Posts Tagged ‘guides’

How to modify an old entertainment center to fit a new HDTV

Sunday, November 28th, 2010


How to modify an old entertainment center to fit a new HDTV

Guide: Weapon Counter Display Overlay

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Took a lot of trial and error, but I think I came up with a method to make a display overlay that I can be proud of.  Thanks for the help James Hodson(jlhR2).




Click More Info for the full guide.


The overlay is meant to go on top of my ammo counters, but also looks good when used alone with a light behind it.  The overlay is made of several transparency sheets layered atop one another plus a sheet of tracing paper toact as a diffuser.  Could probably substitute tissue paper.

The image files to print out are below. You will need to re-size the images to fit your weapon before printing.  If printing at home, be sure to buy transparency sheets meant for ink-jet printing and not laser printing.Ink-jet printable transparency sheets have a rough surface to print onto.

I find my photo printers T-Shirt Transfer mode gives the best print out.  It takes some trial and error, but set the Print Quality to high for best results.

Halo Reach

Click Picture to download full size

Halo General Purpose – James Hodson (jlhR2)

Download full size here:http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=40126522@N04&q=display%20overlay


There will be four layers, from bottom to top there is the tracing paper,two black transparencies, and the color transparency.

The tracing paper and the black transparencies need to be cut so the numbercan shine through (xacto knife).  If not using an ammo counter circuit, youmay cut in whatever number you like.

DO NOT cut the color layer transparency.  This is what colors any light shining through to the proper hue.  It also makes photographs when unlit look amazing.

Tip: I first cut a piece of paper the size of the hole I wanted then taped it down so I could have something to trace with the knife.

Below are pictures of building up the different layers. In these photos onlya single layer of black is used.  You can see that the light gets through a bit in areas that are supposed to be black.  This is why we use two layers ofblack.

Clear tape is used to hold the layers together and keep them aligned.

Have fun~!

LED Rail Blade Assembly

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

This guide will walk you through assembling LED strips to place inside an electronic sword prop.

100_4242.JPG100_4242.JPG

TOOLS AND MATERIALS

    spool
  • Spool of unshielded bare wire
  • Few feet of shielded wire
  • Solder Iron
  • Solder (0.5 oz is plenty)
  • Wire Snips
  • Needle Nose Pliers (optional)
  • Hot Glue or Clear Packing Tape
  • Safety Glasses

You can use any bare wire you like, but I found that steel craft wire works best (pictured). It is strong, thin, and does not need to be stripped.


redblue

Take a close look at one of the LEDs.  You will notice that at the base of the plastic there is a flat edge.  This identifies the red wire.

led_prep

The hardest part of the blade assembly is keeping straight which side is which because all the LEDs must connect the same wire to the same rail.  I suggest bending all the wires on the LEDs before you start soldering in such a way that you can easily check which wire is red and which is blue. For me, I bent the positive wire straight down and the two side wires straight out.  When I hold the LED with the positive wire facing down and the LED pointing towards me, the red wire will be on the right.

Unroll three lengths of about 35-40 inches of wire (we will snip this down later). Use weights and tape on either side to suspend two of the wires. You want to suspend it the approx. length of one dangling LED wire so when it sags from the weight of the LEDs it does not have far to fall. We want the suspended wire tight and remain straight.  See the picture below for the spacing between the two wires (a little larger than the width of a LED).

Lay a ruler down below the wire. We will use this to align the LEDs and be certain the spacing is consistent.

helping

Note:
You can use any spacing you like, but you have 60 LEDs for two 30inch blades.  A spacing of 1 inch seems appropriate.

In the picture I am using a tool called “helping hands” to hold my wire.  I bought mine from Menards for ~$5.

pass1

Warm up your solder iron and solder the LEDs to the single rail, but do not snip any of the leads yet.  You can start with either the red wire or the blue wire, but we will do the positive wire last.

For soldering the last few LEDs to the second rail, I brought the wires down from the suspension. The two rails were too far apart.

Before you go onto the positive wire, this is a good time for touch up.  The more solder you put on each joint, the “stronger” it is.  These blades will probably get knocked around, so we want these joints strong.  You can see in the picture the old quick and dirty joints (left) vs the new stronger joints (right).

Test:

pass2

If you are not confident in your creation, you can also test things at this point.  The wire unconnected is positive, the two rails are both negative.  Use a resister between a 9V battery and the LEDs.  BEWARE: At this voltage, one slip of the hand that exposes the LED directly to the battery will destroy the LED.

What I do is clip the battery negative to one of the rails then drag the resister across the positive wires, testing each LED in the row.  Repeat for the second rail. If something doesn’t light or lights the wrong color, it is easier to fix now than later.

Once you are confident, clip off the extra wires on the two rails and prepare to solder the resisters onto the positive wires.  If you did a good job, the rails should not be much wider than the LEDs themselves.

res

We need to solder the resisters between the positive wire and the positive rail.  The picture shows the steps of soldering the resisters and the positive rail to the structure.

