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This Instructable is a tutorial on how to make your own high current 12V source for powering your Car accessories, Carputer, or anything 12V that requires a lot of juice. The adapter makes use of the common Xbox 360 Power Brick and it's 16A current handling capabilities (old style 200W Brick) and combines it with a 12V Triple Socket Adapter. Pictured is my concept adapter that i built with a LM317 voltage regulator circuit for testing. I found the design circuit at Ladyada.net.

Disclaimer: I, or anyone linked from this instructable, accept(s) no responsibility for any injuries or damages that may occur as a result of this tutorial. Anyone building this adapter does so at their own risk. That being said my hope is that you will find this Adapter as useful as i have.


Step 1: Tool List

Here's a list of the tools you will need for this tutorial:

-Drill with a 9/64" Drill bit
-Glue Gun
-Needle Nose Pliers
-Wire-strippers
-Side cutters
-Soldering Iron
-Gun type Soldering Iron with plastic melting tip or a Rotary Tool with cutting disc will work too
-Flux
-Solder
-Desoldering Braid
-No. 0 Phillips Screwdriver
-No. 10 Torx Screwdriver
-Utility Knife or Safe Package Opener
-Pick or Flatblade Screwdriver

Safety Gear: Safety Glasses and a Multimeter

Step 2: Material List

Next is the List of needed Materials:

Item 0 Obviously you will need a XBOX 360 Power Supply :)

Item 1 Needed is a some sort of Socket for a Lighter Plug, I bought a 12V Triple Socket adapter from Canadian Tire for $11.99 CAD.

Item 2 Yellow and Black wire that is thicker than most signal wire. I used some 16 gauge wire that i had sitting around. You can probably score some 20 gauge yellow and black wire from any blown ATX power supply or you could buy some from Princess Auto.

Item 3 Small heat shrink tubing for the switch connections which you can also get at Princess Auto.

Item 4 is a switch, if you don't have a spare slider switch in one of your parts drawers or on an old toy that can be salvaged you can always check out Radio Source (aka The Source by Circuit City, or Radio Shack in the US).

Item 5 is a XBOX 360 Female Power Connector from a 360 Mobo (motherboard). I know that everyone has at least one or two friends that have a RROD (Red Ring of Death) 360 Collecting dust in their basement or garage. Why not rob the power connector from it and use it for something useful!

Or you could always try repairing it (well not permanently in most cases), my friend and I found that after repairing many xbox's the method that lasted the longest was the simplest. And no it wasn't the towel trick!!!!

If it is unrepairable like mine (notice the GPU is missing...haha...long story) then it's time to Salvage all the useful parts and connectors from the board...like the power connector for instance :). If you don't know how to get the 360 open check this vid out.

If you don't want to hurt a XBOX 360 mobo, you could always salvage a female connector off an Intercooler which are going for less than 10 bucks on ebay these days.

Step 3: Open the Plastic Prison

Unpackage your triple socket adapter, and use your safe package opener (The all red plastic tool in the Tool List pic) on the classic plastic prison, cause they never get used otherwise.

Step 4: Take the Screws Out

Flip over your adapter and take out the two Phillips screws holding the enclosure together. Now pop the top off to explore the inside. Set the screws aside in a safe place because we will need them later.

Step 5: Pop the Top Off

Locate the Ground (GND) connection on the middle circular receptacle and +12 Volt (12V) connection on the back plate and use your trusty soldering iron or gun to disconnect the wiring because we will not need it (But of course hold onto the lighter plug and wiring for a potential project in the future). Also disconnect the LED lead with the white sleeve on it so it makes things easier in the next step.

Step 6: Remove Wiring

After the connections have been desoldered lift the 12V connection plate away from the enclosure to free the wiring and carefully place it back into it's slot once the wiring has been liberated.

Step 7: Flux Is Your Friend

Speaking of liberation, it is now time to separate the power connector from the mobo. Now since M/$ (Microsoft) used ROHS compliant lead-free solder we will need lots of flux. You can also add leaded solder to the solder joints to get better flow.

