Introduction: Better Usb Adapter for XBox

Picture of Better Usb Adapter for XBox

In the course of creating and maintaining a modded (or stock) XBox, it is often handy to be able to transfer files from PC to XBox. You could use an Action Replay and XBox memory card; however, the cards have limited storage space, and the action replay is pricey.

Chances are, you have a spare XBox controller cable lying around (in my case, from making StepMania dance mats) and a female USB connector, soldered in some useless piece of electronics. With those parts it is child's play to make an adapter.

These adapters are simple and common builds, however, they often end up looking terrible, and taking up room. My version is small, sleek, and doesn't require modifying XBox hardware.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials

You'll need a few things to build the adapter:

-XBox Controller cable or extension
-Junk USB Female connector
-Pocket Knife
-Flathead Screwdriver
-Soldering Iron
-Hot Glue gun

once you've got these, the fun can start.

Step 2: Open XBox Plug

Picture of Open XBox Plug

We'll need access to the inside of the XBox connector to build the adapter; however, we need to be able to close it again, so be careful.

First, use the knife to cut the cable off the XBox connector and cut the strain relief flush with the plastic casing.

Then, use the Flathead to lever the casing open by inserting it where the wire enters and twisting. It is ok to mar the edge at the end of the casing, as this part will be removed later.

Step 3: Remove Shield and Wires

Picture of Remove Shield and Wires

use the flathead, with help from the knife to remove the upper part of the metal shield.

then, heat your soldering iron and carefully remove each wire without breaking the traces or de-tinning them.

Step 4: Remove USB Connector From Junk Electronics

Picture of Remove USB Connector From Junk Electronics

Disassemble your piece of scrap electronics, and remove the USB connector.

to do so, first lay a piece of desoldering braid across the set of 4 soldered pins that transmit the USB data. Heat the back of the desoldering braid until it is removing the tinning from the soldering iron. Using a pair of tweezers, carefully lift the braid away from each solder pad, while still applying heat.

Next use either a fresh piece of desoldering braid or a desoldering bulb to remove the large legs that hold the usb connector to the board. you will also need to bend the legs outward, just a bit.

apply upward force on the connector, while heating the pads where necessary to break the remaining bonds.

re-tin the leads, and remove any lumps of old, hard solder.

Step 5: Connecting the Two

Picture of Connecting the Two

it is relatively well known that XBox controller ports are essentially USB ports, so the connection is simply wire to wire. I'll include a diagram below, but the big thing to remember is: skip the pin that had the yellow wire, and don't short it (the yellow wire apparently carries 12 volts.

first, bend all four pins on the USB Connector to face outward from the back of the connector. looking down from the top, bend the left most pin slightly to the left, and the other three pins slightly to the right, to make room for the unused pin.

solder the connectors together, following the diagram

bend the supports and shield, so they form some semblance of structural integrity, and solder them in place.

now here's the secret I didn't learn until late in the process. Short the ground pin to the metal shield of the XBox connector (this corrects lots of connection issues). test your connections before you go any further.


1. +5v
2. -DATA
3. +DATA
4. -5v (Ground)


1. -5v (Ground)
2. +12v (Unused)
3. +DATA
4. -DATA
5. +5v

Step 6: Dremel the Casing

Picture of Dremel the Casing

Remove a section of the casing you removed from the controller cable, where the wire entered, so that the USB connector can fit in the old shell.

Also remove the posts from the casing, as they will no longer fit.

Step 7: I Need 50 Cc's of Hot Glue, Stat!

Picture of I Need 50 Cc's of Hot Glue, Stat!

Place a small daub of hot glue in the bottom part of the casing, and quickly insert the innards and close the case. Once the glue has hardened, remove the top casing, and fill the soldered area with more hot glue. Close the case again, and wait until the glue has hardened. Remove the top portion a final time and go around the seam with super glue (cyano-acrilate). close the case and allow it to harden.

Be sure to test the adapter before super-gluing, as it is really hard to reopen it afterwards.

