Step 7: The Resistor

A resistor is used to lower the amount of current from a source of electricity into a level usable by the LEDs. You will need to use ledcalc to know what resistor you need for your setup. Different color LEDs can have different voltages. Some reds are 2.0 volts, some blues are 3.4v. If you use the same resistor for four different colored LEDs, some will be bright and others dim. If you can get all of the LEDs to have the same power requirements, great.

The best source for power in an Xbox Controller is the red 5v power source. My RGB LEDs require 3.4v and 25mA each. Parallel is used to minimize the amount of wires and resistors needed for an install, by placing more work on a single resistor (Meaning we need a higher maximum wattage rating for the resistor, but in the case of 5 LEDs it doesn't really matter). You can also use series for wiring, or each LED receiving its own resistor.

For my install, I required an 18 Ohm, 1/4 Wattage resistor as told by ledcalc (This is for a 5v supply, four 3.4v 25mA LEDs in parallel). The wattage rating is the maximum amount of heat the resistor can give off, you can have a far higher rating than required and still be fine, just don't overload the resistor.

The Power Source
If you look at where the controller cable attached to the mainboard, you will see many colored wires. Find the red wire (which should be at the bottom) and follow the pin to the other side. We will solder our resistor to this solder point.

With the needle nose pliers bend your resistor into shape, tin the end of it, and attach it to the solder point on the mainboard.

Wiring the Wires
As all of the positive wires have been soldered together, cut a large length of wire (6 inches) and solder it to the positive bundle. Mine is colored white, and has been attached to the other end of our resistor.

The black bundle should receive its own wire as well, only it will be wired to the negative solder point where the black wire comes through the mainboard (shown in picture).

