Home > Uncategorized > How I made my XBox360 Media Center Extender Silent–Part 1

How I made my XBox360 Media Center Extender Silent–Part 1

This is a repost from TGB of my first version (with critique at bottom):

So, the situation is that I have an LCD TV mounted on the wall in a bedroom and I want to use a Media Center Extender.  What I want:

  • Silence (no fan noise)
  • Playback of MKVs and DVBLink for HDPVR recordings 
  • Remote control that has backlighting and the same button layout to my other Media Center remote
  • Reliability. 

What I tried and why it failed:

  • Linksys DMA2100 sitting above TV – Did not playback my DVBLink for HDPVR recordings and the UI was sluggish (even with animation off), and I didn’t like the look of it on a bracket above the TV. 
  • XBox360 in room – too noisy to leave in room
  • XBox360 in closet connected through hole in the wall – Great!  But how to control it?
    • XBox360 RF based Game controller – no backlight and I prefer a remote with the button layout like my other remotes
    • RF to IR UFO repeater – doesn’t work with Media Center remotes… ugh.
    • Xantech IR Repeater – Can’t get it to work with Media Center remote even with LCD/CFL proof receiver. (tried 2 different models)
    • HotLink Pro – This actually works well with my Media Center remote, but I couldn’t get it to work reliably in the presence of my LCD TV after shifting around the sensor for about a month. 
    • Logitech Harmony – This should work, but it’s expensive and the button layout is not like my Media Center remotes.  I did not try this. 
    • USB Media Center Receiver connected to XBox360 – Neither the PC Version or Xbox version from Scene-It work at all.  I personally tried both.  (This really should have worked and MS should step up and add a driver for this IMHO)
    • Seriously – Crack open the XBox360 (voiding the warranty), cut out the IR receiver and extend it into the bedroom with phone cord – will it work, is it reliable?

The last point is what I have right now… and it works.  I cut out the IR receiver from inside the XBox360.  THIS VOIDS THE WARRANTY!  Actually, right after doing this mod, I got my first Red Ring of Death.  So, I did the standard RROD repair on Wednesday and it’s been workings for 2 days now…  Now, I am no Electrical Engineer, so I have no idea if this will continue working or eventually fry something because of the added resistance of the phone wire.  I have about 6 feet of wire going through the wall.  Here are a few pictures of this experiment: 

Connection to XBox360 motherboard

Sensor mounted with zip-tie to back of TV and hanging down

Overview with sensor (yes that tiny thing at the bottom of the TV is the sensor)

Update after 9 months of usage:

So, I’ll be honest.  This solution was barely usable.  When using a Media Center IR remote with this setup, the response was hit or miss because the IR receiver used in the Falcon XBox360 sucks.  It is a very picky receiver.  Also, when I turned on the XBox, I had to wait about 5 seconds before anything came up on the screen because there is no way to know if it is turned on.  Sometimes I would turn it off because I thought it hadn’t worked, but that would turn it back off, ugh.  Also, if I unplugged the IR receiver from the XBox360, the XBox360 would not boot at all.

See Part 2 for how I addressed all of these issues…

-Valkyrie-MT

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