Dynatron Presents:
assembling an XBOX

What you will need for this tutorial

for this tutorial, i cover the common discrepencies that you may come across. XBOXes have gone through 5 or 6 major design changes, and to add to the confusion, components such as the DVD-ROM drive can vary dramatically in quality and performance.

for a complete part list, and to learn more about the differences between xbox versions, click HERE

first you need to put the cage in the bottom half of the case.

set the bottom case shell down on your work surface. the cage will insert properly with the black insulating sheet on the right side of the case (looking at the front). first you will have to make sure that you are not using the wrong version of the cage for the case shell. you will also need to make sure that the case shell you are using is the correct version for the motherboard you are installing.

NOTE: a v1.6 case/cage/motherboard will have one less screw hole immediately in front of the audio-video connector. if you put a 1.6 board in a case meant for a different board, then you will "comatose" your 1.6 motherboard (unless you make an quick and easy modification to the case - see link below). if it's too late, and you have already put your 1.6 board in a coma, you can find the fix at the link below, but i warn you, it's not easy.
to learn more about the 1.6 form factor differences, click HERE

to insert the cage, you will have to pull back on the black insulating sheet to allow clearence for the tabs that hold the right side of PSU in place. after pulling back on the black sheet, the cage should slide in using a directly downward motion. after the cage is properly seated, the black insulator can be easily s slid back in place under the PSU mounting tabs. when properly seated, it should look something like the picture below.

some custom builders don't use the EMF cage. i'll tell you this is a very bad idea. the cage ensures proper grounding of the motherboard, and everything that connects to it, so don't be noob. also, you're xbox will likely interfere with any other electronics in the vicinity of it.

now that you have the cage seated, you can go ahead and pop the front face of the xbox on.

i won't go into the face assembly in detail here, because i've got a page dedicated to it.
To link to it, click HERE
this link is for disassembly instructions, but if you read it in reverse, you'll get the idea. to save you some time, just remember to include the grey button assembly, the frosty light ring, and the button PCB.

as you can see above, there are clips on the sides of the face, as well as three clips inside the case, show below. line it up properly, making sure the yellow cluster of wires goes through the oval shaped hole that lines up with it. once you have it lined up, just give it a good wack on each set of side clips, and it should pop into place.

check to make sure that the inner face clips have locked in place, then you can wiggle the controller ports into place. the bottom half of the case shell has little black nubs to hook the controller ports into place. be careful, as they are easy to snap off.

once you have the controller ports properly seated, you can insert two torx-10 screws in each one like is shown below...

next, partially insert the fan as shown below...

once you verify that the top tabs of the fan (pink arrow above) have a clear path for downward travel, push down on the fan until it snaps into place.

make sure that the top tabs (pink arrow) are clamping the fan firmly to the inside wall of the xbox. also, make sure that the bottom tabs (orange arrow above) have locked the fan in place.

if the fan assembly has looseness or movement of any kind, then something's not right. do it again. otherwise, it's time to make sure you have the proper PSU (Power Supply Unit) for the motherboard you are going to be using.
for a complete part list, and to learn more about the differences between xbox versions, click HERE

the PSU must first be inserted on the right-hand side of the inside of the case. (it's locatation corresponds to the black insulation sheet attached to the EMF cage. insert it toward the front of the xbox, then slide it toward the back of the xbox, and under the PSU mounting tabs (part of the case bottom - shown above).
also, check to make sure that the AC connector is properly seated through the back of the xbox.

you will need two more torx-10 screws to secure the PSU in place.
screw locations are marked by orange dots in the picture above.

the next part is the most dangerous. it's time to install the MoBo (Mother Board -or- Main Board). i stronly suggest that you have a custom bios somehow loaded onto this board (modchip, TSOP flashed) that allows you to boot an unlocked HD, as well as run unsigned code.

any original condition motherboard will not allow you to swap parts, or run diagnostic software
retail XBOX motherboards and Hard Drives were installed as matched pairs, and they only work with the part that they are married to, unless you unlock them from each other. this knowlede is a bit more advanced.
if you are lost when it comes to bios installation or which bios to use, you can start learning about it, HERE

if there are any wire clusters in your way, you will have to tuck them aside (like the picture above).
after tucking the wires back out of your way insert the motherboard at the angle shown in the picture below, then if all goes well, you should be able to lower it right into position.

a couple things to watch out for...

once the MoBo is seated, use a torx-10 screw in each screw hole, unless it's a 1.6 case with a non-1.6 MoBo. in that case, leave out the 3rd AVIP screw. there are quite a few screws for the motherboard. just keep them in a safe container until you install them, that way you're not combing the carpet for them when you need them.

next, after the MoBo is fully secured, make your connections to the motherboard.

the yellow cluster of wires coming from the front of the xbox connects your power and eject buttons, as well as the LED ring in the front. the connector is weakly keyed, so make sure you don't force it in backwards. pay close attention to the notches on the sides of the plug. this is how you figure out which way is backwards, and which is correct.

if yours is a 1.0 motherboard, you will see what i have in the above picture. if that little "daughter board" that connects to the controller ports is not seated yet, then do so before you plug in the front panel. orient the daughter board so that the business-end of it is facing the back of the XBOX. since you've got that done, you can go ahead and connect the controller ports to the USB daughter board. the controller port (USB) connectors are keyed as well, so mind the orientation as you connect them.

