Better Usb Adapter for XBox




About: I'm a self proclaimed renaissance man. My goal in life is to have a conversational/practical knowledge of every subject known to man. I do graphics design in my spare time, along with make-ing.

In the course of creating and maintaining a modded (or stock) XBox, it is often handy to be able to transfer files from PC to XBox. You could use an Action Replay and XBox memory card; however, the cards have limited storage space, and the action replay is pricey.

Chances are, you have a spare XBox controller cable lying around (in my case, from making StepMania dance mats) and a female USB connector, soldered in some useless piece of electronics. With those parts it is child's play to make an adapter.

These adapters are simple and common builds, however, they often end up looking terrible, and taking up room. My version is small, sleek, and doesn't require modifying XBox hardware.

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Step 1: Gather Materials

You'll need a few things to build the adapter:

-XBox Controller cable or extension
-Junk USB Female connector
-Pocket Knife
-Flathead Screwdriver
-Soldering Iron
-Hot Glue gun

once you've got these, the fun can start.

Step 2: Open XBox Plug

We'll need access to the inside of the XBox connector to build the adapter; however, we need to be able to close it again, so be careful.

First, use the knife to cut the cable off the XBox connector and cut the strain relief flush with the plastic casing.

Then, use the Flathead to lever the casing open by inserting it where the wire enters and twisting. It is ok to mar the edge at the end of the casing, as this part will be removed later.

Step 3: Remove Shield and Wires

use the flathead, with help from the knife to remove the upper part of the metal shield.

then, heat your soldering iron and carefully remove each wire without breaking the traces or de-tinning them.

Step 4: Remove USB Connector From Junk Electronics

Disassemble your piece of scrap electronics, and remove the USB connector.

to do so, first lay a piece of desoldering braid across the set of 4 soldered pins that transmit the USB data. Heat the back of the desoldering braid until it is removing the tinning from the soldering iron. Using a pair of tweezers, carefully lift the braid away from each solder pad, while still applying heat.

Next use either a fresh piece of desoldering braid or a desoldering bulb to remove the large legs that hold the usb connector to the board. you will also need to bend the legs outward, just a bit.

apply upward force on the connector, while heating the pads where necessary to break the remaining bonds.

re-tin the leads, and remove any lumps of old, hard solder.

Step 5: Connecting the Two

it is relatively well known that XBox controller ports are essentially USB ports, so the connection is simply wire to wire. I'll include a diagram below, but the big thing to remember is: skip the pin that had the yellow wire, and don't short it (the yellow wire apparently carries 12 volts.

first, bend all four pins on the USB Connector to face outward from the back of the connector. looking down from the top, bend the left most pin slightly to the left, and the other three pins slightly to the right, to make room for the unused pin.

solder the connectors together, following the diagram

bend the supports and shield, so they form some semblance of structural integrity, and solder them in place.

now here's the secret I didn't learn until late in the process. Short the ground pin to the metal shield of the XBox connector (this corrects lots of connection issues). test your connections before you go any further.


1. +5v
2. -DATA
3. +DATA
4. -5v (Ground)


1. -5v (Ground)
2. +12v (Unused)
3. +DATA
4. -DATA
5. +5v

Step 6: Dremel the Casing

Remove a section of the casing you removed from the controller cable, where the wire entered, so that the USB connector can fit in the old shell.

Also remove the posts from the casing, as they will no longer fit.

Step 7: I Need 50 Cc's of Hot Glue, Stat!

Place a small daub of hot glue in the bottom part of the casing, and quickly insert the innards and close the case. Once the glue has hardened, remove the top casing, and fill the soldered area with more hot glue. Close the case again, and wait until the glue has hardened. Remove the top portion a final time and go around the seam with super glue (cyano-acrilate). close the case and allow it to harden.

Be sure to test the adapter before super-gluing, as it is really hard to reopen it afterwards.

