Xbox 360 Hard Drive Adapter (redux)

[Chlazza] let us know about their Xbox hard drive to SATA adapter, allowing the use of an Xbox 360 (original) hard drive on a PC without voiding the drive’s warranty. Looking for a fun and enriching experience read: really bored and inspired by a previous adapter we featured, [Chlazza] set out to make their own and ended up succeeding with a board that costs less than $1 in parts. Of course the drive uses its own Fat32 based file system so there is still some hacking to do if you intended to read the data, but this is a step in the right direction.

24 thoughts on “Xbox 360 Hard Drive Adapter (redux)

  1. Brennan means that unlike the PS3, you cannot just use any hard drive you want. You have to buy hard drives from microsoft. The markup is rather high, and they dictate (arbitrarily) what size you can use.

    This board is certainly good clean work (after he corrects the sata pin traces), but there are already cheap adapters available that do this. The only difference I should note is that most others use USB for a power source and therefore don’t have an onboard power regulator.

    Yes, FATX, which means you’re need a program to access the data, you can’t just mount it directly in windows or linux (maybe linux, but not without alot of work).

  2. @osgeld, I think Brennan is referring to the use of the non pc-standard file systems, the proprietary hd enclosure, and the voiding of warranties if you wanted to replace the drive yourself.

    On a side note, if it’s out of warranty already, it doesn’t matter, and if it does break within warranty, just call MS up and replace it.

    Nice work though.

  3. yea its always used a non pc format, and neither xbox would allow changing the hard drive without voiding the warranty

    so I was wondering if there was something new or if were still getting our panties in a twist over a decade old thing

    and yes there is a few mini distro’s of linux in the xbox world that read fatX, so one could yoink that support out and add it to your main distro if you wanted

  4. There are plenty of software tools which will allow you to read/write FATx partitions. The hardware is just re-inventing the wheel. You can buy adaptors which use either USB or Molex for power with SATA connectivity, or just use the USB HDD transfer cable. Sorry to be a pessimist, but this is pointless.

  5. @Osgeld Sorry, I figured most people at HAD would know what I was talking about; I should have explained what I meant. But yeah, the previous posters explained it well.

  6. Dang, this is a what the hell moment.

    The HDD runs off of 5v, being a laptop-style 2.5″ drive.

    He has used a Linear regulator to get the 5v, he could have simply used a 5v switching power supply (or USB, since it is attaching to a computer).

    You can purchase $6.29 USB to Xbox drive transfer kits from China, while they don’t expose the raw SATA interface like this, I am sure they are nearly as good.

    Interesting concept though.

    There are Chinese OEM 250GB drives (from Limited Edition consoles) for $55, seems the way to go.

  7. Actually you CAN NOT just plug it into USB for power.
    From my survey of 2.5″ drives, current requirements ranged from 450mA to 800mA. A single USB port can’t provide that much power (it can provide 500mA max AFTER talking to the host controller and getting permission), and last I checked it’s a violation of the USB spec to wire the power lines from two ports in parallel (of course this doesn’t stop people sometimes). Of my (admittedly brief) search of the market, every single adapter I found had an external power supply (either a wall brick or a PC power supply).
    With the 2.1mm barrel jack, the idea was anybody hacking around at this level would probably have a power brick or two that can output 6 to 18 volts DC. Just plug it in and go.

    @Mike, @Xb0xGuru – I’d love to see the adapters you both mentioned that use USB as the sole power source. Can you give us a link or two?

    @nubie – Can you point me to those Xbox drive transfer kits as well?

    @Hackaday – It’s “me” not “their” – I’M Chlazza, singular not an organization. :)

  8. @Chiazza – apparently Google is too taxing for you.

    I just Googled ‘xbox 360 hdd sata connector’ and got this:

    “This Xbox 360 hard drive connector combines a SATA connector and a Mini USB connector into one plug. The Mini USB connector provides the power to the Xbox 360 HDD”


    “You can use SATA cable (included) and a USB cable from you digital camera or disk drive power (not included) to make the connections.”

    There are literally hundreds of these around. I use this one personally as I got it free with a USB->SATA solution

    again it states “360 HDD Adapter:
    Enables you to connect your Xbox 360 Sata Hard Drive via SATA cable to your PC without any fuss. It is a clean and tested design with no frills, perfect for the 360 enthusiast. Also supplied is an optional power power connection via a USB cable (not for data transfer). ”

    So tell me, what was so hard in searching yourself?