Step 8: Usage AKA Why I Did This

Picture of Usage AKA Why I Did This

I build the adapter for three reasons.
1. Xbox memory cards are too small, and I liked the Idea of 1gig of gamesaves
2. Softmodding without an action replay or card
3. connecting accessories to my xbmc

If you are planning to use a USB Flash Drive as a memory card, here are some quick steps:
1. Check drive compatability at some drives simply will not read
2. Format the drive by inserting it into the adapter and attempting to read it's contents. The XBox will format it as FATX (all data will be erased)
3. If you only need it for XBox use, you're done. If you wish to transfer files from PC to XBox, continue.
4. Get the action replay software.
4a. go to:
4b. scroll down until you see "Action Replay XBox PC Software v1.31" in bold on the left-hand side
4c. download and install
5. Download USBView from
6. Open the file xbreader.inf (located in the Drivers subfolder of the Action replay install folder) in your favorite text editor.
7. Insert your flash drive and open USBView
8. Find your drive in the list, and copy down the idVendor and idProduct fields, without the 0x
9. copy the line "%S_DeviceDesc1%=_Install1, USB\VID_05FD&PID_DBAE" and paste it above the existing line.
10. In the line you just created, replace "05FD" and "DBAE" with your idVendor and idProduct values
11. Save the file
12. Go to device manager and double click on the flash drive
13. Under the "Driver" tab, choose "Update Driver"
14. Do not allow the system to search online. Choose "Install from a list or specific location", and choose "Don't search. I will choose the driver to install"
15. Select the "MaxDrive XBox" or "ActionReplay XBOX"and finish the update
16. Open Action Replay, and your drive should appear.

Voila, you now have a working adapter and a working memory card. Once you have a softmod on there, you can use the adapter for keyboards, harddrives, and normally formatted USB Flash Drives.


ficarra1002 (author)2011-12-06

Instead of killing an entire controller, would this be possible to open the xbox and take out a port and replace it with the female usb?

gschoppe (author)ficarra10022011-12-06

Although the controller is not killed... in fact, after splicing a male usb on it, the controller works on Computer and Xbox... you could easily add a usb to the xbox... or do what I eventually did... on controller ports 2,3, and 4, I wired a relay to switch when a connection between ground and shield on the controller port and switches the four usb-compatible wires between the controller port and an it sensor on port 2 and usb ports on port 3 and 4... it was a complicated hack, but it makes loading data, using a remote, and gaming practically peripheral free

AnthonyJ82 (author)gschoppe2016-12-18

So I get the basic concept of how this would work but I'd like to see your implementation. I realize your post here is quite old, but if you are able I'd love to see how you incorporated that relay. Thanks!

tayjtradepost (author)2016-01-20

after reading comments for what was about twenty minutes, I decided to just leave a comment. possibly I overlooked, but if looks aren't concerned, it would be possible to open to controller cord and splice the USB connector wires to the appropriate xbox controller wires thus also leaving the yellow wire untouched.... right?

fbaumgartner (author)2013-07-08

Meny people have had issue with using action replay. I found this program that will search for xfat devices and allow you to easily insert files onto them. Its called Xplorer360_extreme2.

sonicdude10 (author)2012-12-24

I made one out of a busted memory card. Works well. Even got some people wanting them. May have a business here.

niceday8888 (author)2012-11-28

Thank you. Made one today following your instruction. Couldn't thank you enough

fishofsword (author)2011-11-15

Any suggestions on how to be extra careful in avoiding detinnig or breaking the traces?

coletrainlfd (author)2011-02-03

just made one of these myself... looks just like the one in the picture... works great!

Jmanwit (author)2009-02-16

How does one "test" it? Sorry, kind of a newb.

cody777 (author)Jmanwit2010-12-05

i tested mine useing the product of this instructable

FallenNoctis (author)Jmanwit2009-05-06

Just plug the adapter into you Xbox and see if you can get it to work before you super glue it back together cause it would be very hard to get it back apart after you had done so.

seven206 (author)2010-08-14

works great soldered it wrong twice i guess i should read more hahah but my xbox is kinda picky when it came to the flash drives

Snipe07 (author)2010-03-19

I'm 99% sure i got the wiring correct, but my adapter gets SUPER hot after about 1 minute of use and i cannot get any of my flash drives to be recognized by my xbox any suggestions?

mojobo1 (author)Snipe072010-05-23

What kind of controller do you have? Different controllers may change which wires go where a bit.. What you describe sounds like the wires not being hooked up correctly. For me it was just trial and error, finally got it hooked up right by accident.

