XBox USB Adapter

Once upon a time, in not-so-distant past, in the wintery city of Helsinki..

Andrew needs a XBox USB adapter for “transferring files and stuff”. For this, Andrew has come across a DIY document in the net and has gathered the parts required; a XBox controller cable and a USB extension cable. Andrew is about to start soldering the cables together and planning to isolate the individual cable connections with hot glue (!), when Arto catches a glimpse of this work-in-progress. Briefly estimating the tools and parts selected, he determines that assembling the adapter is going to give Andrew a moderate headache and offers to help..

..And so, here I am with the parts! My initial plan was to ditch the USB extension cable altogether (joined cables are mechanically weak) and use a USB connector pulled from a scrapped PCI USB adapter card. This would allow me to construct a small PCB for the USB connector and encapsulate the board in hot glue and/or heat-shrink tubing, making the overall construct more robust (cable stress relief etc.).

Pinouts of Standard, Mini, and Micro USB plugs. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Despite all the instructions Andrew had found simply instructed to connect matching colors on both cables, I wanted to verify the connections against the pinouts. XBox controllers are USB devices with a profi.. I mean proprietary connector, so better be safe than sorry. But indeed no surprises there, even the XBox cable seemed to use standard USB cable colors and pin order; pin1/red for +5VDC, pin2/white for Data-, pin3/green for Data+ and pin4/black for ground (also connected to cable shield).

Whilst looking around for the pinouts, I came across a Instructables article by Gschoppe for an alternate version of this adapter. Here, the USB connector is built inside the XBox connector casing making the overall construct pretty clean. Like this:

XBox USB adapter @ Instructables.com

XBox USB adapter by GSchoppe. Image courtesy of Instructables.com

It’s easy to imagine that this version is far more robust than a connector hanging at the end of the cable ;). Plus you’re not stuck with a fixed-length USB cable, just pick whatever cable you might have at hand (USB spec allows cables up to 5 meters in length). Win-win-win all over, to put it in another way. So, it looks like I’m about to surprise Andrew and come up with cleaner-than-intended build!

XBox controller cable dissected.

The XBox connector casing is glued shut, so opening it up required a bit of careful prying. Nonetheless, using a hobby knife and a small flat-headed screwdriver I had the connector open in no time.  I even had a USB connector small enough to fit neatly inside the casing with minimal cutting (and no hot-glue, woohoo!) required.

Adapter mock-up

Testing how the parts fit inside the casing..

So not much to it, just trim the casing, the metal shielding from the XBox end of the adapter plus the screw terminals from the USB adapter and solder away. I forgot to connect the USB connector shield to ground, but whatever device Andrew is going to hook up to the adapter should take care of this (so the connector shield is grounded anyway). This ground connection makes difference only if (long) cables are used.

Cables soldered

Then, a bit of cyanoacrylate (Loctite 406) to glue the casing halves together and there you have it!

Sideview of completed adapter.

XBox USB, angled view of completed adapter.

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5 responses to “XBox USB Adapter”

  1. arto says :

    In the end, finding a USB stick that worked with the XBox proved actually trickier than this build as there seemingly are size limitations to what the console understands. 32Mb stick did the trick (Thanks Kusma!), card readers and larger sticks were no-go.

  2. haterain says :

    If i remember right the limit is 4Gb.

  3. Yura says :

    if i wanna buy this how much like $5

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