Sunday, 8 June 2003

My XBOX is Up

xbox is up - @ 15:15:25
we finally did it. My Mod took a very long to to complete (all of about three weeks I would guess).

What Happened I here you ask?
The CromWell BIOS that came with my Modchip did not sit too well with
heat issues.

Each time Tux the penguin started to go across the screen, he would stop
about halfway and freeze. This became worse and worse upon each succession of boot.
After about two or three goes. No go. The XBOX would show the red circle
as if a hardware failure had occurred.

Disable the Modchip however, and all was well.

I spoke with a few people on IRC (Wilber #ozxchip) whom pointed me to info
regarding the cromwell and this very issue.

My solution was to re flash the chip with a later version, or try
a different BIOS altogether.

So I decided to go the programmer route.. being a hands on that I am
I decided to make the CheapLPC Programmer at this site
This was most wonderfully pointed out to me by GreenGian (#ozxchip) whom happens to run
that site. He had some good tips.

So off I went on my merry way.

The Programmer proved to be a tough nut to crack for me.

Spending about $15 all up on parts I started with the power circuit.
My brother helped out there where I used a circuit with a voltage regulator (opted
not to use USB because, well I didn't).

The voltage circuit was perfect, 3.32v all the time (could go up or
down in increments of about .01v according to my multi-meter.

Day 4
So once that was complete, I then had the lovely task of putting the
whole thing together

Day 6
After a few days of rest The circuit was complete and the weekend was here.
I sat down a late Friday evening with my trusty multi-meter, my beauty Laptop
and the programmer.

After a bit of sorting stuff out, I had the milksop software pumping
out some data for me.

On Windows XP. milksop was showing 1100 fairly consistency (1100 being the output
of it's testing procedure).

Knowing I was to be expecting 1111 I decided to ditch XP and I put the
programmer into the back of my trusty Linux Server of 2 years.

Now here it was worse, 1100 1010 0011 1101 and stuff like that ..
but consistently unusual.

I slowly (after about 2 hours, and many conversations with my brother again) worked
out that the issue was that I had some software (a kernel module paraport)
listening in on my conversations on the alp0 port and was stuffing
my readings.

telinit 1 into safe (root user only) mode
and check ..

better but not good. 1101 and then 1010 on and off.

.. now Here I thought, aha! Software on the XP was stuffing
my readings as well. and sure enough, at 3am. It all came together..
the Programmer testing software showed up 1111 and n o 1010 every 20 seconds.

(I shutdown the print spooler).

So onto re-flashing my modchip.

no go either
The actually flashing never succeeded, The milksop software wonderfully
written by Andy Green could not detect my device and I had to concede
defeat on my programmer (5am).

I packed up and washed the dishes.

9am rolls around and I chucked all my gear in bags
and hopped on a train (little to know trains weren't running and I would
be on a 2.5 hr buss trip) I made my way to the Central Coast at my brothers place.

Install fest of XBOX v1.1 and v1.0
Jono and I discussed the dilema, he being a fully qualified electrical and
electronic engineer, in his wisdom said, "Forget the programmer, we will spend
hours on this thing as it's hard stuff".

Our other option: Mod his v1.0 XBox (Which we had to do anyway) and flash my

The v1.0 Mod
Jono started on his mod, got the solder out of the LPC header (I didn't have to
do that thankfully) and put in the pins.

Identifying the d0 port on the back he started to fix his wire, and after a
few bad takes, BANG! the d0 point just came right off the board and also broke the

Bugger! But Jono, determined as he is, stuck at it, With my trusty B and W camera
lens from an old video camera helping as his eye, he fixed that track (even De-soldered
the CAP next to the d0 to get at the point so he could put in his wire).

After about 2 hours of fun (about 4am Sat just gone) he had the mod installed.
Scary stuff, we almost lost the XBox then.

Onto flashing my chip
Thankfully i brought 3 CD-RW's with me and we proceeded to burn the ozxflash.

After about an hour, we had my chip flashed with Xecutor-2 BIOS and .. it worked!

I was able to boot and also play my games still.

So next thing was to get my 80G drive in there. I booted trusty EvolutionX
and found the FTP server, Backed up the data and then went on
to do the HDD swap trick.

It goes horribly wrong 2
Now, I've been working IT for about 9 year and in my time, I have hot swapped
one or two drives. (that weren't meant to be hot swapped) and it never did
what I wanted and I was always worried about damaging them.