You should now be able to plug the controller into the console, turn it on, and everything should light up!
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&nbsp;Few quick questions: 1) Are the buttons transparent enough to let a white led shine through, but opaque enough so that it looks like it's lighting up the correct color? 2) On a wireless xbox 360 controller, is it possible to hook up the leds to a power source other than the rumble power? 3) If not, which prong for the rumble power (the prongs on the opposite side of the controller as the rumble adapter) is positive and which is negative?<br /> Thanks,<br /> TpR<br /> <br />
&nbsp;Yes, using a white LED will shine through the button itself and take on some of the plastics color. So putting a white LED in a red button will take on red tint, but be more of a very light red (not pink though). For a strong effect, I would recommend one color LED per color button, so red to red, blue for blue, etc.<br /> <br /> Yes, you can access power from the 360 controller without using a rumble motor, in fact you should be taking your power from the mainboard. There are five or six solder pins going through the mainboard, they hold the power and you should solder directly to them.<br /> <br /> I believe you would be interested in this guide:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.llamma.com/xbox360/mods/xbox%20360%20Controller%20LED%20Mod.htm" rel="nofollow">www.llamma.com/xbox360/mods/xbox%20360%20Controller%20LED%20Mod.htm</a><br /> <br /> <br />
&nbsp;I didn't exactly know how to say it, but when I said the rumble power, I meant the prongs on the mainboard that you attach it to to make them 'rumbled activated leds' as the llamma.com guide said. I'm interested in making them lit at all times, is there a power supply on the mainboard I can tap into (excluding the previously mentioned prongs)?
No, that's exactly it, soldering to the mainboard power (directly where the USB cable attaches, which is only for wired controllers) will leave the LEDs lit as long as the controller is on. Soldering to the rumble packs means soldering to the red and black wires that go to the rumblers, in which case they would only light up during vibration being activated.<br /> <br /> The llamma guide at the bottom with the rumble activated LED is a completely separate step that is optional. <br /> <br /> To access power pins on the wireless controller, you can tap into the play and charge kit/headset connector. Have the controller sitting normally on a table, with the sticks pointing in the air. Looking at the controller the direction you normally hold it, there are 4 pins and a center alignment hole on the base of the controller. Number the pins in your head with the one on the far left being pin 1 and all the way on the right being pin 4. Here are their specs:<br /> Pin 1: Ground, Pin 2: Microphone Receive, Pin 3: Microphone Send, Pin 4: Power 3v.<br /> <br /> So quite simply, you can solder your resistors to the 3v power pin, and the negative end of your LEDs to pin 1 (ground). I hope that is what you were wanting. You wouldn't want to tap power from the microphone pins, since they transmit data and can cause problems if you tap into them.<br />
&nbsp;Hate to keep bothering you, but I'm considering getting a four pack of leds. They have a 1200-2000 mcd, is that adequate? And a 100 ohm resistor is needed for a 5 volt supply. Since I'm tapping into the the 3V supply, a) will the leds be bright enough? b) Will a resistor be necessary (parallel wiring)?
&nbsp;*update* The best I've been able to find without buying almost 50 is only 3k mcd.
If you want high brightness, just buy a pack of 50 off eBay, that's just how these things work, as brick-and-mortar stores only like to sell absolute junk. The LED will use the exact same amount of electricity whether your 5mm 3.4v 20mA LED is rated for 1kmcd or 15kmcd, it's all a question of electrical efficiency per LED. 1.2kmcd is pretty dim, you could see it at night with the lights off as a very subtle glow. I'd recommend aiming for 5k-7kmcd. For your suggestion of 3k, I think it would be acceptable. It's all personal preference really.<br /> <br /> As far as your resistor, this is where LEDs are awesome. You can have your numbers wrong and they still work, just maybe not at the optimal brightness. Let's say you are using a blue LED, which is rated for 3.4v, yet we only have a 3.0v supply. Indeed, the LED will be underpowered and it's brightness reduced by about 30%. I think the minimum limit for a blue/green LED lighting up is around 2.4v or so (which would be extremely dim), so you're in the clear. LED specs always have a variable rating, something like ~3.2-3.4 volts, feel free to go over or under at your leisure.<br /> <br /> If you use a red LED, which is rated for 1.9v, and overvolt it to 3.0v, it will be extremely bright, around 40% brighter. That extra brightness comes at a cost though, the LED will now last only about ~20,000 hours of constantly being on (which is still a ton) than the normal 80,000 hours. The reverse is true as well, undervolting an LED will add more life. Lots of pocket LED flashlights use this trick to the extreme, two 2032 button cell batteries in series (3v * 2 = 6v) for a 3.4v White LED. I personally swapped out the white LED for a red, with an extreme overvolt of 6 volts onto the 1.9v standard red. Granted, it's bad for the LED, but it's a cheap $1 flashlight.<br /> <br /> To measure your resistor, go to ledcalc.com, put in your numbers, and find your result. Since we can't go higher than 3.0 volts, I put in 2.9v, and got a 5.6 Ohm 1/8 W resistor. Thats for a single blue/greem LED mind you, but you can figure it out with series or parellel.<br />
&nbsp;It says the LED's voltage norm is 3.0 volts, so is a resistor necessary?&nbsp;
