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Thread: modified xbox instead of a PC?

  1. #1
    Newbie hydraulix's Avatar
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    modified xbox instead of a PC?

    Hello,

    Im brand new here, and I would just like to say hello and wow, what a kick *** forum. So many cool users in here. Im a long time reader but just signed up today.

    I would like to throw out a topic for an idea Ive had for my truck for the past couple of weeks.

    Has anyone ever considered using a modded xbox with a lilliput touchscreen inplace of a PC? The reason I ask is because there are a lot of pro's to using a modded xbox over a PC. Im pretty heavy into the xbox modding scene and thought it would be a superb media device as apposed to a full blown PC. Its an idea ive been messing with for a couple of weeks now in my head.

    For those of you unfamiliar with xbox modding Ill give you a quick intro. As most of you already know the xbox is nothing more than a x86 machine. It contains a P3 733Mhz CPU, 64MB of SDRAM, a 64MB GeForce3 Ti500 graphics chip and a 8GB-10GB Harddrive. After installing a modchip, you can do a lot more than just play backups from DVDR. You can replace the internal harddrive with any size standard PC IDE drive all the way up to 320GB (biggest we have right now) and it will also allow you to run any unsigned code, meaning homebrew apps and gamebackups from the hard drive. But thats just the beginning.

    Xbox Media Center which is a homebrew app for xbox is very similar to the function of windows media center, except it has a plethera of features and functions that windows media center doesnt and will never have. This application allows you to store/catalog/play nearly any type of media out there from mp3 to ogg, to dvd's, divx, games directly from the harddrive, internet radio, etc. and thats just the tip of the iceberg.

    Recently the xbmc guys have added usb mouse support. Which leads me to believe I can hook it up to a usb touchscreen monitor. Below are some pro's and con's to running this project that I can see right away.

    PRO's
    - extremely low power consumption
    - instant boot (from power off to fully functional os in 5-7 seconds)
    - instant off (no more fooling with backup batteries, figgity power supplies, accidental PC reboots, and sleep and hibernation modes. just turn the car off.)
    - inexpensive (xbox - $120 // chip - $30 // 250GB drive - $150)
    - one touch store/catagorize/play any type of media mp3/dvd/divx/etc on the harddrive
    - cover art and information for mp3 albums and dvd/divx movies downloaded via the internet
    - wireless controllers for games ($30)
    - wireless internet/network adapter available
    - play games directly from the harddrive (no more reaching back to pop in a disc, just select the game and play)
    - picture viewing/storage and slideshows
    - completely skinnable/customizable interface
    - less wiring to run (just power and av)
    - self contained and quiet
    - runs very cool in hot environments

    CON's
    - no GPS software (yet)
    - no car diagnostics software (yet)
    - xbox is larger than some miniITX setups
    - modding can be difficult


    Id love to get some feedback from you guys about this idea. I will be attempting this project over the next couple of weeks, but im just 1 touchscreen short of completing the parts list. If anyone out there has a spare usb touchscreen and would be willing to give it up for a fully modded xbox ready to go let me know. I would love to work out a trade of some sort.

    If anyone is interested in attempting this but is unfamiliar with xbox modding please dont hesitate to ask me anything, I will gladly donate whatever knowledge I can to the forum and the people.

    Below are some screens from xbox media center in action.

    Main Screen


    Albums


    Movies


    Info


    Xbox Games


    Old School Gaming


    Pictures


    Drives


    I apologize for such the long post on my first, but its an idea thats been sitting in my head for a while and the guys in the modding scene dont take me seriously for whatever reason(s). I figured I would speak directly to the people that would be interested in this sort of thing.