Well wouldn't you know it. I hot swap this drive following their instructions
very carefully and it .. well I now have a dead 10G harddrive. (I'm yet
to determine what exactly has gone wrong, but Jono suspects that I have damaged the buffer
chip of something like that on the PCB of the drive).

When you boot a PC with this 10G in, it detects OK, but then says (for eg:) Secondary Master Hard
Disk Fail. A clear indication that the computer was not able to contact the drive.

Unbeknownst to us. I continued on thinking, this HDD swap didn't work, there
must be another way to get my drive in the machine.

I plugged the 10G back into my XBox after the failed attempts and ..

XBox no longer liked my drive
The XBox would start it's little BIOS routine and make a beautiful BRRRRR
sound (brief, about a 1/2 a second or so) before it shows the X logo.

Noticing this straight away, I got worried. of course, the XBox only gives
error codes and all I could determine was... the DVD would no
longer eject, The XBox would boot to my MS Dashboard (I hadn't
installed EvolutionX Dashboard) and it would no longer boot off any DVD (play games etc).

where's my paddle?
When I disabled the XBox BIOS, i still got the brrr sound but then I would get an error
code of 6 and a notice to contact Tech support.

Not to be out done. I decided, put this drive in Jono's XBox and see how
it goes... same thing .. BRRRRR.

I took the drive out (11PM there abouts) and put it in the spare PC we had and that's
when I first saw the "Secondary Master Hard Disk Fail" having seen this more than a few thousand
times over the past 9 year I knew exactly what had happened, my heart sank. I had done in
my HDD (which incidently I was going to flog off on EBay after I had unlocked it)..

Not to worry .. I had the 80G to put in anyways! :-)

3am and I fall asleep
So we put the 80G in my machine and it booted CD-RW's again, put it in Jono's XBox and same thing.

I did some fishing around and Found reference to Slayers ISO Tools. Looked like it
could format my HDD, Brilliant!.

Download that and burnt it to a CD-RW (about 0th or 10th CD-RW we had reburmt that evening).

Loaded it up and it had a few options for what i was looking for. One, Format Drive and
install EvoX.. Select .. wait..

Looks good.

Put it on My XBox .. Error 13. No Default DashBoard found!!! Bugger!

I think, from memory it was at about this time that I fell asleep.
I was sitting on the couch and .. next thing I know, I woke up to Jono was asking me a question.
I was out to it. I had been up since 7am on the Friday morning and it was now 2am on Sunday morning. That makes about 43 hrs (I had about a 40min sleep on the bus).

That brief moment of sleep ... it woke me up.. I thought more, Jono and I talked
more and about an hour later decided to call it a night.

A Remote Control
I woke at about 10am that morning. (Jono was up much earlier trying to fix his 2nd TV's
remote control so we could have 2 TV's to be doing installs and setups with.).

Why a remote ? Well the previous night we tried to get his little TV to work but the TV (as like many, don't have the TV/AV switch on the TV, only the remote, and as a result we weren't able to
switch the TV to AV to see XBox. (and had no Video Player to act as an AV to RF converter) ah well.

This brief attempt at fixing the remote didn't work ( I suspect Jono spent a good hour
or two doing that :-).

Config Magic
Enter Config Magic. So I jumped on IRC again and spoke with some guy
called I_am_zim on #xbox-scene. He mentioned this software "Config Magic" but didn't
mention what it was. I jumped onto the old XBox place and pulled it down.

After a quick Format and burn of the CD_RW we saw this cool tool booting up
on Jono's XBox. We put my 80G drive into his and played abit .. inadvertently locking
it to his XBox ..
well little did we know .. this cost us about 4 hours of pain and grief,

A locked drive can only stay locked for so long
Locking my 80G Drive to his XBox . meant that now .. we were seeing
a different error code on my XBox .. 9 I think it was. well many boots
later I started to get this sick feeling in my throat that, not only had I
destroyed my 10G drive, but I had also stuffed the IDE Bus on My XBox as well.

We tried all sorts of stuff, but nothing would make my XBox boot.
Sometimes I would see an error 16 and at one stage, we saw this Error
page but it was Half there Cut diagonally, top left, to bottom right
and the bottom half was black (It was the Xecutor2 error page) and the error
number was 16.