Be sure that there is a gap between the positive rail and the positive wire.  You can see in the final picture how close they are.  If for some reason the blade was squeezed and these two wires touched, the LED would be destroyed.

You can either trust the gap or try to seal the gap with hot glue or a piece of clear packing tape (has to be thick enough so it can’t be punctured by the sharp edges).

Clip the stray wires (don’t want any shorts) and connect the bottom of the rails to a battery to test.  The entire blade will light up red or blue with each connection.

The last step is to cut the blades into 5 sections. I am assuming you used 30 LEDs in each blade, so each section will consist of 6 LEDs.  Cut the blue wire between each section.

sections

ONLY section off the blue wire, the red and positive wires will run the entire length of the blade.

You can see in the picture the new gap between the blue rail sections and the shielded wire soldered to the section.  Each section will have its own wire.

Use the tape or hot glue to bunch the wires and keep them from becoming tangled.

Note:
It is a good idea to use a marker and label the wires. One dot for the top of the blade, 5 dots for the bottom, 2/3/4 dots for sections between, dash for the positive wire, two dashes for the red wire.

The final blade will be pretty flimsy depending on the type of unshielded wire you used for the rails.  This allows it to be gently bent into the curve of a blade. After shaping the LED rail to fit your blade interior, wrap in packing tape to strengthen the rail shape.

Finished:

100_4285.JPG 100_4266.JPG

Installing an Ammo Counter

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

PowerSwitch

This is a small walk through of installing one of my ammo counters available in the store. I am need of pictures, please send me pictures of your install, thanks! :)


Tools Required

  • Solder Iron (I bought mine for $5 at menards)
  • Solder (I use 60/40, 0.032″ diameter)
  • Wire Cutter / Stripper
  • Tape

Pregame:

For quick start and demonstration of the counter. Connect the battery to the circuit. Use the red and black wires labeled BATT or BATTERY. Connect black to black, red to red.
No need to solder at this point, just twist the wires together and maybe use some tape so the red bare wire doesn’t touch the black bare wire.

The counter should now be on, take the wire pair labeled FIRE and connect these two wires together. Each time you connect them together, the counter will decrease. Do the same thing for RESET.

Kit Contents

  • Assembled Counter Kit
  • AAA Battery Holder
  • Pushbutton Switch
  • Slide Switch
  • Lever Switch

Install

Note: Before getting started

  • All wire connections must be soldered. Twisting the wires onto the switch connectors will create a poor and inconsistent connection.
  • The included switches only have two connectors. They can be soldered in any order to their associated wires.
  • You may need to cut the casing to install the switches through the plastic housing of your gun, so be very certain with where you want them.
  • Please read and understand this entire page before cutting anything! thanks

Step 1 – Identify and place FIRE switch

The FIRE switch has a long lever on it. If you have an existing trigger, use the lever to connect to your existing trigger in such a way that when you pull the trigger, it will also push down on the lever switch.
If you do not have an existing trigger, you may use the lever switch as a trigger itself.

Step 2 – Identify RESET switch

The RESET switch is a square pushbutton. It has a matching round cap. The cap snaps into place on top of the square pushbutton.

Step 3 – Identify ON/OFF switch

The ON/OFF switch is a slide switch. It has mounting holes on either side so it may be fastened down.

Step 4 – Arrange

Carefully arrange the different switches and batteries around your gun. Figure out where you want them. If you cut the casing of your gun, leave an opening so you can run the wires through the hole.
The on/off switch must be placed between the battery location and the counter location.

Step 5 – Wires

Next, install the counter and thread the wires to the various locations.
If the wires are too long, cut them the proper length and re-strip them.
If the wires are too short, you will need to extend them with more wire. Tape any bare exposed wire ends.

Step 6 – Solder On/Off

PowerSwitchIf you have not already done so, please solder the counter battery wires to the battery. Match red to red and black to black. Cover the bare connections with tape.

Now you may solder in the on/off switch. The on/off switch is to be installed along the red wire between the counter and the battery. Choose a place along the battery wires to install the on/off switch. Cut the red wire and strip it so you can solder the on/off switch in place.

To the right is a drawing of installing the on/off switch.

Step 7 – Solder FIRE and RESET

Solder the FIRE and RESET switches. As noted previously, these switches only have two connectors. There is no wrong way to connect them to the wire pairs. The only thing you need to be certain of is that the bare wires ends do not touch each other, they should only be connected to the switch connectors.

Use a PC Headset With Any 2.5mm Headset Jack

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Create an adapter that will connect two stereo 3.5mm phone connectors (one speakers, one microphone) to a single 2.5mm connector. I plan to use a durable and comfortable PC headset to replace the terrible selection of xbox live headsets.
Forum Link

Usage: cell phones, handsets, xbox live

The finished adapter will look like a Y adapter, but it is not. The adapter will connect the two 3.5mm plugs that are standard on PC headsets into the standard 2.5mm jack found on most handsets for connecting headsets.