Step 8: Usage AKA Why I Did This

I build the adapter for three reasons.
1. Xbox memory cards are too small, and I liked the Idea of 1gig of gamesaves
2. Softmodding without an action replay or card
3. connecting accessories to my xbmc

If you are planning to use a USB Flash Drive as a memory card, here are some quick steps:
1. Check drive compatability at some drives simply will not read
2. Format the drive by inserting it into the adapter and attempting to read it's contents. The XBox will format it as FATX (all data will be erased)
3. If you only need it for XBox use, you're done. If you wish to transfer files from PC to XBox, continue.
4. Get the action replay software.
4a. go to:
4b. scroll down until you see "Action Replay XBox PC Software v1.31" in bold on the left-hand side
4c. download and install
5. Download USBView from
6. Open the file xbreader.inf (located in the Drivers subfolder of the Action replay install folder) in your favorite text editor.
7. Insert your flash drive and open USBView
8. Find your drive in the list, and copy down the idVendor and idProduct fields, without the 0x
9. copy the line "%S_DeviceDesc1%=_Install1, USB\VID_05FD&PID_DBAE" and paste it above the existing line.
10. In the line you just created, replace "05FD" and "DBAE" with your idVendor and idProduct values
11. Save the file
12. Go to device manager and double click on the flash drive
13. Under the "Driver" tab, choose "Update Driver"
14. Do not allow the system to search online. Choose "Install from a list or specific location", and choose "Don't search. I will choose the driver to install"
15. Select the "MaxDrive XBox" or "ActionReplay XBOX"and finish the update
16. Open Action Replay, and your drive should appear.

Voila, you now have a working adapter and a working memory card. Once you have a softmod on there, you can use the adapter for keyboards, harddrives, and normally formatted USB Flash Drives.

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    164 Discussions


    7 years ago on Step 2

    Instead of killing an entire controller, would this be possible to open the xbox and take out a port and replace it with the female usb?

    2 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 2

    Although the controller is not killed... in fact, after splicing a male usb on it, the controller works on Computer and Xbox... you could easily add a usb to the xbox... or do what I eventually did... on controller ports 2,3, and 4, I wired a relay to switch when a connection between ground and shield on the controller port and switches the four usb-compatible wires between the controller port and an it sensor on port 2 and usb ports on port 3 and 4... it was a complicated hack, but it makes loading data, using a remote, and gaming practically peripheral free


    Reply 2 years ago

    So I get the basic concept of how this would work but I'd like to see your implementation. I realize your post here is quite old, but if you are able I'd love to see how you incorporated that relay. Thanks!


    3 years ago

    after reading comments for what was about twenty minutes, I decided to just leave a comment. possibly I overlooked, but if looks aren't concerned, it would be possible to open to controller cord and splice the USB connector wires to the appropriate xbox controller wires thus also leaving the yellow wire untouched.... right?


    6 years ago on Step 8

    Meny people have had issue with using action replay. I found this program that will search for xfat devices and allow you to easily insert files onto them. Its called Xplorer360_extreme2.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I made one out of a busted memory card. Works well. Even got some people wanting them. May have a business here.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you. Made one today following your instruction. Couldn't thank you enough


    7 years ago on Step 3

    Any suggestions on how to be extra careful in avoiding detinnig or breaking the traces?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    just made one of these myself... looks just like the one in the picture... works great!


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 5

    i tested mine useing the product of this instructable


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 5

    Just plug the adapter into you Xbox and see if you can get it to work before you super glue it back together cause it would be very hard to get it back apart after you had done so.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    works great soldered it wrong twice i guess i should read more hahah but my xbox is kinda picky when it came to the flash drives


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I'm 99% sure i got the wiring correct, but my adapter gets SUPER hot after about 1 minute of use and i cannot get any of my flash drives to be recognized by my xbox any suggestions?

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    What kind of controller do you have? Different controllers may change which wires go where a bit.. What you describe sounds like the wires not being hooked up correctly. For me it was just trial and error, finally got it hooked up right by accident.


    9 years ago on Step 8

    In a fit of rage I thought of this, and made it. Instead of soldering the female end directly to the dongle I used paperclips to extend the reach of the tiny pins. J-J-Jam it in as they say. with the paperclips a small hole at the end of the dongle the size of the usb was all that was needed.


    9 years ago on Introduction

     Alright, this is kind of a dumb question, but I gotta make sure!

    I did all the wiring, and when I connect my 512 MB Micro SD through a USB adapter it recognizes it, but it says it's damaged. Does that mean that I got the wiring right? Or is that a problem with the USB storage? I'm gonna buy some other cheap usb drives later, so I need to know If I got it right at least! So if  the xbox is recognizing it, does that mean i got the wiring right?

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I don't know for sure, but what do you mean by it says it's damaged?
    Does it actually use the word "damaged", or does it say "there was an error. the drive has been erased"?

    If it actually uses the word damaged, then I don't know for sure, but I would guess that either the wiring is wrong, or the XBox doesn't accept that type or something.

    Although, with mine I got the wiring wrong the first time and it didn't say anything. It just didn't work..

    I would try a USB drive and see what that says.