OF course, the PC we had could not read my 80G drive (BIOS was not supportive :-)
and that just made stuff hard.

The drive worked in Jono's, not in mine.

Finally, we started at the beginning again.

Downloaded Cromwell 1.22dev from xbox-linux.sf.netand flashed my chip (In the 1.0 XBox). With this BIOS we could actually
see what was going on.

We put in a 1.2G Hard Drive into my XBox and booted Cromwell. It locked up .. Not too worry.. grabbed my trusty BIG fan and .. whoohoo! it went further, even booted the debian install CD.

SO .. this proved that my XBox was still okay, but there was something wary with the 80G HardDrive. (and my 10G hee hee).

Put the 80G in and debian install showed all this BUS Errors, failed to read from
disk error seeking etc etc .. now I should have clicked at this stage but not
being around XBox stuff for long it wasn't obvious.

Incidently, the 1.2G Drive freaked out Xeceutor2 BIOS (and native XBox BIOS, possibly because
it is too small and they were trying to read past the end of the drive looking for
the non-partition table FATX partitions.

So a few more plays with trying various things, (seeing if I could reformat my drive in another
machine (which required flashing it's BIOS to support 80G drives) and then

a Road to freedom
and then... (a quick toilet stop) and bang! it hit me .. we had locked my drive
to Jono's XBox.

So .. fired up this cool tool Config Magic and unlocked it, re-flashed my BIOS BACK
to Xecutor2.

We did this because even though the 1.22dev still booted okay it locked up
through an attempt at install on the 1.2G drive which was to me a heat problem again, not unlike the 1.18 stuff I saw. With the 1.18 I used the fan as well but never had ANY luck, so they must be close
to fixing that issue because the 1.22dev worked so much better.

After a re-flash, and confirmed that my drive worked in mine, we backed up
Jono's drive and then copied stuff onto my 80G Drive and then I finally
after 2 weeks and then a MEGA install fest of 16 hours .. had my XBox booting
EvolutionX! (not wanted that, as it is running Linux solely).


Unplug that DVD for me could you?
Oh did I mention, because Jono's box was 1.0, he had a Thomson drive and none
of the CD-Rw's we had would boot on that drive (additional to the fact that Jono's
CD-RW drive was freezing when it was trying to burn his CD-RW's he had ..).

We used my Philips Drive (comes with most of the v1.1 XBoxes apparently) and decided
to between the two XBox's. I think I swapped that DVD out about 20 or 30 times.

so because we had three Verbatim CD-RW's we rotated then on a number system.
1 2 and 3 and a sheet that showed what was on them. (go pen and paper).

The Stuff we were rotating on three CD's over the whole time was

bios's for Ozxflash
Slayers tool (yup, I_am_zim said it was useless)
Config Magic < -- this saves the world. Debian Install CD Debian Boot CD All of the time, a Quick Erase using CD Creator was okay to make the CD. We used Disk At Once.2 speed.

When I finally booted debian install on my XBox with my 80G drive attached
It started okay, but wouldn't login to X properly.. no probs..
I flicked to Console and started the install of XBOXLinuxInstall.

It seemed to come up okay but . then halfway through copying the
files saw all these errors everyone and then about unable to read from
device hdb (the DVD) ..

I though, ahh, maybe she'll be okay.. but when I rebooted into the install
vi wouldn;t work.
"Bus Error"

was the err message.
No worries.

ssh the config files off and edit them on the server and transfer back ..
"Bus Error"

ifup eth0
"Bus Error"

hrmmm, maybe those errors had something to do with my bus errors.
jono's Linux Install worked okay. (he used CD-RW 1 I think, whereas mine
was from CD-RW 3, just the numbering system).

I decided to call it a day at Jono's and came home.

I wake up and did a few chores. (make chicken soup).

and reformatted (COMPLETE) one of Jono's CD-RW's he had .. lMEDIA was the brand.

Waited, the reburnt Ed'd Debian to the CD and ..

it installed .. no errors I have no BUS errors.

AND ..

here I am .. typing out this beautiful story of sadness and joy on my IBM
USB keyboard looking at a fuzzy Mozilla Browser on my 48cm colour TV with my
XBox pulling down deb relevant to debian unstable whilst listening to Sting
on my CD player (not the XBox yet, coming).

And I hope this was a nice read and you picked up some tips from the
pain Jono and I felt.


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