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360 disc drive replacement

AneurhythmiaAneurhythmia Registered User regular
Hopefully this is the right place for this, not redundant, and something someone will know about:

So I have an ages old Xbox 360, obviously not a slim. The disc drive started throwing an error code when trying to read discs about a month ago. I finally got around to ordering a replacement from whatever shadowy Amazon marketplace retailer. The original is a Hitachi, so I went with a Hitachi so I could just swap the circuit board as per a million online tutorials.

Opened everything up, swapped the drives/boards, slapped it all back together. I am 100% sure the new drive went in. I am 99.9% sure the original board went on the new drive, and all the cables were reconnected. Xbox turns on, acts normal booting up, etc. The drive opens and closes smoothly. Inserting a disc does nothing at all. No reading time, no error message, just acts like the drive is empty.

So, before I take this whole thing apart and start trying random things, is there a clear indicator of the problem here? Did I skip a really obvious step that universally results in this outcome? Would it be more obvious if the replacement drive is faulty? Would it be more obvious if I didn't seat a specific ribbon all the way? Would it be more obvious if the mismatched board got put in there for some dumb reason?

Aneurhythmia on


  • proyebatproyebat Registered User regular
    The problem lies in the hardware protection that the Xbox uses to ward off attempts at piracy. Each drive has a unique key embedded into the firmware of each DVD drive that is tied to the Xbox it was procured from, and is used to encrypt the data running from the drive to the CPU on the console. What you have to do to get the drive to work in it's new home is extract the unique key from the old drive and implant it into the stock firmware of the new drive. I'm not sure if publicly linking to sites that can help with this issue constitutes "piracy enabling" and would lead to a swift kick in the nuts by the mods, so feel free to PM me for more info!

  • AneurhythmiaAneurhythmia Registered User regular
    I read a good bit about that. I just got the impression that wasn't necessary if you swapped the board from the system's drive into an identical replacement drive.

  • proyebatproyebat Registered User regular
    Read over that part, my bad. Does the disc motor spin up at all when a disc is inserted? If it does, maybe the sata cable got knocked loose. If not check the wiring that runs to the motor assembly or the the lens assembly. I haven't opened a drive in forever but I recall that they are soldered to the board. Any chance of a solder bridge?

  • AneurhythmiaAneurhythmia Registered User regular
    I'll have to wait 'til after work tomorrow to open it all up again and give everything a good look. My immediate concerns are either that the replacement drive was no good to start or that I somehow mixed up the boards.

    I guess I'm mostly just curious if there are some obvious indicators for these things like the original error message I was getting. Just wishful thinking that there's a shortcut before I have to try every configuration to eliminate possibilities.

  • proyebatproyebat Registered User regular
    Worst case if the problem can't be pinned on the new hardware is that the old laser has to be adjusted by the potentiometers to adjust the current running through it. Risky in that it ruins the laser if done wrong.

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