Friday, November 5, 2010

Finished product: heavily modded xbox 360

I found a solution to my previous problem of not being able to put the dvd drive back into the xbox after I installed a new hsf on the gpu. I decided to mount the dvd drive onto the top of the enclosure, along with another 100mm fan. It isn't very portable anymore, but it works for me.

In this post I will show how to mount the dvd drive on top of the enclosure, add a 100mm slim fan, and change the 12v stock fans on the 360 from variable to constant power.

Parts List:
drill (I used a dremel)
drill bit for a 6-32 screw
4x 2" 6-32 screws
8x 1" 6-32 screws
4x 1" 6-32 union
4x 6-32 nuts
soldering iron
electrical tape
wire strippers (Can also use a knife)
100mm slim fan
insulated wire (stranded if possible)

First thing I did was use my dremel to drill some through holes on the top of the plastic xbox enclosure. In a normal xbox, there are 4 long screws that screw in from the bottom of the metal enclosure, go through the dvd drive, and screw into the top of the enclosure. Where these 4 screws screw into is where I drilled holes.

Next step is to cut the dvd drive down to size. The dvd drive has 4 plastic legs. I cut those off with a dremel. Now, align the dvd drive up with the 4 holes. It won't be a perfect fit, so some force will have to be used. Use the 4x 2" 6-32 screws. The screws go in pretty tight, so don't strip them. This takes a long time if a drill isn't used. Don't put them all the way in, just a little bit to make sure this can be done later.

The next part is going to require using more dremel skills. Or a hole saw can be used and skip to the next part of this post. This is where I'm adding the 100mm fan next to the dvd drive. Line up the dvd drive with the 4 holes. Then place the 100mm fan next to the dvd drive, almost directly over the cpu heat sink. I used a pencil to color in the 4 mounting holes and to draw a 100mm circle using the inner side of the fan housing.

I used a standard dremel bit on high speed to cut an ugly circle that had about a 1/4" smaller radius. Don't worry about the metal underneath for a minute. I then grabbed the larger sander piece (looks like a cylinder). I used it on low speed and worked my way to the edge of the pencil circle I drew. Make sure all the plastic balls are gone so it doesn't interfere with the fan.

Then on the backside, where the metal is, I cut a square. I used a regular dremel bit to do this. Make the square is bigger than the hole that was just cut out. Make sure that it's also bigger than the 4 through holes you're going to make in a second. I sloppily used a caliper to measure where about the holes should be. The square doesn't have to look pretty because it is hidden in the final product.

Time for making through holes to mount the fan. Grab that drill bit that was used to make the holes for the dvd drive. If a dremel is being used, make sure it is as straight as possible in the chuck. I started out on low speed to make a small hole, then switched to high speed to finish it off. Cut the connector on the fan off and rout the wires to come out of the bottom side of the fan. Use 4x 1" 6-32 screws and the 4x nuts to mount the fan. I made them finger tight.

Time to make a small hole on the top of the enclosure for the dvd wires to go through. I used a dremel to make a few cuts. Then smoothed out the edges with a smaller circular bit on the dremel. You're going to need a new sata cable, I recommend a 90 degree one.

Now put the dvd drive on. Screw it until it's flush with the top of the enclosure. If it feels like it's going to break it, then stop. No sense in breaking it if bigger holes can solve the problem. Once the screws are all the way in, attach the 4x 1" 6-32 unions to the ends of them.

Time to power the fan. It might be a good idea to add extensions to the wires so there is more room to move the enclosure piece around in case dis-assembly is required. The previous solder point I showed might be getting full, so this spot is also a good one to use. It is on the same plane as the other chip and offers the same amount of power.

12v fan speed boost
This will increase the speed of the stock double fan that MS provides. It helps a lot in temps, but makes the xbox sound like an airplane engine.

Find the 4 pin connector of the fan. Cut the red and brown wire; as close to the connector as possible. You will need to add extensions to these so it can reach a different power source. Try to use stranded wire, but single-core will work too. Just strip away about a half inch of insulation, and twist the two ends of the wire together. Then use electrical tape to keep them together and insulate them.

Now route them over to the new power source. I used this one.

Time for reassembly.
Put the mobo back in, and re-attach the on/off button. Place the top of the enclosure onto the mobo enclosure. Turn it over, and insert the 1" 6-32 screws into the holes that used to hold the dvd drive. Screw them into the other end of the unions that were added before. The rest should be the same as a regular xbox.