Making a portable xbox (orignal xbox)

Discussion in 'Microsoft Xbox' started by FAST6191, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    For the too long to read crowd the following is my plan to stick an xbox + screen in a truck and I would like comments on it. I am a relatively experienced builder of things like this and I am not really a stranger to car electronics so that should not be a problem. I mainly do things like this to things like the PS2 though, the xbox is a bit chunkier than I am used and I sense a bit more power hungry.

    The situation:
    My friend is a lorry driver who quite often stays away for days at a time, with TV being useless around here and those portable DVD players not far behind (alas he has been bitten by the "video on demand" bug) so I figured I would hack him together a portable media player but do it on the cheap (I would have given him a laptop but the ones I have are too old, otherwise in use or too dead to bother with, not to mention car adapters are around the price of what I am planning).
    I would happily give him the PSP but the screen is too small and it is an original model so it lacks a TV out, ignoring the recent HEN work "hackable" PSPs with a TV out go for a fairly steep price these days too.
    Anything else resembling a video player is too small, too expensive and in car ones are laughable (car electronics in general are about 20 years behind the rest of the world, in car video is only marginally better until you get to silly price ranges).
    I did consider an MPEG4 capable DVD player and doing something similar to what I describe below until I remembered they are not so good compared to XBMC, about as expensive and they do no play games.

    original xbox: The go for £30 at most these days. No need to worry about software and xbox hacking here as I can sort all of that (plain xbmc and a hard drive upgrade are not hard things to sort in any case).
    VGA monitor: The xbox can be tweaked to work with a fair few VGA monitors and failing that I have a VGA adapter I am not using. My local computer shop has some decent 12-24V LCD monitors without power adapters (I would be unscrewing things and soldering there anyway) going for the price of a takeout pizza these days as well. Audio is going to be headphones for those interested in that soft of thing. If I am especially lucky I might be able to score one with RCA inputs.

    I recently set up a electronics/hacking lab of sorts for myself so I have enough tools and components for this game.

    Truck: for those new to this game trucks have 12 volt and 24 volt supplies that I am told should be able to suffer any current draw I put through them (7 amps is the ultra high end that I have calculated for this project). I would rather stick to 12 volt if I can though so as to make it viable for a car or something later in life.
    I am seriously opposed to using an inverter to up the voltage and given half a chance I would rather not drop it either.

    Minor: it is a shared company truck so I can not hardwire it into the vehicle, I did not want to anyway so that does not matter.
    Middle of the road: vibrations do not do well for largely mechanical devices like hard drives. It is going to be a stationary only thing and if receives enough force to damage the unpowered drive then we have bigger worries. Damping or making the drive a "floating" drive should not be a problem if someone feels they can make a case for it. CF to IDE crossed my mind but I do not know about the locking capabilities and it is unlikely to be a pure softmod (it is hard to find anything other than a 1.6 (not to mention I want the DVD from one more) around here so TSOP is out and chips are far too expensive).

    Major: I know cars do not deliver the cleanest power (voltage spikes, current capacity fluctuations) and those "cigarette lighter" sockets usually struggle to deliver half their rated current but I am not all that familiar with trucks; I know enough to know they are frequently better but having seen some of the hackjobs done on trucks I am not going to assume it, similarly I should not have to worry about draining the battery as trucks tend to have an internal bank separate from the engine components but attached to charge from the alternator and/or brakes when in transit.

    According to and a couple of other sites the internal supply is 12 volts and there is no mention of an identification sequence on power up which means I should be able to bypass the xbox internal transformer (I am probably going to hardmod a switch in so it can be used on mains and maybe even externalise said transformer it for space reasons).
    Said link does however go into some depth about regulator circuits, now they are the bread and butter of any electrical engineer so making them is not a problem. The mention of current availability, it should not be a problem as it is harmless, we have a truck with own power bank and I can go digital or have a capacitor bank if not.

    Plan of action:
    Xbox + sofmod + drive replacement. Quick and easy really.

    Bypass xbox power and possibly remove internal power brick.

    Build regulators and rewire things

    Casemod it together.

    Laugh manically (possible lightening effects if the budget will stretch to it).

    Realise I just spent 3 hours doing something that I could probably have just spent an extra £30 and avoided.
  2. playallday

    playallday Group: GBAtemp Ghost

    May 23, 2008
    This isn't very helpful but good luck. And post photos when your done. [​IMG]
  3. vergilite

    vergilite GBATemps Regular Clown

    Apr 14, 2009
    Liv-Liv-Liverpool YEAH!
    Sounds complicated to me then again i haven't much experience in the hardmodding world mostly sofmodding for me (less expensive and usually the same results [​IMG]) but this sounds AWESOME i hope all works out well and hail to FAST6191 [​IMG]
  4. 67birdman

    67birdman GBAtemp Fan

    May 25, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Nice man, post some pics after you finish
  5. supermodchips

    supermodchips GBAtemp Regular

    May 24, 2009
    Maybe you should ask Ben Heckaden for some advise as he probably has some advice regarding this project.
  6. p1ngpong

    p1ngpong Anti Switch Owners

    Former Staff
    Apr 18, 2008
    DS Scene