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Push Fit Pin Headers for Chips


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Before today I did not even know there was such a thing as a push fit pin header. Doing a bit of researching about pin header installations I came across a video about just such a thing being used with a Raspberry Pi.

Great idea I thought but wondering why nobody has ever suggested using one with the Xbox or perhaps actually fitted a chip using it rather than go through the messy and rather uncertain process of soldering in a pin header.

If I'd known earlier I would have seriously considered trying this myself and maybe not lost a MB, which may have been faulty anyway, but my lousy soldering certainly did not help. 

You'd still need to do a bit of soldering: the D0 point of course but that is relatively simple.

https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/gpio-hammer-header?variant=35643241098

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@HDShadow : Google " pogo pin connector ". You can get those from 1 up to ?. :D But be warned, they are pretty expansive for what they are, so i prefere to solder and get more coffee for the money i saved. A wise;) man said " there is no live before coffee " so you just can't have enough of them.

Edited by sweetdarkdestiny
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The 40(M) pairs push pin header strips actually aren't much more expensive than normal pin headers. Of course you can use it for many more pin header installs too. 

There also nothing to stop you soldering them afterwards for an even more secure fit. I do not think that would work with those other pogo pin adapters.

Edited by HDShadow
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From the installation guide

 

We strongly recommend using our installation jig! If you want to try without it then godspeed to you but it is a delicate and tricky process! The female headers are simpler to insert than the male headers as you can hammer straight onto the plastic of the header, but the male ones are particularly tricky without the jig.

Please note: we can't be held responsible for any damage that you may cause to your Pi Zero, pHAT, fingers, or headers while fitting them. If you follow our guide carefully then you should be fine. If this worries you, then get yourself a soldering iron instead!

hammer-header-tut-6.thumb.jpg.e1f5cc5cba2651b9bb7c19bcb3bfd674.jpg

 

Cheers

SS Dave


Soft modding is like masturbating, It gets the job done but it's nothing like the real thing.

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Personally I don't like them. I've had several Xboxes come to me that were "broken" and it just ended up being a solderless chip that came loose.

I'd suggest just honing in your soldering skills. The right tool can make a tough job easy, so consider getting a better soldering iron (one with a fine tip and temp controls).

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I'm interested in  this because yet again I'm having problems with my latest attempt to install an Aladdin chip after my first failure with another Xbox. This is the one I always intended to chip but if the test Xbox bought specifically to practice on had succeeded it was earmarked for TSOPing instead. 

I spent much of yesterday, very carefully soldering in my newly bought gold plated pin headers, area rough up with my new fibre-glass pen, plenty of flux paste and i was quite pleased at some of my soldering from the look point of view.

Reassembled the Xbox MB etc fitted the Aladdin and.........................................frag.

LED comes on but that's all.

Checked the pin voltages and 6 out of the 12 were showing nothing despite the soldering looking good. I've since redone them and there are now only 2 now not reporting the expected voltage.

I just don't get it - how is it possible to get solder which is neat (or not) and attached to the base of a pin poking through a hole surrounded by a contact ring and it not be making contact? But that is what has happened.

My soldering iron is not the best but it does have a fine tip which once its up to temp seems to work OK. But I still have problems with the 60/40 flux core (0.7mm) solder balling and actually sitting on the melted flux paste refusing to flow anywhere and if does attach to something prefers the soldering iron tip. :( 

Edited by HDShadow
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14 hours ago, HDShadow said:

LED comes on but that's all.

The LED is wired to the 5Vdc power line (pin 6), a current limiting resistor and ground (pin 2) on the modchip.  Therefore, since the LED comes on, you know that 5Vdc and ground are making a good connection.  However, nothing about the more important connections to LCLK, LRESET#LAD0-LAD3 and 3.3Vdc required to load the BIOS from the modchip.

XBOX LPC Debug Port Layout

Name                  Pin   Pin      Name
SERIRQ (v1.0)    16    15       3.3V
SDA                     14    13       SCL
GND                    12    11        LAD0
LAD1                   10    9          3.3V
LAD2                     8    7          LAD3
5V                          6    5          LRESET#
PWR (v1.6)           4    3          LFRAME#
GND                       2    1          LCLK

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Xbox v1.2/1.3 BTW

I think the trouble was that some of the pins were not properly soldered to the LPC connector ring. The solder was just attached to the pin and when the chip was fitted it pushed some pins out of contact but others it did the reverse. The pin header felt/feels very secure in general but if the solder on some pins is not going down into LPC holes there's enough free-play for the pin to be moved out of contact and visa versa when the chip is mounted.

