Question about replacing disk drives

Discussion in 'Xbox 360 - Games & Content' started by Originality, Oct 4, 2009.

Oct 4, 2009
  1. Originality
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    Member Originality Chibi-neko

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    I've been reading up on the whole 360 drive flashing process for a while now and I think I have a fairly good grasp of the whole concept. Got a 360 Pro yesterday, special resident evil 5 holiday edition, production date '09-01-04. Snapped off the face plate, looked in the hole, saw 2 yellow wires, so it's definitely LiteOn and, judging by various reports on various forums and a quick look up the "drive database", it's most likely series 7.

    So before I fork out a wad of cash for the connectivity kit, I was wondering if there's a different solution to flashing the drive - getting a replacement drive.

    I've seen a few vids on how to replace broken drives and stuff, but specific information regarding this process has been somewhat sketchy - such as if the replacement drive will actually work if the original was of a different make, or if the swap will have any impact on game performance, etc. Basically I want to know if it's possible to, for instance, just replace my LiteOn drive with a Samsung and flash that instead since it seems so much easier (and possibly have the unflashed LiteOn on hand incase I ever need to send it back to M$).

    Can anyone shed some light?
     
  2. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    The whole "problem" with flashing 360 drives (read the only thing that stops flashing a 360 from being completely trivial) is that you need to extract the key first of all.
    All drives bar the 7 series liteon and apparently the newest of new 8 series liteon can be done with just a sata cable, a compatible sata chipset and a way to power the drive (OK some of the drives are nominally more complex but nothing major- it can be sorted with a plain bit of wire).
    The probe is only needed for a few minutes to get the key and once you have it you do not need the probe again (for one the hacked liteon firmware can give the key up when requested and second the drive key never changes).

    You do however need the key to make a replacement firmware for the drive presenting you with a problem, in a while you should be able to extract from the board assuming you have a homebrew capable 360 (one with an update from before August 11th 2009) but until then you need a probe.

    Back on topic two main points about drive replacement:

    One is the key which I just prattled on about.

    Second is the onboard identification- the 360 can tell what sort of drive you have which it does by querying the firmware, flashing however replaces the firmware and so can replace this ID check (spoof if you will). Whether it is a banning fear or an actual technical reason I am unsure but suffice it to say you will have to spoof the drive.
    Spoofing the drive is easy enough and most modern tools (namely jungleflasher) will have inbuilt options to do this, spoofing an older drive was the only way to flash a liteon system prior to December last year so the technique is well refined.
    Here is an older tutorial:
    http://team-xecuter.com/ck3/liteon_swap.htm
    Here is a newer one:
    http://forums.afterdawn.com/t.cfm/f-152/ju...ncluded-785066/

    If you want I am probably going to head into London at some point in the near future and I do not mind bringing my kit along, the whole process is quick enough and as you only need a USB connection and a standard molex power connector to get the key if your sata does not agree with the drive you can just hold onto the key until you get a compatible sata setup- my onboard NVIDIA is what I usually use for liteon drives and I am told the liteon is fairly forgiving unlike some other models.
    You seem somewhat well versed in the PC/electronics stuff anyway so I will also link: http://forums.xbox-scene.com/index.php?showtopic=668247 (only "bad" thing is the need for a serial port where the kits use USB).
     
  3. Originality
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    Member Originality Chibi-neko

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    So, to use a replacement drive, you basically have to "spoof" the new drive with the old.....? This is where it gets confusing. I know it needs to use the old key because the disk drive shares the same key as the motherboard. I also know that iXtreme 1.6 will replace the firmware on whatever drive I end up using, although if I want to use a replacement drive with the original firmware, such as Samsung, do I have to put the LiteOn firmware on it? I saw in a post about drive swapping that all that matters is switching keys (and the tut you provided seems to imply the same), but does firmware matter at all if swapping to a drive from a different make?

    At least, that's where my questions relating to replacement drives go. You've confirmed that I'll need the kit to get the key in the first place (since my Xbox is fully updated, i.e. not homebrew compatible), so that just means I might as well go all the way to flash the LiteOn and leave it there. On that aspect, your offer sounds attractive - using your kit instead of buying one of my own (and I don't have the tools nor parts to make one). Unfortunately, even though I have a number of computers of varying ages, not one of them uses an NVIDIA chipset, and I've not heard any word on if Maxell SATA controllers work at all. Then again, it's cheap and easy enough to grab a VIA PCI card. I also don't have a USB male-male cable, but that's just as easy to pick up (and I do have a serial port on my main comp, although I don't have a serial cable). If you can help me, just let me know when [​IMG]

    I also realise that I probably won't be able to use the warranty anyway after opening the case since the sticker will lose it's seal, not to mention after flashing the LiteOn I won't be able to go back to stock firmware, from what I've read. Still, it likely has a Jasper mobo so I shouldn't have to worry about RRoD so long as I'm careful and take care of it.
     
  4. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    Sorry I did not explain that very clearly.
    If for some reason you have to send it back I understand MS look more at the case/sticker than the drive although this might have changed in recent months.
    Warranty stickers: there are two (one on case and the other on the DVD drive) which can both be "saved" with use of a hairdryer and a scalpel/tweezers.

    Spoofing is merely a matter of tweaking the "who are you" function of the firmware to return that of the type of drive you are replacing. You still use the hacked firmware for the type of drive you are flashing rather than the hacked firmware for the original drive.
    Sidelining the liteon and flashing another 7 series liteon might be an idea- that way no spoofing necessary and it should be a simple swap out if you want to send it back*.

    For what it is worth all the hard work is done once you have the key so there is really no reason to not flash the liteon.

    I was also reading up and apparently some of the USB-serial cables work well enough, I also found a better thread although it is nominally more complex:
    http://www.xboxhacker.net/index.php?topic=...g66359#msg66359

    As for my going to London I tend to go on school days to try and avoid the weekend/holiday rush so I shall see about setting some proper dates (I also offered my kit to another on the 'temp earlier today so I am probably going to have to play logistics, thread here: http://gbatemp.net/index.php?showtopic=183467 ).

    *technically the shop you purchased it from holds responsibility for a "reasonable length of time" (quite reasonable to the 3 years or more) so reading up on various consumer laws and being prepared to debate such things......
     
  5. Originality
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    Member Originality Chibi-neko

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    I'd have to see a vid of the sticker "saving" to believe it actually works, but I'll take your word for it [​IMG] As for the warranty, I have a 3 week warranty from the shop I got it from (it's pre-owned) although they said I should get a 5 year warranty if I register it with M$. I did so, and it turns out it's just over a year warranty, not 5, but that's still long enough if something goes wrong.

    I realise that serial used to be the way to flash LiteOns, but the more modern kits that I've seen are all USB compatible, so a simple male-male cable would work fine - they can even be picked up for a squid at local computer fairs. From what I can tell, so long as you've got either USB or serial for data, molex for power, and a probe/spear, then the kit is as easy to use as following one of the countless tutorials online. There's also the matter of drivers, but that only involves making sure vista doesn't override them as soon as they're installed.

    I noticed your correspondence with the other 'temper already and figured you'd be working out the logistics, although I can't see where he's from so I can't tell how troublesome it is for you. Still, can't put pressure on someone proposing you a favour [​IMG]. FYI, I'm free most of the week anyway, aside from uni lectures on Monday morning and Thursday afternoon, so if you do help, you can do so at your leisure [​IMG]
     

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