Original XBox Controller Memory Card Slot USB Conversion

Picture of Original XBox Controller Memory Card Slot USB Conversion
This Instructable is a stand-alone, as well as a companion to another Instructable that i have to do an easy Softmod to your Original XBox without needing a Memory Card or Action Replay. Keep in mind that the Memory Card made by Microsoft is a FAT16 Device, but has 8 Megabyte Limitations. After doing this to my XBox controller, i was able to easily use a Kingston DataTraveller 4 Gigabyte USB stick with ease. This is also handy when you are limited to One Controller/Breakaway combo, like i am, and need to be able to transfer your files and interface at the same time with the XBox.

Credit for the Pinout diagram goes to Mike Chambers (who made a Memory Card to USB Adapter, but i simply cut out the middleman and hardwired the USB port directly into the controller!) his project can be seen at: http://mesh.typepad.com/blog/2005/01/creating_a_usb_.html

Another helpful resource for anyone undertaking any project using USB will appreciate this site:
http://pinouts.ru/Slots/USB_pinout.shtml This site gives some good visual guides on most things USB (even lists iPod and other proprietary connectors).
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Step 1: Shopping List

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Small Philips screwdriver
Soldering Iron (I used a cordless one)
Glue Gun
Utility Knife
Small Needle Nose Pliers
USB Extension Cable (mine is a dollar store one that cost $1.50)
XBox Controller (S Model is my preference)

Additionally, some experience soldering, as well as stripping wire, and a delicate touch is helpful.

Step 2: Stripping the USB Socket

Picture of Stripping the USB Socket
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Clip off the Female end of the USB extension to about two inches from the end. Then (carefully) start stripping the whole piece, starting with the wire insulation. The easiest way to do this it to make a shallow cut down its length with your utility knife, then a similar circular cut where the wire ends and the socket begins. then simply pull off the casing, then unwrap any shielding foil and/or wires (but leave the following wires: Red, Black, White, and Green).
After this, start slowly trimming off the covering around the socket end. using a quartering technique, crisscross cut the casing and gently (and patiently) pry it off. Do this until you have the socket totally exposed to its metal contacts and wires. If you find 5 wires, you have one too many. One is the ground wire, and can be clipped off (this wire is bare and soldered directly to the metal socket). After this, strip a small end on each of the wires and solder slightly in preparation for a later step.

Step 3: Opening the XBox Controller

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Disassemble the XBox controller. To do this, there will be 7 screw holes on this controller that i used. if you only see 6, there is one hiding under the manufacturing sticker (this is done to indicate that there has been tampering, when this was under warranty). Make sure not to lose the screws (a magnet is handy for holding them). When you have it opened, you will see two vibration motors inside. Using a small flat head screwdriver (or similar prying tool) pry up the tabs holding the motor sockets (white) and pull on the wires holding them together. Do NOT simply pull off the wires as this can damage the board/sockets/wires/motors. After this, pry up with a fingernail or flat head screwdriver on the hooks holding the Memory Card socket housing off (this part will have an embossed Microsoft logo on the front of it). after this is done there will be two shiny silver-colored screws on the top side of the board where the analog sticks are located. It is also handy to take the analog sticks off (the plastic and rubber parts only, not the entire assembly). After these parts are removed you will see the two memory card sockets exposed.

Step 4: Removing one of the Sockets

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On the underside of the board (trigger side), we will be removing this socket totally from the controller's mainboard. Simply pull the pins that are feeding into the socket back and out, making sure they are totally removed from the plastic part. When all five are pulled, they should be only connected to the board where they are soldered into. Now flip the controller and push the two pegs from the socket on the opposite side (analog stick side). The plastic should just come off the underside, and can be discarded. Now take your soldering iron, and desolder and push out the pins to expose the holes that the wires will feed into. With this done, we can now move on.

Step 5: Wiring and installation of USB Socket

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Take a piece of tape and wrap around the metal USB Socket. I used masking tape, as the purpose of this is to keep hot glue from seeping into the socket. Now glue the rear of the socket into the bottom part of the Memory Card assembly. Make sure to glue up the end of the socket so that the wires are covered up into the insulation of the wires. This will ensure the wires will not do any excess bending and will not snap off. On the inside of the assembly, run a small bead of hot glue on the top and bottom sides of the socket. Wetting your finger tip immediatly after and smoothing the bead will make this smooth and flush (it is a bit hot but you should not burn yourself). Let this all cool for a few minutes to make sure that the Socket is straight.

Now to do the next step will require some soldering, so make sure to be careful to not burn yourself. In the wiring guide enclosed, you will see an explanation behind the five pins. The yellow wire is almost never needed for any reason other than accessories, and is not necessary to this project so that hole will not be used. The wires have to be inserted in from the bottom, which is the same side as the socket that was removed. A good starting point is to have the Green wire soldered to the center hole. Make sure to use some Flux (i spread mine with a paper match end), and extra fine solder. An easy way to know what wire goes where is the following: (with the triggers pointing up) Red White Green Empty Black. The wires should be soldered in through the top of the board, where the other socket remains. Then run some glue along where the wires feed in to keep the wires from snapping off from the board.

