Home > Uncategorized > How I made my XBox360 Media Center Extender Silent–Part 2

How I made my XBox360 Media Center Extender Silent–Part 2

The XBox360 in the bedroom has been a tough road.  I was unsatisfied with the occasional RRoD (Red Ring of Death) and with the IR Receiver’s poor reliability on the second generation XBox360 (aka. Falcon).  So, I picked up a new 3rd Generation XBox360 (aka. Jasper).  The Jasper has much better out of the box IR reliability and is less directional.  Also, it runs cooler and rarely gets the RRoD, fingers crossed. 

IR Receiver

So, I started reading and researching the IR receivers in the XBox.  The Falcon appears to be a Sharp Microelectronics receiver.  The Jasper is clearly a Sharp receiver with the Sharp “S” on the side.  I believe it to be similar to this one here.  There is a key difference though.  The one in the XBoxes have the ground as the middle pin and I could not find any 38K Sharp receivers on Mouser that had such a configuration, so these may be a special run for MS?  So, in my reading it seems that you may be able to put these in parallel as long as only 1 is getting blasted at any one time.  So this time, instead of removing the IR receiver, I am going to leave it and my plan was to buy a second compatible IR Receiver component to have externally.  This way, the external IR receiver will be detachable and leave the XBox360 bootable/functional.      

Power LED

At first I thought it would be cool to use a green LED, like on the XBox.  But then I thought that red is actually a better color to have in the dark.  There is a reason why most devices like alarm clocks and telescope electronics use red, I think it has something to do with preventing pupil dilation or something.  So, I got a red LED that would work with the 5 volts I could harvest from the XBox. 

Media Center IR Receiver

Then it dawned on me that, everything I was looking for was already in a spare Media Center USB Receiver that I had already lying around in a spare parts bin.  So, I cracked it open (needs a small torx head screwdriver) and sure enough, it was another Sharp IR Receiver.  This one actually had a “D28” on the side, so I know it is this one.  Unlike the XBox, this appears to have an off-the-shelf pin assignment with the ground on the side and power in the middle.  So, basically, I decided to reuse this with some re-wiring. 

Wiring the XBox

So, for simplicity, the connector to the XBox is a USB plug.  It may be confusing, but I don’t care.  The easiest mounting location was to put a USB Breakout connection from a PC on the side opposite the harddrive.  I just drilled a few holes and neatly mounted the USB port on the side.  One thing I wanted to do (and succeeded) was to be able to solder only on the top surface of the motherboard because I do not want to remove the heat sinks from the GPU/CPU because they are working just fine and I wanted to simplify the job by disassembling no more than I had to…  removing the heatsinks would have been necessary if I needed to solder to the under side of the motherboard. 

 

Breakout USB socket

Final external appearance

Wiring to XBox (labeled with USB colors; my cable was too short so I extended with the phone wire shown).  Wires must be carefully soldered to the legs of the IR receiver without contacting the ground!  Then use some hot glue to mount everything in place. 

Re-Wiring the IR Receiver

This is more tricky. And this post is getting long, so I’ll just post the pictures of the wiring. 

The Result?

Well, my HDMI cable went bad, so I have not fully tested this.  But so far, so good.  Here is the video! 

 

 

The USB cable attached the the receiver is long ( 10 – 15 feet) and will work great when I run it through the wall.  Also, since this is not USB, it could probably be extended with off the shelf USB extension cables.  I’ll post an update after I test with my new HDMI cable arriving tomorrow. 

Disclaimer

I don’t recommend anyone try this unless you are willing to void your warranties and you REALLY understand electronics.  Maybe after some Electrical Engineer says this looks OK, others could try it.  But, if you miss one step, stuff could fry.  You have been warned! 

-Valkyrie-MT

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Jake
    July 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Hey just wondering how this is working out for you? I plan on doing something similar myself.

    • July 1, 2011 at 5:06 pm

      I am still using this and it works great. Certainly, one of my more successful projects. I know when I first published the article, I wasn’t sure whether it would hold up, but it has worked flawlessly now for 10 months.

  2. Andy
    September 11, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Is there a USB receiver that would just work?

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