Getting the Xbox EEPROM serial reader working on v1.6 machines

I recently picked up an Xbox I wanted to softmod and was having trouble doing the HDD swap – I was really only interested in opening the machine up to function as a media player and to copy all my purchased games to the HDD because I’m lazy (:P) so I wanted to softmod the machine. Someone mentioned I could give the Xbox serial reader solution a whirl – the kit contains a 2-prong probe that sits in socket pins 13 and 14, an alligator clip to connect to the shielding to get a GND connection and a little IC attached to an RS232/serial port connection.

The only problem with this is that v1.6 Xboxes act a bit funny when you use it! The Xbox fan speeds up something crazy and the machine turns itself off when you power it on with the serial socket connected to the serial port. After doing some research on Whirlpool, it turns out you have a very small window to read the machine’s EEPROM with your machine, you just have to be fast. Thanks to Ads79 for the info!


You mod your machine at your own risk. Myself nor anyone else is responsible for YOU modding YOUR Xbox. If your machine doesn’t work as a result of this, don’t blame me – you do this mod at your own risk.

Using my WinXP machine turned off, I inserted the serial device into the serial socket and connected the probes and ground clip to the Xbox, but with the Xbox powered off, and turned on the PC, installed and loaded/configured PonyProg. Here’s where you have to be tricky!

With PonyProg open, disconnect the serial device from the PC and turn on the Xbox and let it load past the flubber sequence. With your mouse hovered over the “Read EEPROM” icon, connect the serial device to your PC, hit the icon as soon as it’s connected (the Xbox’s fan will speed up!), and you should be able to get it read before the machine powers off. You have a window of perhaps 3-6 seconds.

Save the EEPROM binary image, then proceed to softmod your machine (or recover your machine if it’s dead) via your preferred method.

Easy as that.