It explains why Pin 6 (5.5v) was obviously working with the chip fitted but when I checked the voltages with a multi-meter after the chip was removed it reported nothing.

Current situation is that Pin 2 which was definitely GND when I first checked it but now not after I reflowed the solder is not. That was the first pin I soldered and looked the best soldering of all but I just had to mess with it. :( Pin 1 and possibly pin 5 are the other problematic ones now.

Pin 1 (LCLK)

I'm getting nothing, no voltage.

When I checked my softmodded but otherwise untouched v1.1, after the problems with my original chip attempts on another v1.1, that LPC connection showed variable voltages but under 2v. This was confirmed at the time by SS_Dave, I think, as correct.

So I should have some voltage on that.

Pin 5 (LRESET#)

No voltage reading.

Both my softmodded v1.1 and the confirmed expected voltage on that LPC connection from other sources say it should be 3.3v. This was also the pin I had most problems with on the earlier chipping attempt. It continuously showed <1v no matter how many times I reflowed or completely redid the soldering. Its why I have latterly come to the conclusion that MB had hidden problems when I bought it.

But this current Xbox I know is all good. Its been a working softmodded for years. I wished I'd checked the LPC voltages before I fitted the pin header now so I knew exactly what the pins should be showing afterwards. I meant to but I had waited so long to restart the project once I'd bought the new pin header I was so keen to get it fitted I forgot to do that. Now it is not practical.

BTW I used the D0 point again underneath the MB but this time I've fed the wire though the empty LPC 16 hole and soldered it to the top of the nearest MB screw hole surround. Looks good and continuity testing shows it is.

Edited by HDShadow
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34 minutes ago, HDShadow said:

BTW I used the D0 point again underneath the MB but this time I've fed the wire though the empty LPC 16 hole and soldered it to the top of the nearest MB screw hole surround. Looks good and continuity testing shows it is.

No need to fed it trough the up side. You can simply solder it to a ground point on the bodom. I did that on the 1.0 and no problems at all. Here is a picture, no cable on the topside.

About your problem. Try rosin mixed with some ipa so you get something like "honey". Works like a charm for me.

Aladdin XT 10..jpg

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What I found when I did the first Xbox's D0 and indeed soldered it to the underneath of the screw hole is that the solder was actually squished flat by the raised part of the metal casing when the MB was screwed back in. Whilst that meant it was definitely properly grounded I was concerned that it could have detached the soldered wire and you wouldn't know about it until after the chip had failed to work properly. You have to take everything to pieces again.

With the other end of the D0 wire soldered to the top of the screw plate instead, passing the wire though a spare LPC hole, it still looks quite neat and you have visual confirmation all is OK that wire.

I will try that isopropyl alcohol mix idea. I was watching a Russian guy on YT, a real character, months ago when I first looked into getting separate flux and he made up his own mix with pure roisin and IPA. My flux paste is like stiff waxy set honey maybe it does need a little thinning to make it work better.

My theory is now that I could be using too much flux paste for this particular job and its actually filling up the LPC holes so the solder can't flow down into the hole. Instead it sits and sets on top slightly proud of the connector ring. With a thinner mix the IPA would evaporate immediately heat was applied and that space should be filled by the solder. Just a theory.  

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The main idea of flux it to help the solder flow.

You should be able to solder the pin header in to a LPC without needing to use a fiber pen to clean anything( you only need to use that if you are cleaning the masking paint from a trace ) don't use the lead free solder it's harder to get a nice solder joint as it need more heat.

The flux paste I use is in a syringe and I would apply about a pinhead or 2 per joint if any as applying more just makes more to clean up.

You should really post a pic of your solder work and let us see what's happening.

