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repurposing an original xbox

Discussion in 'Linux - General discussion' started by jimdecruz, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. jimdecruz

    jimdecruz Member

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    Hi all
    New to both xbox and of course this forum so i hope this first question dosen't get me thrown of or shunned by you guys
    Ok so here goes sit rep i have an original xbox with a failing hdd,so what i was wanting to know is can i install a bigger hdd containing another Os say linux so i can use the xbox as a media server only. I would prefare not to re-install the original Os just to write over it with linux .Can it be done


    thanks
     
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  3. ps355528

    ps355528 Regular member

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    It can.. but to replace the drive you either need to fit a chip, reflash the actual onboard xbox bios.. or you could softmod it, which means running the original system and loading linux like an application (remember there is only 64mb ram to play with (forget flashplayers/modern browsers) and a custom 766 cpu so results will always be disappointing.

    My honest opinion is .. when you factor in the expense it really isn't worth the trouble, unless you have a surplus ide hdd floating around and a box 1.0-1.3 which is suitable for flashing the onboard bios chip.

    The first thing you should do in any event is drop the drive locking data from the eeprom.. then you have some open options to replace the failing hdd.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_Linux

    http://www.xboxscene.com/versions_1.php

    http://www.biline.ca/xbox_mod.htm

    http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/357863

    http://forums.xbox-scene.com/index.php?showtopic=215055

    It's not as simple as it looks and results on such limited hardware are dismal to say the least.. they do make excellent network storage/file servers ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011
  4. jimdecruz

    jimdecruz Member

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    ok thanks for that just what i need another paper weight
     
  5. ps355528

    ps355528 Regular member

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    I use 12 as a cluster box.. find me a home computer that fits that form factor with as much power.. but then again I have been messing about with "supercomputers" for quite a while now, and apart from the 2 I have as media centers in the front room and bedroom it was the best use I could think of for the spares which came from my business doing repairs and mods a few years back. I still think they make a great media center for under the tv.. a 300 gig drive holds a huge amount of films and music vids.. and they will accept network streams as well.

    The problem we are up against now is they have been obsolete for ages so the bits and bobs you need to do anything with them have become scarce. If it's a 1.0-1.3 I would go down the TSOP flash road and install a custom bios direct on the hardware.. softmods I don't trust (seen so many self destruct, especially with XBMC as a dash on a locked drive) and chips are hard to get and expensive.. more than I can buy 2 boxes for :)

    If you have a spare ide drive floating around and a nice early version I would say go for it.. with what they cost if you screw it up there really isn't anything to lose.

    They have archived the article but it's still well worth reading. http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/how-to-xbox-nas-pt1,review-1542.html

    And here is the project I was involved with back in my Llamma days http://www.xl-cluster.org/

    Of course if you are really into experimenting then there are also some amazing things you can mess about with.. http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/mini.html

    and then of course there is what I do.. a pentium90 cpu and 32mb ram .. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011
  6. jimdecruz

    jimdecruz Member

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    Wow thanks for that, it is food for thought and got me all fired up again.I have looked into file/media servers etc in the past with cheap computers i had but in the end it all falls apart when it comes to running costs etc .Basically for now all i wanted to do is play movies either from my xbox or use the xbox as an interface between my computer and my basic tv set that only has scart/phono plug input as i cant afford the latest hdmi coffee making egg timing etc etc top of the range tv set . I thought if i could do that then i wouldn't have to buy or make anything to interface with my tv as the xbox dose it for you
     
  7. Schmick

    Schmick Member

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    The old xbox was our media player for years, only got retired when we got a TV with built in DLNA. For what it is, still hard to beat, and dirt cheap second hand.
     
