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samspin last won the day on April 24 2020

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  1. I no longer have the Trusty board as the graphics side failed eventually (though I suspect it is the MCPX southbridge chip that developed a fault, as the only BIOS that would boot at all was a Cromwell-based BIOS). I sent it to N64 freak to recycle a couple of years ago, although I still have the copper block somewhere. I can't remember where I got the copper block but I can tell you where I got the fans (in case the link expires, they are called "Evercool Mini UFO VGA Cooler"): https://www.ebay.com/itm/22255328678 . Depending on where you are located I may be willing to send you my old copper block. Drop me a PM.
  2. For what it's worth, I have a Friendtech Bravo board that had the original Xbox CPU removed and replaced with a socket, which contains an Intel Pentium III SL4CG. The SL4CG has the full 256kb cache. It does appear to give a *slight* boost to framerate and load times. Because it is the original 733mhz clock, it retains full compatibility with all software (unlike 1ghz and 1.4ghz CPU mods as some games depend on the clock rate for timings). This makes sense as the original Alpha hardware used the SL4CG as well. I can only assume the cache was reduced by half to increase yields. I wouldn't be surprised if the original Xbox CPUs were in fact manufactured from a wafer with the full cache size, but half disabled. That way if half is faulty, the CPU is not wasted, hence yield is increased. Just thought I'd share my experience here.
  3. I have a feeling this worked for you because on retail boards, the X3 secret ROM fixes the address lines during the boot process when the D0 point is grounded, preventing you accessing the TSOP even if you unground it. However the X2 on debug, test, and Chihiro boards has no secret ROM so this shouldn't happen! In that case I may try this method with an Xecuter Lite 2.3B I've just bought, as it has 1MB which is plenty for the debug BIOS to fit (although I will have to hotswap it from a retail in order to flash the debug BIOS onto it in the first place of course, as the flash chip is non-removable). As far as I can see, this modchip has plain old bank switches and does not have any custom fancy OS that adds features on the expectation it be used on a retail board. If it boots the debug BIOS properly I'll unground D0 and go from there the same way you did after bunging in a burned CD with the XDK Recovery. Fingers crossed this will work!
  4. This is precisely what I tried to do, but it still FRAGs once I move the Xenium chip to the X2 board. I truly believe this is due to the Xenium chip initializing itself and loading a common 2BL before passing onto where the remainder and kernel would be from the BIOS bank. Since the Xenium then won't work normally in either a retail or X2 board at that point I end up having to use emergency mode and flashing a new BIOS over the network. If anyone else manages to find a way to get around this please do tell.
  5. I thought I'd chime in here as I also have a couple of boards with MCPX X2 chips on them (in my case with the full 128MB RAM on them) originally used in Sega Chihiro consoles. From the get-go they FRAGd until I applied heat to reflow the GPU, and now they light up solid green but display nothing. From what I can see, all non-retail boards *always* have the TSOP write enable points bridged, and have the LPC port populated as that is where the mediaboard is normally plugged into. I therefore strongly believe that this was also the case for your test board: I do not think a previous owner tried to flash it, it likely contains the Chihiro bios which does not display any video at all unless you have the mediaboard plugged in so that it can find "segaboot.xbe". I have been able to get them to boot from common Aladdin modchips (that are 256KB in size) by grounding D0 but only with a BIOS specifically designed to boot externally- and even then, it's not a debug BIOS, but a very early retail test BIOS from the recent source code leak. I think this is because how the address regions are hardcoded. I'm also struggling to find a modchip that has 1MB to fit a full debug BIOS that does not manipulate the code being passed to the Xbox LPC port. Xeniums will not work because they always expect to boot from an X3 MCPX, and therefore always respond from 2BL (completely skipping the required boot sector which would normally be overlayed by the Secret ROM on an X3) no matter what you flashed to it (the 2BL is hardedcoded in the Xenium and then it passes execution to the chosen BIOS, as it is designed to work in an X3). So matter what I flash to my Xenium to set up, even with 'fastboot', it always FRAGs once moved to the test boards. Try as I might, I cannot overwrite the original TSOP because I have no dashboard files that work with such an early retail BIOS. I am planning to do it the hard way by removing the TSOPs with a hot air station and flashing them manually with a PIC programmer in a socket. I just really hate doing it this way because the damn legs are so tiny and it's a nightmare getting them back on the board without getting solder bridges. If I do succeed in converting my boards this way, I'll write back.