Pete67 (author)2010-05-11

In a fit of rage I thought of this, and made it. Instead of soldering the female end directly to the dongle I used paperclips to extend the reach of the tiny pins. J-J-Jam it in as they say. with the paperclips a small hole at the end of the dongle the size of the usb was all that was needed.

MattWasser (author)2010-03-09

so if i plug this into the xbox, the xbox hardrive will be erased?

MattWasser (author)MattWasser2010-03-12

nevermind, it formats the flash drive

ellygeh (author)2009-12-19

 Alright, this is kind of a dumb question, but I gotta make sure!

I did all the wiring, and when I connect my 512 MB Micro SD through a USB adapter it recognizes it, but it says it's damaged. Does that mean that I got the wiring right? Or is that a problem with the USB storage? I'm gonna buy some other cheap usb drives later, so I need to know If I got it right at least! So if  the xbox is recognizing it, does that mean i got the wiring right?

mojobo1 (author)ellygeh2009-12-29

I don't know for sure, but what do you mean by it says it's damaged?
Does it actually use the word "damaged", or does it say "there was an error. the drive has been erased"?

If it actually uses the word damaged, then I don't know for sure, but I would guess that either the wiring is wrong, or the XBox doesn't accept that type or something.

Although, with mine I got the wiring wrong the first time and it didn't say anything. It just didn't work..

I would try a USB drive and see what that says.

mojobo1 (author)2009-12-29

I had some problems getting my XBox to read my flash drive at first, but then I realized my controller was a cheap copy, and the wires where different colors than a normal controller cord (I actually left some cord on it, I didn't feel like soldering it like you did). So I switched them around a bit and got that working (first flash drive I tried worked, woo!).

Then I had problems getting the MaxDrive to install to the flash drive, and after trying about 20 times, finally figured out it just wouldn't work on my 32-bit Windows 7 laptop and tried it on my older XP desktop, which worked instantly.

I actually did a few other things, too. I added a male USB connector to the end of the controller cord, so I can still use that controller on the XBox. And as a added bonus, it works on my computer, too! (With XBCD as a driver, and installed JoyToKey, a mouse/keyboard emulator.)

LZBear (author)2009-10-19

Hey Guys I used 5 different usb flash drives but seems like my xbox wont like them...LED inside will flash but nothing else is happening...
any advice?
I used 2- 1Gb 1-4Gb and 2-2Gb....Im getting crazy here...
help please

bounty1012 (author)LZBear2009-12-14

Perhaps you got the wiring wrong? thats what happened to mine.

jsith96 (author)2009-05-03

Whenever I try to update the driver it says "Windows has determined that your driver has the best software" I'm running vista. If anyone could help me with that could you please reply.

Solderguy (author)jsith962009-09-17

Go to control panel, then to device manager, find your "mass usb storage device", right click it and choose "update driver software". Then choose "browse my computer for software", then click on "let me pick from a list of drivers on my computer", click on the usb mass storege device and then click "have disk", browse for the xbreader.inf file you modified, load it, and it will successfully update it. it is doesn't work then you're doing something wrong.

z400100500 (author)jsith962009-05-26

that's why! Vista has some wierd problem with it because IT'S VISTA!!!!!! WHY USE VISTA?!?!?!?!?!?! I'm done. Try it on a different computer, or if you have a big hard drive, make a dual-boot environment and have XP as a 2nd system. Works fine on XP

fwjs28 (author)z4001005002009-06-04
will421 (author)fwjs282009-06-29



fwjs28 (author)will4212009-06-30

no, death to all techies using vista

Danny_Payne (author)fwjs282009-07-04

o god no, please dont do it!! ;-]

fwjs28 (author)Danny_Payne2009-07-04

do you use vista?

Danny_Payne (author)fwjs282009-07-05

yeah, i personaly think it is better than all the others, just the stuff in my computer, and the bars telling you how mich space you haved used, ant the search bar on the start button =] do you use Vista??

fwjs28 (author)Danny_Payne2009-07-05

i do too, but i hate it...the looks are nice and so is the search bad but UAC is a pain, and speed on a quad core with 4 gigs of ram pssht, its like windows '95....i'd rather use linux or xp....hopefully 7 will fix some of this...

cody777 (author)fwjs282009-07-22

vista may such but compared to 98 it is great i finally upgraded
it is also great if u dont have $100 to spend on xp
wait for 7!!