From my experience, you always have to have a resistor, no matter what the juice being given to the LED is. LEDs are current powered, but voltage dependent. Basically, as the voltage increases, so does the current (the mA) to the LED increasing brightness. While your voltage may be fine, a 3v supply for a 2.9v LED, the current will not be regulated. If whereever you are tapping the power from (in this case the microphone power plug) doesn't let the current go over 20mA, then yes you wouldn't need a resistor. I don't have measurements for how much current that pin is running, only the voltage, so I have to tell you to use a resistor or something could fry. Resistor calculations take into account both current and desired voltage. The only exception is button cell batteries, because the way the batteries are made they have current regulation.
&nbsp;Ok. I used ledcalc and I put in a voltage drop of 2.9v, a supply voltage of 3v, 4 LEDs and for 15 mA it said a 6.8 ohm, and for 20mA it said 5.6 ohm, that sound about right?
Stick with 20mA rather than 15mA, you aren't facing severe power requirements, and dropping the current that low makes the LEDs far less bright.<br /> <br /> I believe you used the default ledcalc.com Guru to calculate your resistor, which in most cases is fine. There are three other options, single, series, and parallel wiring. I recommend using parallel for this install, since only a single resistor is needed, which becomes very important inside of a cramped Xbox controller. Note that using parallel requires all your LEDs be the same type (white 2.9v draw for example). Using different colors like red,green,blue, and yellow would each require their own resistor. Note that green/blue/white LEDS are all 2.9v (minimum, at optimal they are 3.4v, but that isn't possible in this install due to the 3.0v source), and red/amber LEDs are both 1.9v, meaning these color pairs could be in parallel, making for a total of two resistors.<br /> <br /> Calculating a 3.0v source, with 2.9 draw @ 20mA and four LEDs wired in parallel makes for a single 1.5 Ohm 1/8W resistor in the case of four blue/green/white.<br />
&nbsp;The resistor I found in 1.5 ohms, but 1W.
I searched &quot;1.5 ohm&quot; on eBay, and found a 100x pack of 1.5 ohm 1/4 W resistors in less than 10 seconds for a total cost including shipping $2.50.<br /> <br /> Wattage rating is only a minimum, you could power a LED with a 5 W rated resistor, which would be excessively large. The wattage rating means how much electricity can be converted to heat before the resistor fails (read: melts). Just never go lower than the ohm rating require, and I don't think common resistors are made below 1/8W, so you're fine.<br />
Would this work on an xbox 360 controller? I haven't opened it up yet, but im wondering if anyone knows where i can get the power source from? I'm about to open mine up now and i'll let you know how it goes
The process is practically identical for a 360 controller. Flood the existing LEDs (add solder), touch back and forth between the two connections until the LED floats away and you can pick it off. Positives are marked by white paint on one side of the LED, so player 1's positive terminal would have a D1 or white dot close to it. Look up llamma's guide for modding a 360 controller for help.
Ok cool thank you. I need to go buy a T8H as my current one wont fit so I wasn't able to open it up.
You can either buy a legitimate T8H torx screwdriver (I would suggest from llamma.org), or you can do what us modders had to do the day the 360 came out. We took an awl or very small chisel, and smashed it with a hammer onto the center pin. If you do it correctly the center pin will break off, and a normal T8 driver will unscrew it. Saves you $20 (minimum) and a week of shipping.
Ah, thats not the problem. Problem is that I have bits, not drivers. So it wont fit in 4 of the holes. :~(
&nbsp;I bought my T8H from amazon.com for $2.99+$5.00 shipping. It's a small screwdriver and the handle's comfort leaves alot to be desired, but it gets the job done.
If you didn't want to buy a T8H, you could just open it the old fashioned way, back when the 360 first came out and nobody knew what a T8H was. Take a thin flat-head screwdriver or small chisel, insert it into the hole and place one edge into the inside of the torx, smash it with a hammer and crack off the security pin. Then a normal T8 driver can turn the screw. I'm glad the T8H from amazon worked for you, enjoy the mod.
&nbsp;Can you make it so an XBox 360 controller has LED buttons? Not just the XBox button but A, X, B, and Y.
Indeed you can. I could write up a guide on this one, but llamma.org has already written one up. It's essentially the exact same process as the Xbox 1 controllers.<br /> <br /> <a href="http://www.llamma.com/xbox360/mods/xbox%20360%20Controller%20LED%20Mod.htm" rel="nofollow">http://www.llamma.com/xbox360/mods/xbox%20360%20Controller%20LED%20Mod.htm</a><br />
can u do this to a 360 controller?
Indeed you can.<br /> <br /> <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Xbox-360-Wireless-Controller-Ring-of-Light/" rel="nofollow">http://www.instructables.com/id/Xbox-360-Wireless-Controller-Ring-of-Light/</a><br />
What kind of viewing angle should the 3mm LEDs have? I am looking at a 3000 mcd red led (highest I can find on unique-leds.com) with a 30 degree viewing angle.. Is that good enough if I want to evenly light up the dome on my xbox 360 controller? What would you suggest?
30 degree viewing angle is the standard for cylindrical LEDs, and you should be able to find far brighter than 3kmcd, at the Light of Victory eBay store you can get 50x 3mm Reds @ 15kmcd for $10. If you can, put in two or three LEDs into the dome, wire them in series, and plug them in there with super glue.
Wow really? So would one 3000 mcd LED not even hardly be visible at all? I want the "X" to light up when my rapid-fire mod is on, but I'd rather it not be super duper bright.. but not so dull that you can't see it you know.. I kind of want it to be the same brightness, or slightly less bright than the ring of light itself.
