Xbox 360 DVD changer is the ultimate in gaming laziness

ben_heck_xbox_360_disc_changer

Let’s face it – gamers have a reputation for being pretty lazy. In the most recent episode of his web series, [Ben Heck] takes on the stereotypical gamer role and cranks the laziness factor to 11, lamenting the fact that he needs to get up off the couch to swap discs in his Xbox 360 console. Never allowing laziness get in the way of his hacking, he springs into action, hauling off to his shop in order to construct an Xbox DVD changer system.

He grabbed a pair of CD changers and popped them open to see how they operated. After choosing the best candidate based on its CD loading method, he got to work disassembling the changer. The old CD player and its guts were removed, which he replaced with DVD drive components ripped from his Xbox. Quite a bit of trimming and tweaking was required to swap out the components, but it seems that [Ben] got things working just fine.

With the mechanical portion of the project out of the way, he dug into the electronics. The CD changer had no way of knowing how to interface with the Xbox and vice versa, so [Ben] had to devise a way for the two devices to communicate. He used an Arduino Uno to control the systems, triggering the CD carousel only when the Xbox thought it had its drive slot opened.

While the system looks a bit unpolished, and the controller quite bulky, we love this thing!  No matter if you are lazy or not, jamming these two devices together is exactly what hacking is all about.

Comments

  1. Chris says:

    JTAG, Freeboot and a Large HDD…. Just saying.

  2. Will says:

    Yeah, benHeck is pretty good at trimming things down. :P You kind of need that making portables, like his 360 and PS3 laptops. Make this in one of those!

  3. Nick says:

    Some interesting info in the build, however I’m left a little disappointed that he didn’t create some sort of interface to tell what discs you are changing to.

  4. steve says:

    Yes. He definitely earned it…

  5. Hackerspacer says:

    LOL @ JTAG, Freeboot and a Large HDD…. Just saying.

    Much better solution.

  6. Anonymous Coward says:

    This would never be an issue if the crappy Xbox would let you play games off the HDD without requiring the original media in the drive. Last I checked JTAG only worked with certain FW version.

  7. fritoeata says:

    That is awesome!

    I don’t think Benheck would risk tarnishing his good name in “grey hat” affairs…(not black hat, but arguably white hat)

    …And besides, he can always say his xbox is bigger ;)

  8. ehrichweiss says:

    I considered doing almost the exact same thing except as a DVD-rom changer because, at the time, the best thing available was a Powerfile DVDrom changer, except nobody wanted under $1,000 each for them. Then as time went on, larger hard drives became available and it made more sense to simply copy my DVDroms to disk.

    I’d still consider this build if it were a bit less involved…which isn’t Ben’s fault by any means.

  9. Addidis says:

    This is by far, the coolest mod Ive ever seen.

  10. funkypunk says:

    laziness is the mother of invention

  11. sanchezsucio says:

    Chris, great idea!

    Oh wait, you can’t JTAG a new “S” console which is what he used.

    Oh and the vast majority of consoles in the wild are not JTAG-able any more either, unless you find a lucky RROD box that has sat for ages.

    And um, oh…you can’t safely take a JTAG online.

    Sweet idea!

    I will take the carousel changer any day.

  12. KP says:

    It’s neat and all… but if this was to solve the problem of getting off the couch a 50 foot hdmi cable (15$) would have been a better option. You can’t see what disc you’re on and it’s huge and ugly….

  13. Bluedodo says:

    Another option would be to use one of those CD changing robots like this http://www.cd-robotics.com/products/cd-copy-robot-EL1.php?m=1 I only thought of it because I saw some for cheap in an action for a business in recivership. But that wouldn’t be a cool as hacking a disc changer.

  14. Mark says:

    Great stuff and an actually decent show. I remember seeing the xbox 360 laptop on here for the first time. I plan on keeping up with new episodes, keep hacking Ben!

  15. joe says:

    It is a cool mod, but he did all that work just because he’s too lazy to walk from his couch to the console? Seems like his thinking is a bit ass backwards.

  16. foogoid says:

    Nice project! I’m sure there’s enough room left for the rest of the Xbox guts, though. Next step, make the IR remote control change the discs.

