The Amibox Project
So what did this all cost?
I’m going to break down the cost here on a per unit bases, despite having made two of these…
You will need: ( not including tools, see below )
|Required||$5 – $40|| An Xbox Console to modify, you may even find one for free in some cases|
Particularly if they don’t include the A/V cable or controller, or have “sticky” drives.
Get a 2003-2004 model if possible to simplify the modification process.
|Maybe Required||$7-10|| If your xbox did not come with power / av cables, you’ll need to order new ones.|
Here’s an ebay listing for the A/V at $7 (link)
Here’s another ebay listing for both A/V and Power (link)
|Required||$1-$8||You’ll need xbox to USB adaptors to connect your softmod usb device, and later for|
connecting a keyboard/mouse to your Amiga. These are available on ebay for
under a dollar each. Since your xbox has four ports, may as well pick up four of them.
(link) <- These ship from China, you may get them shipping from the US also, but they
will be priced closer to $4-5, I got a pair for $6 and another pair from HongKong for $2
|Required||$5||An older USB flash drive. I already had one laying around that was perfect, a crucible|
branded drive. Not all USB drives work, check your soft-modding guide for information
on which to get. In general, the smaller the storage capacity, the more likely it is to work.
|Required||$1-$5||A copy of a soft-mod exploitable game. Splinter cell generally sells for around $5 or less.|
(link) Expect $5 for a “buy it now” but there are $1 auctions, and you may find a
copy for less on other formats / sites.
|Maybe Required||$13||If your xbox does not come with a controller, you’ll need one.|
I bought this aftermarket controller for $12.56 (link) however, be warned that
aftermarket controllers DO NOT work with the Gentoox installer disk, and probably
won’t work with other Linux installers. I had a keyboard to hot-swap in as the installer
loaded, which removed the need of the controller.
A genuine XBOX controller should work with the linux installer but will be priced
closer to $25 in general. I did not put that in as a price range, since for this project you
will also need a keyboard.
|Required||$10-$20||You’ll need a USB keyboard to use with your xbox, the price on these of course varies|
based on many factors, but you can generally pick up inexpensive keyboards for under
$20. I happened to have one laying around that has a track-ball mouse built in.
|Optional||$10-$20||You may also want to use a USB mouse, however, once Linux is installed, your required|
xbox controller can be used as a mouse, making this optional. Inexpensive mice are also
abound, though I’ve not tried a wireless I would expect it to work as well as wired.
|Optional||$28||Since the stock / replacement A/V cables are composite, and composite televisions are |
becoming more rare. You might opt for this $28 upgrade to a HDMI cable. (link)
I cannot yet recommend this, because at the time of writing this I am still having
resolution issues with mine, but I’ll report back as I make progress testing to
see if it’s a configuration issue, or my pc monitor that’s having issues with it.
|Required||$12-$14||A tube of Bare Conductive Electric Paint. (link)|
I got mine for $12.98 on Amazon. Stock was showing low when I purchased and is now
showing that it’ll be replenished in a few days. The price has also risen to above $14 on
the listing I used.
I labeled this as required because, unless you’re an expert with a soldering iron and
have worked on joints this small before (perhaps you’re a cell phone repair engineer?)
you will thank me for suggesting this product.
|Optional||$4-$10||An IDE to SATA 3.5″ Hard disk adapter.|
Look for the ones with two capacitors on them, as I’ve heard reports of problems
with other models requiring 80-pin IDE cables, and some not working at all.
|Optional||$5||If you do run into issues with the IDE-Sata adapter, it may be resolve by buying a|
replacement IDE cable. Make sure it’s 80-pin, this shouldn’t cost more than about
|Optional||$27||I had a scandisk 250GB hard disk laying around to put in from an older system, but,|
if you want to upgrade your hard-disk you can get 240GB Kingston disks for
$27. I can’t say for certain this model will work as I haven’t tried it, please let me know
if you do try it. Also remember that since we’re converting to IDE and to
an x86, this modification is more about capacity than performance, you could
save more money by going for a magnetic disk.
So the total cost to modify an XBox can be as low as $24 assuming you get the A/V and controller cables with your XBox (unlikely at $5 XBox level) and between $44 and $125 if you have to buy cables. With an optional spend between $10-$48 for adding a mouse and HDMI cable, and a further $36-$42 to upgrade the hard disk.
With careful shopping you can keep that cost to the lower end and make an Amiga from an Xbox for as little as $45 ish. If you’re making more than one unit however, the costs come down a little more as you’ll only require one controller to share between them, one usb flash drive, one exploited game, and of course the conductive paint will work for several boxes.
Meaning that multiple boxes should be done at <$30 per unit.
In other words, it’s quite possible to do this for less than the cost of a Raspberry Pi-3 alone, and the resulting emulator will likely be faster (I haven’t performance tested mine yet, but will post here when I do). Just sayin’ 🙂
This price range does not include tools, or the paints and materials that I used to rebrand my xbox, but again, a few tins of paint should not set you back more than around $20-$30 if you opt for that.
You will also need at least a torx-bit screw-driver set in order to disassemble the xbox.
You’ll also need a soldering iron, though if you don’t have one you can still get by without.
Regardless of if you’re using the conductive paint to make the TSOP writable, you *should* remove that clock capacitor, which can be done by simply breaking it of in some cases, but de-soldering it from the motherboard is a safer and cleaner way to remove it. The solder joins on that capacitor are regular sized through-holes, and not as difficult as the TSOP points.