Note: Be careful with compatibility. Several cell phones now support stereo speaker headsets (4 connector plug). This guide will create a mono speaker headset (3 connector plug).


Parts:

These parts are sold at Radio shack and other hardware stores, the items numbers are from radio shack.

  • One 3/32 Stereo Plug – Item # 274-244
  • Two 3 conductor stereo 1/8 (3.5mm) phone jacks – Item # 274-249 (that package comes with 2).
  • A few inches of different colored small wires.

Note: If you need spare wire you can cut and splice wire from an extra phone chord.

Tools:

  • Wire cutter (or scissors)
  • Soldering iron and electrical solder
  • Electrical tape
  • Small Phillips screwdriver
  • (optional) Multimeter/Ohmmeter to trace wiring

Step One

Cut 8 colored wires to about 1 inch long. For the example we will use two black, three green, and three red.

Note: These wires are short, but try to preserve most of the plastic jacket (insulation) around the wire when striping.

Step Two

Attach wires to the 3/32 (2.5mm) plug.

a. Solder a black wire to the shield terminal.
b. Solder a red wire to the tip terminal.
c. Solder a green wire to the ring terminal.

Now you should have three wires coming out of the back of the 1/8 plug.

Explanation: The 2.5mm headset jack uses one channel to carry the sound out to the headset earphones and the other channel to carry sound in from the headset microphone. Therefore the plug is wired so that these channels can be distinguished. In the following steps, these 2 separate channel wires will go to its own 1/8 phone jack.

Note: If a wiring guide is not included on the connectors packaging, use an ohmmeter to trace which connector connects to which wire. Some example wiring guides are shown.

Step Three

Attach wires to the 1/8 (3.5mm) jacks (female connectors).

a. Take a red wire and solder it to the tip of the of the 1/8 phone jack.
b. Take a red wire and solder it to the ring of the 1/8 phone jack.
c. Take a black wire and solder it to the shield of the 1/8 phone jack.

Repeat this step for the second 1/8 phone jack but use two green wires instead of red.

Step Four

Now all three parts are ready and each should have three wires coming from them. Just to be redundant:

  • From the 3/32 plug there are 1 black, 1 red, and 1 green wires.
  • From the first 1/8 jack there are 1 black and 2 red wires.
  • From the second 1/8 jack there are 1 black and 2 green wires.

a. Solder the three red wires together.
b. Solder the three green wires together.
c. Solder the three black wires together.
d. Use a small amount of electrical tape to cover the connections.

Note: This will connect both the ring and tip (left and right channel) of the 3.5mm stereo headset to one of the 2.5mm connectors for your device.

Test the audio out.

Now that everything is wired. You can test which jack is the audio out and which is the mic in.

a. Plug your contraption into your device.
b. Plug the speaker / green plug from your headset into one of the jacks that you just wired. Do not use the microphone / pink plug yet.
c. Put the headset on and do something that produces sound on your device.
e. Either you will hear your sound or you will not. If you hear your sound then you know that that jack you are plugged into is the audio out.
f. If you heard nothing in step e, then plug into the other jack and try again. You should hear your sound.

Whichever jack that did not produce sound in the headset is for the mic. Label the jacks, so you can remember which one corresponds to the mic and which to the headphones.

Finishing up

a. Wrap the jacks in electrical tape so that the connections are not exposed.
b. You should end up with what looks like a Y adapter cable.
c. As described above use paint/colored tape/marker to label your adapter.
d. Plug into your device and enjoy.


Author Notes

This guide is an original work of my own, but was based on another guide with a similar purpose. Please visit the forum to view the original text of that guide and see notes about that author. Westaby Forum: Use Your PC Headsets With Any Cell Phone / Xbox Live

Cleaning Water Damaged Circuits

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

This guide will attempt to walk you through how to fix water damaged circuit boards using a dish washer and some caution. I wrote this guide while doing research to clean my own water damaged main board.

Most people should be able to follow this guide, but if you don’t have experience with electronics be warned; you can permanently damage the many individual components by exposing them to water like described by this guide.

Don’t follow this guide if you still have options for service. Check your warranty with the store you bought it from, the manufacturer’s warranty, and even your credit card company may have water damage insurance built in. If you are truly at the end of your options, proceed. It’s already nonfunctioning so you can’t make things much worse by trying.


Explanation: A water damaged board can be identified by the white salt residue left from the dried water. Any high school science teacher will tell you that it’s not the water that conducts electricity it is the impurities like salt. When the water dries it leaves behind the conductive salt that will short out the board.

This salt is also corrosive, and the longer that the salts sit on the board the more the board’s traces will corrode.

The salts will also attract more water vapor to collect and dry bringing more salt residue. This causes water damaged areas to grow over time.

Example: The board pictured here is from a FC clone machine and my brother left it sitting for about 3 months after having soda splashed into it. The board no longer powers on.