Step 8: Remove the Connector at All Costs!

There are a few different methods to detach this connector, here are some suggestions:

-Use desoldering braid to wick up all the solder
-Use a Solder-sucker to suck up the solder
-Flood all the connections with solder and use a pick or screwdriver to pry the connector off while heating the connection

It all depends on what you have available to you and what you feel comfortable doing, and remember to wear safety glasses you don't want molten solder in the eye.

Step 9: Essential Info: the Pinout

Here is the Pinout for the Female XBOX 360 Power Connector. I tracked down this information from: Llamma.com Specifically it is on Page 9 of the pdf, but be aware that this document contains an error. Under the Note: it states that "Pin 7 Turns Pins 4, 5, 6 on when it is tied to ground" but this is incorrect.

Power is enabled when 3.1V is fed to Pin 7 when measured directly from my 360 motherboard. I have done further testing and found that ~1.5V to 5V will enable the power (aka the green light activates and you get +12V).

As a result of my testing i found that one can easily enable the power supply on by wiring a switch between the +5VSB and the PWR ENABLE Pins.

Step 10: Line It All Up

You will know want to figure out where your power connector will be mounted. Make sure that the contacts at the bottom of the connector will end up in the empty space between the +12V lighter plug contact points. This will allow you enough space to run the wiring in a later Step. At this time you could always use your side cutters to trim the extra protruding metal bits on the outer part of the power connector as they may get in the way or snag on something in the future.

Step 11: Trace Out Your Lines & Holes, Then Melt Some Plastic!

While you still have your power connector position where you want it use a pencil or something sharp to trace out where you will be cutting the hole to fit your wiring through. You could also mark where you will be drilling the holes for your mounting hardware and alignment nub also. To get the correct spacing you can measure it out, use your mobo to trace the holes onto it, or you could always eyeball it. Eyeballing is always quick but 9 times out of ten it never looks that nice, you usually have to widen the holes you drilled.

Now use your plastic melting or cutting skills to make the space for your power connector wiring.

Step 12: Clean Up the Cuts and Drill Some Holes

Use a utility knife to free the extra plastic and clean up the job. At this time you can also drill the 3 holes you will need to mount the power connector. Drill them with a 9/64" drill bit. This will allow enough room for the extra No. 10 Torx screws from your 360 to thread into the connector and a space for the plastic alignment nub as well. (You could always cut the nub off and forget about the center hole, but it's up to you)

Step 13: Test Fit the Power Connector Then Line Up and Trace the Switch

Take out your No. 10 Torx screwdriver & screws and test fit your power connector to make sure everything fits right, if not do the appropriate modifications now because it will be much harder to in later steps. After the test fitting is done you can now trace out where you want your power switch to go, please Note that you don't want to interfere with the mounting bracket on the inside so be aware where you are cutting the hole for the switch.

Step 14: Cut Out a Hole for the Switch and Install It

Take out your plastic melting/cutting tool again and make a hole for your Switch. Clean up the edges with your Utility knife again and make sure the switch will fit. At this point the Switch doesn't need to come out any more so you can install it semi-permanently with some hot glue on the underside. You can now remove the power connector in preparation for soldering the wires to it.

Step 15: There's a Time to Melt and There's a Time to Solder

Now is the moment you've been waiting for (if you like to solder that is), it's time to solder your yellow (+12V) and black (GND) power wires onto the Xbox 360 Female Power Connector. Refer to Step 9 if you need to refresh your memory to where these wires go.

The method i used to solder these wires on was to separate the copper conductors in half then bend one half around the outside pin on one side and the other half around the other outside pin and soldered them. I stripped the wire long enough to meet both parts back at the middle pin after they looped around the outer pins and i then soldered them together there.

You can now feed your Switch wires through the power connector hole in preparation to solder them to the connector.