  8. scorpNZ

    scorpNZ Regular member

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    If it's only movies you want to watch & the comp is reasonably close to the tv then a graphic card for the comp would be a better option,i assume yours is agp if you get a card with a s-video port you will get an apaptor with s-vid to rca included which will be ideal,the card will also come with (vga & a dvi port)

    edit: if you insist on using xbox imo a chip is best,a core duo is $20nz & for someone to fit is around $30nz,from this point you can do the rest by getting from a torrent or other source the AID disc (see link below) there is another that's strictly a xbmc standalone installer however it's very limited in it's options,the AID disc can be used to install dashes & apps for soft or hard

    http://aid.xbox-hq.com/index.php?title=Auto-Installer_Deluxe

    The xbox can take much larger hdd's mine at the mo have 3 x 1.5tb installed using an extender kit,however you will need the x-wizard install disc to setup the partitions so the AID disc can then manipulate them to even out the space between F & G including increasing from 32bit to 64bit sectors,because the partition tool 1.1 has issues reading large hdd's for some reason which is why wizards partition tool 1.0 is used first
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2011
  9. jimdecruz

    jimdecruz Member

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    Thanks scorpNZ I am brand new to all of this and i am sorry but all that link you sent me has done has gave me one heck of a headache trying to follow it. Sorry don't get me wrong i really do appreciate all the help but beyond installing a hdd and an os on a computer i am totaly useless. Is there any way of making it that simple for a dumb %^**( like me
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  10. scorpNZ

    scorpNZ Regular member

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    the simple thing to do would be forget the xbox & get a graphic card so your comp can display movies directly on to the tv.However if you insist on using the xbox you'll need to either modify it yourself which by your post suggests you won't be able too or get someone to do it for you,until this happens everything else is mute
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  11. jimdecruz

    jimdecruz Member

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    Thanks for your help but i think i will get a new graphics card and scrap the x box
     
  12. ps355528

    ps355528 Regular member

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    No worries.. like Scorp says, it's a simple matter of economics.
     
  13. megadunderhead

    megadunderhead Regular member

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    actually flashing the sop is really easy there is a great link on the subject here.

    http://www.biline.ca/xbox_solder.htm

    it will help you determine your xbox model if you have a version 1.6b you are in trouble as that doesn't have a tsop chip on it but a new chip designed never to be flashed.
     
  14. ps355528

    ps355528 Regular member

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    Spot on.. but what you do in that case is softmod it and make a new big hdd that loads straight to linux instead of a dash. You can script them that way, it's how my cluster works.

    The hard part these days about doing the tsop flash is finding the relevant original game.. us modders have hoarded them and they are not to be found anywhere at a sensible price in mint condition..

    Funny thing.. I had 2 to softmod in the last week, both turned out to be 1.6 versions with nasty thomson drives.. It must be 5 years or more since I had to tinker with some virgin boxes, and it was fun showing off the hard won skills from way back when. Shame I quit drinking and smoking after Australia Day, so the jobs only got me fed rather than sorted out for beers and smokes.. It's horrid.. never been this sober my whole adult life!!
    :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  15. scorpNZ

    scorpNZ Regular member

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    No doubt about it the original xbox is freak'n excellent after it's modded,dam thing totally pisses on the ps3 & 360 for sheer awesomeness.
     
  16. ps355528

    ps355528 Regular member

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    Thats why I have 23 of them ;).. and I still love some halo or black or a good blast of burnout 3 when I'm not playing with my supercomputer.. nothing like a media system that also plays pretty much every previous games console along with it's own games.. Just for a laugh I posted this using my Xebian on F: (updated of course with a 2.6 kernel and SquashFS) hahahaha.. gotta love it.. can't do that with a ps2 or a 360. I think the old black beauty will be with us for many years to come.. it's just too damn useful.

    The only thing it was lacking was a damn good driving simulator.. I was really hoping for a kickass F1 game, instead of that football manager clone garbage they brought out. Indicar isn't bad, but ovals are boring when it's 200 laps and they cheat on their fuel and yellows. Quite like some of the flying games, and there are some real surprises.. Futurama was rather excellent and Jet Set Radio Future was just so cool in looks and soundtrack.. shame it was so short and never got a second blast. I think I have about 350 burned games.. played most of them at least once. Some were works of art in their own right.. I can't think of the name of it for the life of me, but there was one which was like an interactive film rather than a game.. it wasn't Still Life, though that was most excellent in a Myst kind of way.