Step 6: Reassembly

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Now its all a matter of reconnecting the vibration motors, then make sure you have all seven screws in and tight. I tested it out with a Kingston Datatraveller 4 Gig and the XBox recognized it immediatly. One note is that this is a USB 1.1 connection, so the data transfer rate will not be the fastest (12 Mbits per second, compared to USB 2.0 which is around 480 Mbits per second). So when you softmod the XBOX with the steps in my other Instructable, you will want to pack a lunch, because it will take a few minutes to transfer the files from the stick to the XBOX.
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illumation_29 days ago

this and windows recognizes the drive but doesn't seem to have enough
power to power-up the drive. Windows pop-up the message "hub exceeds
power-limit". Also the drive runs at USB 1.1 (read this too late in your
article). What can I do about this?

I have made another mod in
the past with a "speedlink stormtrooper" and build in a USB-drive and a
logitech mini-USB 2.0 Hub. The controller is connected to this mini-hub
and also the usb drive. This works perfectly, I think that's a better
idea. You can also use the two other usb connections.


Note: When I made the first one I didn't know there was a hub inside the controller ;-)

PeterF38 months ago

You guys know you could just buy a Phantasy Star USB adapter instead? Granted these might be hard to come by nowadays.

icePiK PeterF34 months ago

Thanks for the info, didn't know they existed. I've only just managed to work out you can use USB devices this way, and via the XboxController-to-USBFemale method. This post was very helpful.

Hey Peter, I've looked and looked--and would rather have one of these instead of a cable--but I've had no luck finding these? Any advice? I'm in the U.S.--I've even tried searching eBay for entire PSO-for-XBOX original 'kits'...thanks.

So if I have understood this right, you can just cut a xbox controller cord and add a USB female jack to that. So as I have five xbox controllers (of which one is a bit broken) I'm going to add a male USB jack to the controller end, and then I have it unpluggable, but still working! Now I just need to find out which one is broken of them five...
Another video of mine this time an xbox console mod complete with usb ports emulators and roms...Modded Xbox with usb ports and Emulators...My Sprayed and Modded Original Xbox running Xbox media center with usb ports and Emulators.

just completed my latest controller mod...i know it not an xbox controller...but just wanted to show it off lol!!...wanted to say thank you for the inspiration which has inspired me to do this heres my latest controller mod...16GB USB Joypad Mod with 4793 games on it...Old usb Joypad modded into a plug & play video gaming unit that allows you to play every one of the 4793 games that are already integrated into the joypad ...From Arcade Games to Atari2600 games to Sega Master System Games to Sega Mega Drive Games to Super Nintendo Games to Nintendo64 Games...For use with any desktop pc or laptop running windows

Modded USB Joypad with a 16GB internal memory implant with 4793 games on it that Include (1619 Arcade Games)+(722 Atari2600 Games)+(370 Sega Master System Games)+(987 Sega Mega Drive Games)+(775 Super Nintendo Games)+(320 Nintendo64 Games)

..I would have listed all of the games for all the Consoles (1619 Arcade Games)+(722 Atari2600 Games)+(370 Sega Master System Games)+(987 Sega Mega Drive Games)+(775 Super Nintendo Games)+(320 Nintendo64 Games)...But there are far to many to list as it is very time consuming


This mod is an upgrade to the Xbox To USB Controller Mod with 2GB internal removable USB Flash Drive with 153 games....Xbox USB Controller Mod (UPGRADE) with a 4GB internal USB Flash Drive with 355 games
Nice Mod iv finished modding my xbox controller with an added upgrade Iv modded the end of this old Xbox controller to a male usb for use with any laptop or pc iv also gutted out a memory port down to the pins and soldered and hot glued in a female usb replacement into the empty port then i added a micro sd card reader with a 2gb sd card which iv added 153 arcade games onto into the usb port then i configured all the Xbox controller buttons and finally gave it a nice blue stray job.

Xbox To USB Controller Mod with 2GB internal removable USB Flash Drive with 153 games Part 1
sonicdude102 years ago
I'm gonna do this but in a different way. Gonna put the USB drive into a memory card casing since I have a Game Shark USB adapter. Keep it original looking with 4 GB of space. Inscrutable to come sometime soon.
daiatlus79 (author)  sonicdude102 years ago
good idea! post pics when done :) or instead of a usb thumbdrive, put an SD card reader in it so the memory card is a card reader and makes it upgradable :)
Sorry to take so long to reply. Life...
I ended up not putting a USB drive in the memory card when the Xbox had issues with it. (Read it fine at first then quit. ???) So instead I made it into a USB adapter. Plug memory card into controller and USB device into the card. I have instructable written for making one along with demo video of it in action with a 1GB 3.5" HDD connected through a IDE to USB adapter. Xbox picks it up no problem.
sonicdude102 years ago
I discovered my HDD to USB adapter works with my Xbox. I now have a 3.5" 1 GB IDE HDD "memory card" and a 1.44 GB 2.5" IDE HDD "memory card". Both running through my no name IDE and SATA to USB adapter. Video of it in action in my Instructable for my memory card USB adapter.
sonicdude102 years ago
So my idea of a 4 GB memory card died when the USB drive decided to be stupid. So instead I made memory card to USB adapter complete with Instructable. Check it here:
I thought I was first to do this but looks like I'm the second...
roparom2 years ago
just completed the above process for myself, many thanks for the guide!
Treborabc5 years ago
If you do this you can still play games with your controller, right?

