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Friday, March 25, 2011

A Glimpse of Things to Come

Still up to my eyeballs in work & personal stuff, but I figured I'd tease my next post anyway.

Flea Market
Just a taste of the crazy shit I was privy to.
On a trip down to Richmond we discovered a number of thrift stores, flea markets and other assorted purveyors of junk, crazy, and retro-gaming gold. Be sure to come back for, Goodwill Hunting 2: EXTREME EDITION!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Original Xbox Repair: Part Deux!

Time to operate.
When we last met our hero, he was doing battle with 2 broken Xboxes at once! Now rested, and eager to complete the saga, he brings us the exciting conclusion to what would have been just any other Saturday!

As I stated last week, this thing was suffering from error code 16 which has something to do with the HDD no being locked to the main board I believe (correct me if I'm wrong). Since I had my old Xbox that I found near a dumpster and all I really needed was the power supply,I figured it was time to operate.

Dead Dumpster-Box on the left, Half-working Goodwill-Box on the right.
Now that the problem was identified three things had to happen.

  • Swap the Power Supplies
  • Swap the PCBs
  • Swap the DVD-ROM drives
Since each unit's Hard Drive is locked to that system's PCB and I didn't have the patience to unlock and re-lock either HDD to either unit, I ended up transferring all the innards between the two units (the exception being the PSU). Going in blind, I was a touch overwhelmed, but now it seems fairly intuitive. Following are photographs from the repair with captions explaining each one.

Both units disassembled and ready for their bits to get transferred.

Damned cheap power supply. All of this could have been avoided if Microsoft knew how to release a console without any recall-worthy problems right out the gate.
The space that the Dumpster Box's PCB formally occupied with the bum-power supply to the right. I think the staining is equal parts rust and roach shit, but I can't be certain.
With all the components nicely nestled into their new, rust-free home, the dumpster Xbox lives again! New case, new PSU, and a new lease on life. A true rags to riches story.

Well, that's the end of my story. Nothing too exciting, but a conclusion nonetheless. The disaster above was the end result of my labor, but honestly took less time to clean up than the image would have you believe.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Goodwill Hunting and Original Xbox Repair

Not to bad for $25.00 if I don't say so myself.
So, like other collector's I'm sure, on the weekends I enjoy frequenting my local Goodwill and other various area thrift stores. On this particular occasion however, I was astounded to not only find an Xbox, but also a mint-condition Ace Combat 5: Flightstick 2 bundle. Sure the jewel cases for the games that were in the box were empty, but that was a $10 fix, and the sticks work perfectly. I think I'm gonna throw this sucker up on ebay. My flight sim days are somewhat behind me.

Error code 16. Not uncommon, but no less a pain in my ass.
The Xbox's fate would be different however. I actually got Microsoft's first console some time after I received the Xbox 360 for Christmas. I found the thing in a heap leaned up against a decrepit PS2 and a box full of VHS tapes, a few football games, a Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest strategy guide, and a broken Gamecube controller. I discovered the haul by a dumpster behind my local Giant Grocery in Alexandria. I knew they didn't work most likely, but I was still excited to see if they'd be fixable. The PS2 had a bad laser (gave that sucker away), as did the Xbox. For some reason, the local Play'nTrade actually had DVD-ROM drives for the thing lying around so that was a quick, cheap fix. The end result? I got a mostly free original Xbox! There was even a copy of Fable in the bad DVD drive.

Fast-forward a year and my "Dumpster-Box" ceases to power on. The problem was the cheap-ass Foxconn PSU that Microsoft initially issued new power cables to combat, and would later replace on the manufacturing line. Mine was toast, and from the sounds of it, I'm lucky the damned thing didn't decide to burn my house down. I was biding my time before I went out and dropped  another $20.00 to fix my "free" console, but then I found the beauty above. You can't see the tag in the picture, but that sucker only cost $14.95! When I powered the new unit on I received error code 16, but since it was in such a nice clean case and had a running power supply, I figured that a little operation was in order. More on that in my next post!