Step 16: Solder the Signal Wires and Don't Forget Your Heat Shrink

Take out your small heat shrink tubing and place a couple centimeters of it on your wires coming from the switch. Heat shrink is important in this case because it will prevent your signal wires from shorting out on the chassis of the connector or from one to the other. Solder the wires on the 5VSB and PWR ENABLE Pins. (Again see Step 9 for reference) It doesn't matter which wire goes to which pin as long as we can short the pins together for a Power ON status and separate them for an OFF status. Melt your heat shrink around these connections by either bringing your soldering iron close (but not too close) to them or by using a Heat gun or Hair dryer.

The theory behind the switch is that the 5VSB and PWR ENABLE share a common GND connection within the Power Brick so all we need to do is supply 5V from the 5VSB pin to the PWR ENABLE pin and VIOLA! When the switch is closed the Brick's LED turns green and the 12V Supply is activated and when it's open the LED turns back to Orange and the 12V shuts down.

Step 17: Now Make the Two Into One, Solder, and Use Your Trusty Hot Glue

It is time.......(quite a epic line from a few movies).....to merge your 2 halves into one! Test fit your wiring to see how much wire you will need to trim. Make sure that you keep enough wire length to open the adapter back up if needed in the future but not too much that you can't close your housing up.

Now solder your yellow (12V) wire and the LED lead with the white sleeve to the 12V back plate and your black (GND) wire to one of the circular receptacles (They are all shorted together with the red wire so it doesn't matter which one you solder to). After these connections are soldered use some Hot glue to reinforce the wires to make sure your solder joints don't break free. You can also add some Hot glue to the solder connections you made on the Power connector and Switch to reinforce them too.

Step 18: Final Step, Close It Up and Test Er' Out!

You are now on the final step, nice work on making it to this point, it now time to close up the housing, re-install the Phillips screws from Step 4, and test your creation out!

As a safety precaution use an ohmmeter to test the resistance between the Back plate and any circular receptacle, it should read "open" or infinite resistance. If some resistance is present check your connections at Step 15 and look for any stray wires touching each other or one of your wires may have been pinched in closing the housing. If the power supply was fired up with resistance between the power wires the fuse inside the Brick may blow and it's not fun replacing that fuse.

Now Plug your Xbox 360 Power Brick into the A/C wall jack and the other end into the female Power connector on your adapter and turn the switch to the closed (ON) position, you should now get a Green Light on your Brick as well as on the adapter itself.

12V should now be applied to all your lighter sockets (Check with a Voltmeter if you want to make sure), if it works Congratulations on completing your Hack, i hope it brings you much joy!

If it doesn't work, try some of these suggestions:

-Check your switch with an ohmmeter to see if it is closing/opening properly
-Use your ohmmeter to check if all your solder joints are making their connections
-Plug your Xbox 360 Power supply into a working 360 to see if it is still functional

