Bricking a Seagate drive while trying to make it work in an Xbox 360

If you’re looking to replace the hard drive in your Xbox 360 without just buying an official unit, you may be out of luck. There is a tool which will let you do it if you are using aWestern Digital drive as the replacement. But if your new drive is a Seagate this tool will not work. [Darth Circuit] set out to make his Seagate work in the Xbox 360, but his manual changes ended up bricking the drive because of just one little error.

The tool that does this with WD drives is called HddHackr. [Darth] started his quest by finding out what the program actually does. In order to stand in for the original drive the new one must have the same model number, serial number, LBA, and firmware revision. Once these values are changed in a binary file it is written to the drive at a specific location. He changed these values on the drive itself, and got pretty far. That is until he tried a new command which ended up locking him out of the drive. Right now it’s pretty much a brick but we hope someone can pick up where he left off and turn this work into something useful for others. Good luck!

One console to rule them all

[Bacteria] retro console modder extraordinaire, is back at it with a rather massive project. “Unity”(originally Dubbed Alpha Omega), this will be a single unit that can play games from 20 different console systems. It will run from one power supply, have one video output, and strangely enough, one controller.

[Chris Downing] was nice enough to tip us off to a video of the Unity controller in action.  The controller isn’t quite as bulky as we would have assumed with the extensive list of consoles it has to support, but that could be, in part, due to the fact that you actually swap out the brains for the controller for each system’s compatibility.

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Computer control for your Xbox controller

This wiring nightmare lets [H. Smeitink] map all the buttons from an Xbox 360 controller to his PC. It gives him the ability to push control input from his PC to the console. But it goes a step further than that because it actually acts as a pass-through device. He connected a wired controller to the computer and uses a program he wrote to translate those inputs and send them to the hacked controller.

The software is written in C#. It’s got a recording function that lets him save the keypress data from the wired controller while it’s sent to the Xbox in real time. When he finds a combination that he uses frequently he plucks out those commands, sets them up as a macro, and assigns one of the buttons to execute it. The controller hack uses one transistor for each button, and a PIC 18F4550 which controls them and provides USB connectivity with the PC.

This isn’t one nice package like some integrated rapid-fire and macro solutions we’ve seen. But it certainly opens up a lot more possibilities. See for yourself in the clip after the break.

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Rapid fire update brings many new features

[Shawn McCombs] has been spending some time refining his Xbox 360 rapid fire hack. This time around he’s got a lot more features, many of which we haven’t really seen before.

When we looked at the original project he had added an ATtiny85 which read a potentiometer to set the rapid fire speed for one of the buttons. This time around he’s opened up settings for individual weapons in the game. For instance, if you have a hand-gun and a rifle, you can set different rapid fire rates for each to account for the reload speed for those guns. He patched into the ring of LEDs on the controller in order to indicate which preset is currently chosen. There are three tactile switches on the underside of the controller too. One of them is a reset button which gets you back to your primary weapon and the default rapid fire rate. Settings for each weapon are saved to the EEPROM so you won’t lose them when the controller goes to sleep. Check out [Shawn’s] description of the project in the video after the break.

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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.

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Broken Xbox 360 converted into an arcade controller


Like many Xbox 360s out there, [Aaron’s] console succumbed to the dreaded three red lights of death. Since it seemed to be unrepairable, there wasn’t a lot that could be done with it other than throw it out. Rather than be wasteful however, [Aaron] thought of a great way to reuse the console’s outer shell.

He’s a big fan of fighting games, and as everyone knows, this genre is best played with an arcade-style controller. The 360’s shell seemed to be just about the right size, so he gutted it and got busy constructing his own arcade controller. With the console cleared out, he installed all of his arcade bits, wiring them to a stripped third-party Xbox controller.

He installed a four port USB hub to the front of the console, enabling use of the 360’s USB ports, and rewired the power button to trigger the Xbox Guide button. A shiny coat of paint later, and he was ready to play.

Keep reading to see a short video of [Aaron’s] arcade stick in action, and check out the picture gallery he put together of the controller’s construction.

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Hybrid control scheme using an Xbox game pad and Kinect


The Kinect is an interesting beast. On one hand, it’s fantastic for hacking – a purpose for which it was not designed. On the other hand, it’s “just OK” when it comes to gaming – its entire reason for being.

One of the big complaints regarding the Kinect’s control scheme is that it’s no good for games such as first person shooters, where a large majority of the action involves walking, jumping, and aiming. For his Master’s project, [Alex Poolton] put together a fantastic demonstration showing how the Kinect can be paired with a standard Xbox controller to provide hybrid gaming input.

While you might expect a simple game that shows the fundamentals of the hybrid control system, he has put together a full fledged game demo that shows how this control scheme might be implemented in a real game. [Alex] admits that it’s still a bit rough around the edges, but there’s some real potential in his design.

Continue reading to see a video demonstration of [Alex’s] project in action, and be sure to check out his blog for news and updates on the project.

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