 

On the modchip did you link the BT point to ground (pin2)

1718300047_IMG_20200501_0938371(Copia).jpg.d550a1d0f0f446288c6d01ad784cb874.jpg.bca0f84b3d07113527469c55e34dfbe6.jpg

 

Use the alternative D0 point and link to ground or to pin 2 of the LPC port(the terminal just below the square one)

901256715_D0points1.png.80389f0c81584ad40e78e0c1f54456db.png

It won't matter if the wire is squashed by the metal shield as thats ground as well.

 

Cheers

SS Dave


Soft modding is like masturbating, It gets the job done but it's nothing like the real thing.

 

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Dave already said everything. Forgot to tell about that you could link it to the LPC as well. I read somewhere that the XBox is "well engineered" and that there is mainly just 1 ground piont at all which means, you could basicly solder D0 anyware you want.

About the self made flux, use a syringeto fill it up, it will made things much easyer. I find the rosin + ipa stuff much better as that paste stuff you can get for around 4-5 bucks. If money don't matter get flux from Amtech. And here are two videos about flux : One and Two. Finaly the best part is you don't need to clean that up at the end (Yes you could and should but ....). Look at the Duke or S controlers. They have used rosin to solder them and the joints still looking awesome.

And like Dave also wrote, show us a pic of your work. It can't be so bad that you must hide it. ;)

 

IMG_20200927_070537.png

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2 hours ago, sweetdarkdestiny said:

Here's a funny video from Louis Roassman about the soldering skills from Jays two cents (Link: the man in the thumbnail is a sadistic murderer). One of my all time favorit videos. :D

I was pissing myself listening to Louis's commentary and thinking back on my last 30 years of customers bringing in stuff half fixed(frucked) or fully stripped or cars with CD players smoking because a "mate" (Read owner)said he knows how to wire it up.

 

Cheers

SS Dave


Soft modding is like masturbating, It gets the job done but it's nothing like the real thing.

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I was going to make up my own flux from raw roisin + IPA and was thinking of the best way to apply it. Then I remembered I'd bought a couple of 50ml hypodermic syringes from Amazon for refilling ink pen cartridges (if people here even know what they are now :) ).  I'd also used syringes in my photographic developing days for measuring small quantities of certain developers or other liquid ingredients. Like scalpels very useful medical tools which can be re-purposed for use with many craft projects.

In the end I bought roisin flux paste instead so I've been using that as is.

Always used 60/40 flux cored solder (0.7mm) too as said earlier.

I can't post pictures because, ironically, I do not own a camera and even if I could post pics I don't think they'd tell you anything. Its underneath the solder at the LPC connector ring interface where the problem has been.   

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Just a postscript to this: amazingly I now have a working Aladdin XT Plus2 chipped Xbox. I reflowed the solder to some of the pins as a last gasp attempt before giving up. Reconnected the chip and the LED came on but this time no frag - the LED was flashing green/yellow which is what you'd expect with no AV cable attached

Put the Xbox back together installing a prepared HDD actually a 2.5" 80GB IDE one I'd bought for my old laptop. Its unlockable so ideal for this job. I used my questionable Philips DVD drive too and turned the Xbox on not expecting much. When the Evox logo came up and it quickly booted to the UnleashX dash I almost couldn't believe it.

Here's the thing: I'm now convinced the problem I had with the first Xbox LPC soldering was all bogus. It was working correctly. The problem was/is with the Philips DVD drive. Why do I say this? Because on reboot this Xbox froze on the flubber and consistently too. About one time in ten did it boot correctly.

Previously I thought that it was the chip or my soldering but it was the same damned DVD drive.

I also tried a known broken error 7 Philips DVD drive that came with a for parts Xbox I bought and that booted to an error 7 with the chip. But when I fitted a known working DVD drive (a Thomson) it boots perfectly 100% of the time. Believe me I've given it a thorough testing and it is the Philips DVD drive causing the problem.

But what this means along with the fact the other Philips DVD drive booted to an error 7, and that without a DVD drive it freezes on the flubber that the Aladdin XP Plus2 Evox M8+ 16 BIOS does not support the No DVD Check function. Also it does not support IGR at all.

With the DVD check still required that surely means this chip is not actually suitable for those whose DVD drives have failed or failed to the point the Xbox doesn't recognise it as attached. If they fit the chip they're not going to be able to boot the Xbox to be able to reflash the BIOS.