  6. It can also work if someone flashed a 256KB BIOS image to a 1MB TSOP, without bothering to copy it four times to make a 1MB file first. This results in the TSOP having only 256KB at the bottom, and then the rest blank. The Xbox reads from the top of flash and if there is nothing there, will fail to boot. The 3 wire trick works by forcing the board to start from a different bank in the TSOP. I have done this myself when I accidently did this with Eurasia Flash Disc. It is worth noting that Evox checks and automatically copies a 256KB BIOS image four times if you attempt to flash to a 1MB chip, which is why people can make mistakes when using other flashing utilities.
  7. Trying to boot 3 times then blinking error lights is a pretty standard outcome in this situation as the SMC will attempt to boot 3 times before giving up if it encounters an error. Such an error can be any number of things. Flashing Red And Green errors include: bad EEPROM configuration, bad BIOS, no BIOS (or cannot find one due to grounded D0 but no chip connected properly to the LPC!), GPU not connected properly, or CPU not connected properly. The last two are extremely unlikely in this situation and fixing those is something very few people can do. Meanwhile a 3 times boot attempt then FRAO (Red and Orange) indicates a problem with the RAM, either it is faulty or not connected properly (not the case here!). It is possible that somebody put a bad BIOS on the onboard TSOP and then resorted to fitting a modchip to make the board work again rather than go to the trouble of unsoldering the TSOP to flash it externally. Which would explain why it cannot boot normally. It is also possible that the Aladdin chip has shorted due to the bad soldering it had to begin with (maybe some of the bad solder went between the pads underneath while you were cleaning up the view from the top. Not that I'm knocking your own soldering skills, but I've had this happen to some Aladdins too! The pesky hole shape makes it so awkward!). If the said Aladdin chip had a proper LPC connector on it, I'd say try it in another Xbox, but it probably isn't a good idea to try soldering it into another Xbox at this point. All I can suggest at this point while waiting for your new Aladdin to arrive is removing the D0 wire and then try the so-called 3 wire trick to see if one of the other BIOS banks on the TSOP works (SS_Dave has put up a tutorial on this here). Sorry I can't really think of anything else at the moment!
  8. As long as the disk is unlocked, you can use the latest beta of FatXplorer https://fatxplorer.eaton-works.com/3-0-beta/ As at this time, it currently only supports reading from OGXbox disks, not writing to them. But hopefully this is all you need anyway! DO NOT use Xplorer360 (not be confused with the similarly named FatXplorer) as it is not designed for OGXbox disks and in my experience it does corrupt them.
  9. What I would do in this case is have a second Xbox that IS modded side by side with your stricken one, with the lids off of both. Provide external power to the existing HDD but with the IDE cable plugged into the stricken board. Start it up allow it to turn on long enough to allow it to unlock the HDD, then unplug the IDE cable but leave the Molex power connector plugged in, so that the HDD remains unlocked so long as it has power to it. Start up the modded Xbox with HEXEN in the DVD drive, and go through the options for a "disk upgrade". Unplug it's own HDD and attach the IDE cable from this modded Xbox to the HDD you want to extract your saves from. Select and run "preparation" and UnleashX will reload, but crucially it won't touch anything on your HDD, it merely allows the Xbox to recognise a swap safely. Once UnleashX reloads, you should be able to access your saves via FTP in the E partition! Once you've got these you should be able to copy them to a new HDD. Keep in mind at some point that you will want to extract your original EEPROM (you can buy such a cable to do this on eBay) if you want saves that are console-specific to work, and apply this EEPROM to your new Xbox. But at least this way it gives you more time to get your saves archived. Sam
  10. Sometimes I find that I have to format newly resized partitions twice to get them to show up and work properly. I set the partitions up with XBPartitioner but still find that the partitions are marked with zero size in UnleashX. Use UnleashX to format such partitions, and then go into XBPartitioner again. To get XBPartitioner to give the option to reformat partitions marked ERR press the white button on your controller until "format current partition" is displayed rather than "write partition table" and then press start. Then the partitions should work properly in all dashboards.
