Instructables
Picture of Xbox 360 Ring of Light LEDs
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Change the color of your Xbox 360 ring of light from dull green to any mix of colors you can imagine. Having a modified ring of light is a beautiful and fun mod to create, and will impress any guests who view your Xbox 360.

This guide requires being comfortable with soldering, and the disassembly of your Xbox 360. The LEDs used are very small (about the size of a few grains of salt) and though this instructable does not require absolutely steady hands, it does demand patience. You will be operating on a $300 piece of hardware, and though it is highly unlikely you will break your Xbox 360, is it possible to irreparably damage the LED solder points on your wireless board making that light inoperable.

*** I claim no liability for any damages or injuries that occur while following these instructions. Attempting this mod will void your Xbox 360s warranty, and you can sustain injury through the use of lead-based solder inhalation and an extremely hot soldering iron. ***
 
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Step 1: Parts Needed

Picture of Parts Needed
This is a listing of the parts required to accomplish this case mod. This is a simple list of easily accessible parts.

Soldering Iron ($10) - These can be purchased at many hobby stores, I used a 15 watt model from Radioshack.

Solder ($4) - I recommend Silver Rosin Core Solder, the silver helps create a strong joint and the rosin eases the flow of solder between components. A smaller diameter works better for this project (.020 - .026).

Copper Soldering Braid ($3) - Used to remove excess solder. This is necessary for cleaning the terminals where the old LEDs were on the wireless board. You put it over the excess solder, apply your soldering iron to the braid, and the excess is absorbed into the braid.

Tweezers ($3) - These are absolutely necessary to do this project. They will hold the SMD LEDs, align them in the proper direction, and make it possible to solder the LED without it blowing away or tipping over. Purchase the flattest tweezer tips you can, if they are round the LED will just shoot off.

Xbox 360 Wireless Board (Cost of an Xbox 360) - Comes with any Xbox 360, contains the Player 1-4 LEDs, power LED, and wireless antenna.

Support/Holder - I used a thumbtack box, you can use whatever object suits your needs. A suitable holder should be about 1-2 inches off of the ground, and be able to keep your wireless board flat and immobile. Other objects can be small bowels, cups - whatever your can find.

0603 SMD LEDs (~$ 0.30 per LED) - Choose whatever colors you wish, I selected a different color for each LED to match my controllers. No matter how careful or skilled you are, you will waste/lose many LEDs so be sure to purchase extras. The brighter the LEDs the better, the difference between a 150mcd brightness $0.22 and a 500mcd $0.37 LED is worth the extra cost.

***Purchasing 0603 SMD LEDs***
It can be hard to purchase individual quantities of these LEDs at low prices. My favorite retailer is Unique LEDs. They have a very wide selection of difficult to find LEDs at excellent prices.

Having your Xbox 360 vertically or horizontally oriented makes a difference. When turned vertical the four player LEDs are rotated one to the left, keep this in mind if you want to modify your controller LEDs as well, as they use the same SMD 0603 LEDs and the orientation can become mismatched.

For the specific LEDs I purchased, each color is:
800mcd White - Power Button
500mcd Red - Player 1
380mcd Blue - Player 2
130mcd Amber (Yellow) - Player 3
200mcd Pure Green - Player 4
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The 0603 smd should work on the slim as well, right?
CamCroz999 months ago
would this work for the Xbox 360 E?
gassybeans1 year ago
Holy GOD. Amazing! I'm thinking of creating a nuclear radiation symbol with yellow LED's on my black xbox. I think that would look quite nice...! i saw an instructable on how to change the power button, and i might replace that with a glowing nuke symbol as well
Tigertouf1 year ago
This was one great tutorial.
I fixed an old RROD xBox I had in my closet for my daughter and changed the LEDs to pink. It's so awesome!
The RROD will not show if it happens again unfortunately. You could always solder another LED from the + to the red - but that would be tedious work.
Thanks a lot for the great tutorial.
ananomoid2 years ago
will the red ring of death still show?
"The Xbox 360 LEDs are different from the ones that we are using. They are capable of producing two colors - red and green, which are used to display error messages along with player numbers." Would it be possible to purchase similar LEDs? That way I can still be aware of errors that have occurred.
I haven't been able to find the kind Microsoft uses, you can also solder on two different colored LEDs, just use a small length of wire to connect the other color (to the side of the primary color you will be using)
The bi-color LEDs that Microsoft uses are right-angle 1204 SMD LEDs. You can purchase them, but they are exceptionally hard to come by, and you'll find that your color choices are extremely limited.
Thanks for the size! In this case I've been able to find the ones I am looking for (Blue/Red) through DigiKey.ca. I knew that they had to exist. Now I can change the RoL on the Montreal Canadiens themed Xbox 360 for my dad.