Tools Required:

  • Dish Washer
  • Bristle Brush (tooth brush)

Tools Optional:

  • Conventional Oven
  • Non-Conductive Cleaning Solution (Distilled Water, Pure Alcohol)
  • Solder Iron
  • Flux (Solder Cleaner)
  • Desolder Gun

Step One

The first thing you want to do is identify any components on the board that are not waterproof. This includes switches, buttons, and other partially sealed components.

Explanation: These components must be removed from the board before continuing or water will collect in their crevices during the procedure.

Example: There are two concerns; the power / reset switches and the RCA audio / video jacks. Both will be removed. Luckily the water damage did not spread to these side boards and the connecting cables can be easily desoldered. The large connector on the main board where most of the water damage is will not be removed. This large connector is fully uncovered and will allow the water to dry completely off of it.

Example: With the boards removed it can be seen that a corroded pin on the cable going to the power switch is one of the reasons this board does not power on. You can see the far right pin was so brittle from corrosion that it snapped off while desoldering.

Step Two

Next place the circuit board in the dish washer by itself, using hot or cold water, no soap, and no heated drying. Rinse only cycle preferred.

Explanation: The high pressure water should dissolve and remove most of the salt built up on the board. We do not use the dish washer’s heated drying because it is too steamy and leaves too much water on the board.

Example: This board is small to place in the dish washer without fixing in place. In the picture you can see twist ties used to hold the board in place.

Step Three

Use the brush to remove any residue left on the board.

Explanation: The dish washer will not get everything. Often times there will be gunk from corrosion that is easily brushed off.

Note: Don’t use a coarse brush that could scratch the metal traces.

Optional Step

Use the non-conductive cleaning solution to dilute any water on the board. Just soak the board in the solution for a minute while agitating the water.

Explanation: This is to remove as many impurities left by the water as possible. There is a small possibility the board could corrode / collect salts in the future without this step.

Note: Do not use any cleaner that contains water or does not evaporate cleanly. Distilled water is an exception because it is pure water and is free of conductive salts & minerals.

WD40 may be used on non mechanical (moving) parts and will leave a residue behind that will seal the metal contacts from future water damage / corrosion. That same residue will make future repairs very difficult as well. Future repairs will require a complete disassembly removing every component on the board to be wiped down before anything else can be done.

Step Four

Now all that is left is to dry the board, the easiest way is air drying. Dab the board with a towel to remove any drops of water visible. Then just let the board sit for 24 hours in a dry location.

Note: As the board is drying you may notice more white residue appearing. Rinse your brush and scrub again, then continue drying.

Note: The board may look dry much sooner, but it is the areas that you cannot see on the board that are still drying.

Optional step

You also have the choice to speed up the drying process by using a conventional oven. It is not dangerous to put the oven on the lowest temperature (less than 200F and not the WARM setting) and leave the door open a crack. This takes 1 – 2 hours.

Explanation: The cracked door brings the temperature down further and allows more ventilation of the water vapor.

Note: Where people run into problems with this is changing the temperature higher to try to make it dry faster. They thinking they can further speed up the process by changing the temperature much higher. What really happens is the whole thing melts down or burns out sensitive components.

Note: Never use a forced air drying method like a hair dryer. The fast moving air creates friction and results in component damaging static electricity.

Example: After everything is finished and soldered back together things look much cleaner. The small amount of salt that is still visable is not enough to affect operation.

Finished

Power light is on and my brother is back to shooting ducks.

Xbconnect “n00b” guide

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

Xbconnect is a tunneling program that connects Xboxs over the internet for multiplayer games. I wrote this guide because I found the official “Getting started” guide was insufficient and lacked pictures that would help first time users.


Getting XBConnect installed and logged in

Download XBConnect

Remember the folder you downloaded it to on your hard drive.
Note: The version may be different than the one pictured.

Open the folder that you downloaded to, then open the file you just downloaded to install XBConnect onto your pc.

You shouldn’t need to change any of the option while installing, just keep clicking next.

There should now be an icon for XBConnect on your desktop. If XBConnect has not already started, double click the desktop icon to run XBConnect.

You will now be asked to sign in to XBConnect.
Choose to create a new XBConnect ID

Fill out the forms to the best of your knowledge
Click next

You should now be able to login to XBConnect using the username and password you typed into that form, go ahead and login.

Just wait a moment for XBConnect to refresh itself and load.
You will see several different windows and many things to click on.
They will each be described below.

Using XBConnect for the first time to play a game

This is the chat window. When you first login, you’ll see XBConnect searching for your xbox. If successful XBConnect will report it in the chat window.

Go ahead and load a game on the xbox that you would like to play.
Set the game to system link mode.
If you get an error trying to enter system link mode, click here. You must have your xbox connected to your network.

Example: Halo 2 (More games are pictured at the end of this page)
Select system link. On the next screen select your profile. This will bring you to the waiting screen.
This is where you want to stop. If you are not on this screen, XBConnect will not be able to detect your Xbox.