It will be visible then, 3kmcd isn't very bright as far as LEDs go, but if you just want the X dome to be visible then it should be fine. Each of the stock green ring LEDs run at around 200mcd, the dome will be quite a bit brighter, but not enough to ruin the mod.
Well, that's another question I was thinking about asking but didn't know if you'd know or not.. The mod I'm installing is a rapid-fire mod and it uses a PIC12F683 pre-programmed chip. One of the pins of the IC is supposed to be wired to the 4th player's LED (to serve as a status indicator of sorts), but I'd like to wire it to the 3mm red LED that I'm planning on burying in the dome and use it as the status indicator. Do you have any idea if this should work or not? The thing is that I have no idea how much voltage that IC outputs from the pin that gets wired to the LED.. Here is the instruction manual for the mod I'm installing if you have any interest in taking a look at it: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.mediafire.com/?wgwzkuydum2">http://www.mediafire.com/?wgwzkuydum2</a><br/><br/>Do you know what I mean about the 4th player LED being used as a status indicator? For example, the IC will light up the 4th player LED when you turn the rapid-fire on. It will also flash at different intervals to show you what mode of rapid-fire you are in. I would just like to make a 3mm 3000mcd red LED do that instead of the default smd 0603 LED that is soldered to the controller board already. Will that work?<br/>
Lucky you, most LEDs use similar amounts of power. A 5kmcd 5mm and a 70kmcd 10mm LED both use 3.4volts at 20mA. It should work.
Awesome. You are the man, Dan. Great instructables by the way. You have some of the best tutorials I have seen on the internet. Keep it up.
nice work
how do you play atari 2600- playstation 1 games on your xbox
I opened up my Xbox casing, installed a Xecuter 3 Modchip which lets you run unauthorized software on the Xbox. I used the Xbox operating system XBMC (Xbox Media Center), and run various emulators on the system. Surreal64XXX for Nintendo 64, XSNES for Super Nintendo, etc.<br/><br/>Modding my Xbox is one of the best things I've ever spent my money on, as I have all of my TV shows, movies, Xbox games (about 70 of them) and limitless other games all on one box.<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7ybx5CLdI4">Video Explanation</a><br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.xbox-scene.com/articles/beginnersguide.php">Text Beginners Explanation</a><br/>
what emulators do you use?
I use the AEON beta skin for XBMC as my dash, and for emulators: MAMEdOX for Arcade Games Mednafenx for NES NeoGenesis for Sega Genesis Surreal 64 XXX for Nintendo 64 (But it crashes a lot if you don't tweak the settings) XBoyAdvance for GBA Z26X for Atari 2600 ZsnexBox for SNES
Err sorry, make that the AEON alpha, the developer has gotten lazy and hasn't released a full version which looks amazing!<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.aeonproject.com/index.html">http://www.aeonproject.com/index.html</a><br/>
You don't need to put in a modchip to get XBMC though. Just need splintercell and the usb connector for the xbox. I heard you can also burn a custom DVD but I haven't tried that.
The method Joejoerowley is talking about is called softmodding, where you get a certain game, get a custom memory card and load a hacked save file, load the save and your system is hacked. Though you can get XBMC and everything running on it, any problems you run into (like accidentally corrupting XBMC) will be very difficult to fix. And for the cost of the memory card/usb combo (Which is around $30-40) you might as well get a modchip, as it offers more features and makes it easier to install a new hard-drive.
I actually managed to mod my xbox for free. all i did was get a program off of the internet for my pc to boot off of, and i hotswapped my xbox hdd and put evox on my the hard drive. (I dont know if this is considered a hard mod or a soft mod as i didn't physically change any of the hardware inside but i opened it up). Then i just used FTP softwre to transfer all of my apps like Xbox Media Center and X Damn Small Linux. The only thing i purcashed was an new power supply after I accidentally shorted it and fried everything on it. I also have a usb keyboard and mouse which i am using right now to type this comment with my xbox
Very nice, hopefully you'll enjoy XBMC to its fullest. A hard-mod is soldering a modchip or attaching one with pogo-pins; a soft-mod is a fully software based hack, most often done through a hacked game save. I would suggest making XBMC your primary dashboard instead of merely an application for EvoX. Congrats, and enjoy!
Well, you can make a connector from an old USB cable and an old controller so that cuts away the 30-40 dollars. The advantage to softmod is that you don't have to open your case so if you aren't great at soldering then this is useful or if you don't have access to the tools required. Softmod is really quick to. I can mod an xbox in about an hour. Both are good though.
i know all this stuff about soft-modding, i just wanted to know what softmod QuackMasterDan was using.
i know
so the 0.1A drawn from the LED's don't affect the chip in the controller?
Not at all. For one, they aren't taking electricity from any chips in the controller, they are attaching to the power wire that powers the entire controller which itself is plugged into the Xbox power supply. I only used five LEDs for this project, though you can plug in quite a few more (around 10-12) before you have to worry about draining too much power (which in the case of 12 LEDs would merely make the rumble weaker).

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Bio: I have a passion for tweaking things. Whether it be modding video game consoles, creating custom laser displays, or any creations with lights I love ... More »
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