As far as other colour choices, it was pretty much Amber/Green, Blue/Red, or the original Green/Red.

Thanks again!
mechaninja2 years ago
Lawl it says "small bowels"... Do I have to hold the circuit board in my butt? Lawl, maybe you should change that before someone else notices... ;)
Harris30002 years ago
Where Do You buy the LED lights in CANADA
whayle2 years ago
Hi. This is a great help and it worked. I only had one problem The top two lights stay on all thw time. Even when the xbox is off, the lights are on. Only the top two lights. The bottom two are fine. Can anyone help me please?
I cant wait to do that to my xbox. I'm going to do all blue. Before I got on here I tried coloring the lens on the back of the faceplate and behind the faceplate with a blue permanent marker, but all that did was turn it a blue green teal kinda thing? I didn't color the bulbs, I'm not stupid. I want to do some custom painting on it But for now its still white but I have done a few things to it like put a Nautical star on the top and of course the Decepticon symbol on the door that leads to the usb (controller port) I will post some pix of it soon, I just found this site so im still getting used to it. XD
If you want to get the marker off, just rub some acetone on it with a rag, that stuff dissolves any marker/pen-marks. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Good luck =]
Hey man thanks, but you've also got to be VERY fast about wiping the acetone off or it will melt the plastic. I messed up a little on the Nautical Star and put some acetone on it with a q tip, and it started to smoothen the surface out so I wiped it off and im very careful where I put that stuff now! Haha, but thanks for the support and help, I like what you did with the two XBOX's that you have, looks GREAT! Here is a link to see what my XBOX looks like.. ( http://s1114.photobucket.com/albums/k524/02Mustang_GT_121302/My%20custom%20XBOX%20360/ ) It looks a little messy right now but ill get around to getting it cleaned up a little.
stephin993 years ago
wow did this and when i was testing out did   /    in white and when tested
                                                                        \
the other      \    are the original leds but they were red coool???!?!?!?!?!?!
                    /
it works and all but makes me wonder what made it do that........
Wally_Z3 years ago
On the RF board with the power button and ring of lights, what is the gray box just to the left of the ring of lights in the first picture? It kind of looks like a heatsink but I don't see why that part of the Xbox would need a heatsink.
QuackMasterDan (author)  Wally_Z3 years ago
The gray box is the antenna. Looks kind of strange being a square, as normally when people think of an antenna they think of a car antenna pole or bunny ears.
but... that "antenna" isnt connected to anything.. how exactly can it operate as a antenna if it isnt connected? does the rf chip use it as a sort of waypoint for the controllers?
QuackMasterDan (author)  zack2473 years ago
The antenna most certainly is connected to the RF board. the black chip on the right of the board processes everything, incoming signals, outgoing signals, button presses, etc. Imagine the wires of the antenna as pins underneath the metal plate, similar to how a CPU has it's pins/lands underneath the flat top surface (where the heatsink goes).

Antennas don't have to be a pole/stick, they can be any shape of metal. Like on the iPhone, there are multiple antennas, including the metal ring that goes around the rim of the case, and the little metal circle circle inside the headphone jack.