I've just checked the spec of the Aladdin XT Plus2 chip and it doesn't mention support for the No DVD Check or IGR so unless this is some oddity of my installation it may be useful info.

I'm going to look a the chip's Bios.bin later now I've backed it up using the EVTool to see what that reports.     

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I thought almost any Evox M8+ BIOS supported the No DVD Check but I opened the bios.bin I backed up with eeprom using the EVTool and indeed I was correct the DVD Drive Check box is ticked. I wonder why they chose to use a Evox M8+ with that option? It makes the chip less helpful in the cases I suggested where the Xbox DVD drive has died.

However the BIOS info also shows IGR is enabled which is a bit confusing.

With my Xecuter 2.6CE using L/R Triggers +  Back and Black it'll reboot to the main UnleashX dash from any screen, the MS dash, other dashes, games etc but with the Aladdin when I tried it just on the MS dash nothing happened. Not tested the Aladdin with a game or my main dash yet.

Is this a case of chip support for 'universal' IGR with the Xecuter or something BIOS specific?

According to the Evox M8 and M8+ BIOS series info I have IGR to Dash is supposed to be included as standard, IGR to Game is not supported.

1672054891_AladdinXPPlus2BIOS.png.7e58db9e1a03281a67f7eb902e998577.png

 

 

 

Edited by HDShadow
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I'll have to test it on an app or game - is there any particular reason it wouldn't work with the MS dash?

Spent some time today trying to resurrect the killed MB I mentioned from my first chipping attempt. Getting somewhere I think but had to bridge LPC pin 5 to the top connection point where pin 4 would be. Its normally connected to that via a trace from the top LPC pin 5 connector ring but that was what I accidentally damaged. The bridge is now under the pin header and the pin shows continuity so I think it is good.

But I've a similar problem with pin 10. There was something left of that ring but not enough to make a good connection. That is more difficult to fix as there two traces attached to its ring (underneath). One to its right and the other with a long trace down the LPC array which then meanders to a connection to the left and down a long way from the LPC.

I also have a pin 3 issue but I think that is just poor soldering (again).

It will amaze me if I get it all fixed but it appears it is just the LPC I damaged. It was fragging before with or without the chip but now its just green/yellow which without a AV cable is expected. If I had a locked HDD I'm pretty sure it would boot now but I do not. That Xbox was bought for parts and sold with an error 7  retail HDD. Spins up but then spins down so likely broken. So unless I can get the eeprom there's not a lot I can do with it.

Chipping seemed the best solution but if I can not get the LPC fixed the only thing left will be to use use an eeprom reader of some sort. As funds are short at present the whole thing will have to be put on hold if that is the only option. 

   

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Just have to add this, particularly as it is relevant to the IGR matter.

I have amazed myself by actually successfully repairing the badly damaged MB. Really pleased to have repaired it back to working state.

Using alternative points I virtually had to rebuild the whole LPC because of the damage I'd done with my first pin header install/uninstall attempts. Four pins are now only working because I managed to trace back their paths to those very small connection points and lay in new wires from them direct to the pins.

When I finally put it all back together I carefully transferred the Aladdin chip from the other successful install and turned it on. No fragging, started to boot and went to..................................error 7. Noooooo! I thought I'd checked everything but had missed one thing: so intent with getting the IDE cable and DVD drive fitted I forgotten to attach the power to the HDD. Doh!

Anyway now all working and I have an eeprom backup for that Xbox which I never had before as the HDD that was supplied has always provoked error 7 even though it is is spinning up. Still does so it most be almost dead. But with eeprom that is now not important as I can prepare a new softmodded locked one using Chimp. I don't have a second Aladdin so I'll return that to the other Xbox and TSOP this one instead.

The relevant part is that even on this newly working v1.1 Xbox the Aladdin's supplied BIOS IGR feature does not work at all on this Xbox either. That's neither L/R Triggers plus Black & Back or L/R Triggers plus Start & Back.  I've tried it on both dashboards, apps and a game running from original disc. I'm just installing the same game to the HDD to test that too but I'm pretty sure it isn't going to work either.

Is there any chip/pin header install issue on two different Xboxes, two different versions v1.1 and v1.2/3, that could cause the Aladdin's BIOS IGR not to work?     

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