How To Turn an old Xbox into an Xbox Media Center – Part 2Print This Post
In part 1 of the Xbox Media Center article I explained the hardware modifications, basically the mod chip installation. The purpose of the mod chip installation is so that you can use unlocked hard drives in the xbox. The locking mechanism of the ATA specification was to stop people from poking around with the contents of the drive. Even after unlocking the hard drive the format of the drive is not FAT or any recognizable partition scheme. The second reason for a mod chip is to load an alternate dashboard or the software you see when you start it up. The third reason for the mod chip is large drive support, the original xbox comes with only an 8GB hard drive.
It has taken me some time to write this article as I needed to find the popular way to format and install a dashboard. The software I use (Slayers Auto Install v2.7) is not easy to find and I last downloaded it from a torrent. The current software (as of the writing of this article) for formatting and installing a dashboard is AIDeluxe or Auto Installer Deluxe. The need for the software is two fold; first reason you need something that will partition and format the hard drive. The second reason is you need a simple dashboard that supports FTP, so that you can upload the latest XBMC dashboard. I will use the AIDeluxe software for the rest of this article.
First we need to get a valid BIOS on the Mod Chip you installed in the first part of this guide. The Duo2 mod chip comes with a 1MB flash area that is split into two separate 512KB banks. Bank 1 is the only bank you will be flashing, because bank 2 is a failsafe BIOS in case you brick the box with Bank 1. The tools you should use are the Eurasia Generic Pro flash disc that can be downloaded at http://www.eurasia.nu, download the Rar file and extract it then burn the ISO to either a CD-RW or a DVD-R.
Next you will also need to create a BIOS disc that will be used with Eurasia Generic Pro. The BIOS I use is the X2 5035 BIOS; however there are other BIOS images out there and you mileage will vary, but the image must be 512KB in size. Find the BIOS image that matches your motherboard version. Most all images are labeled either old or v1.6, so for the writing of this article I will stick with the v1.4 and use the old image. Copy it into a folder and rename it to bios.bin, you will also need the dummy50mb file that you got after unpacking Eurasia Pro along with the raincoat.cfg and optionally a bios.txt file. Burn all of those files now to a seperate CD-RW or DVD-R disc.
Now insert the Eurasia Generic Pro disc in the Xbox as you turn it on and select CD from the Cromwell Menu. Then wait for it to boot and follow the instructions carefully. Do not touch any buttons during the process, this includes the eject button! The Eurasia utility will eject the CD tray and load the CD tray so really hands off. The Eurasia utility will ask for the BIOS disc, it will take an additional minute for the disc to spin up and read. If all goes well Eurasia will eject the CD/DVD and ask to reboot. However be aware that if you have a problem at this stage; you may have either a bad chip or a faulty install. Everytime i’ve had a problem at this stage it was a bad chip.
Next we need to download a copy of the AIDeluxe software; you will need to visit http://www.aideluxe.com. From there you will find a link to the downloads section which you will need to register for or you could visit http://www.aidtracker.com and download AIDeluxe from there. In either case you will want the Lite version which will fit on a CD or CD-Rewritable (some readers will not support a normal CD). Place it in the Xbox drive and proceed to boot it up.
This is the easy part, you will need to format and install the XBMC Dashboard. The first step is to partition and format the Hard Drive. Select format/prepare from the the AIDeluxe menu then select Format Large HDD. When it finishes set your computer’s IP address to 192.168.0.1 with a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0 and start your favorite FTP program. Connect to 192.168.0.2 with a username of xbox and password of xbox, this IP address is the default dashboards IP address; don’t worry you will change it later. Next download the XBMC binaries, forget about xbmc.org they cannot host the download. So Google for ‘XBMC Binary Build’ or ‘xbmc t3ch’ then download the latest stable build. Unpack the latest stable build to a directory you will upload the XBMC directory to the E: drive of the FTP. Now if you installed the X2-5035 BIOS find the x2config.ini that came with it. Open it and edit dash1Name = e:XBMC\default.xbe then save it and upload the x2config.ini to the base of the E: drive via FTP.
That is it you now have the XBMC dashboard installed and now it is just setting up the XBMC. Reboot the box cold to make sure the dashboard loads properly. Now let’s set the IP address… Go to Settings from the main menu, then Network click right to Assignment and change it from Default (Dashboard) to Automatic (DHCP), click left again, then back and the settings will save. Enjoy your new Xbox Media Center and be sure to change the skin to the new ‘Media Stream’ skin.
You can always upgrade the XBMC dashboard to the latest and not loose your settings by booting the AIDeluxe and downloading the UserData folder. Deleting the XBMC folder, uploading the latest XBMC folder and then overwriting the UserData.