You don’t need to do anything else on you xbox for XBConnect to find it. If XBConnect doesn’t report that it has found your xbox in the chat window, you’ll have to do it manually (it’s not that hard).

Towards the top of XBConnect you’ll see the file menu.

Click tools, then choose options, then general options. You should now see a window pop up that looks like this.

Select “clear list” then click “find”

A new box should popup telling you the steps to find your xbox. You shouldn’t need to change any of the options just keep clicking next until XBConnect starts looking for you xbox.

Note: If finding your xbox takes more then a few minutes, check your cables and setup.

XBConnect should now report to you that it has found your xbox and it will list the mac address of your xbox in the “XBConnect is aware of these consoles” section of general options.
Click ok to close the general options.

If XBConnect is still unable to find your xbox, double check this page. Your xbox must be connected to you pc exactly like one of the pictures. If you are using wireless in your setup, be sure to read the wireless guide.

If you are having a lot of trouble finding your xbox, please join help chat in XBConnect.

You are now ready to play your game on XBConnect.

This is the game list. Choose the game you would like to play (the same game we just loaded on the xbox and found).

Note: Your game list may look different
(yours has pictures). To make yours look like mine, to save space, right click
on the game list and uncheck the option to “show images”

After you select the game you would like to play look to the server list. It lists all the rooms available.

If a game is full it will have a red dot next to it. If a game requires a password it will have a lock next to it. In both these cases you will not be able to join the game.

Just above the actual server list is the column choices for the server list. Go ahead and click ping. Now the list is sorted from the largest ping to the smallest ping. Click ping a second time. Now the list is sorted from the smallest ping to the largest ping

Note: Ping is the a measurement of how long it takes data to travel from you to other people. The larger the number, the longer it takes, the more lag it creates in the game. Smaller pings are better.

Double click the first open room on the list. Wait a few moments and the game window will popup.

You should now see a game to choose from on you xbox (this may take a minute).

Press A to select the game on the xbox.

Congrats! You’re now playing system link over the internet!

Additional Info

Hosting

To host you must allow xbc in your pc firewall and configure port forwarding on your router. This section will go over gathering the required information to configure port forwarding using this guide.

There are several ways to open the command prompt, but this is the easiest.

Open the run box on the start menu or press (windows key) + r
Type cmd and press enter.

In the box that pops up type “ipconfig /all” as shown and press enter.

Note: Your prompt may not be as short as shown. Just ignore that and type “ipconfig /all” anyway

You should now be presented with a whole list of information. Let’s take a moment to identify what we need. We are looking for two sets of numbers.

Note: The addresses shown below are only examples. Yours may be different.

This is the IP address of you network adapter. When you are asked for your static IP address that you would like to forward to, use this.

Note: You may have more than one IP address to choose from. Use the IP address of the network adapter that is connected to the internet.

This is the IP address of your router. You will use this address to access your router’s settings.

The next step is to open your internet browser and type in the default gateway address.

It will ask you for a username and password before letting you access the page. The default username and password is given in your manual.

You now have all the information you need to visit your router web configuration page and follow this next link for directions for your specific router.

Port forward guide list for Xbconnect from portforward.com

The Buddy List

You can right click on any other XBConnect member’s ID and select “add buddy”

Now whenever your buddy is online his name will show with a yellow dot next to it on the buddy list.

If your friend is in a game, there will be a green dot next to his name on the buddy list.

When it is green you can right click your buddy’s name on the buddy list and choose “Join game.” This will bring you straight to whatever room your buddy is in.

 

The NeXBC LAN

The better way

Instead of joining each game room one by one, why not join them all at once? Then just go to your xbox and choose which one you want to play.

You can select the NeXBC LAN just below the file menu.

NeXbc LAN Guide

Finding your xbox with other games


Conker: Live & Reloaded

Press left or right to select Xbox Live & Co. from the main menu. On the next screen select System Link. Then select join game.
This is where you want to stop. If you are not on this screen, XBConnect will not be able to detect your Xbox.


Counter-Strike

Select system link. Select Join a Match by pressing A on the System Link menu.
This is where you want to stop. If you are not on this screen, XBConnect will not be able to detect your Xbox.


Halo 1

Select multiplayer. Then select system link games. From there select your “halo” profile. This will bring you to the waiting screen.
This is where you want to stop. If you are not on this screen, XBConnect will not be able to detect your Xbox.


Halo 2

Select system link. On the next screen select your profile. This will bring you to the waiting screen.
This is where you want to stop. If you are not on this screen, XBConnect will not be able to detect your Xbox.


Juiced

Select multiplay from the main menu. On the next scree select system link play.
This is where you want to stop. If you are not on this screen, XBConnect will not be able to detect your Xbox.


Outrun 2

From the main menu select OutRun Challenge. On the next screen select OutRun Race. Then select System Link. Select Join Game.
This is where you want to stop. If you are not on this screen, XBConnect will not be able to detect your Xbox.


Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

Select either Coop from the main menu. Select or type in your profile name. On the next screen select system link.
This is where you want to stop. If you are not on this screen, XBConnect will not be able to detect your Xbox.


Star Wars: Republic Commando

Select a profile. Then select multiplayer from the main menu. On the next screen select system link.
This is where you want to stop. If you are not on this screen, XBConnect will not be able to detect your Xbox.


Timesplitters: Future Perfect

Select your number of players then select a profile. On the main menu select xbox live / system link. On the next screen select system link.
This is where you want to stop. If you are not on this screen, XBConnect will not be able to detect your Xbox.


Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict

From the main menu select networked combat. On the next screen select join system link game.
This is where you want to stop. If you are not on this screen, XBConnect will not be able to detect your Xbox.

  • Most the pictures on this page are click-able thumbnails. Click them to make them much bigger.
  • XBC and NeXBC are the same program now

Have something to add? Please contact me. If you find a broken link or an error please send a PM to wassabi immediately on the XBConnect forums.

GoStats stats counterGoStats stats counter

Xbox Controller Port Modification

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

Adding Xbox controller ports to your computer, so you don’t have to use an adapter to plug them in. Click More Info for the full guide

I take no responsibility for the accuracy of this information, or any damage caused by the instructions of this guide. (I’ve always wanted to say that)

Materials Needed:

  • A pc with an internal USB header (or front USB ports)
  • A free 5 1/4 inch drive bay
  • A blank drive bay face plate
  • Spare xbox controller port pair
  • 4 or 8 wire cable (shielded recommended)
  • Small piece of wood (5″ x 1″ x 1″)
  • Wood screws

Tools Needed

  • Philips screw driver
  • Solder gun (optional)
  • Glue gun (optional)
  • Heating knife* or Dremel tool
  • Sand Paper
  • Wire cutter
  • Wire stripper
  • Drill
  • Drill bit of proper size to use with wood screws chosen

*A heating knife is just a normal knife that is ruined from being heated up. Has heat and warp marks. Take this knife and hold it over a strong flame until it becomes hot. It may now be used to cut plastic. Don’t inhale the fumes because the black smoke produced is poisonous.

Construction

Measure and trace around the controller ports onto the face plate. A heating knife is used to cut away at the face plate following inside the tracing marks. You may use a dremel tool to cut these holes instead. Make the holes just large enough that we may place the controller ports snuggly in them. If using the heating knife you may also want to use the sand paper to sand down the bubbled edges caused from the melting. Hold the wooden block up to the back of the face plate and place the controller ports on top. arrange them so the controller ports will protrude from the face plate the desired distance. Using the controller port’s built in screw holes as a guide make a mark. These marks are where we must make screw holes using the drill and bits. The holes must be approximately the same depth as the screws. This process prevents the wood from cracking when we screw into it. You may screw the controller ports to the wood block at this time. Next very carefully drill a hole just under each of the controller ports. Drilling through the face plate first then the wood block. You want to drill low enough not to drill into the controller ports but high enough that you are not to close to the edge of the block. You may now screw the block to the face plate. For aesthetics you may wish to paint over the screws with the appropriate color for your case. Don’t insert back into the pc yet, we still got to wire this thing up.

Wiring

Solder the controller ports to the 8 wire cable. If you have a 4 wire cable just use two lengths of it. It shouldn’t matter if you use shielded cable or not, but just to be on the safe side I did. You can wire the other end of the cable to either the USB header on the motherboard or splice it in with USB ports on the case.

Option 1 – The USB header

It’s not recommended that you solder directly to the USB header. What you need to find is a USB header connector and solder to that then place it on your USB header. Wire arrangement is as pictured follow the table (below) for proper connections to the xbox controller ports.

Note: A Firewire (IEEE1394) header looks identical to a USB header. Refer to your motherboard manual to differentiate them.

Option 2 – The USB port Splice

This is much simpler. Just cut the insulation of the wire going to the USB port and solder the correct wire to it. Be careful not to mix up controller port 1′s, and controller port 2′s wires. This table will help you properly match each wire.


Contact Number Signal Name PC Color XBOX Color
1 USB1 VBUS Red Red
2 USB1 D- White White
3 USB1 D+ Green Green
4 USB1 GND Black Black
5 USB1 Sense Not Connected Yellow
6 USB2 Vbus Red Red
7 USB2 D- White White
8 USB2 D+ Green Green
9 USB2 GND Black Black
10 USB2 Sense Not Connected Yellow
Shield Shield Drain Wire Drain Wire


After Thoughts

When inserting this back into my case I noticed that the controller ports were upside down. This was not a problem for my design, but you may want to take it into consideration.