    Thanks
    hydraulix (aka Rob)

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate dodgetimes2's Avatar
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    There have been many threads in here on this subject. If you have your heart set on using the xbox instead of a PC the only obsticles I see are no GPS software yet and no driver for the Lilliput touchscreen. Even though the Lilliput might just seem like a USB mouse it is slightly more complicated.
    1.6GHz HP e-PC, 768MB RAM, 120GB WD HDD, Slim DVD-ROM, Onboard sound & video, 7" Lilliput, USB GPS Mouse, Audiovox FM Modulator, Vector 400 Watt Power Inverter, Windows XP Pro SP2, iGuidance 2, 15" Samsung LCD for the rear *Carputer not installed*

  3. #3
    FLA gospeed.racer's Avatar
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    Looks like it would be a great way to go. Especially since you already know the ropes. The only concern I have it that a lilliput or similar monitor has a usb touchscreen and 3 or so inputs. You wont be able to use the VGA ( I think anyway? maybe there is one? never had a Xbox ) so you will have to use an aux input.....but will the touchscreen still work in the aux input position? May have to bypass some circuitry at worst. I like the interface, looks very nice. It would be perfect for me for HTPC use, with a remote of course
    2005 Ford Focus ST

  4. #4
    Variable Bitrate Rireal's Avatar
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    If I had it to do over again, I'd put my modified Crystal Xbox in my car. The only downfall is no VGA output (to my knowledge).

  5. #5
    Newbie hydraulix's Avatar
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    yes there is a VGA pack adapter available for the xbox to output 15pin VGA signal to anything that will accept it. This would also in turn enable progressive scan and HD resolutions up to 1080i.

    So no need for composite or s-video connections.

    check it out at www.x2vga.com they make the best one.

  6. #6
    Variable Bitrate Rireal's Avatar
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    hydraulix, is there a way to have the xbox boot directly to XMC? Mine currently boots to EvoX and I have to launch XMC from there.

  7. #7
    FLA gospeed.racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hydraulix
    yes there is a VGA pack adapter available for the xbox to output 15pin VGA signal to anything that will accept it.......
    SAWEEEEEEEEEETTTTTT!!!!! Gotta check into it!
    2005 Ford Focus ST

  8. #8
    Newbie hydraulix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rireal
    hydraulix, is there a way to have the xbox boot directly to XMC? Mine currently boots to EvoX and I have to launch XMC from there.
    yes of course you can. heres how it works.

    the xbox bios looks for boot files on the C: drive in this order by default....

    evoxdash.xbe
    avadash.xbe
    mxmdash.xbe
    neXgen.xbe

    right now, since Evo-X is on your C:, it gets booted first. Simply FTP into your xbox and upload XBMC to your C: (yes Evo-X and XBMC can co-mingle)

    rename the Evo-X xbe (evoxdash.xbe) to something like evoxold.xbe
    this will stop evox from booting,....

    then rename XBMC's default.xbe to evoxdash.xbe

    that will make XBMC boot when you turn your xbox on instead of Evo-X. just make sure you edit the IP in your xboxmediacenter.xml before you reboot. that way you can FTP back in later.

    I've got a couple of beers in me so if im not clear or a little confusing let me know.

  9. #9
    Raw Wave rando's Avatar
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    Da*n your XBMC is pimp'd. I haven't played with mine in a good long while. I guess I'm going to have to set that up as my HTPC.

    BTW, when I first mod'd my XBOX my original plan was to use it as a CarPC. After a year of working on it, I'm glad I didn't go that route. It's been challenging enough without dealing with unique problems associated with the XBOX. As far as cost, there isn't much difference. The expensive parts of a carPC are there no matter if you run an XBOX or a mini-ITX. You'll still need power, sequencing, Video, touch screen, GPS, amplifier, etc. The mini-ITX boards can be had for around $150. Throw in a stick of RAM that you already have lying around and make your own case and the cost is about the same as the XBOX.

  10. #10
    Raw Wave kickercivic1's Avatar
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    hydraulix thats look sweet. got a question tho. i got all the music and etc but how do you get the cover pics to come up? like matrix reload.avi how did you get the cover pic to come up?

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