TideLog Archive for the “Modding” Category

The drive looks like a BenQ, sounds like a BenQ, but ISN’T a BenQ! It’s in fact one of the new Liteon drives, that isn’t Plug ‘n’ Flash, like the BenQ. It has the same mechanics, PCB and casing, but different software, Microsoft’s latest crackdown on firmware modders.

You need to do the “half open tray” trick like the BenQ, but can’t power the drive down and up to keep it open, otherwise get Bad Serial Data errors. You need to either cut traces on the PCB to solder a switch and resistor, a bit like the old Hitachi 79DJ drives, or you can use an XeCuter Connectivity Kit Pro v3.

All I need to do is dump the key, and inject it into the BenQ VAD6038 from my Core (which has now given up completely, by the way, the console, not the drive), as I can use Bad Flash recovery on it, it’s much easier to work with. A lot more difficult than first thought! I just hope it’ll work with the Elite, and they’ve not locked the console to the Liteon in some way.

A new learning experience to add to my 360 repair skill arsenal…

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My 360 gave up again yesterday, and then came back again…. then died again. And then came back again!

So, I’ve preserved her precious last breaths, god bless her, and bought myself an Elite, hopefully with the new Jasper board. It’s the new 65nm die revision, with the extra 256MB Hynix RAM for the NXE updates. The GPU’s been revised too, for less heat, so (less chance of, NOT NO CHANCE like some are saying) of a RRoD.

If I do decide to mod, I’ll probably use my BenQ drive from my old Xbox (that’s if the Elite doesn’t have one), so it’s an easy firmware dump, key extract, inject into hacked, reflash job. Piece o’ cake!

I just can’t understand why they’re STILL USING electrolytic cans in the new boards. Solid state Jap cans are all the rage now, and are much less prone to drying out, or bursting. PC mothrboards have been using them for a while, and I personally replace electro with solid in any repairs I do.

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I don’t know how much longer she’s gonna keep fighting back, because the tearing has just come back:

She’s been one heck of a good console, and this is the first time anything like this has happened to me. I’ve seen it at work many times, and never thought it’d happen to me, not after so long, but it has. I suppose I’ll get myself a nice new Elite, mod it, and not go on Live, so that if I ever need to go on Live, once a method that works to stop you getting banned comes, I’ll use it, because the Stealth firmware let me down the first time I used it, and I no longer trust it as far as its so called “Live Stealth” is concerned.

It’s looking snowy for my chick in Saints Row 2, she looks a bit snowed up!

As long as I don’t turn it off, it’ll stay running, it’s just, well, snowy!

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I’m going to show you all my perfect way of backing up your games. I’ve been doing it this way for ages, and have never had any failures.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER

Before we start, I must make you aware that MODIFYING YOUR CONSOLE FIRMWARE IS ILLEGAL, and that you have to modify it to play backups. The backups you create MUST be for PERSONAL USE ONLY, any other distribution or use is possibly illegal, and in breach of Copyright and DMCA laws in some countries.

Secondly, I CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE for any legal action taken against you from you distributing backups from following my guide, for any failures during flashing Kreon firmware or burning backups, or simply because you don’t understand what you’re doing.

All advice in this article is followed AT YOUR OWN RISK. If your console decides to burst into flames after being modified, that’s not my problem, sue the hackers who created the firmware! Or if you like fighting useless battles, sue Microsoft (they’ll probably laugh you into a prison cell!)

Disclaimer over….. If I haven’t scared you (scaring you wasn’t my intention!), read on……

Recommended Setup:

DVD Burner on its own IDE/SATA Channel

I recommend your burner be on its own chain. This reduces the risk of buffer underruns and any other errors. having a hard drive, especially the one where images are stored for burning, or being read from, on the same cable, is a no-no.

I use SATA, so each device has its own cable, and is not daisychained.

No other programs running

This keeps your CPU nice and free, and keeps your RAM to a maximum. Your RAM is where data is stored as it’s being copied from the HDD to the burner, so if you’re running stressful programs, your burner is going to feel it, and you run the risk of ruining the disc, and DL discs are still not cheap throwaways! The flow of data needs to be constant.

Use a dual core CPU

This gives you more oomph, as any load is shared equally between cores. Self explanatory, really!

Plenty of RAM

This is a must, as I mentioned before, your RAM is the buffer between the hard drive, and the burner. Top quality RAM will make sure the data stays clean all the way from your HDD to your burner. 32 bit users should have no more than 3GB, as 32-bit can’t address more than this, and 64-bit can have as much as you want!

Defragmented hard drive

Think of your hard drive as my favourite analogy. A child’s bedroom. As toys (files) get played with (accessed/saved), they get strewn all around. This maeans the drive takes longer to find files, which can result in buffer under-runs. The files need to be re-organised into their correct places for accesses to be fast.

The Tutorial

1. Obtain a Samsung SH-D162C PC drive with Kreon

This step is really important. Normal PC drives can’t read the structure or security sectors (SS) of a 360 disk. The Kreon firmware is modified so that this Samsung drive will. The Kreon firmware will not work for other drives. I recommend you get one pre-flashed, I did my own, but that’s out of the scope of this tutorial. There are IDE & SATA versions available now, I got mine on launch, and it was only IDE at the time, so take your pick.

