Introduction: Original XBox Controller Memory Card Slot USB Conversion

About: techie who believes in making things that i own do what i want or what they were intended to do!

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:

Another helpful resource for anyone undertaking any project using USB will appreciate this site: This site gives some good visual guides on most things USB (even lists iPod and other proprietary connectors).

Step 1: Shopping List

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

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

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

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

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

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.