Also you may wish to make the block of wood a bit longer then you see in the picture. Long enough to insert partially into the drive bay. During testing when you insert a controller into the port the force exerted on the modified bay cover is sufficient to push the whole thing off it’s latches and into the pc. I fixed this by attaching the wood block directly to my pc case with a wood screw through the drive bay slots. The down side to doing this is one must remove this screw before I can remove the front of my case housing.

Cybiko Backlight

Friday, September 9th, 2005

This tutorial will help you modify your cybiko so it is backlit. Never be in the dark again!I got the idea to do this after seeing another person showing off in the forum.

Note: I can’t recommend enough that you take your time and read this entire DIY before beginning. Doing this will forever change your cybiko with the potential to destroy it forever or worse permanently disable communications.

Things needed:

  • EL kit can be found from http://store.yahoo.com/e-clec-tech/ (I purchased the small panel experimenter (static) kit and it was more than large enough for this project)
  • Screw driver small enough to open the cybiko and remove all circuit boards inside.
  • Solder + solder iron
  • 12 in of Weather stripping (clear thin plastic that can be found at most hardware stores, sells by the foot)
  • Electrical tape
  • A short stretch of wire.
  • Goo gone or some kind of adhesive remover (like nail polish remover)
  • Glass cleaner

I am really impressed with the final product of this project. The cybiko xtreme is now slightly thicker but the light from the EL panel is so even I love it! You can see in this picture the EL kit came with several overlay stickers to change the color of the panel. Without the overlay (the way I did mine) it is a bright blue when on and a grayish pink when turn off. Once placed behind the LCD the turned off color is much darker. My advice, don’t apply an overlay until you see how it looks both on and off behind the LCD.

Once you have the cybiko open and all screws removed you will be able to see the LCD up close.

I also recommend that you remove the vibration motor and the battery. So the circuit board is not tethered to the back casing while we do our work. The motor is screwed down but also has some glue on it. You should be able to remove the motor with moderate pressure. The battery has the same low tack glue on the back of it as you will find on the back of the LCD. You can remove the battery by working it back and forth till to pops out. I reused the glue on the back of the battery to put it back in later by placing a piece of wax paper on the glue now. You don’t have to do that you can reattach the battery with tape. Also if you have a new set of batteries laying around now would be the time to replace them because we will be super gluing the case together.

One more recommendation. You may have noticed that once you have the cybiko removed the “link activity” light insert is very small and doesn’t stay in the casing well. You can super glue this in and you won’t have to worry about losing it later.

What you have to do next is remove the LCD from it’s plastic casing. There is a low tack glue spread across the entire back of the LCD. Slowly wedging it back and forth you should be able to remove it without cracking it. I’m sure you’ve seen cracked or leaking LCDs, it’s not pretty so take your time. Once you have the LCD removed you will notice that it is connected to the circuit board via a flat cable along the bottom. You don’t have to but you can remove the plastic LCD housing from the circuit board be squeezing the tabs on the other side (this will make sizing the EL panel easier). You should also go ahead and peal the silver backing from the LCD.

Next step is using goo gone or some kind of adhesive remover to wipe down the LCD and the LCD housing.

Once everything has no tack left to it you can use glass cleaner to remove any fingerprints from the LCD front and back. Also wipe down the top half of the cybiko inside and out with glass cleaner. Do this after every time you touch anything and before you put it all together. We are fighting dust and smudges here. The fact of the matter is you WILL leave visable dust on the screen no matter what, but how much dust is up to you.

The next thing we need to do is size the EL panel for our uses. You will notice that there is a lip around the LCD casing that the LCD fits into. You can begin cutting the EL, just make sure that it fits inside of that lip. You can see that there is several small stretches in the casing where there is no lip, this is where the terminals will stick out. Size the panel so that just one of these terminals sticks out of the casing. The picture shown is before I finished cutting the panel but once finished the terminals on the right are the only ones left. The EL panel should extend out of the casing and to the edge of the circuit board. The terminals should extend past the circuit board, we will bent these over so that we can plug the panel in from the back.

(Right) Same pic as above but with the front plate put on as a “dummy run”. This pic was taken before I finished sizing, the EL in the finished product does not extend past the circuit board.

(Left) You can see in this picture four things. One, the solder points used to get the power to the EL panel. You should be able to solder these wires in quite easily, the solder points are pretty big. Just make sure that the you don’t short the battery or it will near instantly die. The inverter requires the correct polarity so be sure that the red wire goes to the (+) terminal and the black wire goes to the (-) terminal. Two, the inverter circuit included with the EL kit. You can see that I wrapped it in blue electrical tape* so not to short anything when I repackage thing back together. Three, I cut the inverter kits included wiring to make the wire pair between the inverter and the panel was just long enough that I could reposition the inverter if I wanted to. I removed about 4 inches of wire. Four, you also want to want to wrap the EL panel terminals in electrical tape. You can attach and wrap the panel socket with electrical tape as well.

*Wrapping the inverter chip is a 3 step process. First wrap in electrical tape, then wrap in aluminum foil, last another layer of electrical tape. This prevents circuit shorts and interference with the antenna.