The metal plate is just a thin piece of aluminum that sends and recevies signals sent from the little black chip on the right.
but i took it off, and it wasnt connected to a single thing, it was just sitting there..
Em-sEE zack2473 years ago
I'm sorry to cut in on this but I think I could help QuackMasterDan out. The antenna is located on the PCB itself. The reason behind this is abrupt 90 degree changes in PCB traces along with stubs (which in this case are used) act as antennas. You can see two parallel stubs on the back of the board. Each antenna handles two controllers.

The silver component or gray box you have been referring to hovers the PCB and its stubs. It has a small film of aluminum which is a Ferromagnetic material. These materials contain iron and can manipulate electromagnetic waves being introduced into the material. So its purpose is to produce a much larger flux density in the signal waves that are sent by a controller.

The small stub antennas require a flux density great enough to induce voltage at each point. This allows smaller signals to be sent by the controller, which means less power usage and batteries last longer on your controller.
zack247 Em-sEE3 years ago
ok, thanks for helping me understand what that was for., i was confused.

i ended up using the square board as a PCB for a electronics project, had the surface been rougher it wouldve been a lot easier to solder to..
CODKING3 years ago
WOOT WOOT for Portal
1969iggy3 years ago
I am looking at the cold cathode tubes... they have the following info.

# Dual inverter
# Compatible with Sound control module

# Tube diameter: 3.0mm
# Tube length: 300mm/100mm
# Input voltage of inverter: 12v
# Output voltage of inverter: 680v
# Current draw: 5.0mAv
# Brightness: 28,000~30,000 cd/m?
# Lifetime: 30,000 hours
# Current draw: 5.0mAv
# Brightness: 28,000~30,000 cd/m?
# Lifetime: 30,000 hours

Will they draw too much power and heat things up? I have an old core system and i'm worried about heat.

Also, to calculate power consumption, do i use input or output voltage? One is tiny amount of power, the other is huge... i asume input, but better safe than sorry.
QuackMasterDan (author)  1969iggy3 years ago
Cold cathodes are meant to go inside of a computer, I have had four inside my 360 at one point, and no heat issues. Just make sure your 360 has some breathing room around it (e.g. not inside a home theater cubby), and if you are really worried about heat, stand your 360 vertically. That not only increases surface area, but unblocks all of the air holes in the bottom of the chassis.

For calculating power, you use watts. Volts * Amps = Watts. This on e is kind of weird actually, because they are trying to use marketing languageto make it sound like it's really complicated and has a ton of numbers that matter.

Let's just try both equations.

12v * 0.005 A = .06 Watts, hmmm, that is just too low to sound accurate.
680v * 0.005 A = 3.4 Watts, now that sounds like a good number.

Actually, despite all those numbers they threw in there, they are basically lying or omitting the current draw of the inverter - there is absolutely no way the inverter is drawing 5mA. When you boost the voltage, it comes at the cost of amperage, and vice versa. You can't take in 5mA, then transform (as in transformer) the voltage 56 times over, and still be drawing 5mA.

I hope that little electricity lesson helps.
"Just make sure your 360 has some breathing room around it (e.g. not inside a home theater cubby), and if you are really worried about heat, stand your 360 vertically."

What? No, you want the Xbox to stand horizontally like this _ not like this |. Making it vertical blocks the main ventilation port on the bottom/right side of the Xbox. Watch my video on ventilation for the Xbox to really see how to keep it from overheating.
QuackMasterDan (author)  Wally_Z3 years ago
That's great friend. I've made a living modifying, repairing, and customizing PS2s, Xboxs, and Xbox 360s, I know my stuff. Having your 360 vertical, as in |, has far higher surface area, and there are more ventilation holes in the bottom of the chassis than the right port. Overheating damage to Xbox 360s is usually the GPU ball grid array developing a crack, the heatsink of which has most of the exhaust go out the fans in the rear, the side port facing the ground does block some, though very little air, compare to leaving the system horiztonal _. Granted, the right grill passively removes air from the capacitor banks, but even then, the fans do a decent job. It is vastly cooler for your system to have it vertical. Just running FreeStyleDash on my JTAG, I can see a temperature change of about 8C switching from horizontal to vertical after running a game for 30 minutes.