cody777 (author)cody7772009-07-22

i meant suck not such

fwjs28 (author)cody7772009-07-22


fwjs28 (author)cody7772009-07-22

im not sure if you meant '98 or you were quoting me in which case you meant '95 ...anywho, i like Xp over Vista and i like Ubuntu over them all...

cody777 (author)fwjs282009-07-22

by 98 i meant windows 98

fwjs28 (author)cody7772009-07-22

mhkay, wasn't sure

badboys777 (author)2009-08-28

Can I put a usb in it and my xbox will recognise it as a memory card so i can use action replay thanks

Solderguy (author)badboys7772009-09-17

Only certain usb sticks are recognized by the XBOX. I have 3 usb sticks but my xbox will only recognize a generic fourth-party chinese usb drive I got from wal-mart.

cody777 (author)2009-07-22

i tryed an iomega external zip 100 it dosent give me a broken card message but it dosent work

iAlex50 (author)2009-07-02

Very nice! But when your done programming a flash drive with this...You can Make it direct. By soldering the drive to the xbox male port... So you can give it a nice casing and\or use it on multiple xboxes...

jsith96 (author)2009-04-30

When i try to save the XBreader.inf it says that i'm not the administrator when i am. This isn't really related to the soldering or anything but i want to know how i can fix this for so it works.

Thepage (author)2009-04-26

My cousin, who is really good with xbox's did the original bunch of electrical tape way. That's before I found this way, now I will work with him to make one or two of these things.

N1CK4ND0 (author)2009-03-14

Wow, damn yeah that is way better then what I did for mine lol. Bunch of wires wrapped in electrical tape.

sleepy floyd (author)2009-02-22

This definitely looks much better than the electrical taped xbox to usb cables... but I have a question: If I use this to connect an external USB hard drive to a softmodded xbox with XBMC running, can I run my home videos and music from the external USB Hard Drive? Or to put it another way, If I build this adapter and connect a USB Hard Drive to my Xbox, will XBMC recognize it as a source to run videos, music and photos? or will I still have to transfer the files to the internal hard drive first? thanks, SF

gschoppe (author)sleepy floyd2009-02-22

Short answer: You can, but there are reasons not to. Long answer: XBMC does support USB Mass Storage devices formatted as FAT32 for reading, however, support is currently piecemeal and many devices do not function right... the biggest limitation, is that currently XBMC only supports storage devices up to 4GB in total size (not partition size, but device size)... the other BIG issue is the XBOX is only USB 1.1, meaning that drives are SLOW... My reccommendation would be to research either replacing your xbox hard drive (non trivial, but not too difficult for most makers) or purchasing a NAS (Network Attached Storage) Unit and streaming over a home network to the xbox... if the NAS is SMB or UPnP enabled, its trivial... I use my usb to do small transfers to the xbox on the fly, to show slideshows from camera cards, and to connect my MP3 player to play any tunes I might not have on the network, but most of my transfers are via FTP or SMB shares. also, instructables emails the user when his posts are commented on, so a PM is not usually necessary... but no harm no foul.

sleepy floyd (author)gschoppe2009-02-22

wow! thanks for the superfast reply.. sorry about the extra PM then. :) I've already got XBMC streaming from one of my PC drives via wireless networking, but I get stuttering whenever the video shows one of the following: 1) fast moving water, 2) bursts of light (explosions or flames) or 3) movement through forests ((leafy areas). Using the same file burned to a DVD as data, I don't get the stuttering effect, so I'm relatively sure its the wireless transfer rate thats causing the problem. I was hoping that I could transfer the files to an external HD and use that to transfer, rather than burning DVD's. I might still give your instructable a try, just for the heck of it. One last question, do I need to edit the XBMC .xml file for it to recognize the hard drive, or will it automatically add it to the list?

gschoppe (author)sleepy floyd2009-02-22

yup, the wireless is the culprit... rather than using an external HDD, just use XBMC's built in FTP server to transfer the files... get a good ftp client like filezilla connect to your xbox's ip with user xbox pass xbox (IIRC those are the defaults) drag n drop the file where you want it... You may want to get a big HDD however, so you can store more... alternatively, just wire the sucker, its not that hard to run cat5, and if you rent, you may be able to get your super to ok it, if you make it look pro and wire to logical places... wall plates are your friend. also, compatible hard drives should register automatically

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