, Mexico Early to mid-2001 Fan Thomson Seagate Conexant
1.1 Mexico, China No fan Thomson Seagate Conexant
1.2 China No fan Philips, Thomson Western Digital, Seagate Conexant
1.3 China No fan Samsung, Philips, Thomson Seagate 10GB Conexant
1.4 China No fan Samsung, Philips, Thomson Western Digital 10GB Focus
1.5 China No fan Samsung, Philips, Thomson Western Digital 10GB Focus This is a rare version and may not even exist.
1.6 China, Taiwan No fan Samsung, Philips, Thomson Western Digital 10GB Xcalibur Xbox 1.6 BIOS chips are EPROM only, can't be rewriten

Xbox BIOS Version Number

Boot the Xbox in dashboard mode by powering up without a disc in the DVD-ROM drive. Go to Settings and then System Info.

K: kernel version
D: dashboard version
Xbox Revision Kernel Version
1.0 3944, 4034, 4036, 4627
1.1 4817, 4972
1.2–1.5 5101, 5713
1.6 5838



@Sab on ConsoleMods discord says CerBIOS is generally considered the best one. Except if you need to support XboxHD+ which requires a specific patch for full functionality.



You can read about the Xbox technical specifications.

Mod chips


See Wikipedia for details, basically:

   CPU: 32-bit 733 MHz, custom Intel Pentium III Coppermine-based processor in a Micro-PGA2 package (though soldered to the mainboard using BGA). 180 nm process.
       133 MHz 64-bit GTL+ front-side bus (FSB) to GPU (1.06 GB/s bandwidth)
       32KB L1 cache. 128 KB on-die L2 cache
       SSE floating point SIMD. Four single-precision floating point numbers per clock cycle.
       MMX integer SIMD


Apparently all RAM is compatible except for v1.6b (says Bomb Bloke).

D0 points

You need to ground D0 to enable some mod chips.


Intel debug pins

1 Over here Anand says "The motherboard itself is manufactured by Intel and is a 4 layer design. Intel's trademark debug pins are also present on the motherboard although the pins themselves are missing. For those of you that have never used an Intel motherboard before, shorting the debug pins allows you to enter the BIOS configuration utility. We have yet to try shorting the debug pins on our unit but we'd be surprised if doing so didn't have a similar effect. You shouldn't expect too much to be contained within the Xbox BIOS but it'd be something interesting to toy around with in any case." -- so definitely want to look into that.

LPC pinout

Xbox LPC pinout.png


The first TV I got for testing was this one: Portable 12" 1080P TFT HD Digital TV Car USB HDMI Video Player Television.

The second TV I got for testing was this one: TEAC 19" HD DIGITAL FHD LED LCD TV & DVD PLAYER COMBO 12/240v LEV19A119.

DVD drives

According to my mate Alex: there's usually four types of disc drive, those being: Philips, Samsung, Thompson, and Hitachi. The Thompson ones are known for failure and the general consensus is that Samsung is the best though it's also known for having "sticking" issues. Philips is good and has less of a failure rate than the Thompson without the tray getting stuck like the Samsung.

Xbox DVD.png

DVD drive belts

Per Everything I've Ever Learned About the Xbox Part 3- Common Repairs you can use Xbox 360 drive belts for replacements in Samsung and Philips drives. But Thompson drives use larger belts. Apparently you can wash Thompson belts in hot soap and water to clean off dirt and grime.

HDD drives

All drives are only 8GB usable.

Xbox HDD.png

Power boards

In Everything I've Ever Learned About the Original Xbox Part 2- Motherboard Revisions the speaker says that power supplies can be switched within these groups:

  • v1.0-1.1
  • v1.2-1.5
  • v1.6

And that you shouldn't switch power supplies between version groups.

In How to tell what version original xbox you have the speaker says there are four main types of power board, as shown in the following graphic, (but I think this is specific to NTSC boards and things are different for PAL systems?):

Xbox Power Board.png

Power connector

Some good prior reading is the Wikipedia Molex connector article. See real world power usage (max observed 8.6A).

I asked about this on reddit and was referred to this pinout which I stole:


I'm not sure (yet) if I got this right or not, but I ordered the following from

For Xbox part number (MS P/N): X0161-001 (v1.0-v1.1 single-row):

For Xbox part number (MS P/N): X01734-003 (v1.2-v1.6 double-row):

For IDE/PATA HDD power:

Power safety cord

See EEVblog #1164 - Xbox Engineering Baptism Of Fire for a run down on how the Xbox safety cord issued by Microsoft works. They sent these out instead of doing a product recall. I have one or two of them.


There's some good info over here:

For reading/writing EEPROM see:

Q. how do I try the master passwords? do I take the disk out and plug it into a PC? the system is FRAGing so can't boot. there's no mod chip installed.