You can see in this picture how I attached the weather stripping. I cut the weather stripping so I had two perpendicular cuts 1/2 inch apart from each other (can’t trust the cuts from the factory as straight). I chose this width because it still felt great when I held my cybiko and it was just wide enough that I could fit the inverter in the “sandwiched” casing.

Then cut in slits to the edges so it fit up exactly to the cybiko casing front half. You also want cut a hole large enough to use the switch included with the EL kit. You can super glue the switch in after you put the circuit board back in (not yet).

Using a lot of super glue and electrical tape to hold it in place while drying I was able to attach the weather stripping. The super glue does not bond instantly because of the type of plastic but takes 10 to 20 min. That is why I used tape to hold it together until it dried.

Once you have it attached to one side of the casing it’s finally time to put everything back inside. Before placing the main circuit board back inside your should wipe it down again for fingerprints. It’d be real annoying to have it all put back together then notice a finger print or a spec of dust on the LCD and have to pull it all back apart.

If you’ve lost any of the small black screws like I did you can use the silver screws from the outer casing to secure everything.

Note: If at any point you accidentally removed flat cable that connects the two circuit boards. You should be able to gently pull out the connector terminal and push the cable back inside, then gently wedge the connector terminal back closed.

Once you have all boards screwed down you will notice one HUGE problem, there is nothing attached to the antenna! I solved this by soldering a loop of wire to the pressure contact then wrapping the loop around the antenna spring. This will allow wireless communication and still allow you to spin the antenna around as much as you want.

As you can see in this picture the final gluing did not require as much tape.


Ok your done so here’s a follow up for this project.

The new thicker design is no harder to fit in my pocket, though with the current placement of the back light switch it sometimes catches on my pocket, so it may have been a better idea to place it towards the top. You can see the current placement of the switch in the picture.

As you can also see from the picture I spray painted both the sides and the faceplate. It is a few shades lighter then the original color and makes the new design just look great.


Q/A:

Q: Could the switch be placed on the front?

A: Adding the switch to the front would be near impossible because there just isn’t enough room there. But I also theorize that a surface mount switch would just barely fit. Only problem is they only exist as momentary contact switches. Think the light is only on when you press the button. I don’t recommend this given this analogy. Ever try to program your backlit watch? You press the light button to see where you are then press a few buttons blindly. Then light it up again. Your always working in the dark.

Q: Will this work for my classic?

A: Sure will. I won’t go into it because I only had one inverter so my left over EL is worthless. But I originally got the idea of using EL panels to backlight the Xtreme from a guy who back lit his classic. He didn’t use a switch do it so the cybiko had to be on/charging constantly. He mounted the inverter externally on the top where it fit nicely next to where the stylus comes out.

Q: Is there any way I can add a back light without “super gluing” it thicker (without radical case modification)?

A: Well you can mount the inverter externally. The reason I had to “thicken” the device was so I could mount the inverter where it couldn’t easily be damaged. But if you wrap the inverter in electrical tape then super glue some of that weather stripping plastic around it you can make a very sturdy case for it. The inverter circuit has 4 wires going to and from it. You can reduce this to 2 wires if you make the batteries external as well (the kit comes with a battery mount already attached to the inverter). If you were to tie those to a male and female connector cable you could have a small cube you could plug in and have the back light turn on. This method would eliminate the need for a switch, but if you still wanted one you could mount it onto the inverter casing. (Relative size of the inverter, cut a AAA in half length wise, the inverter is little thicker then that) This is the best idea for external mounting it next to making the inverter permanently attached to the back or top of the Xtreme.

There is one more option but it is very complicated. It involves replacing the inverter circuit with a surface mount (SMD) chip. The chip is so small it could easily fit anywhere inside of the cybiko xtreme. But it is so small it requires special methods to solder to it. I’ll edit this page with more information when this becomes a more obtainable solution.

Q: Can the back light come in any other color then white/blue?

A: Whitish blue is just the default color of the EL panel the EL panel kit comes with “An assortment of color overlays.” Which I found to be black, orange, red, yellow, green, and blue. The black, green, and blue are just too dark so it would be very hard to use the cybiko when the back light is turned off. So that has us left with red, orange, yellow, and whitish blue. Personally I am doing this for a friend right now that has painted his faceplate, antenna, and expansion slot insert bright orange and wants me to add a back light to it that is also orange. I don’t for see any problems.

Q: If you could do it again what would you do different?

A: Well I would still have mounted the inverter circuit internally, but I would have used a different switch. I was thinking a low profile rocker switch would be nicer than the slider switch that came with the EL kit. Here’s a picture of what I would use.

Xbconnect Wireless Guide

Friday, January 7th, 2005

Xbconnect is a tunneling program that connects Xboxs over the internet for multiplayer games. Most people have difficulty getting it to work over a wireless connection. This guide will help.

Click here to view the Xbconnect Wireless Guide