    They actually made CD-Rom drive with disc changers: http://www.dansdata.com/changer.htm
    I’ve got a 4-disc sitting around somewhere.

  17. password says:

    a long time ago i saw a +- 600 disk changer for a mp3 player someone build , used 6 racks and each rack used 10 piles of 10 disks, would be nice for home entertainment if you buy a crapload of disks

  18. PS3Fanboy says:

    I take my hat off for the mechanical part of the hack. Replacing an old CD player with a DVD one (and make it fit and work!).

    After that they cut too much in the show I think. Was hoping to see more from the arduino.

  19. Anand Singh says:

    I considered doing almost the exact same thing except as a DVD-rom changer because, at the time, the best thing available was a Powerfile DVDrom changer, except nobody wanted under $1,000 each for them. Then as time went on, larger hard drives became available and it made more sense to simply copy my DVDroms to disk.

    great work dude

  20. Eirinn says:

    @sanchezsucio Lol why so mad?

  21. smoker_dave says:

    I wonder how many manual disc changes could have been made using the energy it took him to make the hack.

    Not sure “energy” is the correct unit to measure with though. We need some new kind of unit for “laziness”. Maybe called the “CBA”?

  22. blue carbuncle says:

    Ben Heck constantly making us all look like clown shoes with his unique style and easy to understand instructions :) Go Ben! Keep up the great work!

  23. that1guy says:

    @joe

    Ben Heck does a lot of his projects with a tongue-in-cheek attitude. He doesn’t REALLY need a disc changer for his xbox, it’s just a fun project that he could use on his podcast. Don’t be a debbie downer.

  24. sanchezsucio says:

    @Eirinn

    Not mad, just pointing out how ridiculous Chris’ suggestion was. It’s not like you can just run out to the store and get a JTAG-able Xbox 360. You can easily run across a CD changer like this at a weekend garage sale, however.

    I love my JTAG Xbox, but they are relatively rare and not really applicable when your goal is to create a new and interesting hack. If Ben just ran out and hacked an Xbox, no one would care – it has been done hundreds of times and is dead simple if you have the right equipment. This hack requires far more creativity and work.

  25. Eirinn says:

    @sanchezsucio my question was about your attitude, no whether you are right or wrong lol :)

  26. tooth says:

    i dont think i Even have enough games to fill that thing lol, also i think the wife would not like that siting in our tv stand……(thinking ABOUT A GEEK/NERD CAVE OF WONDER)

  27. Chris says:

    I was only playing about jeesh, internets….. Benjamin J Heckendorn is brilliant and I always watch his show, hats off to the guy, black, grey or white it doesn’t matter, I salute you sir.

  28. Xeniczone says:

    I did this like 2-3 years ago with a Playstation 2 and a 5 disc changer. Search YouTube for “Playstation 2 CD Changer.” Though he beat me to using a modern console and using a larger disc set. I had purchased a 300disc changer to make a 300 Disc PS3, but never got around to it.

  29. Nardella says:

    His comment regarding opening the Xbox without damaging the casing was very amusing, as was the rest of the video.
    Good work!

  30. Jamen says:

    I’m kind of disappointed that he didn’t use the IR for the disc changer.

    I just bought a 360 for 15 dollars at a garage sale… but the disc drive won’t read discs. :(

  31. XboxGreyHat says:

    Jamen,

    A bad drive is no problem if you have the proper tools. You can always try adjusting the laser pot or cleaning the laser itself. If that fails, it is quite simple to dump the firmware (and DVD key) from your drive and then write it back to a replacement DVD drive. Once you determine what make and model drive you have, you can order a clean replacement online – writing the firmware from your stock drive to this drive makes them identical as far as MS is concerned, and you can go about your business as a law abiding xbox owner. There is nothing wrong with replacing your own hardware as long as you don’t load a firmware that enables you to play copied games.

  32. Just fucking stupid in this one… no need for the arduino… don’t pawn off the shit because you get commission!

    I own the SAME model sony cd player, you could have named each disc and hooked up a keyboard to it, use the existing IR remote to control which disc you want, etc…

    You really half ass’d this mod Ben.

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