A. Indeed, you hook it to your PC and then see if you can get it to unlock. Recommend FATXplorer for this. If no master password is accepted, then you'll need to dump your EEPROM and hand that to FATXplorer. Alternate option is to dump your EEPROM, then use your reader to write it back into a working Xbox motherboard. Readers can also write. 🙂 Note that different Xbox models use different EEPROM formats, though there are PC-based tools that can convert between them if need be.

This screenshot taken from 2020 OG XBOX Softmod Guide - upgrade HDD - Rocky5 + XBMC4GAMERS indicates what is kept in EEPROM:

Xbox EEPROM settings.png


Such as this one over here: Startech.Com IDE to SATA Hard Drive or Optical Drive Adapter Converter - 40-Pin

Also from Amazon: IDE to SATA Hard Drive or Optical Drive Adapter Converter - 40-Pin PATA to 2.5 inches SATA HDD/SSD/ODD Converter, Red (IDE2SAT2)

StarTech IDE to SATA.png


See Xbox Troubleshooting.

Fire, fire, fire!

Some early Xbox power boards had the risk of catching fire.

See EEVblog #1164 - Xbox Engineering Baptism Of Fire.

According to Bomb Bloke: The affected Fox Link PSUs are only in 1.0s, I think, and even not all 1.0s have them. Later Fox Link designs improved on matters. The issue is that the mains socket isn't properly anchored to the actual PCB, it's pretty much just solder holding it in place. Mess with the socket too much and the solder cracks, and running mains power through cracked solder causes sparks. The solder can be reflowed, though, and you can re-enforce the socket so's it won't crack again. Add some glue for eg.

Blinking Light Codes

See Xbox Error Codes for more details.

Light Meaning
Solid red overheated
Flashing green bad bios load
Flashing red-orange bad video output
Flashing red-green system failure (can be a lot of things)


See List of Xbox games.



Capacitor kits

Clock capacitor

Power capacitors

LPC rebuild board


  • EEPROM and TSOP are different
    • EEPROM is 256 bytes of storage
    • TSOP contains BIOS code (including the kernel)
  • The BIOS is loaded from a modchip or the TSOP
    • "most all custom BIOSes are just hacked up versions of the original firmware. The initial edits basically just involved turning off the DRM, but fancier features came along over time."
  • XboxHDM sources
  • The Kernel is installed in the TSOP
  • The Dashboard is installed on the HDD
  • Notes on clock capacitors:
    • the clock caps on v1.6 boards use Nichicon branded 1 farad caps & they're a known good brand
    • v1.0-v1.4 boards use the same leaky caps & they're not nichicon/chemicon/(insert known good brand)
    • the v1.5 board hasn't been proven to exist
  • Modchips I've heard of so far:
    • Aladdin XT PLUS2
      • w/ EvoX BIOS on them, probably ver M8+
    • OpenXenium
      • "OpenXenium is basically an attempt to remake Xecuter chips, while keeping the new design public."
  • TSOP flash options:
    • X2 5035
    • EvoX M8+
    • Titan (a further patch set for the M8+)
      • Titan with the XboxHD+ features seems ideal.
      • "To me, Titan's most exciting feature is the ability to crank the UDMA mode to achieve faster speeds across the IDE ribbon. Hardware has always supported it, but the firmware never did."
    • CerBIOS
      • "is also an interesting up-and-coming BIOS, but my attempts to find documentation for it haven't been fruitful. Makes me wary about recommending it."
  • "a decent modchip does provide stuff like XeniumOS, which frankly is a really good thing for an inexperienced modder to have"
    • "I'm not sure how many decent modchips are still in production."
      • "OpenXenium is decent and still being made (slowly), so you'll hear about that one a lot."
      • "But something like an X3 is also decent. You'll just never find them any more."
      • "I think Aladdins were decent, but all the ones being made now are bad clones. But it's not something I've seriously looked in to, so take that with a grain of salt."
  • Are there any BIOSes which aren't "just hacked up versions of the original firmware"?
    • "Yes, Cromwell (and everything that's a hacked up version of Cromwell, eg XBlast)."
    • "Cromwell is built from scratch, it's firmware that doesn't use any of Microsoft's code. Can be distributed totally legally."
    • "But no, it can't run XBEs at all. It's only intended for booting Linux."
  • In DVD drives use Lithium grease to lubricate rails, gears, and other plastic parts that make contact.
  • In Game Restart (IGR):
    • LT + RT + Back + Black
    • LT + RT + Back + Start
  • The clock capacitor goes through the two holes on the right which are closer to each other than the ones on the left are.
    • the cathode (short wire) faces the back, the anode (long wire) towards the front