    I think overall the best fun I have had has been with roller coaster tycoon.. of all things.. heres a challenge for you.. a totally underground dual track both ways loop railway.. with double stations and synced up trains. That'll take a few hours out of your life you will never ever get back, but the satisfaction level is immense.. hint: .. plan out your stations on paper first before trying to build them ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  17. RobertWright

    RobertWright Member

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    My kid wants to have a new Xbox and as I read this forum it made me realize that everyone are having fun with this gadget.And so I will grab one for him.
     
  18. scorpNZ

    scorpNZ Regular member

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    The xbox's being discussed is the original xbox that's been modded not a 360,once modded games can be played from the hdd without a need for a disc,emulators allow playing other obsolete games of sega,nintendo etc,etc,music can be stored & played as well as movies in most formats,most importantly larger SATA hard dives can be fitted tho not all will work,anyway free software required to set up the partitioning etc

    1-x-wizard..this is required to setup the partitions on large sata drives if aid fails,once done you use the AID disc to reformat all partitions to correct 64kb,wizard also contains a version of windows & i think it has linux os as well

    2-AID 4.5...has all apps you'll ever need including linux for setting up soft or hard mod,has one click install also

    3-AID 4.51 Update Pack

    4-xbmc deluxe install disc..if you would rather forgo the apps & have xbmc as your dash



    @ps355528
    That xebian you updated to 2.6 did that require compiling then installing from disc or can it be run as an app,or can the installed version from say x-wizard or AID be updated by drag n drop or ftp
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2012
  19. ps355528

    ps355528 Regular member

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    Now then.. thats an excellent question. I had to compile the new kernel against the xebian libs on the xbox using the kernel configs and modules which were built in by Ed all those years ago. It's installed in it's own virtual filesystem so sort of half and half between a full install and a frugal iso boot. It's not a stock coppermine cpu, so most attempts until I grasped that the running kernel was the one to compile against was the way were pretty fruitless.

    It was just an experiment really. The start is the xebian sources for all the kernel configs etc. 2.6 will compile against them just fine, shame it's also obsolete and 3.x does things very differently... may be the end of the road. It should be perfectly possible to build from scratch... but.. if you have ever read the LFS handbook most people would go pale and give up there and then. I needed to upgrade to run an up to date browser and see if I could get flash working.. you know I like limited resource and minimal systems.

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/xbox-linux/files/Ed_s Xebian/Xebian/

    http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/

    Pretty scary stuff.. Caustik published the discovered xbox specific restricted instruction set for the custom coppermine cpu and it's floating about in the CXBX "emulator" documentation.. obvlously no link.. it's useful to know which flags are and are not handled when setting up a kernel otherwise it's trial and error.

    How about gentoox on G or on a spare box.. that might be easier to start with.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  20. scorpNZ

    scorpNZ Regular member

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    me do coding..rotfl..hell i've only just recently figured out installing stuff thru terminal is better than using synaptic,even then the instructions need to be written step by step in front of me on a webpage,that's as far as my coding ability extends,i'm better at using software once it's made hehehe
     
  21. ps355528

    ps355528 Regular member

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    ok.. fair enough.. it's taken me more years than I care to think about to work this stuff out as well.
    I'll have a go with the 3.2 new kernel and this time document the steps.. it's no different from compiling on anything else really in principle.

    Now heres a head scratcher for you.. A friend gave me a "patched" DOA beach volleyball disk.. it won't load from hdd or disk on either of my chipped boxes (xecuter3 with nice big hdd's), but runs fine on a softmod with exactly the same evox dash and m$ dash.. All the settings are the same but no go.. no disk read errors.. just black screens on me.. I have even put it on the softmod hdd then moved it across ftp style and no change.. very very strange.. any ideas?
     

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