  9. In reply to the 360 HDD Transfer kits, they’re an official product supplied by Microsoft to allow a HDD to be connected (solely) to the USB port on the 360. They ship with replacement 120GB/250GB HDDs (or at least used to):

    Frankly I’m amazed that you spent all this time reinventing the wheel when a 10 minute search of the Internet would have answered a majority of your questions. I’m not ragging on you at all – props for your efforts. I just feel you might have wasted your time a little with this venture.

  10. dealextreme is the cheap china website that sells the adapters (and a million other things).

    sku 27797 is the $6.29 model.

    These are the same device in different brands and colors, from $6.61-$8
    sku 27135
    sku 31900
    sku 31901
    sku 35083
    sku 35082
    sku 35087
    sku 27798
    sku 25895
    sku 26392
    sku 35080
    sku 35081

    I will try posting some info from Microsoft and Gamestop in another post. Gamestop wants $20 for theirs, I believe Microsoft wants $15.

  11. Well, color me surprised.
    Like I said above, the lowest power drive I could find pulled 450mA. Adding 10% to account for current draw when spinning up and the current draw gets uncomfortably close to the 500mA hard limit the USB spec provides – hence the reason why I used an external power source. (Well, that and because I would have needed to put a microcontroller or similar on the board to talk to the USB host to request more power before turning the drive on.)

    But here I am, looking at first and third party solutions that apparently just plug into any old USB bus with one connector. The engineer in me is cringing.
    The fact that the official Microsoft device works in this capacity (assuming there isn’t some trick involved, like the USB ports on the Xbox 360 being capable of sourcing more than 500mA) makes me wonder if all the drives Microsoft selects for use in the Xbox 360 have a current draw significantly below 500mA.

  12. @Chlazza
    It’s pretty common for a manufacturer of proprietary hardware (microsoft) to use out-of-spec standards, like USB that will allow 1A @ 5v. Wouldn’t surprise me at all. — That said, if I was working with expensive hardware, I’d probably take the safe route like you did and add a power supply.

    Also, as far as the “their” is concerned I believe they were saying in the “his or her” sense, rather than the plural.

  13. @Chlazza – I would agree with Spork in that the 500mA limit on USB 2.0 is ‘ignored’ by a number of devices. I’ve seen many a retail external 2.5″ HDD powered from 1 USB port. Having said that, I’ve seen my fair share of drives using 2 ports (which is what should be happening and IMHO you could have adopted to stay away from a regulated PSU).

    There’s nothing special about the 360 HDDs per-se. With the exception of a security sector which allows it to be recognised by the console, it’s a standard 2.5″ SATA HDD. As others have mentioned, you can buy the same model drive and inject the security sector to make it functional on the 360.

  14. It’s been about a year and a half now since all the old 2xUSB power 2.5″ drives were phased out and replaced by the newer 500mA-is-enough-ones, so yes at one time most used more power, but time moved on and technology advanced (and they discovered that adding a 2 cent capacitor was not going to kill them) and now most work on 1 USb port, and as for the host controller needing a command to supply the 500mA, that’s clearly not correct, china produces tons of USB devices from cupwarmers to minifans to mini vacuums to mini-plasam globes that all just have a 2-wire USB connector that draws the power without any chips being used to exchange information.

    It’s only for USB3 and for the ‘charging mode’ in USB2 where it supplies 1A after detecting the mode and detaching the data lines that some logic is required, but that’s not needed for 500mA AFAIK.

  15. Well, let me be the first to say, good project. Very clean looking setup, nice board work, and I think it looks better than the original one you linked to. To everyone who is telling Chlazza that he is wasting his time and he should just go buy some sketchy piece of hardware from china, pay $0.99+$15 for shipping, wait 3 weeks, and hope it wasn’t destroyed on the way because it was only wrapped in a manilla envelope tied with string, cmon, we don’t need to support china, they already have the deed to the farm, so to speak.

  16. I didn’t say he should do that, I merely said it was an option.

    My actual comment on his project was that he could use a 5v switching power supply instead of a linear regulator.

    Every time I am in a second-hand shop I look for high-quality 12v and 5v switching power supplies. I even have one that supplies both!

    Needless to say, his idea allows the use of a spread of voltages, so it should service a wide range of tinkerer’s power supplies

    (PS there is no shipping charge and it costs under $7. None of the stuff I buy from them has been broken yet.)

    If I had the choice of buying his device (or just the PCB and SATA socket from his project) for $3, or the China made $6 USB device, I would pick his project. (If his was $1 with $2 shipping, etc.)

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