Retro Week Day 1

super-mario-brose_00Last weekend I finished all the homework I had, so I do not have any classes this week with Spring Break. I thought it would be fun to get some use out of my classic gaming consoles. Unfortunately, today I didn’t quite get the amount of time I wanted to spend on playing, but the game I chose for today is one I know well. The game was the original Super Mario Brothers. I was going to attempt the game without any warps and still might go for it if I end up with some time later in the week. I managed to complete the game in 16:31.9 and somehow managed to do it without losing any lives. 🙂 I guess I’ve still got it.
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For your enjoyment is one of the original NES commercials.

Sega/Sonic Retrospective

GameTap recently did a retrospective on Sonic/Sega. I thought it was pretty interesting especially the interviews with the original creators and also some of the changes they made for American Audiences. It is clear that Sega really wanted a piece of the Nintendo pie and it worked for them, at least for a few years. It is split up into 4 roughly 5 minute chunks.

More 360 Trouble

xbox360full_500x526Last week the newer 360 died again and now brings up the e74 error. I finally got around to taking it apart, but could not get it going again. I decided to take a look at the original 360 I had since I knew I could get it revived again by overheating the GPU. I looked around for some more cooling mods I could do and found a couple.

The first mod I did was making the fan that blows on the GPU run at a faster speed. Normally the fans on the 360 self adjust as it gets hotter. To make the one fan run faster I just had to cut the red positive wire on the GPU Fan, Solder another wire to it, and then solder the other end of the wire to a 12V source on the motherboard. Here are some pictures of the process.
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The 360 is quite a bit louder, but if this helps the problem it is worth it. At least I only did one fan or it would be even twice as loud.

The next mod is to put some tinfoil over the air duct, so the air flow covers more of the GPU. You don’t want to cover the whole GPU though as the DVD drive sits right over the GPU, so it needs some cooling as well. Here is a picture of an example of this.
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So far the 360 is running again. I guess I’ll find out for sure if these help if it is still running in a couple of weeks.

Yesterday I also set up the server, so I could stream movies from it to the 360. I’ll explain how I did that in a future post.

The mod ideas and pictures are courtesy of llamma.com

Xbox 1.6 Mod

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I had a coworker interested in having an xbox modded. I found out it was a 1.6 revision motherboard which is one of the most difficult to mod, but I decided to take on the challenge. I found a decent chip called the Duox2 GS and also found a seller on xbox-scene.com. He was only charging $13 shipped for them, so I decided to order 2 of them to have an extra on hand.

I now wish I would have taken some pictures after the work was done, but figured I would go through the installation process with some pictures already out on the net.
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Xbox 360 Running Again

xbox360full_500x526I decided to try one more time to see if I could get the 360 up again. I reread the xclamp tutorial and found out I had overheated it wrong this last time. The step I missed was putting the fan over the CPU, so the GPU could overheat. Basically if the CPU overheats the 360 shuts down and gives 2 red error lights. By putting the fan on the CPU it doesn’t do this and runs normal while heating up the GPU. I let it warm up for about 15 minutes and then got the 2 red lights from the CPU overheating. I let everything cool down for another 10 minutes and then fired it up and got a picture back. I just finished playing roughly 2 hours of Guitar Hero World Tour and it worked without a glitch. The main culprit with a lot of this is that Microsoft used a lead free solder. Here is an exceprt on the 360 wikipedia page:

One possible cause of the General Hardware Error is cold soldering. The added mass of the CSP chips (including the GPU and CPU) resists heat flow that allows proper soldering of the lead-free solders underneath the motherboard. This causes cracking and voids in the solders themselves from prolonged constant temperature changes inside the console. Lead-free solders, however, might be the cause of this because, when properly soldered, they take on a dull appearance that professionals take as a cold solder joint in older methods, thus leading to confusion. Lead-free solders also require a greater amount of heat (213 degrees celsius) to solder properly when compared to older lead/tin solders (185 degrees celsius).

So the idea is to overheat the GPU so the solder melts back to fix the connection. That was apparently the problem as it is working now. I still have another 360 coming that I picked up on ebay that had a red ring of death. I’m thinking now I will fix it up and see if I can make a little extra money.