Soldered red and blue

Power supply for Raspberry Pi, Orange Pi, ESP8266 – XBOX 360 PSU modification

Proper supply of power is a very important part of our SBC (Small Board Computers) projects. Power supplies with too low current efficiency, instability and lack of filtration – often lead to accidental resets, lack of sensor readings or simply unstable behavior of SBCs. One of the solution is to modify the power supply from Microsoft console – XBOX 360.
WARNING: We will work with high currents and high voltage, which requires basic knowledge of electrical engineering. The author is not responsible for accidents and everything you do – you do at your own risk.

What will you need?

Hardware:

  • Power Supply shipped with XBOX 360 – it will be permanently modified to suit our needs. You can find one for few $ on popular online auction websites.
  • DC-DC Step-Down converter. The XBOX 360 PSU has 12V output. This allows it to be used in some projects directly – powering cameras, fans, however SBC usually operate at 5V and some ESP8266 at 3.3V. We can use converter based on LM2956 chip with volatage output regulated by potentiometer (small “gold” screw) to the desired value, while maximum current is at 2A which is more than enough for most SBC
  • soldering iron
  • voltmeter (multimeter/multitester)
  • heat-shrinkable tube or insulation tape
  • wires for 12V devices – i.e.: from broken PSU’s
  • small PVC junction box
  • electrical connector
  • jumper cables, USB cable with micro USB connector
  • OPTIONAL: barrel connectors, molex etc.

Power supply mod

Why the XBOX 360 power supply unit? It has a lot of perks:

  • great output stability
  • current efficiency
  • overall efficiency
  • additional protection
  • internal cooling
  • cheap (second hand)

ATTENTION: All work is done with 230V AC POWER OFF. To illustrate the modification process – some photos are done while power is  connected to the power supply, which I do not recommend!

We shall start our modification by removing the connector that is attached to XBOX 360:

Zasilacz XBOX 360 - usunięta wtyczka
XBOX 360 PSU – with removed connector

We can see three black wires, three yellow wires – which are of our interest  – yellow is 12V and black is GND. Also blue and red (+ 5V), which we will deal with first.

The XBOX has a special protection feature – until it there’s no receiver on the red line – it will not work – and it signals it with orange LED:

XBOX 360 PSU - no output power
XBOX 360 PSU – no output power

The red and blue wires are 5V/1A, but we will not use it – they should be wired together. Alternatively, you can connect any device that will, for example, in addition to the LED signaling – tell you that the PSU is OK. Let’s solder’em together:

Soldered red and blue
Soldered red and blue

Next put on heat-shrinkable tube or insulation tape:

Protecting the soldered wires
Protecting the soldered wires

Now, bundle together and solder three black cables and – also bundle together yellow with yellow cables. As a result, we get two single cables – yellow and black. Next do the same with output cables intended for devices: 12V:

12v cables
12v cables

Solder them and put it all into electrical junction box. Caution: the 12V cables have the polarizastion distigushed by the color – white stripes on the black cable denote “+” and full black “-“. Connect the black to black and yellow to black with white stripes:

Connection of the XBOX 360 PSU and output cables
Connection of the XBOX 360 PSU and output cables

Time to test out setup – check using the multimeter if there is a short circuit between cables (the “diode”test). If it’s OK – turn on the power supply. If the LED is lit green – verify that the connected 12V cables have the correct polarity – “+” in the center, “-” outside. Then we plug in our DC-DC step-down converter – here I use version with input and output voltage measurement display:

Step-Down DC DC - connecting to XBOX 360 PSU
Step-Down DC DC – connecting to XBOX 360 PSU

It’s 12.1V so nearly perfect. Set the output voltage with Philips screwdriver and verify that it’s at 5V if so – connect your SBC:

Orange Pi One powered with XBOX 260 PSU and DC-DC converter
Orange Pi One powered with XBOX 260 PSU and DC-DC converter

Such setup has been powering network gear, SBC, fans and lightning for over a year in my small ‘server’ room.

That is it!




  • Pawel Kopacz

    Ja odżałowałem 153zł i zakupiłem zasilacz buforowy ADD-155A, na wyjściu mam 5v i 12V+ ładowanie akumulatora. Teraz zaniki napięcia mi nie straszne:) .
    Zdarzało mi się, że podczas zaniku napięcia, uszkadzał mi się Domoticz na karcie SD, trzeba było ponownie go instalować. …
    Za tydzień montaż, mam nadzieję, że z zasilaniem już nie będzie problemów.