yes...xbox controller ports are simply USB 1.0 ports, just like the personal computers of the time the xbox was made. the only difference is that the xbox has a funny-ass plug, and they throw in an extra wire (the yellow one) just so it looks like it's a proprietary format. the yellow wire has absolutely no function, it's only there to confuse xbox hackers. historically, the yellow wire has been used for nifty little hacks like adding a power or eject button to a controller.

the picture above is of the power connector on a v1.0 system. (also v1.1 - sometimes refered to as an "AT" PSU). this connector isn't necessarily keyed, but the proper orientation should be obvious with the long tab on the dongle, and corresponding hook on the socket. it sometimes makes a "click" sound when it is fully seated. below are all the connections fully assembled.

if you have any version other than a 1.0, then you should see what i have in the picture below. just plug the front panel into the white connector like the picture (pay attention to the keys so you don't force it in backwards).

note that the controller (USB) ports plug directly into the motherboard for all versions newer than v1.1.

also in this picture, you can see the PSU connection that supplies power to the system.

this picture (above) contains an "ATX" PSU connection. in the picture, it's already seated, but the concept is simple. two rows of pins. same outputs as the forementioned "AT" power supply, but a different pinout and connector. this one has a single, small hook-button to release the harness. orientation should be obvious at a glance. just insert, and listen for a click. this is exactly the same as a PC ATX connector, but with a different pinout, so don't try to swap them without re-wiring.

microsoft used this PSU format until the final version of the xbox (v1.6). the 1.6 and ATX PSU's look almost identical, but you need to be careful not to use the wrong one. the pinouts, as well as voltages, are completely different, so they are not compatable at all. the easiest way to tell the difference is that the 1.6 usually has far fewer red wires (+5VDC).

the next step is to connect the fan to the motherboard. the connector is keyed. it's hard to mess this one up. same for all versions. just plug it in to the white connector on the left side of the fan. (see below).

after the fan, you're ready to install your disk drives. start by plugging in the yellow DVD power dongle into the white connector in the back left corner of the motherboard. the connectors are not the same on both sides of the yellow dongle. the bigger end connects to the board.

after that, you're ready for your IDE ribbon cable. anyone who's opened a PC up will recognize this immediately along the left side of the motherboard, towards the back. the cable has 3 connectors. the middle connector creates a smaller gap, and a larger gap between connectors. the smaller gap (usually all bent up if it came out of an XBOX) connects to the motherboard, which is opposite of a PC. if you want to use a PC ribbon, that's fine also, as long as the lengths are appropriate.

now, you're ready to insert the disk drives. first you need to slip them into the drive trays.

the DVD drive tray slips right onto the DVD drive, and instantly latches on by the tab on it.

the HD tray comes with 4 torx-15 (T15) screws, but any PC hard drive installation screws will usually work. it may save you the trouble of digging out one of those wacky torx bits. any way you do it, the connections-end of the HD faces the recessed end of the HD tray.

once you have your drive assemblys ready, you can set the drives.

now, theres no strategy to this that i've ever found. sometimes it's a tight fit. is so, you may struggle getting them to sit properly. each leg of a drive-tray fits into a plastic stand-off on the case-bottom. the DVD drive-tray sits on the left side and is inserted before the HD drive-tray. the HD drive-tray sits to the right of the DVD Drive, and kinda hooks on top of the DVD tray. the orientation for the drives is the same. connections toward the rear of the XBOX. i suggest draping your ribbon cable and yellow DVD power dongle out the back of the XB0X, that way it's exactly where you need it, and not an obstacle.

once inserted, the tops of the drives should be flush with the top of everything else in the xbox. if not, check the seating. your xbox cover will not go on until everything in the box is sitting level.

the HD tray can be tricky if you get your HD power wires jamed up on the bottom. make sure these four wires are not binding or snagging under the trays. there is a notch on the HD tray that corresponds with the spot on the PSU where your HD power comes out. this is where you route these wires to. if you don't, you might cut (short out?) these wires when you screw the lid back on.

now we make the DVD drive connections. they are keyed, so the only thing that can really go wrong on this step is haste or anger.

i should mention at this point that there is a step missing. for some reason i forgot to take a picture, but there are two Torx-10 (T10) screw positions on the front of the DVD drive tray, and one T10 spot that connects the two trays in the middle.

for some reason i forgot to take a picture, but there are two Torx-10 (T10) screw positions on the front of the DVD drive tray, and one T10 spot that connects the two drive trays in the middle. the DVD-tray screws suck. you will need a decent sized bit to reach them. they are hidden near the sides of the DVD drive tray.

the power wires in the above photo, must be routed through the canal that was designed into the HD tray along the right side.

when you're done routing the HD's power wires in the drive-tray wire-channel, go ahead and plug the molex connector at the end into the HD. also, plug the end ribbon cable in to the HD. and while you're at it, tuck the ribbon underneath it's retainer clip (near the T10 screw that connects the 2 drive trays)

put the top cover on. it should slide down into position without resistance. lay down something soft (so you don't scratch the jewel), and carefully flip the entire xbox over holding the lid on tight as you flip it.

locate the holes for the 6 case screws (picture below) and screw them in using the T20 (Torx20, the biggest one) screwdriver bit.

now, you will now have a complete xbox. it should look something like this...

for instructions on how to take it apart again, click HERE

I FUCKED UP! (what now?)

I am not responsible for any damage you do with these tutorials. read the instructions well, and do a little research before diving in. feel free to report errors, contribute ideas, and link to anthing on the website if not for profit.