NOTE: This adapter is not fuse protected so try to use Lighter Plugs that have a fuse built in them and make sure it is the proper rating for the equipment you are powering up. The glass fuse built into the Lighter plugs are not only easy to change (just screw off the tip usually) but are also cheap to replace.
<p>I realize this is old, but now that more of these power supplies are hitting 2nd hand store shelves, it's good to know this so the psu can be used for other purposes. the main thing which must be stressed, is that this power supply is not main earth grounded! using a grounded power supply will give you better protection from a personal safety standpoint, as well as providing (hopefully) cleaner power. a simple voltage divider will work for turning this power supply on. i used 2 5xx ohm resistors, which netter 2.55 v, however anything 50-50 or 1/3 will do (3.3v). I checked the output on my supply, and found under no load the power is pretty clean. I have'nt had a chance to test under load yet. also, not utilizing the 5 volt rail.. using a lm2576-5 instead.</p>
I've modified a brick too and I quoted you in my ible :-)<br> <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/the-Brick-PSU/" rel="nofollow">https://www.instructables.com/id/the-Brick-PSU/</a>
Thank you very much for the attribution, really appreciate it! Very nice build by the way.
To enable the 12V supply using the ~1.5 to 5V, are there any consequences from using the extremes of those voltages (1.5 and 5V)? I'm guessing that using 3.1V would be the best idea. Also, how much current is used by this power enable pin?
Shorting PWR ENABLE directly to +5VSB with a meter reads 0.75 mA on my 203W power supply.
When removing the connector, I found that flooding the connections with leaded solder (rosin cored) would allow for my solder sucker to work much more effectively. The new RoHS solder, while environmentally friendly, just doesn't work as well as the good old fashioned stuff.
Brilliant instructable.<br>I've built my own incubator which runs at 12v, but managed to blow the power supply I intended to use as it couldn't handle the current required.<br>I have 12 quail eggs due here in 2 days and needed a solution quickly.<br>I just hacked the connnecing plug apart from the Xbox supply to expose the wires, pulled them all out and connected them up with a switch between the sense wire and 5v and it works great. I'm sure I could have just connected these together rather than use a switch here though as I would use the wall switch to turn the power on/off.<br>I might tinker some more now as the digital thermometer and hygrometer take a 'aaa' battery, might as well make this mains powered too, and add a light with a switch to the incubator .<br>I'd have been in real trouble if I hadn't seen this instructable, so thanks for putting this up.<br>
Thanks for the positive feedback! Sounds like a pretty worthwhile application :)
This will NOT&nbsp;go over 16 AMPS right?&nbsp;I&nbsp;mean if I&nbsp;shorted this??<br /> <br /> Thanks man this is almost exactly what I&nbsp;needed and this instructable was clear as a bell whatever that means
The 16A rating refers to the maximum draw that the PSU can handle but I'm guessing that if you shorted it out it could go much higher than 16 Amps but I'm sure the internal fuse or a component would blow pretty quickly if that happened. Please be careful not to short it out for your safety and for the PSU's sake. <br />
It's an advance switchmode PSU. It has several protection devices including a short circuit protection device. It just turns the LED red!
So I looked into it (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/906101/de) and while, yes, you are correct that the power brick has short circuit protection built-in, and it won't blow any fuses or components, it is not advisable to short out the power supply at any time. Short circuit protection doesn't kick in instantly and you can do damage to the circuit or yourself due to electricity arcing and/or over-heating the board or components before it kicks in. Remember what Louie the Lightning Bug says: &quot;You gotta play it safe around electricity!&quot;
how are you powering that computer? a pico PSU? or did you hook up the xbox brick to the right connections?<br><br>i am intending on using a xbox brick for a pc, i would really like to know how.<br><br>TIA, zack247
Yep you are exactly right! I was supplying the 12V from the Xbox 360 brick to a pico PSU much like this one: http://bit.ly/npqxL3 which converted the 12V to the rest of the voltages needed by the mini-ATX mobo.
this is great!&nbsp; I now have a power solution for my 168 watt TEC, that thing has been sitting around for years because i dont have an adequate power supply.&nbsp; Well I'm off to ebay to find one!
Will the switch be handling the current?<br /> <br /> What rating for current should the little bugger have?
Thanks for the positive feedback! To answer your question about the switch: it doesn't handle much current at all since it is just directing the standby voltage [5V] to the PWR ENABLE signal line. It's unrelated to the 12V supply [besides the shared ground I should say].<br />
Nice job!!&nbsp;This is an awesome instructable!!!!&nbsp;WOOOOOOO&nbsp;I&nbsp;LOVE&nbsp;IT!&nbsp;Maybe it's just the sugar high
Was that a Xbox case mod or XP installed on an Xbox?
It was a Xbox case Mod, yeah it was a bit of dremel work :)
Might I suggest adding a USB port? It's producing 5v, why not use it?
Not a bad idea :) If I end up using this adapter quite often for charging I think i just might have to add one!

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