daiatlus79 (author)  Treborabc2 years ago
daiatlus79 (author)  Treborabc4 years ago
MyGhost3 years ago
Do you have to use a 1.1 port port or would it be possible to use a High Speed 2.0 port?
daiatlus79 (author)  MyGhost3 years ago
this will only be a 1.1 port as the Original Xbox never had USB 2.0 capability
I bought a xbox 360 usb extension cable(yes i am aware that this is an original xbox thread) and cut it open; the wiring is identical to the wiring diagram that you provided in this instructable. Does this mean that my cable would be compatible? I am unsure if it is 2.0 or 1.1
daiatlus79 (author)  Runeing92 years ago
should be
Runeing92 years ago
Here's my situation: there are no USB 1.1 cables in my area. USB 2.0 has become the norm and USB 3.0 is on the way. I bought a used Xbox360 extension cable and split it open; I am unsure if it is USB 1.1 or 2.0, but it has the exact same color coded wiring as the 1.1 USB. My question is, will this work? I can post a link for a picture for clarification if needed.
daiatlus79 (author)  Runeing92 years ago
the cables are all the same. go for it. the cables themselves do not determine the version in pretty much any case.
Theodore1554 years ago
my usb blinks once and then nothing happens on the xbox
daiatlus79 (author)  Theodore1553 years ago
check compatibility of your drive: not all are compatible. a simple Google search will reveal if it is or not
miksnake3 years ago
Thanks for this instructable, I really appreciate it and am looking forward to getting it working.

I followed all the instructions tonight to modify the controller (used a Hip Gear one instead of a Microsoft, but it looked very similar inside). I used a Kingston Data Traveller 4 GB memory stick.

My problem is when I put the flash drive in and go to memory on the Xbox, the screen kind of flashes and makes a blinking sound. The green LED on the flash drive comes on and flashes in sync with the TV.

Is there any way to know whether this is a memory card compatibility issue or a wiring mishap?


by the way, once I've gone through this and your other tutorial on the softmod, how do I take all my games and make digital copies so I don't need to use the actual discs anymore?
daiatlus79 (author)  miksnake3 years ago
1. your flash drive could have a chip set that isnt compatible with the Xbox
2. a bigger hard drive and a dvd copier program would be the solution to your issues. installing a larger hard drive with a soft mod is tricky.
barguellez3 years ago
can i use electical tape instead of soldering??
daiatlus79 (author)  barguellez3 years ago
how will you get the wires to make and maintain contact to the board, usb socket, etc?
Quick Question, Can I use a thumb drive as a memory card with this? Sorry I am fairly new to xbox modding, but I am think of purchasing one and trying.
daiatlus79 (author)  cooldoodtekk3 years ago
yes as long as it is compatible, you can. there are compatibility lists online
Toddimyre3 years ago
This is a pretty nifty trick. You can also do something similar with modified Xbox controller cord to USB extension. Basically, you cut the end off a controller that's broken, add a USB extension, and plug in any flash drive. ;-)
daiatlus79 (author)  Toddimyre3 years ago
i know that, but read in my tutorial: i only had the one controller at the time, so doing that would have been hard to do. could not do that and select the files to move them from the thumbdrive to the xbox with no controller connected lol
rholland14 years ago
How do you know which usb drives work?
I know i got the thing right, but my sandisk cruiser doesn't
daiatlus79 (author)  rholland13 years ago
its a bit of a dice roll. some work and some dont. there are lists online that give compatibility.
neopirater5 years ago
Awesome man! This prompted me to pick up The Box at a local Flea. Took me about 30 minutes to open the controller up and finish. Gave me a chance to clean whatever filth was in the used controller. Eeeeew. Works without a hitch though! Thanks for the tutorial! A+
...And the pictures.
daiatlus79 (author)  neopirater5 years ago
sweet.. yeah i think the controller you have is slightly different from mine.. maybe a newer model S... and yeah.. i got the idea on a hunch.. i knew that the controllers were just glorified USB controllers (i have a MadCatz version modded for use with my PC), so i looked up and read about the cards they used. they were just really 8 meg thumbdrives. they even had all the same pinouts as regular USB. so i thought 'screw it.. its worth a try'. and it worked like a charm. i needed it for modding the xbox cause at the time i only had one controller. got 4 now.. and working on taking my Wireless MadCatz controller and putting on a rapidfire mod for it, but i need a few parts for it (got the buttons, just need a few electronic components).
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