Home consoles were never intended to be made portable, though enterprising hackers have always pushed the boundaries with various tricks and innovative builds. [Robotanv] hasn’t built a fully handheld Xbox Series S, but he has demonstrated one neat trick: making one run on a USB powerbank.
The project starts with an Anker USB-C powerbank, chosen for its ability to deliver a mighty 140 watts. It’s hooked up to a ZY12PDN USB-C trigger board, which enables the powerbank and tells it which voltage to output. It’s set up to run at 20 volts, which is too much for the Xbox, which prefers 12 volts. The reason for this is that the only way to get the full power out of the powerbank is to run at its maximum voltage. A buck converter is used to step down the voltage to 12 volts.
As for the console itself, a lot of disassembly is required, but minimal modifications. Just two wires connect the power supply to the Xbox’s motherboard. Subbing in your own 12 volt supply here is enough to run the console without any problems.
Running the Xbox off the powerbank, along with an external screen, [Robotanv] is able to play Cyberpunk 2077 for an about hour before the juice runs out. While we’d love to see the whole setup duct-taped together into a ersatz Xbox portable, it would probably be a little messy. [Robotanv] has big plans for the future of the project, though, and we can’t wait to see what those are. Continue reading “Running The Xbox Series S On A USB Powerbank”→
Anyone who’s owned a game console from the last couple of generations will tell you that the machines are becoming increasingly like set-top computers — equipped with USB ports, Bluetooth, removable hard drives, and their own online software repositories. But while this overlap theoretically offers considerable benefits, such as the ability to use your own USB controller rather than being stuck with the system’s default, the manufacturers haven’t always been so accommodating.
There is nothing worse than that sinking feeling as a computer or other device fails just after its warranty has expired. [Robotanv] had it with his Xbox Series S whose power supply failed, and was faced with either an online sourced PSU of uncertain provenance, or a hefty bill from Microsoft for a repair. He chose to do neither, opening up his console and replacing the broken PSU with a generic external model. See the video below the break.
The Xbox appears surprisingly well designed as a modular unit, so accessing and unplugging its PSU was quite easy. To his surprise he found that the connections were simply two wires, positive and negative lines for 12 V. The solution was to find a suitably beefy 12 V supply and wire it up, before continuing gaming.
Beyond that simple description lies a bit more. The original was a 160 W unit so he’s taken a gamble with a 120 W external brick. He’s monitoring its temperature carefully to make sure, but with his gaming it has not been a problem. Then there’s the board wiring, which he appears to have soldered to pads on the PCB. We might have tried to find something that fit the original spade connectors instead, but yet again it hasn’t caused him any problems. We’d be curious to see what has failed in the original PSU. Meanwhile we’re glad to see this Xbox ride again, it’s more than can be said for one belonging to a Hackaday colleague.
One of the coolest things in the retro gaming scene is making desktop consoles into portables. [Millomaker] is building an XBox 360 handheld, and the first step is shrinking the console’s motherboard.
Most 360 portables up to this point have been laptop-shaped instead of something handheld, but that hasn’t stopped people from trying to miniaturize the console further. [Millomaker]’s cut seems to be the most successful so far, shrinking the device’s motherboard down to the size of its old competitor, the Wii.
In the video (in French with available auto-translation) below the break, you can get the full harrowing journey during which several 360s sacrificed their motherboards for the cause despite [Millomaker]’s meticulous testing between component removals. This is truly an awesome mod, and we’re glad that the video shows not only the successes, but also the missteps on the way. It wouldn’t really be a hack if it was smooth sailing, would it?
The world of console modding has delivered us some amazing projects over the years, usually rendering an original into a completely different form factor. [Modified] has done a special bit of console modding on an Xbox Series X, with the unusual result of keeping exactly the same form factor. What makes it special? His Series X has been given a new case, almost identical to the original, but instead of molded plastic it’s machined entirely from a single billet of aluminium stock.
From one perspective it’s a slightly crazy endeavor — pushing the limits of his mill to remove 90% of the stock. But from another it’s an interesting tale of how to approach such a project, of the challenges in reaching further into a workpiece than the tooling is designed for, and also of the cooling for the Xbox itself. Sure he could have made it from aluminium plate and screwed it together, but in doing so he’d have denied us the chance to follow a machining adventure.
The result is an Xbox that’s nominally the same as when it left the factory, but which looks so much cooler. Oddly the aluminum doesn’t act as a heatsink because the console is air-cooled, but particularly on the bottom there are more holes than were found in the original. On the front is an engraving of Master Chief from Halo 2‘s cover art which really puts the finishing touch on the build — though we wonder whether it might benefit from a little resin to make it stand out a bit.
Hungry for more Series X case mods? They don’t come bigger than this one!
Knowing his friend is a first-person shooter enthusiast, [Solderking] came up with a unique modified XBox controller as a gift. Tongue in cheek, you could argue that this controller is fully analog, as all of the buttons have been removed and replaced with analog sticks — each stick emulating four different buttons with its four different directions.
For this mod, he picked a controller known to have button connections available on testpoints. The controller’s buttons are digital inputs, but a bit of additional resistance wasn’t a problem for the IC in charge. Having tested that to be extra sure, he started the rebuilding work. As any self-respecting one-off mod, the bulk of this project involved JB Weld, point-to-point soldering of wires and taking a Dremel to the shell. That said, this project pays attention to detail, with portions of potentiometer track material carefully scraped off so that contact couldn’t be made in center position, and 3D printed spacers keeping the looks within the “gift-worthy” boundary.
After finishing the controller, [Solderking] tested it to confirm that it was absolutely atrocious to use, and breathed a sigh of relief, with yet another mod well done. We’ve already covered a few of his other fun efforts, like this Pokemon RubyNintendo cartridge restoration project where some delicate soldering was called for, or this broken mouse turned 12-key macropad.
The build was in part inspired by a Microsoft creation: a large fridge in the shape of an Xbox Series X. However, [Michael] wanted to go further, maintaining the gaming functionality and more faithfully recreating details like the divot on the top of the console.
The first step was to build a big wooden frame, with wooden panels screwed on to create the basic form of the console. Creating the lovely curved and perforated top was done by 3D printing a series of pieces that were all glued together to emulate the feature on the real console itself. The back was also given fake giant ports that look just like the real thing.
The real hack is inside, though. The Xbox hardware itself just sits inside the frame on a little shelf. There’s a handful of servo motors set up to press the real console’s buttons when the corresponding buttons are pressed on the giant Xbox itself. It goes a long way to making the build feel “real” to the user.