Reclaim the wireless controller module from a broken Xbox 360

If you’re one of the hordes whose Xbox 360 died the fiery death associated with the RRoD you may be wondering what to do with that multi-hundred dollar door stop you’re left with. Why not salvage the parts for other uses? If you’ve ever wanted to use your wireless controller with a computer here’s a way to pull out the RF module and reuse it.

The concept is simple enough, there’s a daughter-board in the Xbox 360 which hosts the RF module for wireless controller connectivity. Once you extract it from the carcass of the beast, you just need to find a way to read and push the data to your computer. Any USB enabled microcontroller will do, in this case an Arduino nano was chosen for the task. A bit of level converting was necessary to interface with the device, but nothing too involved.

It sounds like at first there was an issue with syncing a controller with the hacked module, but as you can see in the clip after the break that problem has been solved.

[via Build Lounge]

Comments

  1. peet says:

    seen this a lot of times before…

  2. cdub says:

    People try to fix the RROD first before destroying your hardware. If you replace the crappy x clamps and use some artic silver with some good screws you can revive your dead xbox360. I have fixed two xbox360’s that had the RROD and all at a cost of about 10 to 15 dollars including the thermal paste.

    • Drake says:

      Not 100% though.

      I have fixed many myself … but some never worked again even after being reballed professionally. …

      Anywho broke hardware being repurposed is awesome

      I think I will add this to my robot … or attach it to a uno to act like the wireless version from PC …. that would be smart

    • regomodo says:

      I bought 1 with x-clamp, fan-mod & artic-silver changes done. It lasted 2 weeks until an E74. I reflowed the ANA chip which fixed it for a day. Attempted a reflow of the GPU @200C(2mins), nothing. @250C(2mins), dead with RROD.

  3. COREYEYE says:

    Nice but at 9 dollars online and a bit of drive know how. You can have your wireless hooked up in no time from ebay.

  4. jcroll says:

    Excellent!

    Unfortunately for me, after watching ‘Hoarders’, I cleaned out my basement, and threw out four or five Xbox360s I could not repair.

    ‘ (maybe I have one around there I missed…)

  5. MobileWill says:

    This is sweet. Giving me all kinds of ideas for my robot rebuild!! Click my name to see what I currently have.

  6. Anon says:

    I agree with cdub. Any Idiot who takes a 360, and rips it apart like this w/o fixing it at all is an idiot. Eventhe supplies to fix it are cheaper than all the stuff to hook it upto the computer, and even so the 1 time buying supply for the kit to take apart the 360(which is better than using standard tools and quicker) is a 1 time purchase. Just like cdub, I have fixed 3 360’s and got paid to do so, 50$ a fix better than the 75$ other places were charging. 150$ to fix 3 360’s? I mean come on?
    The Kit to open the 360, 29$ Maybe 19$ if u are lucky like me. 1 time buy mind you.
    Heat gun(I prefer a heat gun than a reflow gun plus it is cheaper) 14-19$
    Thermal Paste, Pads, screws, and clamps, which comes in a kit for 14$ to fix the 360’s 1 per xbox. Mind you the paste is enough for like 3-4 360’s alone. All the rest in the kit needed for 1.
    And Time.
    Ok 30+14+19+time= 63-75? I can live with that for 1 360, to be a little bit over to get Started, we all take losses to get started in the begining.
    Also if you dont plan on doing this on the side only for you. 75$ is better than getting all the supplies above for the comp control aspect. Plus a useless 360? Um no?
    BUT!!!!
    Now After the Inital Kit/Gun.
    14$+TiME + MAJOR PROFIT! 36$ Profit. And you reuse the Gun and the First Kit and keep doing so, first time you fix another 360 which happens alot to me now, you are making decent money.

    NOW This all above is NULL AND VOID…. IF the 360 has a FRIED Board…. Which I have come across burnt, kabloooey. Yes RROD still occurs with a BURNT BOARD…. So, this above will come in handy if the BOARD IS FRIED BEYOND ANYTHING or Broken… which happens when a 360 gets dropped or pulled off and has fallen to its death.

    SO yes it is good for BROKEN BEYOND REPAIR but, not for people who THINK rrod is the end all and then needs to rip it apart and repurpose it for other things. Fix the DAMN THING and resell it if yo uare so good at what you do. Geeze.

    • Tom says:

      Don’t take this the wrong way or anything, I’m not trying to be provocative but
      are all the caps really necessary?

      • Anon says:

        Yes, Technically… and yes, it EMPHASISES the point. Since people tend to look over words, and look over certain points inta paragraph, sentence, letter etc. Depending on what it is.

        Iam not some idiot, who capitalizes the whole post, nor do I like caps like that period. Especially when a person talks in caps, all the time. I use it to get a point across, and sometimes in life you should show since you are alive I figure, you need to get a point across and speak louder or more stern, or more agressive. That is the point, and it can happen in 1 sitting going up and down in voice and tone.

        So to your question, and my answer is yes. My emphasises, were needed as if i was talking to you in person.

        • Ian says:

          “Any Idiot who takes a 360, and rips it apart like this w/o fixing it at all is an idiot.”

          So if the idiot takes your advice I’m assuming he is still an idiot?

          “Iam not some idiot, who capitalizes the whole post”

          Just so I’m clear what percentage of capitalization makes you an idiot? And if it turns out you qualify, will you tear apart your 360?