If you're really paranoid about overheating, go purchase some Talismoon Whisper fans, they move twice the volume with half the noise. Or if you're desperate, you can always solder a 12v fan mod to make your system sound like a jet taking off, with the result of 45C GPU temps.
Lol at the end of your comment. I am soon going to add a small 60mm fan on the inside of my Xbox in the same spot where I have my exterior fan now. Either that or I have a 4 colour 80mm fan I bought on Newegg that I can mount on the exterior of my Xbox as a temporary cooling device. I've heard (this sounds like utter bull) that Microsoft can determine the temperature of your console via the internet so they can find modders easier. Hopefully adding the interior fan won't make it get too cold to do that. I've already gotten my Xbox down to a temperature cold enough for the GPU to malfunction slightly. Do you know of any way to add a thermometer or something inside my Xbox so I can monitor the heat levels and adjust my fan speed accordingly? Please PM me if you have any resources/information that you think might be helpful.

I'm rambling here, sorry for the short novel.
QuackMasterDan (author)  Wally_Z3 years ago
Not to sound like a jerk, but you do not fully understand what you are talking about. By the external fans that attach onto the rear of the 360, I am assuming you mean something like the Nyko Intercooler/Konnet Cooler Station/eForcity, the ones that logically would make sense in pulling out more air, but in reality create a vortex between the fans that actually makes air flow out more slowly, that is, does the exact opposite of cooling off your system. This is because it is forcing the air of two larger fans through three smaller fans. Marketing is awesome eh? They're complete junk, damaging junk.

As far as Microsoft banning for fan mods, nobody knows the full methodology they use for issuing bans. We know it is done delayed (except JTAG keyvaults which are instant, but can take up to 45 minutes to detect), and also done in waves. We know it is possible for MS to measure the voltage, as well as your temperature sensors. As far as Microsoft banning users for a fan mod, I've never heard of such a thing on any Xbox-modding forums or IRC channels I stay on. DVD flashes and JTAG mods yes, fan mods, unlikely. MS wants to stop piracy and hacks on Xbox Live, not kids playing with their fans or changing the LEDs on the RF board.

Now for a GPU malfunctioning because it is too cold, lol. Air cooling alone will only take the chip down to room temperature, and if you know anything about overclocking, while they end up destroying chips because of the high clock rates, they still run just fine at -200C (Though really, CPU and JPU junction temps are meant for running between 1-99C). Lowering the GPU to 10C (which is not possible without water-cooling or a freezing house) will not cause it to malfunction. Most 360 GPUs idle at around 45-55C.


Since you are fixed on installing a fan in your 360 to cool it down, you might as well go all the way. First off, you don't install your extra 90mm fan on the side, you install it on the plate panel of the 360, blowing air sideways (from a vertical position). That requires making your DVD drive external though. Or you can purchase a 160mm or 200mm fan, and cut a massive hole in the side of your 360 and mount it on top. Looks horrible, but no worse than a 90mm sticking on the side; all cooling problems are solved.

200mm @
http://forums.xbox-scene.com/index.php?showtopic=727087

You can also buy custom heatsinks on the Scenyx Buy/Sell/Trade forums.
http://forums.xbox-scene.com/index.php?showtopic=723225

No, I know about intercoolers. They are terrible if put where you are told to. I am going to put an 80mm COMPUTER CASE FAN here: http://imgur.com/n5iqe.
I will also put a filter on the fan to decrease the amount of dust being blown in.

