Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An X-Box 360 comes back from the dead

My friend had two X-Box 360s that were broken. One had a broken DVD drive, the other would output sound but no video. Since I like to tinker, I gave him $25 for the two broken machines and got to work. The one with no video looked like it could be fixed with the same procedure that fixes the "Red Ring of Death!" (Cue scary music.) The one with the broken DVD drive booted up fine but the drive tray on the DVD drive was busted clean off. Getting this one fixed seemed like the best option, but there was a catch. You can't just buy a replacement drive and drop it into the X-Box 360. Microsoft flashes a serial number into the DVD drive's firmware that has to match the serial number of the motherboard in the X-Box 360 or else it won't play any games. However, when I had both X-boxes torn apart, I noticed one of the DVD drives was a Toshiba/Samsung MS25 and the other drive was a Toshiba/Samsung MS28. Looking them up online, I found that hardware wise the two drives were exactly the same, the MS28 was just a version of the drive with newer firmware.
Following this tutorial, I disassembled both DVD drives and swapped the circuit boards. Now I had a working DVD drive with a circuit board containing the correct serial number. I popped it into the X-Box 360 that originally had the broken drive and tested it out. The X-Box 360 booted up fine and I was able to play a game on it. Success! The other X-Box 360, I stuck in a box for now. I'll worry about fixing it whenever the other one dies. For $25 and a little bit of time and effort  I now have a working X-Box 360!

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