          How do you feel about morons? Cretins? Nitwits? Why are you picking on idiots?

      • Whoever says:

        But you don’t _have_ to be a douche bag to emphasize words, there are *many* (better) ways to do it.

    • durfdee says:

      odd. all the caps just made me mostly skim/skip your post. you should rethink what you consider an effective communication mechanism on the internet.

      when you speak and emphasize words, do you shout every other important word just in case the other person isn’t paying attention anymore?

  7. DMattox says:

    I second the Ebay motion, type in “XBox 360 RF” and for 10 bucks you’ve got OEM, for ~12, you’ve got custom LED’s shipped to your doon with now work, on an RF module. I didn’t know that they solved the syncing problem. Now that they have I just ordered a module to use with my HTPC.

  8. ejonesss says:

    @ cdub

    the rrod is (i thought) caused by bad solder connections on the scaler chip.

    wrapping a towel around the unit causes the xbox to overheat and re flows the solder (supposedly) reviving a dead unit.

    as of the 2 diodes if you can put the wireless unit inside the pc and you can get away with voltage as low as 2.5 then you can tap the 3.3 volt line used for the ram.

    the 3.3 volt lines are the orange wires

    24 pin connector http://www.marnscda.com/Guide/Short24pin.jpg

    20 pin connector

  9. Rob K says:

    Um.. am I stroking out, or is there no mention of an Arduino Nano on the source link?

  10. thp777 says:

    some of those cheap recievers on ebay dont work with win 7 64bit tho so it depends what your OS is.

  11. Wolfi says:

    I’ve done something similar to this, but without the arduino, my controller was paired with the xbox b4 it broke, so I soldered a usb lead to the socket after finding a pin-out on the internet and plugged it str8 into the pc. Think I popped a diode into the mix somewhere too. works flawlessly, gr8 mod :)

  12. DMattox says:

    @ Tom, yes, the caps are necessary, I try to be professional in everything I do. @thp777, Windows 7 x64 Ultimate is what I am running, do you recommend 32 bit reinstall, or cross my fingers with the ordered module? A third option is to place the ordered module in my 360, and use the original 360 module with the HTPC?

  13. Patrick D says:

    Hmm this makes me want to see what else can be pulled out of my RRoD Xbox……

  14. biozz says:

    i LOVE how microsoft does not try to reinvent the wheel with there protocalls

  15. cdub says:

    SO the issue I have seen is with the design of the x clamps which is beyond poor. Over time the bend in the clamp does not apply sufficient pressure to the heat sinks which causes the RROD. I used flush hex screws as you can apply a lot more force to make them really tight. Also I would recommend thoroughly cleaning all of the surfaces then apply the thermal paste tighten down the heat sinks and then power on the unit without plugging back in the fans this will heat up the chips and even out the thermal paste it. The 360 has thermal sensors so once it gets too hot it will output some text stating that the unit over heated. plug everything back in and power on the 360 again and you should have a working unit. Mine and my friends I fixed have both been running for almost a year without issue. So please try and fix your hardware before you destroy it for another project.

  16. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220947216158#ht_500wt_1413

    I’m selling some RF modules from bad xboxs on eBay… If you mention Hack A Day in the note, I’ll give you free shipping!

  17. NewCommentor1283,ihatetorx says:

    personally i wouldnt want an xbox logo anywhere near my house… i stand for oversized heatsinks and capacitors, not junk that lasts maybe 6 months! i’d rather get something once, instead of getting it three times b4 the warranty expires (3 trips to the store) and then have to fix it myself 3 times before the cheapy powersupply finally dies.

    three warranty replaces and three repairs during the normal lifecycle of the unit AKA “XBOX360″
    is unacceptable!

    but i hear the wireless module works for years… hmm and the plastic logo on the controller itself could be removed too…

    PS: i wouldnt want to be caught-dead selling or fixing someone’s xbox360 btw, i dont want to get paid for something thats just going to break again after 6 months! because im not a asyjack with money, im honest and i tell it like it is.

    IT WILL BREAK AGAIN.

    • moddersunited says:

      bought one used for 50 dollars, put another 50 dollars into it adding a lexan case and 2 cold cathodes and 20 LEDS. Ive pushed this rig for 2 years, and an ineffable amount of hours. My point being: Xboxs die because idiots don’t take care of them, quit hiveminding

  18. Biased says:

    Back to discussion about the original post, does anyone know how to convert the arduino code for controller sync to any other format? I’ve never touched arduino and i certainly dont feel like wasting the money on a multipurpose device with only a singular need

  19. polossatik says:

    for TI lovers: Ti Launchpad controlling an Xbox 360 RF Module

  20. lint says:

    Would be awesome to see this adapted for use on an original xbox.

  21. latok says:

  22. AnotherDave says:

    Will this enable the use of the Chatpad through RF on the PC? There is a Chatpad-Super-Driver for the Chatpad but it requires USB connection to the pc. If it can do this I would be more than willing to burn through a few 360 RF modules from ebay to get a media pc in the living room that works wirelessly through the xbox controller and chatpad.

  23. Sam says:

    soooooooo dope! perfect for my current project

  24. Luke says:

    Okay so is it possible to wire this into 4 gamecube ports on a wii? Hard wire, solder, pcb adapter, I’m willing to do about anything here. Please help.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 93,583 other followers