Saturday, 18 April 2009

Add Digital Coax To Your Hd Pack (Original Xbox)

Credit for the idea belongs to Matt Staroscik at his site. He's got a tutorial for adding coax to the AV Pack too. I've just done mine slightly different. It's really very easy to do.

What you need:
  • Microsoft HD Pack (can be found on ebay every now and again).
  • Soldering iron.
  • Smallish phillips screwdriver.
  • Drill and 6.5mm drillbit.
  • Gold female phono socket (I use the inner colour of black, orange is also sometimes used to denote a digital input, its up to you. Bought from Maplin).
  • Some wire.

STEP 1: Unplug the HD Pack from the xbox. Poke a smallish phillips screwdriver through the Microsoft sticker on the HD Pack and unscrew. You could probably use a hairdryer to peel off the sticker to avoid puncturing holes but I don't have one.

STEP 2: Take the sockets, wires etc out of the case so you're left with an empty case. Now put the empty case together and use a 6.5mm drillbit and drill where you'd like the digital phono socket to go. I put mine opposite the stereo sockets as I found the gap between the stereo and component slightly too close together. I drilled at the split point so you should have a half circle cut out on each half of the case.

STEP 3: Solder the wires as shown. Make sure they correspond correctly. Even if you do it wrong, Ive been told it should'nt harm the xbox. It'll probably just make a nasty noise.

STEP 4: Slot the phono socket onto one half of the case, screw the nut on the phono, not too tight though otherwise the other half of the case wont fit on. Bend the "tag" on the phono socket although not absolutely neccessary. It would be a good idea to put a blob of hot-glue to the nut and body of the case to ensure it wont wriggle free.

STEP 5: Put it all together and voila! You now have digital coax out! Remember to set the audio hardware output to digital in the Microsoft dash or in XBMC.

Enjoy digital bliss!

HDD Suspension

Anybody who has had hard drives whining and buzzing away in your pc case will know how damn irritating it is!

So, Ive devised a cheap, easy and effective way to suspend your drives. It may not be the best, but I looked around on other sites and decided to do one of my own.

Alot of the sites suggest using bungee cord which is a very effective dampener, but I didnt want to faff around with tying knots and I wanted it to look quite professional and easy to setup.

You'll need (all the stuff can be bought on ebay or diy stores):
  • 7mm Hex Screwdriver
  • 2.5mm Allen Key
  • 4x 10mm M4 Button Head Allen Bolts
  • 4x M4 Nylok Nuts
  • 4x 5mm Rubber Lined P-Clips (this was the most expensive, I got a pack of 20 for £6 off ebay, whereas in a motorbike shop, they wanted £3 for EACH!)
  • 2x Hairbands (approx 4.5cm in diameter and about 4mm thickness)

Assemble everything like so:

When you've screwed the bolts through the case and alls fitted, you can twist the bands and put the drive in and youre done!

I wanted to try to keep vibration to a minimum hench the use of rubber lined p-clips and nylok nuts to avoid self-unscrewing. The only problem I may have is the metal bit on the band might rattle on the top so I might tape it down. I didnt want it at the bottom in case it touches the live circuitry.

As drives may heat up as its no longer physically attached to the case which acts as a kind of heat sink, my next project is to fit aluminium heatsinks to the sides of the drives to cool.