Once you’ve installed the drive, and flashed it (if it wasn’t already), move on..

2. Download and install Xbox Backup Creator

This is by far the easiest tool out there for doing backups, and is almost a single click. Download it from HERE and extract it somewhere. You’ll need ImgBurn installed too, so go grab a copy and install it BEFORE running XBC.

NOTE: If you’ve got a blank DVD-DL in your burner drive, the following error may come up. Don’t worry about it, it’s only because it’s trying to read a blank disc:

If you take the blank disc out, the error doesn’t appear. So, insert the 360 game you want to copy into your Samsung Kreon drive, and run XBC:

Make sure your Samsung Kreon drive is selected in the top drive list, as my SH-D162 is here. Note it does not say what Kreon version firmware is installed, just TS05, which is the Samsung firmware that the Kreon is based on. I have the latest Kreon in my drive, which is v1.00.

In the main status window, it says “Bytes used: 5.32MB”. DON’T worry, the disc is being read correctly, this is just the DVD partition that displays the “To play this disc, please insert it into an Xbox 360 console”, as this is all the PC itself can see.

Next, on the Read tab, under Image Style, choose Complete Backup, then hit Start. Sometimes the Start button is greyed out, flick between the tabs, and it should appear:

CAUTION: If you miss this step, and the Current Partition is selected, you’ll end up with just the DVD partition, which is useless!!

When you click Start, a dialog will pop up asking you for an image filename, and where to save it. My test game was Flatout Ultimate Carnage, saved into an “xbox” folder on my desktop:

Choose your folder and name, then hit Save. It’ll then start copying the image. To prove my point about the DVD partition earlier, here’s what I deliberately did:

I deliberately saved to a partition with not enough space to get this to come up. It needs 7.4GB, so it is copying the FULL game. So, here’s it working correctly:

It will also create a .dvd file. You MUST use this when burning the game later with ImgBurn. It is the layerbreak file, and without it, the partitions won’t match, resulting in an unplayable coaster. DO NOT select the ISO!

Follow me, and you’ll be fine!!

Next, should be when all is done!

Step 3: Burn your game to disc using ImgBurn!

ImgBurn is a great program. It has flawlessly burned discs for me with no problems. As long as you select the .dvd layerbreak file when selecting the image, it will burn fine. Using the ISO directly will fail.

First off, insert your blank DVD-DL (Verbatim, always Verbatim, where possible. I have used AONE in this tutorial, as they are my second favourite). Start ImgBurn, to be greeted by this screen:

Click “Write image file to disc”, and go to the folder you created your image. I’m finishing off a burn of Forza 3 here, instead of my Flatout earlier:

Select the .dvd layerbreak file, this is REALLY IMPORTANT:

Click Open. Then make sure 4x is selected as a burn speed:

After verifying your burner is correct, click the big icon of an image to disc on the left of the burn speed, and away she goes!! Until it completes, you will then be presented (hopefully!) with this dialog:

All done! Insert into your Xbox, and play away!

Note: This tutorial covers YOUR OWN backups. Backups downloaded from the internet will need to be verified by abgx360. A tutorial on this is to follow soon…

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Here is my girlfriend’s Kasumi’s Xbox – both she and I have worked on it for a while, and it has many mods – both on the hardware and software. Here is a list of the current specs of her box:

Case
Painted White/Blue
White/Blue Power Assembly LEDs
Blue Cold Cathode under Jewel
Custom Made Corona Jewel *Pending*
External On/Off Switch for Jewel Cathode
External Front Mounted USB Hub

Memory
128MB Ram (64MB soldered in)

Drives
200GB Hard Drive
Original Samsung Drive

Chip
Chameleon 1.0 – (Xecuter 3 Pending)

Other Mods
Ultra ATA 133 Replacement IDE Cable
12v Fan
MCPX Heatsync
USB Hub
Relay between USB Hub and Port 4 so that both are usable without an external switch

Software
*All software patched with Ram Delimiter)
Avalaunch dash
Xebien 1.0.2
All the other software that you would expect to be on a modded box

More Pictures

1. Under the Case Lid

2. Inside of Case with Mods labelled

The Relay works by detecting if there is a controller in port four. If there is a controller, the USB hub is shorted, and the controller connects. If there is no controller connected, the USB hub works. You cannot see this in the pictures, but there is a light on the hub that glows when it is powered. This goes out when the controller is plugged in. With this mod, she is able to use an internal USB hub with no external switches, as well as have full usage of her controller (even yellow wire is left intact)

3. Her external Cathode on/off switch

4. Her heavily modded HD tray cut to accomodate the USB hub

Upcoming Mods

DVD Window
Advanced Video Output (s-video and optical)
Xecuter 3 w/ LCD Screen
LCD Screen embedded in top of Case
Custom Corona Jewel By NoRemorse (shown below)

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