This will improve airflow and make the Xbox last longer in my mind. I like your idea of putting a large fan on the top, you are correct in possibly having to move the DVD drive, that shouldn't be a problem, it only requires a SATA cable and I will have to somehow find/make a cable for power to the DVD drive. Do you mind if I use your idea? I don't want to steal it and look like a copycat/soul-and-idea-stealer.

I'll either use the fan idea on the top, or I will put a large Xbox logo there instead and have plexiglass shining through along with green CCFL's. What would be great is putting one of these: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835200055 but possibly a little smaller (maybe 120mm) and with green LED's UNDER the Xbox logo (which will have wider slits in it than the regular Xbox logo.
Well, you are kind of right. The only thing is that on the bottom (when facing _ position) that does have ventilation holes, but they don't do much. The ventilation holes on the top (in this position _) circulate more air. I prefer to leave my Xbox on top of a game case so it is elevated slightly and more air can go through all ventilation holes in the Xbox. Plus, my fan can blow fresh air under the Xbox. I am also getting a foam washable filter to use on my Xbox so it keeps most of the dust out so I don't have to clean it much.
If I wanted to put 4 LEDs on the side and have them light up in order as the xbox turned on, would i just have to attach wires from the + and - on the wireless board? This is what im looking to achieve:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Iron-Man-Xbox-360/
just watch the vid and its the blinking leds around the middle light
QuackMasterDan (author)  RoddyTheGreat3 years ago
You would need to create a circuit that connects to the same terminals as the the 0603 SMD LED on the RF board. That is to say, you will be soldering to the same terminals. I suggest using 24 AWG wire, you can extract some by splitting apart a spare ethernet cord. I have made a quick diagram to explain how to wire it, it's very simple.
Untitled-1.jpg
Very helpful, thanks
QuackMasterDan (author)  RoddyTheGreat3 years ago
Actually, I just realized a mistake on this diagram, the arrow on the SMD, should be pointing to the negative. But basically, just add the 5mm or whatever you are using the the same circuit as the SMD. The 360 supplies as much amperage (mA) as the LEDs will take, so they should both light up fully, not each at half power.
A.C.E.3 years ago
Are the controllers the same size leds? or are they even smaller? and do you have a tut fir the "cold cathode lighting" in your last series of pictures? it looks sick, but i need to know where to make the leds draw power from.. and what size, if any, resistors should be used. thanks!
QuackMasterDan (author)  A.C.E.3 years ago
I have already produced tutorials for both replacing LEDs in Xbox 360 controllers and installing cold cathodes into an Xbox 360 chassis. Click my username (QuackMasterDan) to see a list of my instructables.

Both the controller and RoL access their electricity from a 3v line, no resistors are needed. The power is drawn from silver square terminals that the LEDs are soldered to. The Xbox 360 controllers use the same SMD (Surface Mounted Device) LEDS that this guide uses, so the match is fine. For the RoL, Microsoft uses bi-color (red and green) right-angle SMD LEDs that are hard to obtain. Nonetheless, 0603 SMD LEDs still work as replacements. The LED size is 0603, and they are just as small. If you have any further questions, feel free to leave a comment.
zack2473 years ago
very cool!
so the way i see it, when and if you have the rrod, no leds would light up?
i have soldered 0603's before, i never knew that there was a symbol on the bottom pointing at the negative, i always just had a battery with multimeter leads connected to it to test them.
great job, i especially like the blue player led,it looks good with the white paint on the case.

5*s
QuackMasterDan (author)  zack2473 years ago
Yes, if you solder on 0603s to just the common anode (positive) and green cathode (negative), no error lights will turn on in the event of a RRoD, E79, E74, Overheating, or other error code.

There is a semi-solution though. Since the 360 has a common positive, and two negatives (green and red), you can bridge the red, green, and negative 0603 leads together. In normal operation, only the green lights will ever turn on, to mark powering up or controller numbers. In failed operation, like a RRoD, as long as no controllers are connected, it should display an error code, but the color won't be any different.

Hope that helps, and thanks for the thanks.
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