  11. I can testify that the tray above will mount in the Xbox HDD tray and the screwholes will align properly. WD Velociraptor Icepacks will also work just as well too, I was lucky getting a bunch in a joblot.
  12. When the temperatures start to get too high for my liking I tend to replace the heatsinks with VGA coolers. Having said, the last time I did this yesterday, I heated the original heatsinks too much in the process of unsetting the glue, teaches me to use a temperature controlled gun to gently heat rather than a hairdryer! Now the board FRAGs and is irrepairable. I'm really not proud of myself for this and don't know why I tried that on this occasion when I normally use a temperature controlled gun. I guess I was acting out of haste, but it's a vital lesson learned to be much more careful with these things. My usual equipment I don't have to hand due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Anyways, I've found that Evercool UFO VGA coolers fit well for both the CPU and GPU, although you'll need to remove the existing plastic retainers from the board, and cut away two screw fittings from the bottom of the case under where the GPU area is. This will give you room to use bolts to hold the new heatsinks on. https://www.ebay.com/itm/332248005105 They aren't too noisy and do their job well. I keep meaning to make a tutorial for this process, but after wrecking my board during the last time I did this, I feel the need to brush up on my skills before doing such a thing. I have got a photo of one of the heatsinks attached on an earlier board I did (and is thankfully still working!): For the avoidance of doubt, I have already posted about this over on the XBMC4XBOX forum.
  13. I've got a board with the same issue, fancy taking it off my hands? It already has the full 128MB on it but FRAGs due to BGA solder problems on either the CPU or GPU after getting the heatsinks too hot from a hairdryer while removing them (the stock thermal glue gum is a PITA to remove). So much for trying to replace the heatsinks and getting ahead of myself. It would be a shame for the RAM to go to waste but I don't have the skills neccessary to do this kind of soldering. For someone with the right skills and equipment I imagine it would be easy. Long answer is yes. However it is very expensive to get it done and very few people are around who openly advertise that they have the neccessary equipment and can do this. If you were softmodded and have saves on a locked HDD and need to extract the EEPROM however, there are tools you can buy to extract it externally. Keep googling, and donate the board to someone who can reuse the RAM! If you do want to go down the route of learning how to do BGA soldering, you'll need to buy a rework station and practice on some old computer equipment you don't care much for. You'll need to preheat the board carefully on a specially designed tray, then apply hot air directly above the GPU to remove it. Then remove all the existing solder balls underneath. You'll need a stencil template of the bottom of the GPU to help you apply new solderballs to it. I've never come across such a stencil for the XGPU so you may well have to make one yourself. Only then you can place the GPU back on carefully and apply hot air again to solder it back into place. That's... the short story. A good example of this kind of work can be seen from DosDude1's Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/dosdude1 . Good luck with whichever way you wish to proceed, but you well find yourself repairing a lot of other boards as well as other people's once you've learned this stuff! Repairing other people's stuff as well as your own will be the only feasible way you could make up the cost of buying the equipment.
  14. I usually use the same StarTech one, I've found them to be the fastest- both in terms of startup time and stability during FTP transfers, and most reliable. Sadly though the price has gone up from £8 each to around double that since the COVID19 outbreak began. My last order for two of those at that price magically went missing in the post recently. I'm now back to trying my luck with cheaper ones. I'll post back in here with my results and a link to a listing if I have any luck with them once they arrive.

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Board startup date: April 23, 2017 12:45:48
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